Monday, December 07, 2009

New D300s as of December 2009

I was really resisting this camera so well. I had blogged I would NOT be getting another new camera, not this year, and that I was going to wait for the D400 or something like that next year (2010).

And then my D300 broke. It was hit with the glitch where the mirror doesn't go back to the down position after taking a shot. It came on gradually over a couple days. It would occasionally get stuck in the up position. Then I could use the focus lock button and take a shot, and almost all the time it would come down, and stay down.

Then it got worse and it became a VERY annoying problem. It kept happening to me the day I was shooting the cheetahs at the zoo hoping to get motion blur shots.

Body In Motion

After a while that day I shot exclusively with my Fuji S5 *( S5's similar to a D200 but only shoots 2.5fps, but has higher dynamic range).

And finally it wouldn't come down at all, the mirror would bounce down during part of the shutter sequence, but would end up resting at the end in the up position.

I've got a couple other sort of functional dSLRs so I decided to go shooting the day after the zoo day with my Fuji S5 as well as my D200. The fuji is slow and behaves much like a 6MP camera, even though technically it is a 12MP camera. The D200 was my faster, better, backup camera. But it has its own issue after taking a beating and shooting over 160,000 or 170,000 shots. The grip was falling off until I glued it back, but the real pain in the butt was that the rear wheel is broken so changing settings like ISO, exposure, are hit or miss and mostly miss. And when any kind of action requires a fast change, it was useless.

After a frustrating day shooting with those 2 cameras I ordered the D300s. I didn't want to, really, I have enough cameras! Later I realized that I did have the D300 for nearly 2 years, and have taken something like 75,000 shots with it. And I WILL get it fixed. I googled the glitch with the mirror and it can be fixed for under 200$ I think, some sensor goes and it's not that big a deal to correct. When that's fixed, and if I get the rear-wheel fixed on the d200 I'll be setup nicely, and might convert one (d200 probably) to infrared...

The addition of video in the D300s will be good to mess around with. I got a boom mic that mounts in the flash hot-shoe on the camera and allows for stereo audio vs. the on camera mic that's just mono. I also plan to use that mic with the little marantz audio recorder I got, but which I don't use much since the built in mics are not that good, this mic should really help improve the sound quality.

Here's my first video done with the D300s that I've posted. I have taken a couple others but it took a little experimenting to get a decent clip out of it. The rolling shutter problem is annoying when the camera moves, or if the subject moves and you need to track it, and adjusting focus is tough. I also didn't know how to adjust the exposure of the video but someone at the zoo showed me ;) (thx Simba!)

The video is a much lower resolution than the still images, so when I added the 1.7x TC to the lens the quality of the video really didn't seem to suffer (used on above video).

The other cool thing is the 2nd card slot. I put the video on that card. I might change it to write backups there, or IDK maybe just overflow.

Finally, I've had focus issues, and have wondered if it was my copy of the D300 or just the normal performance of the camera, etc. Plus I think my camera was bounced off the floor at my local camera shop during the return trip from a cleaning/tuning, etc. (Grrrr). So a nice new fresh from the box camera, with supposedly improved focus over the D300, will be at a minimum assuring to me and I will wonder less. Now I can focus a little more on the results I'm getting and then see if I need to go to manual focus for certain tracking situations, or tweak settings like focus-lock, or focus point counts, etc.