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Nikon D300
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 15997 Fri March 14, 2008
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers £1,124.50 9.5
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Description: The D300 defines a new class of compact professional SLR, incorporating groundbreaking technologies and performance of the D3 into a compact DX format body. The 12.3 megapixel CMOS sensor features a self-cleaning dust removal unit and delivers resolution suitable for commercial and stock photography. The EXPEED image processing engine supports a class-leading 6fps at up to 3200 ISO, and delivers superb tonal gradation. Its advanced Scene Recognition System produces superior exposures and is complimented by Nikon’s next-generation 51-point AF system, which offers broad coverage and high sensitivity in low light. Selectable Picture Controls streamline in-camera image processing, saving time in post-production, and the high definition 3-inch LCD screen supports two Live View modes plus a HDMI video output. Responsive, rugged and light, the D300 offers new levels of performance for pros on a budget.

Comparison vs D200 here :-
http://www.pixalo.com/community/came...tml#post149273

KEY FEATURES

• 12.3 megapixel DX format CMOS image sensor . Built-in self-cleaning sensor unit minimizes the effect of dust.
• 6fps continuous shooting (8fps when shooting with the optional MB-D300 battery pack).
• ISO 200-3200 : extendable up to ISO 6400 (equivalent) and down to ISO 100 (equivalent).
• EXPEED image processing engine with 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image processing for superb tonal gradation.
• Advanced Scene Recognition System combines the camera’s metering and AF sensors for precise exposures and sharply-defined images.
• Multi-CAM3500DX 51-point AF system . Individually selectable or configurable in 9-point, 21-point and 51-point coverage settings.
• Quick response with approx 0.13 second power-up and 45 millisecond shutter release time lag.
• Picture Controls streamline in-camera image processing by enabling customization of image parameters before capture, and offer complete control over sharpening, contrast, brightness, hue and saturation in various color modes.
• 920,000 dot 3-inch VGA LCD monitor with wide, 170- degree viewing angle.
• Live View with Autofocus lets you compose images using the LCD monitor. Two modes are supported: Handheld or Tripod.
• Active D-Lighting enables superior high-contrast images by automatically applying tone compensation at the moment of capture.
• Durable, magnesium alloy body : water and dust resistant.
• Improved battery performance : sequential power supply between camera’s EN-EL3 rechargeable lithium-ion battery and the (optional) Multi-Power Battery Pack. HDMI video output interface enables connection to high-definition video systems.
• Intuitive ergonomics with optimized button placement for fast and comfortable handling.
• Lightweight Magnesium alloy body .

SPECIFICATIONS

Type of Camera
Single-lens reflex digital camera

Effective Pixels
12.3 million

Image Sensor
CMOS sensor, 23.6 x 15.8 mm; total pixels: 13.1 million; Nikon DX format

Image Size (pixels)
4,288 x 2,848 [L], 3,216 x 2,136 [M], 2,144 x 1,424 [S]

Dust-reduction System
Clean image sensor, image dust-off data acquisition (Capture NX required)

Sensitivity
ISO 200 to 3200 in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV with additional settings of approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 1 EV (ISO 100 equivalent) under ISO 200 and approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 1 EV (ISO 6400 equivalent) over ISO 3200

File System
Compliant with DCF 2.0, DPOF and Exif 2.21

Storage System
NEF 12-bit or 14-bit (uncompressed, lossless compressed or compressed RAW)
TIFF (RGB)
JPEG: JPEG baseline-compliant

Storage Media
CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I and II, UDMA compliant), Microdrive

Release Modes
1) Single frame [S] mode
2) Continuous low speed [CL] mode: 1 to 7 frames per second (*1)
3) Continuous high-speed [CH] mode: 8 frames per second (*1), 6 frames per second (*2)
4) Liveview [LV] mode
5) Self-timer mode
6) Mirror-up [Mup] mode
*1. When using AC Adaptor EH-5a/EH-5 or Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 with batteries other than Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e
*2. When using Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e
(When shooting in Continuous-servo AF (C), Shutter-Priority Auto [S] or Manual [M] exposure modes, at a shutter speed of 1/250 s or faster with other settings at default)

White Balance
Auto (TTL white balance with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor), seven manual modes with fine-tuning, color temperature setting, white balance bracketing possible (2 to 9 frames in increments 1~3)

Liveview
Hand-held shooting mode, Tripod shooting mode

LCD Monitor
3-in., approx. 920,000-dot (VGA), 170-degree wide viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment

Playback Function
1) Full frame 2) Thumbnail (4 or 9 segments) 3) Zoom 4) Slideshow 5) RGB histogram indication 6) Shooting data 7) Highlight point display 8) Auto image rotation

Delete Function
Card format, All photographs delete, Selected photographs delete

Video Output
NTSC or PAL; simultaneous playback from both the video output and on the LCD monitor available

HDMI Output
Supports HDMI version 1.3a; Type A connector is provided as HDMI output terminal; simultaneous playback from both the HDMI output terminal and on the LCD monitor not available

Interface
Hi-Speed USB

Text Input
Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header

Lens Mount
Nikon F Mount with AF coupling and AF contacts

Compatible Lenses
1) DX AF Nikkor: All functions possible
2) D-/G-type AF Nikkor (excluding IX Nikkor lenses): All functions possible (excluding PC Micro-Nikkor)
3) AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type (excluding lenses for F3AF): All functions except 3D-Color Matrix Metering II possible
4) AI-P Nikkor: All functions except Autofocus, 3D-Color Matrix Metering II possible
5) Non-CPU AI Nikkor: Can be used in exposure modes A and M; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster; Color Matrix Metering and aperture value display supported if user provides lens data

Picture Angle
Equivalent in 35mm [135] format is approx. 1.5 times lens focal length

Viewfinder
SLR-type with fixed eye-level pentaprism; built-in diopter adjustment (-2.0 to +1.0 m-1)

Eyepoint
19.5 mm (-1.0 m-1)

Focusing Screen
Type-B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines

Viewfinder Frame Coverage
Approx. 100% (vertical and horizontal)

Viewfinder Magnification
Approx. 0.94x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1

Autofocus
TTL phase detection, 51 focus points (15 cross-type sensors) by Nikon Multi-CAM 3500DX autofocus module; Detection -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 at 20°C/68°F); AF fine adjustment possible
Focal plane contrast [in Liveview (Tripod) mode]

Lens Servo
Single-servo AF (S);
continuous-servo AF (C);
manual (M);
predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in continuous-servo AF

Focus Point
Single AF point can be selected from 51 or 11 focus points
Liveview (Tripod mode): Contrast AF on a desired point within entire frame

AF Area Mode
1) Single point AF
2) Dynamic Area AF [9 points, 21 points, 51 points, 51 points (3D-tracking)]
3) Automatic-area AF

Focus Lock
Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button

Exposure Metering System
TTL full-aperture exposure metering using 1005-pixel RGB sensor
1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering (non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data; metering performed)
2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 6, 8, 10, or 13 mm dia. circle in center of frame or weighting based on average of entire frame (8 mm circle when non-CPU lens is used)
3) Spot: Meters approx. 3 mm dia. circle (about 2.0% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)

Exposure Metering Range
1) 0 to 20 EV (3D Color Matrix or center-weighted metering)
2) 2 to 20 EV (spot metering) (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20ºC)

Exposure Meter Coupling
Combined CPU and AI

Exposure Modes
1) Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program
2) Shutter-Priority Auto [S]
3) Aperture Priority Auto [A]
4) Manual [M]

Exposure Compensation
±5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV

Auto Exposure Lock
Detected exposure value locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button

Auto Exposure Bracketing
Exposure and/or flash bracketing (2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV)

Picture Control System
Four setting options: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome; each option can be adjusted

Shutter
Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter, 1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, Bulb

Sync Contact
X=1/250 s; flash synchronization at up to 1/320 s (FP) adjustable with Built-in Speedlight or optional Speedlight (will reduce GN)

Flash Control
1) TTL: TTL flash control by 1,005-pixel RGB sensor
Built-in Speedlight, SB-800, SB-600 or SB-400: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash
2) AA (Auto Aperture-type) flash: Available with SB-800 used with CPU lens
3) Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 28, 27, and 22S
4) Range-priority manual flash; available with SB-800

Flash Sync Mode
1) Front-curtain Sync (normal)
2) Red-eye Reduction
3) Red-eye Reduction with Slow Sync
4) Slow Sync
5) Rear-curtain Sync

