Rear of camera controls

The rear of the D300 looks almost the same as the D200 expect for the larger LCD monitor and subtly re-organized and more logical button layout; gone is the bracket button now replaced with the play button, the menu button now up a the top of the column of buttons followed by protect, zoom-out, zoom-in and the OK button (called Enter on the D200).

Buttons (single press)


Enters or leaves playback mode, display mode used depends on the last used (left / right press of the multi selector) or thumbnail display mode. As with all shooting priority cameras the D300 immediately removes the playback display if you half-press the shutter release button although interestingly you can trigger AF (press AF-ON) without clearing the screen).
Delete *p

In playback or record review, pressing this button displays a 'Delete?' confirmation dialog, press again to confirm deletion. Nikon's now de-facto 'double press delete' feature is very easy to use and understand and much faster than other delete implementations (why can't all cameras be this simple?).
Format (Delete + Mode)

Hold the Delete and Mode (top right of camera) buttons simultaneously for approximately two seconds for a shortcut to format the Compact Flash card, the camera first blinks 'For' on the top display and you must release the buttons and press once more to confirm the card format.

Display or cancel the camera menu, as with playback mode the menu is automatically cancelled if you half-press the shutter release button.

Protect / Info / Menu Help *p

In playback mode press to toggle the 'read only' flag on the displayed / selected image. This button can be used in both playback and record review modes. In shooting mode press this button to toggle the shooting information display on the LCD monitor. In menu mode (with a menu option selected) you can press and hold this button to display a page of help about the currently highlighted function, this is especially useful for the custom functions.

Thumbnail / zoom out *p

In playback mode with a single image displayed pressing this button switches to a four image thumbnail index, press again to switch to a nine image thumbnail index. In playback magnify mode steps back a single zoom level.
Zoom in *p / Live view magnify

In playback mode with a single image displayed enters magnify mode and steps in a zoom level, there are eight zoom steps. In live view mode magnifies the live view image (move around the live image, very useful for checking focus accuracy, there are six live view magnification levels, use the multi selector to move around.
OK OK / Retouching menu *p

The OK button is used to confirm menu selections and dialog options. In Playback mode displays a pop-up version of the retouching menu.
Multi selector

With no image displayed on the screen the multi selector is used to choose AF area, note that this function can be locked by turning the lock lever which surrounds the multi selector (this doesn't affect function in playback or menu mode). The multi selector is also used to change playback display modes (left / right), browse images in playback (up / down) and navigate menus / select dialog options. Various options are available for customizing this control: CSM f1, CSM f2 and CSM f3.

*p - In record review or playback mode

Auto Focus Area Mode selector

Note that the exact function of the AF area mode also depends on the focus mode (AF-S or AF-C), a full summary of all combinations of focus mode and AF area mode can be found at the bottom of this page.

Auto-area AF

The camera uses all focus areas and automatically selects the correct focus points. From the D300 user manual: "If type G or D lens is used, camera can distinguish human subjects
from background for improved subject detection."
Dynamic-area AF

Allows you to manually select one of the fifty-one focus points, however the camera will use information from multiple focus areas to determine focus. Useful for focusing on specific subjects which may move out of the focus area briefly. CSM a3 allows you to choose between 9 points, 21 points, 51 points or 51 points with 3D tracking.
Single-area AF

Allows you to manually select one of the fifty-one focus areas, the camera will only use this area for auto focus.

Front of camera controls

On the left side of the camera front are two buttons, both of these buttons can be customized to perform a range of functions via CSM f4 and f5. By default the top button is is depth of field preview, press and hold this button to stop the lens down to the selected aperture, the button button performs flash value lock. On the right side of the camera front is the focus mode dial and above this the flash mode / compensation button.

Buttons (combined with a command dial)

  Main command dial (rear) Sub command dial (front)
Flash sync mode

 • Front-curtain sync (normal)
 • Slow sync
 • Rear-curtain sync
 • Red-eye reduction
 • Red-eye reduction with slow sync
Flash exposure compensation

 • -3.0 EV to +1.0 EV
 • 0.3, 0.5 or 1 EV steps (CSM b2)

Focus Mode selector

S Single servo AF (AF-S)

Camera focus when shutter release button is half pressed and locks when the in-focus indicator (a solid dot) appears on the viewfinder status LCD. If the subject is moving when the shutter release button is half pressed the camera will focus track until a lock can be obtained. In this mode the default is for focus priority, this means that a shot can only be taken with a good focus lock, you can also choose release priority via CSM a2.
C Continuous servo AF (AF-C)

The camera will focus continuously while the shutter release button is half pressed, if the subject moves the camera will adjust focus to compensate. In this mode the default is for release priority, this means that a shot will be taken whether or not the camera has a good focus lock, you can also choose focus priority via CSM a1.
M Manual Focus

Focusing is achieved manually by turning the lens manual focus ring. Focus indicator on the viewfinder status LCD will still indicate whether or not the selected manual focus is the same as the calculated auto focus. This mode is always release priority.