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Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grass...
  
 
darthalal
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


For the past year or two, I've been a Fuji shooter, and I like to shoot motorsports. Because of my usual subject matter, I upgraded to the X-T2 recently, and have been pretty happy with its AF performance so far. I also like to participate in motorsports, though (at an admittedly low level right now; autocross, rallycross, non-door-to-door track stuff), and also like to take photos at those events when I'm not driving or on my work assignment, but leaving my expensive Fuji kit lying around while I'm driving/working and worrying about someone stealing it or driving over it (you may laugh, but I've had things run over at these before; thankfully it's usually just my lunch, or pretty sturdy tools, but that would not be a fun way to lose a camera ) is too stressful, so I just leave my gear at home during events I'm driving in.

Because of that, I got the idea in my head that I wanted to pick up a secondary kit dedicated to these events, that's a little sturdier and less valuable, so I can still practice/document/hopefully-improve and worry less. So, I ordered the cheapest D300 and 80-200mm f/2.8 on KEH.

Several years ago, I had a D300 and 80-200mm push/pull, and was able to make it work for me, despite the somewhat slow AF of the 80-200mm - some samples I have handy:


_DSC4152 by Staufhammer, on Flickr


_DSC4144 by Staufhammer, on Flickr


_DSC4114 by Staufhammer, on Flickr


_DSC8255-Edit by Staufhammer, on Flickr


buggy1_9-Edit by Staufhammer, on Flickr


evo_10-Edit by Staufhammer, on Flickr


brz_9-Edit by Staufhammer, on Flickr

Which is what led me to the D300 and 80-200 to begin with. I thought I had purchased the same lens that I owned and used for the shots above, but have since found out that it's actually the first generation, pre-D push/pull model (as opposed to the 80-200mm f/2.8D push/pull that I had before), which some users report has a molasses-slow AF. This has me concerned that I made a poor decision, but the consensus I see online doesn't seem clear on whether or not it's actually slower than the 'D' version; does anyone who's owned or used both of these have any insight regarding how this lens will perform for my target use? If it's comparable to the D lens, I'm confident that I can work around it; but if it's slower, how much slower? The gear hasn't arrived yet, and I should be able to return or exchange it, but I'm not sure I'll have the opportunity to test it in the appropriate scenario before the return period is up, and I just want to be prepared with an option for exchanging or returning it if that's what needs to happen.

Side question; is the D300 still relevant? I recall enjoying shooting on the D300 for the most part, while not being super happy with ISO's higher than ~400, but I don't know how much of this is nostalgia, or false memory. Resolution is also down, now that 4k screens are starting to become more and more popular (12MP is barely a larger resolution than the screen; not much cropping flexibility! And that has been important in the past for motorsports, since I often can't get closer without credentials, or at all for certain organizations due to strict safety rules, and also can't afford longer/faster glass). I chose it for the rugged build quality and ergonomics (I went to Fuji for my main kit because I love buttons/dials and hate menus; dedicated controls for everything is so much easier), but I'm open to investigating other options at a similar price point if the D300 is getting long in the tooth. I know that it was a great camera back in the day, so newer cameras don't mean that it isn't still great, but it could mean it's not the best option for me or for this anymore.

I posted this here because the gear in question is Nikon, but if this would be more appropriate in "Sports" or somewhere else (or nowhere!), please let me know so I can move (or delete) it.

I'll still be using the X-T2 for events I'm just spectating, or specifically going to to photograph; but if I stick with the D300/80-200, I may end up bringing it in addition to some events, for the option of f/2.8 at 200mm that I can't (yet?) get with Fuji.



Mar 17, 2017 at 11:20 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


If you ordered a D300 was it new in the box and how much did you pay?
Hopefully you didn't pay more than $250 for it.

As a side note, whatever you remember the D300 being (I had three of them) the new D500 is what you want. Or a D7100 or a D7200.

Lenses are a little different. But they age also.



Mar 18, 2017 at 01:56 AM
darthalal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?




ckcarr wrote:
If you ordered a D300 was it new in the box and how much did you pay?
Hopefully you didn't pay more than $250 for it.


Nope, definitely not new, definitely under $250.


ckcarr wrote:
As a side note, whatever you remember the D300 being (I had three of them) the new D500 is what you want. Or a D7100 or a D7200.

