Headed out with James yesterday for some more D90 action, followed by some D300 action today with Katie using the D90.
My first impressions with the 90 are positive, at least so far as image quality is concerned. The biggest failing to me at this point is the AF system. The D90, for those of you who care, retains the focus system of the D80/D200 – an 11 point AF sensor with one high precision point in the center, while the D300 has the same focus system found in the D3, which has 51 points and 15 high precision points. While both the D90 and D300 use a 3d tracking system between the points, the bottom line is it works considerably better on the D300, which isn’t really surprising given that there are over 4 times as many points for it to track between. In addition, the focus speed (whether on screw drive or AF-S lenses) is noticeably slower, though for most situations this isn’t going to be a dealbreaker.
My biggest issue, though, is the D90′s stubbornness when it comes to taking a picture if it is even slightly out of focus. The D300 seems to be much more forgiving in this regard, which at first glance might seem like a negative thing, but at least when taking macro shots, you often rely on being close and using a large depth of field in order to get sharpness and focus in the image. There were several shots I had lined up yesterday that the camera point blank refused to take. I think in general photographic terms this might not be the biggest issue, but certainly I have concerns about the performance of the AF system for what I do.
That said, the D90 is certainly capable of taking great pictures, and if anything my comments reflect the excellence of the D300′s focus system more than anything lacking in the D90.
Shots from yesterday: