D300 or D90 to go with AF-S DX Nikor 16-85mm 3.5-5.6 GED VR
Hello, I plan on getting the AF-S DX Nikor 16-85mm 3.5-5.6 GED VR, but am not sure which Nikon body to purchase: It's going to be either the D300 or the D90 (the video is not something I will need and price is also not a factor, when comparing these two Nikon bodies. I will be doing close up photography firearms and firearm parts and jewelry, and also landscape photos. My last Nikon was my F2 film camera with several lenes. This will be my first digital camera and considering my age, probably my last. Thanks for any suggestions, Fred..

Comments (14)

I haven't gone through the specs in a lot of detail but I believe they are fairly close technically but differ more in size, perhaps shooting speed, maybe focus systems? With small items like parts and jewelry, you can work off a tripod and work fairly meticulously to be setting up focus and lighting, etc., so you might want to check how they are set up for close focus verification - whether zoomed live view, or through the viewfinder. Viewfinder performance is also something to consider for other uses. Are the finders similarly sized, bright, can they be adjusted to fit your eyes (is there a diopter adjustment and does it cover your range?). Then the other thing to consider, if there isn't a technical reason to choose one of the other, is how you like the feel of the camera in your hands and while using it. Is one or the other more comfortable to you? "Fit" of fingers and controls seems better on one or the other?..

Comment #1

If you plan on reusing any lenses from your F2, I'd recommended the D300 over the D90. They'll mount on the D90, but it won't meter with them...

Comment #2

Hi Max, Thanks for your response. Are you suggesting that my older Nikon lenses will "meter" with the D300, and you indicate they will not with the D90? Then my choice becomes a bit easier on which Nikon to purchase. Thanks, Two Flints..

Comment #3

Hi Craig, Thanks for your comments. Both cameras seem pretty close in terms of features I would want. Don't need the movie option that comes with the D90, but is the D300's construction so much better tthan the D90 to justify the increased cost? 51 point focusing as opposed to 11 with the D90? Just don't know! Two Flints..

Comment #4

The pro level D200/D300/D700/D2/D3 have mechanical AI aperture coupling in addition to the CPU interface, while the D40/D60/D80/D90 have only the electronic CPU interface, so the D300 can meter with non-CPU AI, AI-S and E-series Nikkors, while the D90 cannot. With the D300, you can use aperture priority or manual mode with metering when using non-CPU lenses, but only manual mode without metering on the D90. The D300 also has a number of other features the D90 does not like a 100% viewfinder (vs 96%), 51 focus points with 15 cross-type (vs 11 with 1 cross-type), AF fine tuning, 6 fps burst, more rugged construction, etc. It's also larger and heavier. There's a more complete list of differences here: I personally think the D300 is well worth the premium over the D90 if you don't need the movie mode and reduced size/weight, and espeicially if you want to use any non-CPU Nikkors. BTW, if you plan on doing close-up work, you may want to pickup a macro lens or extension tubes, as the 16-85mm has a maximum reproduction ratio of only 1:4.6. The closest you can focus with it is about 1.3 feet...

Comment #5

Hello Maxx, I'm not 'gonna' let you go just yet. Help with this question, please! What about a brief comparison of the "Live View" systems on both the D90 and D300? Are they the same? I've downloaded both User Manuals, but am having trouble seeing the difference in the way the Live View works in each camera. Are they the same? or is my thinking correct that the Live View in the D300 is easier to use? By the way, eventually, I will be going after the 105mm 2.8G VR AF-S ED IF Micro-Nikkor lens eventually, for the closeup work. Thanks again for your opinion. It is very much appreciated. Two Flints..

Comment #6

Not sure, but I think the D300's Live View is still better, since it supports phase-detect as well as contrast-detect AF. They've dropped phase-detect AF mode on the D90 for some reason, only leaving the slower contrast-detect method, but they've added face detection, a dedicated LV button and more info overlay. See the D90's review section on it:

Comment #7

AF fine tuning for the Nikon D300 is mentioned in reviews, comments, etc. How/where do you access this function? I've searched the manual and all the menu levels I can think to be appropriate...

Comment #8

"AF fine tune", in the Setup Menu. Page 327 in the User's Manual...

Comment #9

Look at the Tamron 90mm macro which has 1:1 and great reviews ($349 after rebate).

Http:// CPU metering won't be important as you are using a tripod and lighting. I find I rarely use my older SLR lenses on my Nikon. I may if I ever go full frame with the 25 megapixel D700s for 2000 after rebate.

If you want to use the camera for other things, get the D90 with the kit lens...

Comment #10

I want find a good suplier to buy a Nikon D700.


Comment #11

Don't forget to check when you are looking for good prices. Avoid those places where the listed prices are way below the others unless you are absolutely sure of that seller's reputation...

Comment #12

Help, getting ready to purchase a DSLR camera. Mainly to photograph my son's gymnastics meets. Unfortunately there is NO flash photography, poor lighting and dark blue backgrounds. It's time to upgrade from my Pentax K100 (yes I really do use this camera). We borrowed a D300 with a telephoto lens and it took Great pictures considering we didn't know what we were doing. Now it's time to buy one and we can't decide between the d90 or the d300. Will the VR lenses work with the d90 or am I going to be disappointed...

Comment #13

Yes, VR lenses will work fine on the D90. Image quality is very similar between the two, so if you don't need the extra features, speed or ruggedness of the D300, I think you'll be pleased with the D90. One area you may notice a difference in when shooting sports (besides the top frame rate) is autofocus. The D90 has an older, 11-point system with only 1 cross-type sensor, while the D300 has a newer 51-point system with 15 cross-type sensors. Cross-type sensors are sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail, while the line-type sensors are only sensitive to horizontal or vertical detail. Check out more differences here:

Comment #14

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