Sure would love a D500. Doesn't fit the "significantly less valuable" criteria for not worrying about leaving it unattended while racing, though, and the X-T2 killed my "fancy camera" budget for the year! Maybe someday.



Mar 18, 2017 at 02:16 AM
TooManyShots
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


D300 is still good. As long as you don't use ISO above 1600, you won't have to deal with noise issue. However, you can actually get yourself a D7000 for under $300 too. It would be much better than the D300 in terms of the IQ and noise. Ergonomically, D300 wins out because it is a bigger body.

For the lens, the D version would be faster. The non D version is supposed to be SLOW, according to Ken Rockwell...heheheh.... Your next option would be the 2 ring version BUT the lens can be problematic when dealing with the today's DSLR AF system.

Most copies of the lens tend to back focus at close distance at the longer end. Only at let's say beyond 25ft the back focusing is gone. I think the 2 ring version is great. That's what I am using but I did spend few weeks tweaking the front lens element position to ensure the back focusing has been mitigated. My copy would only back focus at 10ft and under, at the longer end, 135mm to 200mm. And tack sharp at wide open at all focal lengths. I rarely shoot beyond F3.5 with the lens.



Mar 18, 2017 at 04:56 AM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


On the up side, I think the D300 and 80-200 have both reached terminal deflation, so their value really shouldn't drop. Granted, you probably paid a bit too much for them buying from a used store versus a private party, you should still be able to unload them for about the same money that you put in should you decide they are not for you.

That said, the XT-2 seems like a much better tool for the job. Even the slow 55-200 f/3.5-4.8 would probably be great given the better ISO performance of the much newer sensor. F/4.8 (slowest on the Fuji lens) is just 1.5 stops slower than f/2.8, and I'd wager that the Fuji sensor is at least 1.5 better on ISO. It'd also give you more zoom range (lots more if you factor in the ability to crop down to a 12mp image like you're getting from the d300).

From what you described being worried about, it seems like the problem to be solved is how to keep your camera gear safe. IMO, a better carrying solution might just do that for you. I don't shoot motorsports, but there are plenty of bag/strap systems available to keep a body and lens on you. If your camera gets run over while you're wearing it, then you have bigger problems.



Mar 18, 2017 at 03:31 PM
Surfnsun
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


I'm a bit confused by your problems. Where are you leaving your gear? How could it be getting run over? I have been to many of the same types of events and that isn't even remotely a problem in my experience. Also, it seems to me that to a thief your Nikon setup is just as tempting to take as your Fuji setup. So how exactly is this a solution? Do you have insurance on your gear? Are you going to these events by yourself? There's no way that you could just have somebody watch your gear while you drive? It just seems like a huge downgrade for reasons I don't understand. If I was in your situation I would definitely just find a way to secure the Fuji gear.


Mar 18, 2017 at 06:00 PM
 

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darthalal
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


Surfnsun wrote:
I'm a bit confused by your problems. Where are you leaving your gear? How could it be getting run over? I have been to many of the same types of events and that isn't even remotely a problem in my experience.


In a pile near where ever I've parked my car to clear it out for tech inspection. It's usually off of the road/drivable surface, but it's not always possible and people are careless. I'm at an autocross right now as I'm typing this, and watched someone back into someone else folding chair that was set up just off of the runway we're using for the event, and someone else had an air compressor backed over, because they put it behind their car in a stack of stuff, but someone else used the spot later and didn't see it. People are careless. It's not always a danger, and obviously I wouldn't put them somewhere clearly in harm's way but it does happen, and it's not always in my control.

Surfnsun wrote:
Also, it seems to me that to a thief your Nikon setup is just as tempting to take as your Fuji setup. So how exactly is this a solution?

That may be so, but if they are so tempted that they leave with it, it's a $450 lesson, not a $4000 one.

Surfnsun wrote:
Do you have insurance on your gear?

No; should I? How would I? I didn't know this was a thing. I kind of assumed theft or accidental damage is "your problem" as far as an insurance type company is concerned, but I'd love to be wrong. I'll have to look into this.


Surfnsun wrote:
Are you going to these events by yourself?

Usually. Occasionally my wife comes or a friend will stop by, but they want to ride along and/or not be bothered with my crap.

Surfnsun wrote:
There's no way that you could just have somebody watch your gear while you drive? It just seems like a huge downgrade for reasons I don't understand.

I am fairly new to this area and don't know many people that share this interest, so at the moment, no, not really.

