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Thread: Used D300 vs New D5100

  1. #1
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    Used D300 vs New D5100

    Hello all. New user here. I have been cruising this site for a couple days now trying to soak up information. But, I feel completely overwhelmed!

    Two years ago I urchased the Nikon D5000. It was my first "nice" camera and was purchased with the intent to take nice pictures of my children as they grow. I have since been bit by the photography bug and seem to be comletely obsessed with all things photo.

    My camera was stolen a few months back and I am now looking to replace it. I thought I wanted the D5100. But the more I research the more I am unsure of my decision.

    I have been considering many options but have been unable to commit to anything. I was hoping you all could give me your opinions.

    My camera will be primarily used for taking holiday photos for our family Christmas cards, my childrens sporting events, and other typical family type situations. I would like to be able to make my own portrait style pictures up to an 8x10.

    I am going to purchase the Nikon 50 mm 1.4. I am also going to purchase the Tamron 18-270. I have had the opportunity to play with both of these and REALLY love them.

    Here is where I need your input:

    Purchase new D5100?

    -or-

    Purchase used D300?

    I thought I was deadset on the 5100. However, today I spoke with a local photographer in my hometown. He is who I bought my D5000 from new two years ago. I have known him for YEARS and trust that he has taken excellent care of his equiptment. He has recently upgraded his camera and is selling his 300. It has 30,000 clicks on it and he is asking $585.


    What would you do?

  2. #2

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    I think it's not a matter of what I would do, as I wouldn't take any of those two, but that's my personal preferences.

    Those are a bit different. The 5100D has one of the very best sensors of a newer generation, while it is an "instep" model with much plastic feeling and necessity to delve into menus for some settings, while the D300 is a more pro-like camera, sturdily built, with a good viewfinder and controls laid out more ergonomically for a person that has them on his fingertips. There is a noticeable difference in high ISO performance between the two, the D5100 is better for low light, gives cleaner images with less noise and higher dynamic range.

    There are advantages with the D300 as well, and it is a good performer under good light conditions. A real workhorse that is supposed to go on and on and on working. A bit heavier, but it is more metal and also a glass prism in the viewfinder. I like its layout of controls much more, but I would prefer the imaging performance of the D5100.

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    The big difference is that the D5100 offers video a D300 does not but a D300S also has video. For normal photography the D5100 is 16 meg pix vs D300/S 12. However in some very important areas the D300 series is superior. View finder 100%, 51 focus points, better sealing, more bracketing options, flash sync control connector.

    This link is to a compare list - http://www.dpreview.com/products/com...tDir=ascending

    Personaly I would be looking very seriously at the D300 option but I already have a stock of CF memory cards. If you go for the D300 try and get a 4 or 8GByte card included in the deal.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Or there's the D5200

    Due to start shipping around the 15th December I believe.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 8th December 2012 at 08:50 PM.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    I have used a D300 a number of times (I have a couple of friends that own one), I do not tend to buy obsolete technology. The D300 was a high end prosumer camera when it was first introduced, but became obsolete with the introduction of the D700 (which was discontinued when the D800 was launched earlier this year).

    Unless you found that you have outgrown your D5000, having the extra functionality is not going to get used and you might not enjoy using it. The camera body is substantially larger than the D5000 one too. The main advantage that it has over the D5100 is that it has a built-in focusing motor and it would allow you to use lenses that do not have built in focusing motors. From a performance standpoint, your image results will be identical to the D90 (the cameras share the same sensor and image processor).

    If you do want to step up to a higher end model, the D90 and D7000 are the next step up. The D5100 has just been discontinued and with the D5200 shipping shortly, you should be able to pick up a D5100 at a significant discount very shortly as the stock is cleared out for the newer model.

  6. #6
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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    The D300 was a high end prosumer camera when it was first introduced, but became obsolete with the introduction of the D700 (which was discontinued when the D800 was launched earlier this year).
    The D300 was replaced by the D300S which is still a current model but the D7000 is probably its closest Nikon rival. The D700 and 800 are both full frame cameras.

    I prefer the balance and handling of a D300/S with my lenses but the improved ISO performance of the newer cameras is certainly something you need to consider.

