Nikon D300S In-depth Review
The Nikon D300 made quite an impact when it was first launched - enough to prompt us to conclude: 'There's simply no better semi-professional digital SLR on the market.' And, in many respects, it is still the camera to beat in that class - nearly two years later and it is still able to command essentially the same price as at launch (though the strong Yen has pushed all prices up). And this success appears to have left Nikon unsure how to improve on its APS-C flagship.
Although the many of the additions to the D300S are simply those that we've seen appear on Nikons since the D300 arrived (virtual horizon from the D3, movies from the D90), one genuinely new feature is the inclusion of contrast-detection autofocus that operates while in movie mode - a first for a Nikon DSLR. It's not the quickest focusing you'll ever see, though, and you'll also need to make use of the external mic socket if you're to avoid the distant generator chuntering or asthmatic rodent sounds that autofocus motors seem to so accurately mimic.
The D300S inherits the non-latched memory card door we first saw on the D700, but now with both a CF and SD slot behind it. As you'd expect at this level, the exact behaviour of how the camera writes to the two cards can be defined: use one after the other, write backups to the second card, RAW and JPEG to different cards or split stills and videos. In fact many of the changes make the D300S even more similar to the D700, including Nikon's now-standard multi controller with separate central button that, on this camera, initiates movie recording when in live view.
The continuous shooting speed has been given a bit of a boost, with the camera now capable of shooting at 7fps using its own battery and 8fps with the MB-D10 battery grip. The settings display screen is now, in line with most current DSLRs, interactive, allowing most shooting settings to be changed more quickly, a couple of extra Active D-Lighting options ('Auto' and 'Extra High') have been thrown in too. Finally the 'Quiet' drive mode first seen on the D5000 also makes an appearance.
However the arrival of the distinctly pro-targetted Canon EOS 7D and the accomplished but more wallet-friendly Pentax K-7 could make Nikon's gentle refresh of the D300 look insufficient. (Due to the similarities between the two cameras, some product images come from the D300 review)
Model line history
|Continuous highest (JPEG)||
|D100||Feb 2002||6.0 mp||5 point||3.0 fps, 6 frames||n/a||1.8", 120K dots|
|D200||Nov 2005||10.2 mp||11 point||5.0 fps, 37 frames||n/a||2.5" 230K dots|
|D300||Aug 2007||12.3 mp||51 point||6.0/8.0 fps, 100 frames||n/a||3.0" 922K dots with Live View|
|D300S||Jul 2009||12.3 mp||51 point||7.0/8.0 fps, 100 frames||720p at 24fps||3.0" 922K dots with Live View|
Nikon D300S vs. D300 feature and specification differences
- 720p / 24 fps HD video recording
- External stereo sound input
- Basic in-camera movie editing
- Faster 7 fps continuous shooting (6 fps on the D300)
- Dual CF and SD card slots (CF only on the D300)
- Quiet release mode
- D3 style multi-controller on the camera rear
- Interactive settings display screen
- Dedicated Live View button (LV is a drive mode on the D300)
- Dedicated Info button
- Type C HDMI interface (Type A on the D300)
- Auto and Extra High Active D-Lighting options
- Virtual horizon
- In-camera editing (RAW resizing)
Nikon D300S Key Features
- 13.1 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor (effective pixels: 12.3 million)
- 720p HD video
- 3.0" LCD monitor (920,000 dots)
- Image sensor cleaning (sensor shake)
- 51 AF points (with 3D tracking)
- IS0 200-3200 range (6400 expanded)
- 7 frames per second continuous shooting (buffer: 17 RAW, 44 JPEG fine, 100 JPEG Normal)
- Expeed image processing
- Picture Controls - image parameters consistent with all current Nikon DSLRs
- Same EN-EL3e battery as D300
- 72 thumbnail view in playback
- 14-bit A/D conversion
- Super fast operation (power-up 13 ms, shutter lag 45 ms, black-out 100 ms)
- Shutter life 150,000 exposures
- Multi-CAM3500DX Auto Focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage)
- Auto-focus tracking by color (using information from 1005-pixel AE sensor)
- Auto-focus calibration (fine-tuning) now available (fixed body or up to 20 separate lens settings)
- Scene Recognition System (uses AE sensor, AF sensor)
- Picture Control image parameter presets (replace Color Modes I, II and III)
- Custom image parameters now support brightness as well as contrast
- Compact Flash UDMA support
- Live View with either phase detect (mirror up/down) or contrast detect Auto Focus
- HDMI HD video output
- 'Active D-Lighting' (adjusts metering as well as applying D-Lighting curve)
- Detailed 'Control Panel' type display on LCD monitor, changes color in darkness
- New MB-D10 vertical grip fully integrates into body, multi battery type compatible
- Buttons sealed against moisture
|12.3 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor||Viewfinder pentaprism|
|Main board with image processor||EXPEED processing|
|51-point Multi-CAM 3500DX AF sensor module||51 AF point locations in frame (approx.)|
|1005-pixel metering sensor||Shutter|
- 17 Photographic tests (DR)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Movie Mode
- 20 Compared to
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Compared to (Resolution)
- 30 Conclusion
- 31 Samples
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
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.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.