Those awaiting a full frame Nikon pro DSLR now have their wishes granted. We just posted the full release on the home page. Just click on the home page info at the bottom of this page. Note that this will be on the home page for a week or so after this posting but can be accessed via the Search box thereafter under Nikon D3.
Some very interesting concepts there. As I read about it, it looks more like a replacement for the D2H than the D2X, leading me to wonder if there is still another shoe to drop.
There is, the D300. We will have details on this Monday on the home page. It's an APS-C sensor model.
The D300 should be a real cash cow for Nikon. Clearly evolved from the already admirable D200. Its features appear to be equal or better than the current D2X - other than robustness - sharing much of the D3's technology. It sells in the range of $3200US less than the D2X making it quite attractive.
Robustness with digital cameras is only an issue with working photographers who shoot hundreds of exposures each day. I expect that only a tiny percentage of cameras actually wear out before they are considered obsolete and retired. The D300 shutter is said to have been tested for 150,000 release cycles.
It will be most interesting to see how the features and specifications hold up under testing. The sensitivity range has been moved up 1.0EV. Hopefully this will be without either an increase in noise from the somewhat more densely packed sensor. Worse, is noise that must be so aggressively attacked in processing that detail is smeared. I am pleased to see that the philosophy behind the D3 appears to be true sensor noise reduction rather than more pixels.
Will this affect the focal length of the lenses? I haven't used a digital SLR, but am still used to 50-55 mm lense considered normal for 35mm film camera's. 28 mm was a nice wide angle lense, and 200 mm was a fairly decent telephoto zoom top end lense.
I believe they moved the standard lense to 35-40mm for the same focal perspective as the film with the previous digital SLR's, but with Nikon's Full Frame D3, will this put the perspective the same as film camera's for a 50 mm lense?
With a full frame sensor array chip like that of the new Nikon the lens coverage area is the same as if you were using 35mm film, so use the same lenses as were used with 35mm.
Do you feel there will be an avandage to upgrade from the D200? Monte.
At this point, we have a few sketchy reports on pre-release cameras. As I understand it, the D200 may stay in production a while, since it is such a desirable camera at a lower price point. While each generation of prosumer Coolpix was a dramatic improvement over the previous flagship, the D300 is more the refinement of an already mature camera.
The new sensor offers an extra 2MP which is of little consequence, but it may also offer less noise at high ISO settings and that would be nice. On that we will have to wait for the reviews. Dust reduction on the sensor is a nice thing - but they do say "reduction" not removal.
An extra frame per second or two is of little consequence for most users. Whether 14-bit RAW is significant, again will have to wait for reviews. The 3" VGA monitor is certainly nice, but not a deal-maker in itself, and if it swung and swiveled like the one on my CP8400 for LiveView, it would be a LOT more interesting to me. Again we will have to wait for the reviews. LiveView so far has not been particularly impressive on the Oly and Panasonic and the problems of the Canon 1D MkIII have overshadowed everythimg else about the camera. I have not heard any remarks on LiveView there.
Perhaps the most significant feature will be the most subtle and elusive to evaluate. Clearly, it is a step toward total integration of information from both the auto-focus and exposure sensors. The "brain" of the camera knows a lot more about what is in the picture and will adjust focus, exposure and white balance accordingly. "Scene Recognition System" is the buzz-phrase. If this works as I understand it, the advantage may be seen only in long term comparison to the output of another camera. Fewer culls due to technical problems.
If one has just decided to buy a D200, my feeling would be to wait for the D300 - an extra month or two to save up the difference. Should you trade your D200 on a D300? Hard to say, and probably mostly based upon the depth of your pockets. The D200 is already a superb camera and the D300 is probably a better camera in every way, but not dramatically so. It does not mark the start of a new era, but rather a natural step in the evolution of an already fine instrument.
Thanks what a nice clear view to the question. I find the D200 to be a wonderful tool to work with. It is designed very well to be used. I will not trade mine for now. Monte.
This is one of the clearest opinions I have read regarding the new D300 vs. the D200 upgrade question many D200 owners are pondering. I appreciate your clarity of thought and your ability to put it into words we can all learn from. Thanks.