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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nikon Announces New DSLR - Still No D400.

Once again, Nikon ignores the fact that they have not replaced the D300s in any suitable form. Towards the end of October 2013 they releaased a new camera called the Nikon Df. This seems to be a retro-look DSLR (looks like a film camera circa 1960s - but is a DSLR) with a 16.2 MP sensor. While I'm sure that this will satisfy the retro-Nikon fans or hipsters who prefer technology - this doesn't do anything for me. If I want to go completely retro, I'd just pick up a Nikon FE2 and shoot 35mm film.

My question again is: is Nikon purposefully ignoring the fact that there are sports shooters and wildlife photographers who opt to not go full-frame in the hopes that they'll make the $5000 upgrade to a Nikon D4? Because I can wait this out - all it entails is purchasing a used D300s as a backup and then making sure that I have a couple hundred dollars for a shutter replacement. I don't believe that they've made significant design changes to the shutter mechanism.

As I've stated before, I want my continuous high at least 7fps which the D7100 doesn't give me. As I said, I'm not enamored of the idiot dial. When my butt is parked watching a flock of wood ducks (probably the most skittish ducks I've ever seen on the face of the planet) I don't want to have to be looking in my camera's system menu trying to find controls. After 3 years of dealing with the pro setup on the left hand side of my D300s, I feel more in tune with that. Every time I pick up my D50, I'm have to think for a couple of seconds trying to find my ISO, WB and QUAL since they're on the back of my camera and not instinctive like dealing with my D300s. I'm not "up"grading to an anemic buffer where the D300s curbstomps the D7100. The D7100 at full DX mode turns around and goes at about 5fps of which the buffer takes 2 fps off while pausing for a half-a-second to let it play catch-up as seen on this Youtube video by YouTube user Mandrake Cigars.

As a wildlife photographer, I need to have my camera bodies able to run a 6fps without pause on full DX mode. I don't want to go an additional 1.3x crop factor because that takes pixels away from my image. If I'm going to buy a full 24.1 MP camera, I want a full 24.1 MP camera at 7fps (at least at the very minimum 6fps).

As far as I can tell - as of right now; I have two choices:

  • I can upgrade to the Nikon D4 (go pro-body completely and go to full-frame which will necessitate purchasing the requisite 1.4x and 1.7x teleconverters) or

  • forget upgrading for now, opt to play a "wait and see" game by purchasing another D300s body (lightly used) and utilizing both bodies as needed - the cheaper way to go and probably makes the most sense.

  • Either way I will have the requisite two bodies necessary as primary and backup. I'll have to make a decision soon as shooting my son's hockey games has made me see that I need a second body (one for the telephoto lens - my 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII and one for a wide-angle (my 18-70mm DX f/3.5-4.5)) when shooting sports and perhaps also while shooting wildlife as well.

    I may be picky, but I know what I want in my camera if I'm going to upgrade to another DX camera and so far what Nikon has given me just isn't it. I'd sooner upgrade directly to a D4 (with the requisite 10fps - 11fps on DX crop) than go to a D7100.


    1. Why not a D3s? I loved shooting with my buddy's spare D3s when we went out for walks. He went from a D300, to a D300s to the D3s. Also shot with a D3s during the olympics and paralympics. Even though then I was a Canon shooter, Nikon's NPS were nice enough to let me use their gear! Another reason why I switched over to Nikon hehe

      I get by with my D5100, but I miss the feel and speed of the Canon 7Ds I used to have. The D7100 for me would be a nice upgrade. The FPS is meh compared to the D7100 but I want the focal points, environmental sealing, the size fits my hand MUCH better, the dual SD slots the better manual controls at my finger tips etc.

    2. Call me crazy, but super high FPS is overrated, to some degree. It's nice to have that speed, but as your skills increase it becomes less necessary. Although high speed shooting is not totally unnecessary in some situations, like when a hawk or falcon pop out from behind a tree, more often than not it is simply a waste of shutter actions. I guess if you rate yourself more highly as a photographer based on how many shutter actions your camera has high FPS is wonder, since you can rack them up very quickly, otherwise not so much. I find anywhere between 4-5 FPS more than enough, for even the fastest birds. I agree about the D7100 buffer depth issue though. In most bursts I try to only shoot off 3-7 frame, so I can be ready for other action that may take place. Using fast CF/SDHC cards clears the buffer fast enough in most situations, but you do have to pay a lot for the faster cards.

      I first started shooting birds with a D80 - 3.5 FPS, then moved to a D300 wMB-D10 8 FPS, next a D700 wMB-D10 - 8FPS, and now primarily with the D800 4FPS FX, or 5fps DX. The only real differences? The higher end bodies have superior auto focus and low light performance. While shooting at 8 FPS, on the D300 and D700, all I got was a lot more out of focus shots, from after the bird had left the frame. Either that or a lot more time wasted sorting photos to see if one of the 20 shots I took of the same scene was ever so more slightly sharp than the others.

      The D4 is a lovely camera, if you can afford it and the needed accessories. The D7100 is a strange camera, as you suggest. Perfect for still subjects, and light duty in sports, but for birding I wouldn't want it as my primary body. It is simply much to small and does not balance well with larger lenses.

    3. I'm a wildlife photographer as well (shoot a Nikon D7000) and I don't want to switch to FX and have to soend a lot of money revamping my lens kit, buying new spare batteries and new memory cards, not to mention the cost of a new body. I' would like to upgrade to a DX pro body if Nikon would build one. So, my thought is to just sit back and wait. I can produce good images with what I've got, so I'll just wait and see what Nikon does. If they produce a suitably configured D400 at a reasonable price, I'll buy it. If not, eventually one of the other manufacturers will produce a D400 equivalent (maybe already have with the Pentax K-3- time will tell) and when that happens and I've come to the conclusion Nikon isn't ever going to produce a camera to meet my needs, I guess I'll just have to switch. I'm not going to purchase a slow FX camera that doesn't meet my needs, I'm not going to lay out the cash for a D4, and I'm not going to purchase another DX camera until I can buy one that has the features (or at least most of the features) I want at a price that makes sense to me. If Nikon wants my money, it will produce the camera. If it doesn't produce the camera, I'll look elsewhere.

    4. I like the authors comment about the FE2 (I still have one, but it's collecting dust, also the D70, then my D300 (not the S - although I'd love video rather than using my Panasonic Lumix 19), with so many weaknesses only strength is it's size.

      I thought about the D7100, then when I heard there may be a D400 ( I drooled, and waited and waited and I am waiting). That's the upgrade I want, photo/better sensor for low light/video and probably eight years later technology). I still remember the day I plunked down $1300 for the D300, and I'll probably be paying double for the D400, but it's a dream, can't wait, will it happen before Christmas this year? Wish I had inside information....