Built-in Speedlight
Manual pop-up with button release

Guide number
(ISO 200, m): approx. 17 (manual 18)
(ISO 100 equivalent, m): approx. 12 (manual 13)

Flash Compensation
-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV

Accessory Shoe
ISO 518 Standard hot-shoe contact with safety lock provided

Sync Terminal
ISO 519 standard terminal

Creative Lighting System
With Speedlights such as SB-800, SB-600, SB-400, SB-R200, supports Advanced Wireless Lighting, Auto FP High-Speed Sync, Flash Color Information Communication, modeling flash and FV lock

Self-timer
2 to 20 seconds duration

Depth of Field Preview
When CPU lens is attached, lens aperture can be stopped down to value selected by user (A and M mode) or value selected by camera (P and S mode)

Remote Control
Via 10-pin terminal or Wireless Transmitter WT-4 (optional)

GPS
NMEA 0183 (Ver. 2.01 and 3.01) interface standard supported with 9-pin D-sub cable (optional) and GPS Cable MC-35 (optional)

Supported Languages
Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Power Source
One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 (optional) with one Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a, EN-EL4 or EN-EL3e or eight R6/AA-size alkaline (LR6), Ni-MH (HR6), lithium (FR6) batteries, or nickel-manganese ZR6 batteries, AC Adapter EH-5a (optional)

Tripod Socket
1/4 in. (ISO 1222)

Custom Settings
48 settings available

Dimensions (W x H x D)
Approx. 147 x 114 x 74 mm

Weight
Approx. 825 g without battery, memory card, body cap, or monitor cover

Operating Environment
Temperature: 0-40°C, Humidity: under 85% (no condensation)

Supplied Accessories
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, USB Cable UC-E4, Video Cable EG-D100, Strap AN-D300, LCD monitor cover BM-8, Body cap BF-1A, Eyepiece Cap DK-5, Rubber Eyecup DK-23, Software Suite CD-ROM (Supplied Accessories may differ by country or area)

Main Optional Accessories
Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10, Wireless Transmitter WT-4, Magnifying Eyepiece DK-21M, AC Adapter EH-5a, Capture NX Software, Camera Control Pro 2

Compare Prices for Nikon D300 in USA & in UK
Keywords: Nikon DSLR D300 12MP


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VinnyP
Forum Regular

Registered: February 2006
Location: Surbiton Surrey
Posts: 1147
Review Date: Fri December 14, 2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: £1,189.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, image quality, speed, AF, High ISO
Cons: No real time histogram in liveview, ISO button position

I have had this for a short while and am so far very happy with it. I have had a D2x recently and a D200 so can compare it to them I have no recent experience with any Canon gear so I’ll leave it to others to compare.

First impressions on opening the box are that it is a D200 with a bigger screen and slightly evolved buttons. If you like Nikon handling you will like this. The main controls fall nicely to hand and it fits well in my small-average sized hands. The body is magnesium alloy and feels well made. It is weather sealed and I think will stand up very well. I think the D2x was no better in this regard. The dust caps on the sync and remote sockets have finally been improved so now they are rubber bungs tethered to the body so no more lost caps! The BKT button has moved to be replaced by a review button but the Function AE/AF lock and DOF preview buttons can be customised in many more ways now. They can have different functions depending on push or push and dial. This coupled with the custom and shooting banks means the BKT button is not missed. I don’t like the placement of the ISO button above the shooting mode ring on the top left of the camera. It’s very difficult to adjust ISO with my eye to the camera and nearly impossible with long lenses. I wish this was one of the customise functions. There are no glaring omissions.

The rear screen is 3”, bigger than any previous Nikon screen and has VGA resolution. It’s bright, very clear easy to read even in bright sunlight and has a very wide angle of view. It makes reviewing a pleasure and the views are very easy to customise and zooming is much better. Press the info mode whilst shooting and it becomes a more detailed easily read top screen.

The menus are better laid out and there are 2 great new features. The last viewed menu has been replaced with a favourites menu, so 9 times out of 10 what you want is always to hand. You can also save you settings to a CF card, this takes less than a second. So unlike previous models if you change settings you can instantly revert back to your preferred set up. Also if you have multiple bodies or borrow/rent a body in a second you are good to go set up exactly how you like it which is great because there are so many customisable options. Too many for me to go into but the fine AF corrections on a lens by lens basis is very useful.

