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Archive 2013 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700

In addition to spot news and general photography, I also shoot forensic photos for fire investigation. I use a D700 and D300. Just got a new job where I will be taking forensic photos of fire investigations but they need new photo gear (not using my personal stuff). Budget is probably around $2300 and has to include body, lens, and shoe mount flash like SB700/910.

I have used the D300 and D700 for years and they have been bomb proof. Fire scenes are dirty and and wet. I make sure that I take due care when I'm out there but I have to have something that can take some dirt and clean up.

So my question is: Order the D7100 or get a marked down D7000? Or get a D300s or used D700?

High ISO performance is helpful as the flash is working hard as most rooms are all black :) but I have shot many assignments with the D300 and SB800 just fine. Low light focusing ability is important. Buffer size is not.

I guess I'm wondering if the D7100/7000 is weather resistant enough? Am I making a mistake going with D300s or D700 as the technology is getting long in the tooth? We will have whatever we buy for 10 years.

Thanks for the input.


Mar 04, 2013 at 03:41 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700

I would get either the D300s or (preferable) the D700. Not sure how the situation is in the US but can't you find a D700 that is new rather than a used or refurbished one?
Why these 2? Because I have them both and you can throw a lot to these camera's due to their good seals and the D700 is, as you will know, a gem of a camera with very good low light capabilities.

Mar 04, 2013 at 03:47 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700

The D7000 can be had at quite a bargin and still is a very nice camera and has about a stop advantage over D300s.


Mar 04, 2013 at 05:09 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700

Forensic photography is not about small depth of field (which is used in artistic photograpy). You need big depth of field (DOF).

FX vs. DX of same camera generation will give you about same image quality at given DOF [1]. Newer generation cameras compared to older have better per area light gathering effectivity so they can get better image quality at given DOF. FX lenses of same price are sharper in center than DX lenses, but possibly less sharp in corners. VR can help you with static scenes. If scene is lit with flash only, you can use shutter speeds up to flash sync speed without problem (faster speeds in HS mode decrease flash power). If scene requires both ambient and flash light, you need the camera to be stable with speeds like 1/60s or 1/30s - VR can help there. Flash seems to be very important to you - chose one with faster re-charge, not to slow you down.

You can see per area light gathering effectivity in this table, in QE column: http://sensorgen.info/
D7100 is not there, but it will be probably similar to D5200. For example D5200 has about twice as good QE as D300 so it can shoot at twice the ISO with comparable quality.

You did not talk about lenses. Do you need wideangle or not? If not, 18-105vr is great. If yes, 16-85vr is great, but two more milimeters is not much improvement for higher price of 16-85vr. Chaning lenses in your environment will be problem. Get dedicated wideangle them. Nikon 10-24 is ok, 12-24 is worse optically (distortion at 12mm), but it does not extend with zooming. Note that neither lens is dust or water resistant, but given the budget, water resistent/dust lenses are probably out of scope. Normally lenses outlive bodies, but in your environment, it could be different.

I cannot evaluate water resitance of these cameras. I do not have experience with them in such conditions, so taking that aspect aside, I would choose:

D7100, SB910, 18-105vr.

[1] http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/

Mar 04, 2013 at 08:03 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D300s v D7000/7100 v D700

This may be one of the cases where D300S is exactly the right camera. Big, so usable in gloves, etc. Established reliability, etc.

Other thoughts. When buying for an organization you are not going to buy used. A purchasing person is not going to give you a stack of hundreds so you can go meet a guy in a coffee shop. And if you want rugged the lens is at least as important as the camera. Sounds to me like you want zoom, rugged, aperture doesn't matter, close focus might be a help.

Mar 04, 2013 at 01:03 PM

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