Thursday, May 15, 2008

'D3'lightful, ‘D3’ecisions

"Among piles of camera equipment, Kanji shuffles through a magazine in his office at Towson University before heading to instruct his Japanese course Tuesday afternoon. Kanji is the Director of Photographic Services of Towson University."

I should have run far, far away and never came back.

Now that I think about it, I should have: Sprinted to my car. Driven 300 miles. Got on a plane. Taken a train to the docks. Hopped on a boat and never came back. Yeah, that's what I should have done when I had that Nikon D3 in my possession.

Jokes aside, recently I've been toying around the idea of possibly trying to afford a Nikon D3, that is after I possibly sell my immaculate condition D2Xs.

Since getting the D2Xs, I haven't really been totally happy with it in comparison to my much adored D300. But that's only my subjected opinion. In all honesty, the D2Xs been more or a less a lens holder when on assignment.

Don't get me wrong I love the D2 series, but it's becoming apparent that it's better off as a studio or portrait camera rather than a go-to or second body when on assignment.

When I owned a D200 I couldn't compare it to a D2Xs, but I liked those files much better than the D2Xs. Now that I have the D300, it's always my go-to camera for any situation. Dark situations are pointless with the D2 series.

Caveat: It just struck me that anyone reading that is not a photographer probably has no idea what's being talked about. What are all these numbers? They are meaningless to you. I apoliogize. Feel free to leave me a nasty heart-filled comment on how I can make it up to you. Maybe I can take you out for pizza and a CD?

Moving forward, I've been thinking of getting another D300, but the D3 has crossed my mind time and time again.

Kanji bought one when they were first released, and I briefly used (read: shot one 11 frame burst) when he first got it.

On Tuesday, I decided to swing over to his office to play around with it again for a longer period of time.

What I liked was what I liked in my D300. A bright viewfinder, an enormous LCD screen, fast focusing and beautiful, workable files to name a few.

In addition to some same features, it's a very solid camera with extra options. It's almost like a D300 with the finishing touches. Yeah. The whipped cream, sprinkles, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce, and, of course, a cherry on top.

Oh, and did I mentioned the great ISO range on this monster camera? It's better than the D300.

Yep. 6400 and that's not the cap. The D2Xs is pretty limited at 800 and sometimes I feel like that is pushing its limits, especially without a correct exposure. As for the D300, I feel it's pretty limited at 3200.

At this point I could continue to give a vivid critique of the camera, but those still reading this post at this point probably know more than I do. And for those still confused, eyes drooping...Wake up! Pay attention! There is a quiz at the end of this post.

This camera is near perfect though. I am so tempted to buy one after comparing it directly to my D300 and D2Xs. It truly is an amazing camera.

The best part of the D3 is the full-frame.
The worst part of the D3 is the full-frame.

Every Nikon camera I've ever owned has had a 1.5x lens magnification factor. Thus meaning, my long lens, a 300mm, is really a 450mm. But since the D3 is full-frame, my 300mm, is well, a 300mm. So in reality, I am going to be losing some reach.

My only conclusion is that if I do go for it, my teleconverter may be getting used a lot more or my D300 will most likely will host my 70-200mm and 300mm, unless desired otherwise.

The upside is there is a crop mode, which I believe you can activate much like the high speed crop in on the D2 series cameras. But it does change the file size significantly.

So my final saying, the final factor, the thing holding me back is that I am not as worried about my wide end of shooting as I am the long end of shooting.

I guess we'll see what happens.

Currently, I am waiting to hear back from NPS, possibly get one to test out some more. I already have a couple interested in my D2Xs, so that sort of makes my possible purchase a little easier on my savings. Who knows though, I may just keep the D2, maybe get another D300 or go for it.

If anyone already shooting with a D3 (I know there are a couple readers out there with a D3) I would love to get you feedback on the camera during daily assignments.

Oh yeah, side note. Pick up my phone when in class. I missed a great opportunity by sitting in class and not answering my phone. Thanks again, Pouya.

And Thanks again for letting test drive your D3, Kanji. How did you know I'd actually bring it back? hahaha.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You owe me a pizza.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Phil Romans said...

Ah the life of a student, posting blogs at midnight... borrowing pricey gear from staff... etc.

Unless you know Nikons, the numbers are confusing. I consider myself somewhat versed in the photo world, but when you start dropping all the letter/number combos for Nikon bodies I have no clue.
I only have so much room in my brain for such things, and keeping the Canon stuff straight sometimes is enough.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:03:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher Blunck said...

Hi Patrick,

I used to shoot games with a D2H and a D200. The D2H was unusable at night - exposure was awful, noise was apparent at ISO 800, and the color was just flat. During the day the D2H was great: durable, fast, comfortable, and easy to work with. But most sports are played at night or indoors. Day games are unusual.

The D200 shot well in low light and I could go up to ISO1600 with little concern for proper exposure. The colors were pretty flat and the sharpness wasn't all there, but the camera worked "good enough." I ended up doing a lot of lightening and adjusting in Aperture.

A few months ago a coworker let me borrow his D3 for several assignments. I still use it and it's a significant improvement over my D200. Another friend of mine says the same thing regarding his D300. He still carries the D300 but for the most part he shoots with the D3.

I've abandoned carrying my D200 with me for the most part. At a men's lacrosse game this weekend I had a D2H with a 70-200 attached along with my D3 with a 400 attached and I never went to the D2H. The D3 is just so remarkably better.

If you have the opportunity buy the D3 and don't look back. I'm now lining up my own personal finances to determine how I can purchase 1 (or 2) of these great cameras.

My Flickr gallery has a bunch of my photos. If you go to Maryland Athletics and look at the Men's or Women's basketball you'll find shots using my D200 and D2H. If you look at some of the women's lacrosse, softball, and baseball galleries you'll see how the D3 performed in low light. Compare the recent baseball shots against my shots from a year ago on the D200 and you'll see the difference.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 9:18:00 AM  

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