04-09-2012, 01:54 PM
What Nicky says here is wise. Go to a pro camera shop if you can, and hold different models in your hands to get a feel for what you'll be lugging around all day. Make sure to give the menu system an exhaustive check as well. There's nothing worse than trying to get a shot and then realizing that you have to dig into the menu system in order to change something fairly basic.
This is why I love my camera, all the controls I'll ever need are at my fingertips. Even when my eye is on the viewfinder, my fingers know where the controls are so I don't have to take my eye away.
As for zoom vs prime lenses, I will tell you for sure that not all zooms are made equally and you're going to pay for that.
If we're talking Nikon:The 18-200 was mentioned, and while it's an ok lens in terms of weight and range, it's not exactly a very "exciting" lens in terms of contrast or tonality. IMO it has very little personality and is mostly good for snap shots. It also can suffer from zoom "creep" which can be utterly annoying.
Want a great zoom? Save for the 24-70 It will be heavier, but if it's image quality you're looking for, this is the beast that will fulfill that need. The 50 1.8 was also mentioned, and while I agree that for the money it is a great lens, you also have to remember that this is not really a 50mm lens when paired with a crop sensor. It's more like 75mm. This would be great for head shots and such, but isn't really a typical street lens.
I'd rather suggest that one get a 24 or 28mm lens if the intention is to have a normal street range view. And maybe try a 35mm to get a slightly tighter crop. It really depends upon how and what you like to shoot. You can actually rent lenses (borrowlenses.com) for very cheap and get a great idea of what you'd prefer. That sure beats buying something and then figuring out months later that you've wasted your cash.
You might also consider buying used. I buy used lenses all the time. I use KEH.com, Adorama or BHphoto for that stuff.
Nicky is also right about the D300 being a bit heavy to lug around all day (I have this camera) especially with good prime glass. This is why I'm looking around for a replacement for street shooting and non studio work. Personally, I'm looking into some of the newer mirrorless cameras. The Sony NEX 5N is at the top of my list right now because from what I've seen thus far, it offers the best compromise between focusing speed (manual as well) image quality and high ISO/low light noise. It's also quite minimilistic so won't be a burden to carry around all day.
Have more to comment on, but have to leave for work, so more later I guess..