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Archive 2013 · D300 questions

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D300 questions

Hi all

Almost bought a used D2x but after seeking advice here and some further thought decided to get a used D300 instead and went ahead and bought one over the weekend. Will arrive this Tuesday and comes in mint- condition with 1 year guarantee. Shutter count is 3.5k and cost 400 UK. Canít wait to open the box and get started!

However, before the camera turns up I thought Iíd ask a few quick questions:

First, what are peopleís views on the best type of compact flash card I can put in it? Iím coming from the D50 so my CF knowledge is almost non existent. At present, Iím thinking of an 8gb San Disk Extreme 60 mb/s. Quick, reliable and comes with rescue software. Would have gone for the San Disk Ultra but that seems not as well built and slower at 30 mb/s. Is there a significant difference between the two and would I notice it on the D300?

Second, I currently have the 18-70 lens and plan to use that on the D300 to begin with. Anyone know how this lens performs on the D300? Iím thinking of upgrading my lenses but kinda want to hold off until we see what happens in the DX line up. Although, at a push, I would be willing to consider a used 18-200 VR (or at a hard push the 17-55) and a prime (either the 35 or the 50, not quite sure which would be best). Any thoughts on these lenses?

Third, considering that this camera is probably going to be my main camera for the next year or so, I would also consider picking up the grip. What are peopleís views on the D300 grip? Is there a significant difference between the Nikon grip and a generic grip? Iíve also come across some posts where people have had problems with grips causing problems. Are there any know issues that I need to know about?

Finally, when I get the D300 up and running, as it is used, is there anything I ought to test and scrutinize carefully over the next few days to make sure everything is working okay? Any known issues?

Sorry for the relatively long post, but once again, would very much appreciate peopleís thoughts on these issues.

Many thanks in advance.

Jan 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D300 questions

Good choice on the d300 over the d2x....the d300 is in pretty much every way a better camera...

1) CF cards..dont worry too much about it...i use 30 or 40mb/s transcend's and some sandisk ultra's..to me they're plenty fast...some people wouldnt like them, but they write fast enough for me...

2) the 18-70 is a great lens!! Pretty sharp, versatile, compact, relatively well built....only thing is the zoom ring rotation is a little tight...the 17-55 is nice as well, but only if you can afford it!

3) you kinda take your chances on 3rd party grips....i have a zeikos grip for my d300's, and on both bodies, a battery in the grip no longer works, and it drains the internal battery in about 5 minutes...

Some people have luck with generic grips, i did for 3 years almost....

As for things to look for...not really anything particular...things can go bad at any time....when a body is brand new, or with tons of mileage ....

Jan 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D300 questions

I still use my D300, holding out for the DX successor...

1) stay with a major manufacturer on the CF card. They're more reliable and you have better warrantees. The top write speed of the camera is ~35 MB/sec, so going above that is not going to buy you anything.

2) I've been using the 18-70 for 7 years since I got it on my D70. It's a great lens. I recently upgraded to the 16-85...

3) I haven't used any grips, but have only read about them here. 3rd party grips as Nathan said are iffy.

Not knowing where you bought it from, I would check if the shutter worked consistently, if it focused properly with the 18-70 at various zoom positions, make sure you can zoom the 18-70 though its entire range, check for scratches (mold)on the lens. Exercise every switch position to see if they all work.

Jan 21, 2013 at 01:11 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D300 questions

1) That card should be fine - you've got a decent buffer in the D300 and the main benefit to faster cards will be how fast you pull the photos off the card. Unless you are shooting high-frames-per-second sports, don't worry about it. I prefer Lexar myself.

2) 18-70 is a fine start, and a really good zoom range for the D300. Look around for a 35 f/1.8 or a 50 f/1.8 to have some additional fun.

3) Any particular reason why you want the grip? If you're only planning to keep the camera for a year or so, I wouldn't bother with a grip, or would just get a 3rd party one. I have a grip for my D300s and haven't used it yet .

Consider buying a copy of Thom Hogan's D300 Guide. I learned a lot about my camera and DSLRs in general. The AF system of the D300 is amazingly capable, and very complex (not hard to use so much as there are a lot of settings you can optimize for best results).

Jan 21, 2013 at 01:17 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D300 questions

I've had my D300 since right around release date. I use 133x Transcend cards - cheap, never had a failure (knock on wood) and transfer speeds aren't a big concern on the camera.

I also have had the 18-70 for the same amount of time. It's such a great little lens. Is it pro-caliber? No. The build quality is a little cheap, no VR, variable aperture... but it's light, pretty sharp, compact, and inexpensive. Use the heck out of it.

I would skip the mega-zooms. If you want a telephoto, the 70-300 VR is a great compliment to the 18-70, while also not breaking the bank or your back. Other than that, figure out where your lenses are not satisfying you before you start upgrading. I mean, the 17-55 is a fine lens, but if your problem is that you really like the 30mm focal length but you want to take pictures in very low light, the 35mm f/1.8 will give you more light for less money. I have a 50mm f/1.4 that I don't use much because I find it to be an awkward focal length on DX - I use my 35mm f/1.8 much more. Personal preference - shoot with your camera and figure out the focal lengths you prefer.

I don't use grips on my cameras. It's big and heavy enough as it is - but that's just personal preference.

Only thing I'd test is for dust on the sensor (so you know if you have to clean it), test all the buttons to make sure they work, and then shoot a couple test charts just so you know if the autofocus works. Test for dust by zooming your lens all the way in, manually focus to the closest setting, set the lens to the minumum aperture (f/22 probably) and take a picture of the sky. Dust spots will be evident.

Jan 21, 2013 at 02:23 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · D300 questions

Cards: True that the D300 can't take advantage of cards faster than 233X (35MB/sec). However, you mentioned that you might upgrade in a year. If you are sure of that, then buy cards with speed and capacity that will work with your future camera. (Don't go nuts here. Bleeding edge 1000X-high capacity cards are expensive, and will probably go down in price in a year. Only you can weigh the pros and cons depending on how many and which model cards you are buying.) Also, don't throw away your old cards. I use them to store saved settings from the camera.

Lenses: Also consider the 16-85. Quite a bit better than the 18-70 and has VR. Not as expensive as the 17-55. The long end (85mm) is very useful.

Grip: Think hard whether you need the extra fps. 6fps on Continuous High (max on the D300 without grip) is plenty for most situations. If you are thinking about the extra battery power, get a few more batteries. Again, if you are thinking of upgrading in a year, the grip won't be compatible with your future camera.

Enjoy the camera. Except for low light high ISO situations, still an excellent a camera for the average user.

Jan 21, 2013 at 03:09 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · D300 questions

I've got the D200, D300 & D700.
CF cards - stick with major brands, as noted above;
Grips - unless you are shooting certain sports, I can't see getting the grip. I received one (Nikon) for the D300 & D700. The extra speed is not worth that much unless you REALLY need it. If buying a grip - I would stick with Nikon. I can't see skimping on spending funds for things that connect electrically with the cameras (batteries, grips, etc) Enjoy the cam - it is really a beau to use!

Jan 21, 2013 at 07:01 PM

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Jammy Straub
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · D300 questions

Enjoy your new camera. I've had one since release date.

The 18-70 is fine. The 17-55 is stellar. It also turns the D300 into a very heavy brick to wear around your neck

Shoot RAW, process in LR4, you can get good results from 3200 easily and 6400 if you are very careful. It's not noise free, but it's better than film

Jan 21, 2013 at 07:05 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · D300 questions

1) Lexar 400X or Sandisk Extreme or equivalent from another reputable company will be your best bet.

2) Stick with the 18-70 the 18-200 brings you nothing except reach. And if you don't already own the 17-55. Well the D300's not going to give you a reason to get it coming from a D2X.

3) Go first party. Anyone who's still making 3rd party is the worst of the worst. After the D700 was put to pasture. These 3rd party guys make money off what's current. They have no time for keeping inventory. Besides the point the price difference even back in the day wasn't worth the risk 200 vs 100. Now its like 350 vs 100.

When you first get the camera. Check the shutter count with taking a photo and sending it to a shutter count website. Make sure it is as low as claimed.

Other than that. The other D300 issues you can't figure out unless you've really used it. I've had people with AF-focusing quirks only their bodies exhibit. I have a Shutter problem which is somewhat reported. But I'm at 80K+ clicks

Jan 21, 2013 at 09:08 PM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · D300 questions

I love the D300. The control layout is virtually identical to the D700. Aside from a slight difference in size and the fact that it uses a crop sensor, there's not much of a learning curve when transitioning between the two. I mention this mainly because there's a lot of reasonably priced used D700s coming onto the market and it's a nice camera to pair with the D300. In fact, the bodies are so close to one another that they can use the same grip.

The 18-70 is a decent lens, but would save up for a 17-55. My two cents on that matter anyway.

As for the grip, I'd go with the factory made MB-D10. Unlike the third party designs, Nikon makes theirs out of magnesium. I didn't think I'd care much for a grip originally, but I've become really fond of mine and it seems to stay on the camera more than it's off the longer I keep it. It's essential for events that demand a lot of battery life (astro photography and weddings, for instance), plus if you find yourself in portrait mode a lot, it's nice having that extra trigger on the side. My only gripe with the Nikon grip is that the side trigger is a little too sensitive - there's not a lot of play between activating the AF and triggering the shutter.

As with any older camera, sensors are occasionally prone to develop "hot" or "dead" pixels over time. This isn't necessarily a major issue, but it has to go to Nikon to get these mapped out.

Jan 28, 2013 at 06:57 AM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · D300 questions

I have been using a pair of D300 bodies with SanDisc CF cards that are 8GB.
If you are only going to be using the camera for a short time, I would not invest in any DX lenses. You may want to go FX in your near future. Also, the 18-70 has got a weak part in it that may or may not lock up the entire lens, so don't totally rely upon it. I have had two fail in that way. I am currently using the new 85mm F1.8G and the new 50mm F1.8G with very nice results. Almost any wide will work; 20mm F2.8AFD, 24mm F2.8AFD will both be compact on that camera. I never needed a grip. Get a spare camera battery.

Jan 28, 2013 at 08:57 AM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · D300 questions

A grip is useful when you take much exposures in the portrait format and when you want to use the camera in overdrive speed.

Jan 28, 2013 at 02:42 PM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · D300 questions

I'd spring for a clean, used 17-55 which are selling on average in the $780 range on eBay here in the U.S. It will likely hold 90-95% of its value when you want to sell it, unlike some other lenses, making it the ideal match to your D300 at little risk financially if you ever move to full-frame.

Jan 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM

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