View Full Version : What to buy, Nikon D300,D3100 or D2x?

10-10-2010, 08:33 AM
I'm in the market for a DSLR and I'm looking for something that is as close to my Nikon F4s as I can get. I've been doing some research and found the D300s, the newly released D3100 and the older D2x are very similar in specs, but I haven't been able to figure out what makes the D300 better than the 3100 (the 3100 is 14.1mp infact), and if the D300 is now a better camera than the D2x. Honestly, I'd rather have a D700 because its a full frame format rather than the DX, but I can't really afford that one.

After shooting a Pro grade 35mm for a few years, the consumer DSLRs just feel like glorified point and shoots. I've got some decent lenses, but they are for the most part old school manual focus ones, with one mediocre auto focus 70-300mm. I know about the crop factor between FX and DX formats, but since my lenses are all full format, I won't be loosing anything, and in fact gaining a little.

I do mostly sports photography so I need something that is fast like my F4. Shutter lag time drives me crazy. I was looking into the D2x thinking that since it was the top of the line camera a few years ago it would be the fastest of the bunch. I could be way off however.

Please let me know what you guys who shoot Nikons think.


Air Boss
10-10-2010, 09:08 AM
Not a Nikon guy (I shoot Canon 5D MkII) but just an quick ping.

Based on the tone of your post (obviously a knowledgeable photog), I trust you've done the homework and have comfort that your existing lenses are fully compatible with the bodies you are considering?

10-10-2010, 05:45 PM
My lenses are sort of compatible. The will fit onto the camera body, but they are full format rather than DX format. From what I know, a full format lens will be magnified by a small amount, for instance my 180mm would become a 200mm (or so). They would retain the correct size with a FX format (D700 or D3x). They also might not meter well, but I learned how to shoot with a non metered camera (a '60s Miranda 35mm) so I can shoot in Manual mode no problem. I've tried 2 or 3 of my lenses on a D90 and they seemed to work. I'm sure there will be a learning curve associated with using old school lenses on a newer body, but its not like I have to pay to see the results nor do I have to buy the film to waste.


10-10-2010, 06:32 PM
Will, your "full frame" lenses will work fine on the newer bodies, as far as the "magnification" facter goes, at least.. What happens with the lens is that the smaller size chip just crops the shot... that's where the magnification comes in, it does not truly make anything any larger, just takes a smaller slice of the actual lens view.. All of the DX bodies shot quite well with FX lenses.

If you lenses work with a D90, likely, they will work with anything newer as well.

FWIW, I'm contemplating "losing" my D2H... though they were only just under 5mp, they are quite nice and you can make pretty large prints.

I'd have to research what they sell for... likely, not enough to make it work selling...:dunno:

10-10-2010, 09:39 PM
I think my real question is, what does the D2x, and the D300 have that the D3100 doesn't have that makes them a large amount more money? The 3100 is a 14.2 mp and the others are 12.4, yet the 3100 is about $700 with a lens. :dunno: What am I missing? The sensors are the same size, all three are DX format, why would anyone want to buy a D300s for$2100 when they can buy a D3100 for 1/3 the price?:confused: Is Nikon essentially selling the 3100 as a glorified 14.2mp point and shoot camera? (That was my impression of using a D90. I wasn't at all impressed.)

I'd really like to go try a D300 out but I can't seem to find anyone local who stocks them. I even tried going to a Ritz camera, but all they had was a D90 (no better than the Best Buy across the street.)

I'd really like to get a D700 and call it good, but those are out of my price range by a long way. I suppose I could sell off another of my bicycles to cover the extra cost, but I'd rather not.


10-17-2010, 06:47 PM
As a rule of thumb, it is usually ok to stay within the highest rated ISO on a camera. If you need to go to H1, which is about 1 stop over the highest ISO, the quality is usually unacceptable. I have a D2X, which is essentially the same as the D2Xs, and I find ISO 800 still acceptable but you are better off not going over ISO 400.

On paper, the D300 should be a "better" DSLR compared to the D2Xs with superior AF and it goes to ISO 3200. Additionally, it is 6 frames/sec native and goes to 8 with the grip, compared to 5 frames/sec on the D2Xs. Whether the D300 will have any major glitches or not remains to be seen. In recent years, the only Nikon DSLR that really bombed was the D2H. The D70 and D200 had some serious problems in certain samples, but those were fixable under warranty.

Most likely the D300 will be the better choice, but I would suggest waiting for some initial feedbacks before getting one, e.g. 1 to 2 months since the first ones reach the customers.

10-21-2010, 12:34 PM
I've been doing my homework on the D300s, pretty much everyone is saying the D300 is better than the D2x. I do like to shoot in low light so high ISOs would be nice, but the noise that goes along with it is kind of a drag. With my current point and shoot, I tried to shoot a Jazz concert that a friend of mine was playing at. On the camera the pics looked good, on the computer it looked like I was shooting old 800 ASA film, super grainy. I'm assuming a higher end camera will be better, but still an issue.


01-28-2011, 06:49 PM
So I'm just about ready to buy a camera body and what do I find now? The Nikon D7000. This pretty much beats the D300s in every way aside from the frames per second (I think its 5 rather than the 300s 6). Now I'm wondering do I go for the D7000, wait for the successor to the D300s (no clue when that will be or what that will entail both feature wise and price wise) or just go big and get a D700? I'm still not all that keen on the DX format, however it does work.

The reviews that I have been reading about the D7000 have all been very positive. It would likely serve me well, but at the same time its too much like the D90 that felt like a toy to me. The D7000 has a crazy high ISO, and is a 16.1 mp camera. Even though it uses the same size sensor, meaning the light capturing abilities should be lessened (since the diodes are smaller) the sample pictures I have seen look really good and the detail is still very sharp without getting too grainy. The sample pics also had the same shot done with a D3x and a D300s. The D3 was the best by far, and the D300 looked a little soft and undefined when looked at in a large format.

Any thoughts from the more experienced users out there?


T. Adams
02-02-2011, 02:57 PM
Head to the Nikon forum at www.fredmiranda.com You will find everything you need there.

02-05-2011, 10:26 AM
I went for a D7000. Its a pretty good body, and if I really don't like it when the D400 comes out I can likely sell it for close to what I bought it for and buy something better. My first impression is wow, its tiny compared to my F4s with a motor drive. Its also 1/4 the weight.

I played around with it last night trying to shoot the sliver of a moon that was out. The high ISO settings aren't bad. I shot one at ISO 6400 with my 180mm F2.8 manual lens and it was a little grainy, but no worse than 400 speed film. The shot was surprisingly bright as well.

I'm going to try to get out and take some shots this afternoon when the light is good.


02-06-2011, 10:21 AM
Got to take some shots yesterday. The upload resolution doesn't really show how sharp the pics are in person, but at least I can get prop blur now.

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs245.snc6/179381_1853202016360_1430090650_32119003_6187143_n .jpg
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs289.snc6/181733_1853206696477_1430090650_32119014_1998911_n .jpg
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs778.ash1/166880_1853206976484_1430090650_32119015_8203926_n .jpg
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs910.ash1/181826_1853207376494_1430090650_32119017_5570805_n .jpg
http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/hs074.snc6/168482_1853210376569_1430090650_32119019_5422473_n .jpg
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs884.ash1/179211_1853211736603_1430090650_32119020_3499689_n .jpg
This one was shot with my Isco F2.8 180mm manual focus lens at ISO6400. Its a little grainy but no worse than super high speed film.
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs900.ash1/180864_1853198576274_1430090650_32119001_7793615_n .jpg