  7. #7

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Quote Originally Posted by UpAtTheHalf View Post
    My camera will be primarily used for taking holiday photos for our family Christmas cards, my childrens sporting events, and other typical family type situations. I would like to be able to make my own portrait style pictures up to an 8x10.
    I have been using my wife's D5100 while my D7000 camera is in the shop. It's a really enjoyable camera and will surely meet all of your needs. Though I don't know much about the D300 and have never used one, I would lean toward the D5100 because it is a later-generation sensor with a widely regarded high ISO capability. You will find that immensely helpful when shooting informal family photos in low-light situations.

    I am also going to purchase the Tamron 18-270.
    Consider asking people here about whether that lens will be appropriate for shooting your kids' sporting events. I'm not offering an opinion because I don't know.

    As to whether you should purchase the used D300 or the new D5100, what does your friend who owns the D300 say? He or she will surely give you an unbiased opinion

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Thank you all for your input. I think part of me really wanted you to tell me the 300 was a magnificent bargain and it was a no-brainer decision.

    But, I get the feeling that the 5100 might be the better option. (Why am I drawn to the 300 so strongly?)

    The video capabilities in the 5100 really is a huge strength for me, considering what I will be using my camera for. There are some points to the 300 that make me wish I were going to go that route ... but at the end of the day I think the new 5100 wins this debate over the used 300. (FWIW, I did look at the 5200 ... but its a bit out of my price range right now.) I think I can make good use of the 5100 for a couple of years while i make saving for the D600/700/800 (or whatever replaces it by then) my goal.

    Thank you so much for all your input. This board is a God Send.
    Last edited by UpAtTheHalf; 8th December 2012 at 11:41 PM.

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Others have talked about the camera, I will talk about one of the lens, you stated the 50mm f/1.4D or G, save some money get the older 50mm f/1.8D, you will not notice the difference for what you want to take pictures of. Yes it is 1/3th of a stop slower, unless you are a high end pro then you would use the 50mm f/1.2. Another aadvantage is it stops down to f/22 as the others only go to f/16. If there is bright light or you want a greater depth of field that f/22 comes in handie, as for that soft background look peoplelike again you will not notice the difference for what you want to do bewteen a f/1.4 and a f/1.8.
    As you do not state where you are from, in Canada you would save $230.00 on the f/1.8D over the f/1.4D and $420.00 against the f/1.4G. Your choice I know what I would do.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    However, the 50/1.8D won't Auto-Focus on the D5100

    I believe there is now a 50/1.8G, still a saving over the 1.4 and as Allan says, you're unlikely to see any difference in real world use.

    For a D5100, you should only buy lenses with "AF-S" in their description - assuming you want AF to work.

    On the D300, or D600/700/800, you don't have that limitation (although AF will be a little slower than an AF-S lens).

    Cheers,
    GrumpyDiver found this helpful.

  11. #11
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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    The D300 was replaced by the D300S which is still a current model but the D7000 is probably its closest Nikon rival. The D700 and 800 are both full frame cameras.

    I prefer the balance and handling of a D300/S with my lenses but the improved ISO performance of the newer cameras is certainly something you need to consider.
    Yes, the camera is still in the Nikon catalog, my understanding is that the camera (just like the D90, D3, D700, etc.) has been out of production for some time. Once warehouse stock has been depleted, no more cameras will be available.

  12. #12
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    Re: Used D300 vs New D5100

    I have used a D300 for years, and I still have mine despite I bought a D800. It is really a good camera but, it is old. This does not change a good camera into a bad one, but you have to take this into account. Clearly newer cameras will have better performance as sensor Mpix, dynamic range etc. It is also true that the D300 has more and better AF sensor, build quality and some other good points, but unless you have some reason to buy the D300 IMHO it is better to look for a newer product.

    Personally I would not buy the D5100 either. Not because the D5200 is coming out, but because it is really an entry-level camera. It is a good camera, my daughter has a D5000 and she has a lot of fun taking pictures with her friends, but when she want to do "some real shooting" (as she says) she takes my D300. So if you plan to do more then family pictures I would not consider the D5100 or D5200 but the D7000. This is really the good compromise between easy-to-use and high-performance, and it will fit your needs. Consider also that, as already noted, with the D5100 the AF does not work with lenses without internal motor. The D7000 has an internal motor, as the D300, so you can use any lens.

    Cheers
    A.

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