Published on September 22nd,2009 at 1:53 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Nikon D300s, the Review

The Nikon D300 is already quite a nice little DSLR to play with, and the arrival of the D300s raised a lot of questions like… Is the “s’’ worth the extra bucks? To be honest… Not really, but still the D300s is supposed to be a great camera. As far as I’m concerned… I was far from impressed by D300s.

Nikon D300s Specs
- Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED
- 12.3-megapixel Resolution
- Nikon F-mount
- 3.0-inch LCD with 920,000 pixels, 170 degree viewing angle
- ISO range of 100 to 6400
- Compact Flash and SD/SDHC support
- 720/24p Video recording mode

First Impression
Like the D90 and the D700 we tested earlier, the D300s is an impressive camera when holding it, it’s body is made of a strong magnesium alloy. If you love the feel of a Nikon, the D300s won’t disappoint.

While I don’t have many complaints concerning its quality and, I’m not a big fan of the new multiselector button. It’s unprecise, slow and in the long run a real pain to use. On the other hand I really love the dual memory card slot with both SD/SDHC and Compact Flash… It allows you to store video on one card and photos on another, and provides an automatic back up of each photo you shoot (both SD and CD will have the same contents). It also fills up your SD or CF when either one is full. For those who love shooting pictures in total secrecy… the D300s has a quiet mode, which as you may guess will let you shoot pictures without much noise… Handy if you shoot in a place where camera noise makes a difference.

Let’s Shoot Baby!
Compared with the D300, the D300s has some nice little improvements like its 51AF point and a Visual Horizon that was previously only available on high end models and useful for shooting perfect pictures. It also has an improved Active D-lighting setting now with an Auto Mode and a extra hi, two more than on the D300, and an improved ISO engine that offers cleaner pictures in Hi-ISO than on the D300.

I’m not sure if it was the lens Nikon sent me with the D300s, but I wasn’t that impressed by the results. After spending a whole week with it I didn’t feel the D90 or D700 magic at all. I didn’t enjoy taking pictures with it. Don’t get me wrong, pictures are decent, but I had more misses with the D300s than with the D90. Granted I”m not an award winning or a pro photographer (someone who earns money taking pictures), but the D300s didn’t feel right to me…

Once you succeed in shooting a picture you’re happy with, compared to the D300 not much of a difference… I couldn’t see any difference, and this was a little disappointing. Apparently Nikon worked more on adding gizmos than improving photo quality. I’m sure most of you would have preferred improved photo quality more than Nikon’s useless Video Mode.

Original Photo can be downloaded here on our Flickr Account, otherwise you can enjoy them in our photo gallery here below.

What About Video Mode?
The Nikon D300s video mode is pretty much the same as the D90, with a new autofocus. I still believe adding a video mode to a DSLR is a nice, but video isn’t Nikon core business and compared with a GH-1 Lumix, the 720/24p mode on the D300s is far from impressive. Also, like the D90, the D300s has the same five minute limitation on video recording… This may be enough for most of you, but not ideal for me. An HD movie freak.

Conclusion
The D300s takes nice pictures, but I didn’t feel the same magic as with the D90 and D700. The camera feels great, but I had more misses with the D300s than I had with the D90 and D700. Maybe the lens that Nikon sent wasn’t the best choice. I’m not sure but even with its new gizmos, the D300s isn’t much of an improvement over the D300.

If you’re happy with your D300, keep it and wait for something better.

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Nikon D300s, the ReviewNikon D300s, the ReviewNikon D300s, the ReviewNikon D300s, the ReviewNikon D300s, the ReviewNikon D300s, the Review
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Nikon D300s, the Review
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Comments
 

  • Kralos

    I’m a Nikon guy, but honestly for the price of this I’d switch to Canon’s EOS 7D.

  • lithium

    Although I’m a dedicated Canon user (owning a AE-1, T90, several EOS film bodies, 10D & a 1D mkII), I can tell the D300s is a formidable camera.

    I consider the video recording abilities a gimmick on a photographic tool. And given the choice, I would go for the previous iteration..the D300. With the money I save I can invest in some proper glass.

    The lens they’d send you was indeed the wrong choice. f/5.6 at the far end? Give me a break lol…

    Since the body is only half of the equation, you could judge the D300s much better with pro-grade lenses like their 24-70mm f/2.8 or even better…primes. Large aperture lenses will give you:

    - much better autofocus performance
    - brighter viewfinder
    - more bokeh
    - able to stop action

  • NikonNikon

    The proper mid-range zoom for the D300s is the 17-55 2.8; the one they sent you is a mid-range performer better suited for something like the D90. Also, the D300 was a very competent SLR to begin with; the 300s is a mild makeover, not a complete redesign. Lastly, i dont think the D300s is meant for you… the D90 seems a better fit?

 

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