Nikon D300 In-depth Review
Body & Design
The D300 design is very similar to the D200, that's no bad thing, it's virtually the same size (very slightly taller), at the front there are new covers over the remote and PC sync terminals, at the rear a larger AF-ON button and a subtle re-arrange of the buttons down the left of the now larger LCD monitor. Build quality is just as good as the D200 (if not slightly better) and certainly in line with its 'bigger brother' the D3. The body is constructed from magnesium alloy, soft rubber is used on the grips both front and back as well as environmental seals on compartment doors. Just like the rest of the family the D300 features oversized buttons on the rear of the camera which are easier to use when wearing gloves.
There are numerous rubber gasket seals around body seams, controls and compartment doors. Nikon don't claim the camera to be waterproof but it's certainly more 'weather proof' than the average digital SLR. Remember that the camera is only as weather proof as its weakest link, this includes the lens mount and only a few of the more recent Nikkor lenses have rubber seals around the mount ring.
Side by side
Below you can see the D300 beside the recently announced ten megapixel Canon EOS 40D. Despite a $500 price difference (in Canon's favor) these two models are clear rivals and will be compared and contrasted by buyers and reviewers alike. The D300 weighs in at 903 g including its battery, the EOS 40D about 80 g lighter (the same weight as the D300's rechargeable battery).
In your hand
You really have to pick up the D300 to appreciate how nicely it fits into your hand, the ergonomics are great and the soft rubber used on the grip ensures holding the camera steady is an easy task. The control layout is also very sensible and easy to learn, even if you've never used a Nikon DSLR before clear labeling and logical positioning mean you'll be shooting and discovering the D300's features very quickly (and if you are coming from the D200 you'll be right at home because very little has changed).
One of the big changes to the D300 is the new high resolution screen. It has four times the number of dots than the 230,000 unit used on the D2X and other such cameras. For clarity, the words pixels and dots are interchanged almost randomly in specification sheets but strictly speaking we should talk of dots (these being red, green or blue sub-pixels) when referring to the figures quoted by manufacturers. The D300's LCD has 921,600 dots, 1920 columns by 480 rows, the dots are a third thinner than they are high and so each group of three dots (sub-pixels) make up one full color pixel.
This high resolution screen really has to be seen to be appreciated, it's beautifully detailed and extremely smooth in appearance because the tiny gaps between dots are too small to be seen with the eye. This extra detail is obvious in Liveview and playback modes where you really can see much 'more' of the image in one glance. Another difference comes when you magnify in playback as you find you don't need to magnify the image as much before you can clearly see sharpness, focus accuracy and even noise. Just like the D200 the D300 has a removable protective screen cover (shown with and without below).
One other difference between the D300/D3's screen and that used previously is the layout of the dots (sub-pixels), this new screen has the same layout as your computer LCD, a simple RGB layout with all rows the same ('stripe array'). The other layout used on small LCD screens is the 'delta array' which uses an RGB pattern on one row then a BRG pattern on the row below, offset by half a pixel.
|Stripe array layout LCD||Delta array layout LCD|
Below you can see a real-life, same-size example of the difference in resolution between this new 921,600 dot screen and a more typical 230,400 dot screen (in this case on the Canon EOS 40D). Both cameras were set in play mode with the same image (note that the D300 doesn't use the whole screen in play unless you magnify), a shot was taken of each camera from the same distance (hence the screens were captured at the same magnification).
|Crop from the D300's LCD
(1920 x 480 dots; 640 x 480 pixels)
|Crop from the EOS 40D's LCD
(960 x 240 dots; 320 x 240 pixels)
Top Control Panel
The D300 has one control panel on the top, this large display dominates the entire right top side of the camera and provides a full range of information covering photographic and digital settings. The panel has a green back light which can be illuminated by flicking the power switch to the lamp position, it's spring loaded and returns to 'ON', the back light stays on for the 'auto meter-off' time (CSM c2). You can also choose to have the backlights come on with any button press (CSM d8). Note that even when the camera is 'Off' this panel displays the number of frames remaining on the card or -E- if no card is inserted (an indication that the camera is never really powered off but instead in a sleep mode).
A breakdown of information displayed on the LCD panel can be found on the diagrams below.
