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
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.