It takes the same batteries as the D200 in the body but is apparently fussier about 3rd party brands. Battery life is much better than the d200 but I have used it mostly with the optional grip so I couldn’t personally say how much better. They claim twice the battery life and I can believe that.

Another new feature is live view which is like using a P&S rear screen but is more useful than I thought. It is selected by turning the continuous shooting dial but you can set FPS in live view from the menu so continuous shooting is possible like this. It has 2 modes, one is the Handheld mode which drops the mirror to focus in the normal way, the other is called the tripod mode. This focuses like a compact but you can select any part of the image to focus on. It is very slow and you’d only use it on a static subject and I guess as the name implies a tripod. However manual focus in this mode is easy since the screen is very sharp and you can zoom in easily for fine adjustments. This makes it useful for macro work. The angle of view is astonishing so (handheld mode or tripod with manual) could really be used for waist/low level or overhead “Hail mary” PJ style shooting. There is no live time histogram which should have been easy to implement but WB does update so it’s really useful to see which WB settings will work, a great feature!

It’s a 12Mp cropped sensor so about as big as they come so far and very usable for stock photos. But even so the image quality is very impressive and the high ISO performance blew me away. ISO 1000 is as good as the D200/D2x at ISO 400 and I would happily use up to ISO 1600 without any hesitation. If needed up to 3200 is still fine for most subjects and the Hi2 6400 might get you out of trouble if you really need it. Auto ISO is very well implemented and really adds to the versatility of the camera. It adds a new dimension to all shooting modes in a subtly different way that once you get used to it can really help.

This was shot the 2nd day I had it at 3200 and 160th 2.8 on a 70-200. so you get some idea of how it performs in low light. It’s a vanilla raw to JPG conversion with no NR added. In camera NR was off.



I also can tell you this was a good test for focusing in these dark conditions the cats were still hopping around and it was focusing like the D200 in bright sunlight and easily outperformed the D2x which I thought was amazing in low light AF. The focusing is quick to acquire and incredibly flexible but it’s the tracking that is astonishing It has 51 AF points which cover a lot of the clear 100% viewfinder and you can select them easily. Its uncluttered with only the active point visible, it takes some getting used to but with the right setting can really smoke the D2x and the 3d tracking is a sight to see and could be useful but not something I would use that often. The screw motor feels like that from the D200 so not the same speed demon as the D2x with mechanical lenses.

Everything else is quick, shot to shot in review and shooting, the menus, start up etc. It claims 6FPS which is actually 6.1fps. Add the excellent optional grip and you get 8FPS. The Raw buffer is pretty small 18-19 (about the same as a D2X) but add a UDMA card and it clears quicker than anything else around but I have hit it a couple of times, that’s the price you pay for 12MP raw. In fine 12MP JPG you can shoot 100 shots!

I could go on but I suspect you can already tell I like it. There are the couple of minor niggles that I have raised but overall it exceeded my expectations which were quite high. If you have anything specific you would like me to have covered or if you want to ask anthing else drop me a line and I'll happily try to edit this to cover it.
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JMitchell
Loves the place

Registered: January 2007
Location: Berlin
Posts: 4945
Review Date: Fri March 14, 2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: £1,060.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, IQ, variable settings, LCD, price, ISO range, 'My Menu' feature (I could go on)
Cons: No live histogram (but live view not particularly regularly applicable for me), D-lighting a little buried in menus,

For me, I knew this camera would be a massive step up from my D50, and that I would be besotted with it just for being in a higher, more professional bracket than my beginners' model. Picking it up for the first time, it's like holding a tank. The thing is very well built. Nothing looks like it's gonna fall off, except perhaps the slightly flimsy memory card door (CF), which has to be opened by a catch on the back of the body anyway, so it shouldn't open and break off without you doing it on purpose.
One of the most obvious things about the difference in build quality from a lower-end camera (I've used a few Canons and Nikons from this bracket), is that everything seems to respond better to your fingers. The buttons don't depress a little, then activate, and don't feel unnecessarily loose, plus the shutter release is weighted perfectly (IMO), and is nicely textured to stop your finger slipping off. The grip is well weighted and very adhesive to the touch, so it's not likely you'll be dropping it. The buttons are well situated, save for the ISO button which is hard to get to on the top of the left hand dial-thing, but I'm sure it can be gotten used to.