Surfnsun wrote:
If I was in your situation I would definitely just find a way to secure the Fuji gear.

That certainly is the most desirable outcome! I just thought it wasn't possible in y current situation, but I will have to look into insurance if it actually applies here - I'd be much more comfortable bringing the Fuji gear in that case!


D'oh I screwed up the tags. Will fix (and reply to others) when I get home. Too hard on phone.



Mar 18, 2017 at 09:33 PM
myboostedgst
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


Not sure on the original D300, but I was decently happy with my D7000 using AF for motorsports (auto-x and motocross). I had the 80-200 AFS. Those 80-200's have such a beautiful look to the images. While my 70-200 is definitely better and sharper/faster, SOOC jpegs the 80-200 is more pleasing.

If you can swing it, I would suggest a D7000, or maybe a D300s as that seemed to be THE go to lens for years for many amateurs. If you are ok with a variable apeture lens, I absolutely love the Tamron 70-300 VC. The vibration compensation (VR) on that lens is killer, as good as my 70-200 VRII I currently own. Its obviously not going to give you the separation, but you can find them as cheap as $200 used in excellent shape.



Mar 21, 2017 at 05:01 AM
djp2313
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?




D300 with a 80-200 Push Pull. I believe it was the D version though.

There's really nothing wrong with the D300 at all. It's a bargain for this type of use. Rallyx or AutoX in the daylight so base iso. Slap a grip on it and you get 8 fps iirc.

Mine is resting in the basement but there's no reason I couldn't bring it out this season. I've been shooting on a D3s (12mp) and a D4 (16mp) since so the need for more mp hasn't been a real issue.

As to the 80-200 concerns. For AutoX you'll typically be stopped down quite a bit in order to get slow shutter speeds so you've got some leeway there. RallyX may be more of a concern. Personally I've always found reports of molasses af to be way over-exaggerated though.

As far as being concerned about someone running it over or running away with it: I keep my gear in a pelican case and lock it to the timing trailer when I'm running. Even when I was new to the scene no one had a problem with me securing my gear.



Mar 21, 2017 at 08:46 AM
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


I just checked eBay and it seems the AF-S 80-200 is still going for more than you paid for that camera. It might be worth it though; that was truly a great lens. I prefer it to the first 70-200, though I think it's fair to say the 3rd if not the 2nd bests it.

I presume shooting this kind of thing you've got your gear insured? Would your policy not cover your Fuji kit when you aren't actually on assignment? My understanding was that that didn't matter. Or do you just not want to deal with that hassle?



Mar 21, 2017 at 09:17 AM
darthalal
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Just ordered a D300 with 1st gen 80-200mm f/2.8 for grassroots motorsports - am I crazy?


Alrighty, sorry for the delay, very busy weekend and week so far.

The D300 arrived on Saturday; I didn't have much time at all to play with it, between an autocross school on Saturday and an autocross on Sunday, but I did unbox it and play around. The nostalgia! I forgot how great the D300 feels in your hands. The particular camera I ended up with looked to be in great shape externally, with just some wear on the bottom plate and rubber covers. So here I am thinking "this is great, I missed this" ... Until I attached the lens. "Molasses" isn't quite right, but it's certainly not spritely, and doesn't feel as fast as I recall my "D" version being. It would probably be fine for panning shots where the aperture's pretty stopped down and the car isn't moving toward/away from me, but it might struggle with head-on shots trying to freeze the motion of a car getting all squirrelly on corner entry or something. It also didn't seem to focus properly; whether this was front- or back-focus, or just something with that particular lens making it not sharp I didn't have time to investigate (I didn't take it to the race or anything, just experimented with a few shots and some focus tests around the apartment and cars moving down the street off of my balcony), but it just ruined the whole experience of holding an otherwise 'pro' feeling camera body. I also found out the body has something crazy like 240k shutter count, which is surprising given the low wear on the body.

In any case, I've requested an RMA and boxed it all back up to return.

Still haven't had a chance to look into insurance - hopefully tonight.

TooManyShots wrote:
D300 is still good. As long as you don't use ISO above 1600, you won't have to deal with noise issue. However, you can actually get yourself a D7000 for under $300 too. It would be much better than the D300 in terms of the IQ and noise. Ergonomically, D300 wins out because it is a bigger body.

