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
|Forever Stalled by Domenick Creaco|
from The End of the Road
|Lost, But Not Forever by Domenick Creaco|
from Lost and found
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.
The Phoneslinger line, a modular bag system for mobile photographers, has been launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
CamRanger has announced the impending arrival of its CamRanger 2 wireless tethering and trigger system, complete with redesigned apps, updated wireless features, and support for select Sony and Fujifilm systems.
As well as high-resolution stills, the new Nikon Z7 also shoots 4K video and 120p HD video. We recently spent two days with director Chris Hershman, shooting a music video on the Z7 for pop artist Emily Blue.
London’s National Portrait Gallery has released the shortlist for its annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, ahead of the winner being announced in October.