I like the fact that the custom function button (on the front of the body, lens-side) is set by default to be a bracketing button, with the parameters selectable through the dual command wheels, which are very useful (and something I missed on the D50, but which others might be used to). This can be customised to be things like the dynamic area focus mode, DOF preview, etc etc. as can the AF/AE lock button, and the original DOF preview button itself.

The menus are really quite complex, and some of your favourite settings might get a little lost in there, which one would ordinarily find annoying, but Nikon have come up with a genius solution: 'My Menu'. This little gem of a feature means that you can select all your most used items from the shooting, custom settings (and other) menus and put them all in a single menu, so that they are very easy to access.

The settings are far too detailed for me to go into without staying up all night for about a week, so go look at a specs sheet for those (there's a useful review, by 'Ken'). Suffice to say that there isn't much they've missed out on this one, practically everything is customisable, and the options are so complex, I think they knew even pros wouldn't get it, so they maintained their '?' button that neatly explains each feature when you highlight it, although it doesn't always make it clearer! Many will find the AF tuning of great use, I've 'calibrated' two of my lenses, and the results are notably sharper when you compare before and afters of the same shots.

The other noticeably wonderful feature is the back LCD screen. This is a joy to behold. For anyone who has struggled to check focus on their measly 2" (or even 2.5") 200,000 dot screen, you can revel in the wondrousness of 3" and 920,000 dots. Checking focus is like checking the time on your watch, it takes all of a few seconds to tell it you've got it right. And if you're not satisfied with that, the high res sensor (12.1 mp) allows you to zoom right in to the finest detail. It also gives you six screen's worth of information about each shot, with individual colour and RGB histograms, and all the other info you need. Some might complain of the lack of live histogram in 'Live view' mode, but I for one don't use it enough to care.

The autofocus can emulate older cameras such as the D200, with it's modest 11 points, and one cross type sensor, which is fine. On the other hand, you could go ahead and enable the 51 point 3D continuous colour tracking plus 15 cross type points, and then start to have some real fun. It's not a perfect system, and there is a little bit of lag before it engages, but when it works, it's a corker. You can track subjects such as birds (and people on bikes on the street if you're looking for an excuse to play with it ), as long as they fill a respectable portion of the frame; but it's likely you wouldn't be taking the shot if they didn't.

Active D-Lighting is a new feature introduced by Nikon, that is supposed to retain detail in both the shadow and the highlight areas. It means that your frame rate drops to 2.5fps, and the images take a little longer to process and save to the card, but from the limited experience I've had with it so far (see "Abstraction" in the gallery), I've found it to work relatively well, retaining detail that would otherwise trick the camera's meter. Just remember to turn it off when you don't need it as it introduces a slight increase in noise at the lowest ISO settings, which are otherwise buttery smooth.

The availability of very high ISOs ratings is another new feature for many dSLRs. The D300 ranges from 100 (called Lo 1.0), all the way up to a massive 6400 (Hi 1.0). Everything up to ISO800 is very good indeed, and ISO1600 is what you would have expected some cameras to produce at ISO400 or so, so still very high quality, usable images. 2500 is still good, and 3200 is usable, with a very 'film-like' grain as mentioned in many other reviews. 6400 and thereabouts is passable in a pinch, and under good-ish (but still bad enough to be using ISO6400) lighting conditions with a fast (high IQ) lens, it's also really quite usable.

The colour reproduction is especially good with a few settings tweaks. The images can come out a little warm, but that's easily correctable, especially if your shoot RAW. In addition, the in camera (active) mono conversion is surprisingly good, but can only be processed in Capture NX (currently shipping free with the D300, and the D3), if you want to retain the conversion, as the algorithm resides in the Metadata I believe.

I don't really see the point in going into further detail than this, because most other info can be found in the spec sheets above, and other detailed menu explanations elsewhere. As far as I'm concerned, this is a serious camera, that could easily be marketed (with the grip) at professionals as well as the stated semi-pro market Nikon named as their target. It's easy to see I am really enjoying using such a fantastic piece of equipment, but I haven't had it long enough to know all the 'ins and outs', so if anything arises, I will post an update.

For now, the majority of good shots I've taken with it can be found here, some of which are 100% crops and high ISO examples, you should be able to tell from the filenames, but obviously this list will grow over time.
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