Nikon D300S In-depth Review
The D300 was a fast camera - its 6 frames-per-second shooting speed not placing it that far behind Nikon's professional level sports camera, the D3. The D300S takes things a step further, promising 7 frames-per-second shooting in JPEG mode (which rises to 8 fps if you use one of the D3 series' EN-EL4a batteries in the MB-10 battery grip). The high speed, UDMA-compatible CF card slot helps, of course so you're better off using that than the SD slot if you're after long, fast sequences of shots. This is a camera that will find itself in the hands of many professionals, as well as keen enthusiasts and those pros familiar with Nikon's D3 series are unlikely to find the transition an uncomfortable one - the D300S offers a similar level of responsiveness.
Timings & File Sizes
Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4288 x 2848 JPEG Fine (approx. 4,600 KB per image).
The media used for these tests was:
- 32 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CF card
(32 GB SanDisk)
|Power Off to On *1||<0.1|
|Power Off to Shot||<0.1|
|Shot to shot time (JPEG) *2||
|Shot to shot time (RAW) *2||
|Switch from live view||0.3|
|Power On to Off||0.1|
|*1||This is the time from turning the switch to the 'On' position to shooting information appearing on the top LCD (as soon as you would be able to verify camera settings).|
|*2||If you press the shutter button in quick succession in live view the LCD turns dark. In RAW the initial shot to shot time is 0.2 sec. When the buffer runs full this slows down to approximately 0.5 sec.|
Continuous Drive mode
To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/640 sec, F5.6), ISO 100. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above.
The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:
- Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 8.0 fps (+/- 0.05 fps)
- Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst (for JPEG there is no limit with a fast card)
- Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
- Write complete - How long after the last shot before the CF lamp goes out
Burst of JPEG Large/Fine images
32 GB SanDisk
|Frame rate||7.1 fps|
|Number of frames||100|
|Write complete||~ 1.5 sec|
Burst of RAW images
32 GB GB SanDisk
|Frame rate||7.1 fps|
|Number of frames||17|
|Buffer full rate||2.5*1|
|Write complete||10.0 sec|
|*1||This is the average buffer full rate. Once the buffer is full the D300S falls into a 3-2-3 'rhythm' taking two shots in quick succession (normal frame rate) followed by three shots at a much slower rate.|
At 7.1 frames per second the Nikon D300S is one of the quickest APS-C DSLRs on the market. In JPEG format the camera maintains this speed for 100 frames and for 17 frames when shooting RAW. The initial frame rate is still maintained when shooting RAW+JPEG but only for 15 frames. For speed-freaks the frame rate can be pushed to eight frames per second by using the optional Battery Pack MB-D10 and EN-EL4a batteries. For those who are less in a hurry there is also a low-speed continuous mode which can be set at between one and seven frames per second.
USB transfer speed
To test the D300S' USB speed we transferred approximately 500 MB of images (mixed RAW and JPEG) from a SanDisk Extreme Pro CF card (the same card used in the other readers). When you connect the camera to your computer for the first time a driver is installed and it appears as a PTP device on your system. Transfer speed was good but slower than both a good external card reader and the built-in model on our office PCs.
|Nikon D300S USB 2.0 (PTP)||10.0 MB/sec|
|SanDisk Extreme Pro (using built in USB connector)||14.3 MB/sec|
|SanDisk Extreme Pro in USB 2.0 reader||21.5 MB/sec|
Autofocus speed / accuracy
The D300S has one of the most sophisticated AF systems on the market - not just in terms of the number of AF points (51, 15 of which are of the cross type that are sensitive in both the vertical and horizontal axis), but also in terms of its ability to select the active point and track with a subject.
The result is an AF system that you'll need to learn how to use, rather than one you can just take out of the box and expect to deliver. Which isn't to say it's overly complex - we're not sports photographers (nor do we claim to be), but with a little time spent getting used to its behavior, we were impressed by its ability to return a sequence of in-focus images, even in the hands of an inexperienced shooter. We also found it's a system that will continue to work in surprisingly low light, even if it loses a considerable amount of its impressive daylight speed.
The contrast detect AF in live view and movie mode is a fraction faster than we've seen on most DSLRs up until now, when using the 16-85 VR, at least, but it's still nowhere near the speed of a system designed around its use (such as compact cameras or Panasonic's G series). It's really only of use for stationary subjects but it's nice to have in studio settings.
The D300S uses the same EN-EL3e battery as the D300 (and D700), and makes good use of its 12Wh capacity. Users shooting a lot of video or in situations such as weddings where its unthinkable to run out of power might want to have a spare in their pocket for the sake of peace-of-mind but most people will find they can fire away all day without having to think about it. The detailed information the camera gives about the condition and charge (in percent) of the battery should also help avoid any embarrassing inability to perform.
50% Flash use
|At 23°C / 73 °F (CIPA standard test)||
- 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
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
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 the worst effect on youth mental health.