Sticking below 1600 should be fine for most autocross/rallycross. This area does do some neat rallycross events going through sunset into the night, though, which would probably not cooperate with sticking below 1600. I haven't used a D7000, but did own a D90 for the two or so weeks right before I got a D300 the first time; I couldn't really get myself to get along with the body, so I think the D7000 might put me in a similar situation there. (Sounds like a silly concern for a backup camera, but..)


TooManyShots wrote:
For the lens, the D version would be faster. The non D version is supposed to be SLOW, according to Ken Rockwell...heheheh.... Your next option would be the 2 ring version BUT the lens can be problematic when dealing with the today's DSLR AF system.

Most copies of the lens tend to back focus at close distance at the longer end. Only at let's say beyond 25ft the back focusing is gone. I think the 2 ring version is great. That's what I am using but I did spend few weeks tweaking the front lens element position to ensure the back
...Show more
All of this makes me hesitant to get back into DSLRs and reminds me how annoying and frustrating AF fine tuning was. D:

BSPhotog wrote:
On the up side, I think the D300 and 80-200 have both reached terminal deflation, so their value really shouldn't drop. Granted, you probably paid a bit too much for them buying from a used store versus a private party, you should still be able to unload them for about the same money that you put in should you decide they are not for you.

Yeah I think the price has only dropped ~$100 or so from when I purchased the first time, several years ago, so I don't foresee them losing too much more. I paid less than what I've been seeing as the "going rate" on ebay and FM for the lens, and right about dead on for the body. I'll be returning these, though, so that doesn't matter too much.

BSPhotog wrote:
That said, the XT-2 seems like a much better tool for the job. Even the slow 55-200 f/3.5-4.8 would probably be great given the better ISO performance of the much newer sensor. F/4.8 (slowest on the Fuji lens) is just 1.5 stops slower than f/2.8, and I'd wager that the Fuji sensor is at least 1.5 better on ISO. It'd also give you more zoom range (lots more if you factor in the ability to crop down to a 12mp image like you're getting from the d300).

I had that lens when I was shooting on an X-T1, and ended up selling it and trading up to the 50-140mm f/2.8. The AF speed on the 50-140mm is significantly faster than on the 55-200mm; it was a huge difference on the X-T1, going from making it "relatively painful" to shoot a race, basically relying on hopes and dreams to get a shot, to "oh this isn't so bad at all." That may be overcome now with the X-T2's much better AF system, but I don't feel that the 55-200mm will get me anything new (except lower value, but if that's the goal then I'd have to pair it with a cheaper Fuji body, too, and I'll be stuck back in the "barely acceptable AF" situation I started in). As djp2313 says up above, most autocross/rallycross is during the day, so ISO performance is rarely the biggest setback, though the X-T2 does perform great here. What I really wanted the f/2.8 for is subject separation at 200mm for head-on shots. The best I can get now is 200mm f/4, with the 1.4x teleconverter, or 140mm f/2.8. I know a blurry background isn't everything, but on APS-C, at the distances we often have to stand from the cars (depending on club, course layout, etc.), that's usually not much separation.

BSPhotog wrote:
From what you described being worried about, it seems like the problem to be solved is how to keep your camera gear safe. IMO, a better carrying solution might just do that for you. I don't shoot motorsports, but there are plenty of bag/strap systems available to keep a body and lens on you.

On-body carry isn't an option for the times I'm worried about the gear. When you're working the course, that's your job. You can't have your cell phone or camera out and you can't be sitting on the ground lounging about. At one of the events this weekend, I was standing at my work assignment, in a pretty safe location next to a slalom, a fair distance away. I had a can of Coke next to me on the ground. A driver lost control of his pretty high power car and spun, and ended up coming straight at me while trying to regain control. It was perfectly easy enough for me to move out of the way, but my Coke was assassinated.

When you're driving your car on course, you can't have loose objects floating around in the cabin slamming back and forth as you go through the slalom.

BSPhotog wrote:
If your camera gets run over while you're wearing it, then you have bigger problems.

I won't argue with that!

myboostedgst wrote:
Not sure on the original D300, but I was decently happy with my D7000 using AF for motorsports (auto-x and motocross). I had the 80-200 AFS. Those 80-200's have such a beautiful look to the images. While my 70-200 is definitely better and sharper/faster, SOOC jpegs the 80-200 is more pleasing.

