The new D300 and its first spin

Getting a new camera is always exciting but this time round I haven’t rushed out to buy the latest model as soon as it came out, well not quite and anyway has the patient wait been worth it. The answer is very much a resounding yes.

The other strange thing is every time I buy a new DSLR body the weather turns wet and initially today, it looked like I was unlikely to have any luck at all and that I would be confined to 24 hours indoors. However after some fairly heavy rain today on and off, I was finally blessed with some dry conditions. Coupled with a busy day at work, so knew that it wouldn’t be until very late that I would have a chance to go outside and after dark.

I enjoy night photography and other forms of low light work. It would be a great test for the camera as in the past ISO levels have been limited to around ISO 1600 but this new baby goes up to 3200 and beyond (using the HI modes that to tend to be a bit noisy). It also has a very interesting feature in that you can let the camera choose your ISO automatically, which I tried out tonight. I also took just one lens and no tripod at all, I wanted to see how well it coped being handheld. The lens I chose was my Sigma 18-200 OS lens which to be honest isn’t the best option in low light as its aperture ranges between 3.5 and 6.3 at the widest. I would have been better off with one of my faster lenses such as the 70-200 or the 24-70 both of which are f2.8 throughout or the dinky 30m Sigma which features the widest aperture of f1.2. Which works very well in low light.

I was quite surprised though as the lens did perform better in the night conditions than it used to with my D200, a clear indication that the D300 works excellently in very low light.

I have shared 3 shots above, which are to be honest just grab shots and not ones I would plan to publish (especially as they contain brands names such as BMW!!). They were all taken using auto ISO, handheld and with just the one lens. The forecourt image was tricky, as there were so many light sources that has caused some flare, some slightly close to being burnt out highlights, however the histograms don’t show any evident clipping. This is pretty amazing!

My next set of posts will go into more detail, as I explore my new camera’s features in greater depth and subject it to various different kinds of photography. It will travel to Portsmouth with me this weekend (more on this after the event) and the following week, it will shoot its first wedding!!

I cannot wait to spend more time with it!

P.S. Thanks Richard for getting hold of the D300 for me, it just goes to show that you can buy them for a lot less than on the High Street – Airport duty free shops!

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