Exposure compensation value
Flash compensation value
White balance fine-tuning
White balance preset number
Number of shots in bracketing sequence
Number of intervals
Focal length (non-CPU lens)
|*2|| Aperture (f-number)
Aperture (number of stops)
Number of shots per interval
Maximum aperture (non-CPU lens)
PC connection indicator
|*3|| Number of frames remaining
Number of shots remaining before buffer fills
PC mode indicator
Preset white balance recording indicator
|*4|| Electronic analog exposure display
Bracketing progress indicator
PC mode indicator
Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D300 user manual.
|Peruvian sweetness by VickyGo|
from street life
|Floating Dice by TX Photo Doc|
|Nautilus Sliced by Buzz Lightyear|
The Nikon Museum in Shinagawa, Tokyo has an exhibition showing off some of the most rare and unique prototype lenses Nikon ever developed.
VSCO has announced it will stop selling its film emulation presets for desktop programs March 1st, 2019.
On their latest models the two smartphone manufacturers have replaced the dreaded display notch by a design that features a circular hole for the front camera in the display.
With the latest version, Adobe Camera now lets you import Raw files from the newest iPhones, Pixel devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Nikon Z6 among others.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its 24MP resolution is more than enough for most people, and the money saved can buy a lot of glass. Find out what's new and notable about the Z6 in our First Impressions Review.
Sigma says its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens is set to hit shelves by the end of December 2018 at a retail price of $1,499.
DxO PhotoLab 2.1 brings a collection of new features to MacOS and Windows users alike.
The new 'Elegant' lens series includes entirely manual F2.4 lenses in 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm focal lengths.
A feature alerts pilots visually and/or verbally when their drone is approaching airspace that is unsafe or areas where drone flying is not permitted.
GoPro announced Monday morning that it plans to move production of United States-bound cameras out of China, citing tariffs concerns.
The Sigma 56mm F1.4 combines a sensible sub-$500 price tag and excellent performance, providing a portrait-friendly 85mm equiv. view on Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Azriel Knight of the YouTube channel This Old Camera explains the history of DX encoding.
The 250mm F4 is Fujifilm's longest lens for its medium-format system. It's equivalent to about 200mm on a GFX camera, and we put it to work on some portraits as well as some scenes around Seattle's waterfront – take a look.
Sony has removed the ability to download firmware version 2.0 for its a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras from its website.
Handing out awards for the best gear of the year is a big job, so we called in some reinforcements from Calgary to help us.
A new patent from Canon lays out the schematics for a speedbooster-style adapter for mounting Canon EF lenses onto EOS M cameras, but with a variable baffle to reduce the risk of flare.
The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has started a campaign asking visitors to stop geotagging their specific locations when visiting Wyoming's national parks.
Film simulation app Filmborn has been updated with new presets, features, and overall improved support on Apple's latest mobile operating system and devices.
The Colorado Tripod Company has introduced what it claims is the world’s first titanium tripod system, with a funding campaign on Kickstarter.
We've been shooting with the LX100 II both in and out of the studio, as part of our ongoing review. We're pretty impressed, so far, with the revised JPEG color and addition of a touchscreen both noticeable improvements.
An upcoming Xiaomi smartphone might use a 48MP sensor for pixel-binning, high-quality digital zooming and other algorithm-powered imaging features.
It's not cheap, but you may soon be able to get your hands on peel apart film once again thanks to ONE INSTANT.
Skylum's Luminar 3 arrives on December 18 with the long-awaited ability to manage your photo library. However, it won't be a full DAM (digital asset manager); the company plans to roll out features throughout 2019 and won't charge for updates from Luminar 2018 during that time.
Hasselblad has released an update to its Phocus post-production software that brings new and updated tools, as well as updated native lens support.
Nikon's IPTC Preset Manager, a tool for creating predetermined sets of metadata, has received an update. Version 1.1.0 no longer uses Microsoft Silverlight, sheds the network connection requirement, adds extended language support, updates support for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and ends support for Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Insta360 has launched a software update for its One X 360-degree camera and announced a camera bundle exclusively available on Apple.com.
Xiaomi has laid out the details for its new AI-powered image processing platform DeepExposure.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset is expected to power most 2019 high-end Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S10.
Camera app developer Hipstamatic says it has found a way to use the depth data generated by the iPhone X to improve the way its TinType app works out which areas of a picture to render out of focus.