Nikon D300 In-depth Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Very good resolution and detail without looking over-processed, even up to ISO 1600
- Better balanced noise reduction than most; more chroma NR, less luminance NR
- High ISO 3200 perfectly usable (if slightly softer due to NR), ISO 6400 usable for small output
- Highly configurable Auto ISO function (can set maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed)
- Conservative approach to image processing (slightly lower sharpening) helps to avoid 'digital' artifacts
- Excellent dynamic range from ISO 200 - 800 (good highlight 'reach'), typical at ISO 1600
- Seldom mentioned built-in chromatic aberration reduction is very effective (JPEG, RAWs through NX)
- Compact, solid body design with environmental sealing
- Quality glass pentaprism viewfinder (bright, large view) with electronic grid lines
- Professional in-use performance (instant power-up, short shutter lag and short viewfinder black-out)
- Improved auto-focus module (Multi-CAM3500DX) delivers fast and accurate AF lock even in low light
- Auto-focus fine-tuning by body or per lens
- Nikon's excellent 1005 pixel RGB metering sensor
- Numerous 'hidden' designed-in features; AF tracking by color, scene recognition system
- High speed continuous shooting (6 fps) can be boosted to 8 fps with grip & battery
- 150,000 exposure shutter life
- Now Nikon standard range of image parameter presets, addition of brightness adjustment
- Superb large, high resolution LCD (delivers full-color VGA; 640xRGB x 480)
- Live view with up to 1:1 pixel view, contrast detect AF as well as passive (mirror flip) AF
- HDMI video output (up to 1080i)
- Compact Flash UDMA support, very fast throughput overall
- Menu system is a pleasure to use, attractive, logical and built-in help
- Easy to use playback with very logical delete system (press delete button twice)
- Highly configurable via custom functions (6 configurable hard buttons / dials)
- Sophisticated interval timer feature
- Unique in-camera features: Overlay, Multiple exposures
- GPS data recording feature (requires optional cable, NMEA compatible)
- Built-in AF assist lamp (white light)
- Probably the best battery information display in the business (% charge, shots, aging)
- Optional wireless WiFi transmitter (802.11 b/g)
Conclusion - Cons
- No timed mirror lock-up function (could be automatic with self-timer)
- Non-articulating LCD (increases the usefulness of Live View considerably)
- Average automatic white balance performance, still very poor under incandescent light
The D200 was a big step forward for Nikon, the 'baby D2X' certainly gave the competition a thing or two to think about. Its big problem was the fact that Canon was still a generation ahead in the noise stakes, managing to consistently deliver clean images despite megapixel jumps. With the advent of the D300 however Nikon has conclusively removed this disparity and if anything stepped ahead of Canon (mostly thanks to its chroma based noise reduction delivering more film-like grain rather than color blotches).
But that's just one aspect of the D300 story, almost everything else about this camera has been improved. Starting on the outside there's that stunning high resolution three inch LCD monitor, the usefulness of which shouldn't be underestimated (you'll find you get enough detail without magnifying as far), there's perhaps the best implementation of Live View to date with both contrast detect (like a compact camera, although not particularly fast) and passive auto-focus options, and there's HDMI output; a boon no doubt to studio photographers who can now provide live high resolution previews of a shot. And of course we can't talk about the D300 without giving Nikon credit for the superb build quality and robust 'go anywhere' feel the body has.
On the inside Nikon has worked hard to deliver both better image quality and better performance; you get usable images up to ISO 3200, extended image parameter control, improved dynamic range, automatic CA removal (which immediately improves the performance of all your lenses), six frames per second continuous shooting (eight with the grip / battery combo), a new AF sensor, AF tracking by color and scene recognition. There are also an almost infinite range of customization options available, everything from how many AF areas are used to the size of the center-weighted metering circle to what happens when you hold the FUNC button and turn the command dial.
My biggest problem writing this conclusion has been picking out the D300's weak points. The usefulness of Live View would certainly be improved with an articulating LCD monitor (although I'm sure Nikon would argue that this could compromise the integrity of the body), auto white-balance is poor in artificial light (although this isn't anything unique to the D300) and there's still no true mirror lock-up feature. But really, these few niggles are really the only things we could pick out as criticism.
There is price, but sometimes the best products demand a premium and the D300 is no exception. Nikon's biggest problem now will be bettering the D300; it raises the bar to a new high, and represents the state of the art despite strong competition from the likes of Canon, Sony and Olympus. There's simply no better semi-professional digital SLR on the market.
Rating (out of 10)
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
|Nectar Dancing by Lensmate|
from A Big Year - birds
|Foggy morning by LassiM|
|Sad clown by PEB|
|Mtl Gen X 2015 DP by MarioSS|
from - Gen X - (In Full Colours+ Border)
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.