The D300's viewfinder view seems slightly larger than the D200 and the specs do note a frame coverage of 100% compared to the D200's 95%. To the right top corner of the removable eyepiece rubber is a diopter adjustment wheel. Unlike the D3 the D300 does not feature an internal viewfinder curtain.

The D300 features a new 51 point auto focus sensor, the center fifteen (3x5 grid) being cross point sensors even with F5.6 aperture lenses. There are two AF point selection modes (CSM a8), you can opt to be able to select from all 51 points or 11 points in the same layout as the D200.

51 point AF selection mode 11 point AF selection mode

The image below isn't designed to be representative of a typical view through the viewfinder but instead shows the position of all possible information including all 51 AF points, battery status overlay and optional grid lines. Nikon has made it clear that they are not using etching to indicate the AF points but that all information is displayed using liquid crystal, hence when an AF point is not active there is no detrimental effect on the focusing screen.

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1 Focus indicator 10 Electronic analog exposure display / compen.
2 Metering mode 11 Flash compensation indicator
3 Auto exposure lock 12 Exposure compensation indicator
4 Flash value (FV) Lock 13 ISO / Auto ISO indicator
5 Flash sync indicator 14 ISO sensitivity
6 Shutter speed 15 Exposures remaining / buffer / exp. value
7 Aperture stop indicator 16 Thousands indicator
8 Aperture (f-number / number of stops) 17 Flash-ready indicator
9 Exposure mode    

Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D300 user manual.

Battery and Charger

The D300 uses the same EN-EL3e battery we first saw on the D200. It has a quoted capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4V (11.1 Wh) and charges on the supplied MH-18a quick charger. Note that the D300 is also compatible with the larger EN-EL4a battery when the MB-D10 battery grip is attached (see below).

Battery information available on the camera:

  • Top control panel has a five segment battery life indicator
  • Camera Menu: Set Up -> Battery Info provides:
    • Battery meter (as a percentage)
    • Picture meter (estimated frames on current power)
    • Charging Life (a scale from 0 to 4 indicating if the battery has come to the end of its useful life)

Battery Compartment

The battery compartment is located in the base of the hand grip. The compartment door is opened by pulling on a small lever, inside the battery holds itself part of the way in without dropping and without the use of a catch.

Battery pack / Vertical grip (optional)

The D300 has a new battery pack / vertical grip, the MB-D10. This new grip no longer requires the removal of the internal battery or battery door instead connecting to a pair of terminals on the base of the camera (normally protected by rubber covers, removed for this shot). This allows the internal battery to be used in conjunction with the batteries in the MB-D10. This MB-D10 is more ergonomic than previous grips and integrates much better with the body, it also supports a wider range of batteries; the EN-EL3e, the large EN-EL4a used in the D3 as well as AA batteries. (Note that the MB-D10 plus batteries other than the EN-EL3e are required to achieve the full eight frames per second shooting speed).

Compact Flash Compartment

The D300's Compact Flash compartment is set in the side of the camera as part of the hand grip. To open the door you turn a small dial on the rear of the camera below the AF area mode selector. The door opens automatically on a spring loaded hinge and when closed fits flush into the body contour. The door itself has a rubber gasket around its edge to form a water resistant seal. The D300 can take Compact Flash Type I or II and supports FAT32 (for cards over 2 GB) as well as the new high speed UDMA cards.