If you can swing it, I would suggest a D7000, or maybe a D300s as that seemed to be THE go to lens for years for many amateurs. If you are ok with a variable apeture lens, I absolutely love the Tamron 70-300 VC. The vibration compensation (VR) on that
...Show more
I was looking into the AFS at one point before ordering, but read horror stories about the motors all dying; have you had good luck with yours? They are quite a bit pricier than what I paid for the lens I initially ordered (a little over double, depending on condition and all that), but it's probably a more "future proof" lens, and would likely be more useful if I did someday step up to a D500 or something. Maybe I will try to rent one, or keep an eye out locally/here on FM, if I keep entertaining the idea of having a secondary system for this.

djp2313 wrote:
http://www.peterlinphotography.com/img/s/v-2/p117628788-4.jpg

D300 with a 80-200 Push Pull. I believe it was the D version though.


Nice shot! I feel like I've seen it before - are you over on DI by any chance? Sounds like the same setup I used for the photos above.

djp2313 wrote:
There's really nothing wrong with the D300 at all. It's a bargain for this type of use. Rallyx or AutoX in the daylight so base iso. Slap a grip on it and you get 8 fps iirc.

Mine is resting in the basement but there's no reason I couldn't bring it out this season. I've been shooting on a D3s (12mp) and a D4 (16mp) since so the need for more mp hasn't been a real issue.

As to the 80-200 concerns. For AutoX you'll typically be stopped down quite a bit in order to get slow shutter speeds so you've
...Show more
Great to hear your experience with the D300/D3S/D4. Have you ever run into AF fine tune (front or back-focus) like those mentioned above? What lenses do you typically use? How do you like the D3s over the D300? After getting my hands on that D300 for a bit, part of me is toying with selling off my X100T and a couple of Fuji lenses and saving a bit and putting that towards a nicer or full frame Nikon body to use with longer lenses, using the Fuji for wider stuff and primes, so there's more of a justification/differentiation for having two systems, now that insurance might be an option for alleviating some of the financial worry of bringing my gear out, and since I don't like Fuji's 100-400mm, and don't know how long (or expensive) it will be before Fuji puts out something longer and/or faster than the 50-140mm I already have.


djp2313 wrote:
As far as being concerned about someone running it over or running away with it: I keep my gear in a pelican case and lock it to the timing trailer when I'm running. Even when I was new to the scene no one had a problem with me securing my gear.

That's a great idea that I haven't thought of! I'll definitely keep that in mind, especially since I think I already have a spare Pelican (well, the only one not being used is a Seahorse, but close enough) that should be big enough. Thanks!


Lee Saxon wrote:
I just checked eBay and it seems the AF-S 80-200 is still going for more than you paid for that camera. It might be worth it though; that was truly a great lens. I prefer it to the first 70-200, though I think it's fair to say the 3rd if not the 2nd bests it.

I presume shooting this kind of thing you've got your gear insured? Would your policy not cover your Fuji kit when you aren't actually on assignment? My understanding was that that didn't matter. Or do you just not want to deal with that hassle?

I touched a bit on my thoughts on the AF-S model a bit above, but about insurance; I don't have an insurance policy. I'm not a professional and I'm not being paid for any of this. I'd love to be someday, but I guess I don't feel like I'm "there" yet; I'm still working on developing my skills and putting together a portfolio of decent shots to start contacting people and try to get credentials someday. I didn't actually know insurance for gear was a thing for this purpose until Surfnsun mentioned it earlier in this thread! Also, I don't think SCCA would really hire out for an autocross or rallycross.

I did get a chance to bring my Fuji gear this weekend, since both my wife and a friend from out of town tagged along. I didn't get to take too many shots, since we left shortly after my working assignment and run group ended, and we wanted to show my friend around the area before he had to fly back home, since he's thinking of moving to the area - but here are a few. Nothing groundbreaking, just some pans from outside the course, didn't have much time to move around or get permission to head out on course, since the "boss" was already impatient.

EDIT: Ack! Why are the attached photos so huge, they should only 1900 pixels wide? Any way to resize?




darthalal 2017

  X-T2    XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens    140mm    f/22.0    1/40s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





darthalal 2017

  X-T2    XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens    140mm    f/13.0    1/40s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





darthalal 2017

  X-T2    XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens    140mm    f/13.0    1/40s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





darthalal 2017

  X-T2    XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens    140mm    f/14.0    1/40s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





darthalal 2017

  X-T2    XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens    140mm    f/14.0    1/40s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  




Mar 23, 2017 at 12:09 AM







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