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Nikon D300 first look review Digital SLR Review

Nikon D300 first look review Digital SLR Review - The eagerly awaited Nikon D300 has finally been announced and Matt Grayson tootled down to trendy London to get his hands on it.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Nikon D300
Price : £1,299
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As the replacement to the D200, the Nikon D300 has the same body but offers higher resolution, faster shoot speeds and more focus areas.

Nikon D300: Specifications

  • Sensor: CMOS - 12.3 Mp
  • Image Size: 4288 x 2848
  • Lens: Takes Nikkor AF and DX lenses
  • Focus: 51-point Advanced TTL Auto/Manual
  • Exposure: Auto/AP/SP/M
  • Metering: 3D Matrix II/CW/Spot
  • Monitor: 3in LCD
  • Other Features: Upto 8fps
  • Movie Mode: No
  • Storage: CompactFlash I/II
  • Batteries: Li-Ion Pack
  • AC Adaptor: Optional
  • Video Output: Yes
  • Size/Weight: 147x114x74mm – 825g
  • Transfer: USB 2.0

Nikon D300: Controls

Nikon D300 annotated diagram

1. The focus selection switch
2. Quality setting
3. White Balance
4. ISO setting
5. Top LCD plate
6. Mode selection
7. Exposure compensation
8. Front shooting wheel

Upgraded features are not cosmetic, though in fact the D300 is virtually identical in appearance to the D200. Noticeable differences are the large 12.3Mp CMOS DX sensor, world's first 51 focus points AF system, a 3in. colour LCD screen, a self cleaning sensor with four active vibration points and an upgraded ASIC processor with new EXPEED technology.

Nikon D300: Handling
The D300 is a heavy beast but it makes it feel more of a camera and you know that great things will come of it. The camera has a good grip and feels great in the hands which is to be expected. Two selector dials are situated around the shutter release to control the shutter speed and aperture. The 3in LCD screen dominates the rear of the camera with a separate screen for altering ISO, Resolution and White balance below. The screen is bright and has no motion blur. The Live view feature is not continuous as the camera must first be focused before the screen will enable so it not like a compact where images can be continuously taken with the screen. The camera can be linked up to a PC and the images viewed from its screen too when the camera is in tripod mode.

The D300 has a 6fps capability but that can be pushed to 8fps with the optional battery grip which is an upgrade to the D200's 5fps.

The sensor has been redesigned and now the microlenses are gapless on the front which increases the amount of light available to the sensor. Once the brighter image has been captured, it goes to the processor which is an upgraded EXPEED sensor for faster processing and lower power consumption.

The major improvement to the D300 is the ground breaking 51 point Focus area. As the camera is focused, the main centre of the screen gives a satisfying red glow to say it is focused.

The D300 is a dream to use and hold, the download time screams past leaving the camera begging for more. Whilst I used it I was blown away by the performance and sheer colossal power of it. The D300 acted like a Professional DSLR, not the Semi-Pro that Nikon class it as.

Nikon D300 front Nikon D300 top
Nikon D300 sensor Nikon D300 frame

 

Nikon D300 front image Nikon D300 Mirror
Nikon D300 hand held Nikon D300 top view

 

Nikon D300 sample image
A quick test shot showing admirable detail, shortly before I ate them all.

 

The Nikon D300 costs around £1159 and is available from warehouse Express here:

Nikon D300

 

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Photographs taken using the Nikon D300

Yellow Stag's HornSeal PupsAdonis blueRutland SkyRed Deer on LiathachTallinn Old Town IIAt RestSvartifossMist & MurkGoldfinchFemale Black BearSt Mary's Church: Pulborough Parish ChurchChaffyKinnordy Trees & Mist
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Comments


dickiedriver 8 212 United Kingdom
24 Aug 2007 3:15PM
Nice now where did I put that cheque book

Richard

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malcjt 10
24 Aug 2007 10:14PM
Very. Makes the Canon 40D look very old spec.
AndyMurdo 8 33 6 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2007 10:30PM
MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm!
Nikon have widened the gap over Canon in this mid sector with the D300, but there is a fair bit of new looking technology, which I hope works and lasts as well as it sounds, and at about 1300 quite a leap in price over the D200's current listing (I'm not quibbling at value for money here) enough almost to get another lens or a second entry level DSLR etc! And all in nearly puts it at the next level! Great for the pro's on a budget, but as an amature snapper I have to ask if this package is needed given how good some of the lesser offerings are at the job, on a personal level I think that the latest EOS40D is just enough, and a better bet for many.
With this in mind will they keep the D200 going as an option, and if so why not add that sensor cleaning device?

Andrew
Grim1 7 49 United Kingdom
29 Aug 2007 2:06PM
It looks great doesn't it - any comments on how much better the extra megapixels make the images from it? I'm looking forward to seeing more shots...I don't know about the anti dust system, though - I've had a D200 for 18 months and change lenses daily - I have never had a problem with dust specks and do little maintenance other a quick puff with an air rocket when I remember.
BundleBoy 9 53 Scotland
29 Aug 2007 8:00PM
I don't think the extra megapixels will make any real difference, but the switch to CMOS ought to help with high ISO noise.

I'm going to stick with my D200, sell off my couple of DX lenses and replace with full frame versions hoping for a future spreading of the FX format down the range. As much as I'd love to get hold of a D3 it's a tad over my wife's budget!
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
29 Aug 2007 8:08PM
I see nothing in the specs to make me change from my D200. It's all about levering money out of the pockets of the unsuspecting and inexperienced. Smile Why a sensor cleaning device?? Ludicrous. The difference >< 10 and 12 Megapixels is certainly not worth the expense in practical terms and I don't shoot sports so the extra 1.5 fps is also worthless to me. (8fps? Nikon state 6.5)

3in screen? The power consumption on the 2.5 version is high enough already.

Great for those looking to move from a D80 - definitely but, if you already own a D200, then I don't see it as a good move. To a D3..? now THAT is a viable move. Wink
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
30 Aug 2007 8:58AM

Quote:(8fps? Nikon state 6.5)

Hi Mike, the D300 has 6fps with a boost of 8fps with the optional battery grip. The press release here confirms this. Smile
azzabc 10 185 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2007 12:46PM
Rather strange that they've gone back to it only starting at ISO 200 as per the press release article? Why?
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
30 Aug 2007 12:48PM
There is a facility to boost the ISO range between ISO100 and ISO6400 but this is not a true ISO setting.
IanA 11 3.0k 12 England
30 Aug 2007 6:06PM

Quote:I see nothing in the specs to make me change from my D200.


Fair comment Mike, but there are a few points left out of this spec that, along with the included, certainly have me drooling!

Multiple battery compatibility (EN-EL3e, EN-EL-4, EN-EL4a or 8x AA)
AF fine tune including 20 lens presets.

12 channel, 16 bit processing.

1gb buffer

And the fact that it is virtually identical to the D200 means that 90% of the controls stay where they were so needing (wanting Wink) a second body means that rather than adding a 2nd D200, I'll be waiting to get my hands on a D300!

Ian
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
30 Aug 2007 6:36PM
LOL!!! Good response Ian - as ever...

Multiple battery compatibility (EN-EL3e, EN-EL-4, EN-EL4a or 8x AA) - Not enough to tempt me Wink

AF fine tune including 20 lens presets. - again, not enough to tempt me Wink

12 channel, 16 bit processing. - Fair comment Smile

1gb buffer - once more, not enough to tempt me Wink The D200's 23-shot, RAW buffer @ 5fps meets my needs.

All good stuff Ian but I see nothing that significant that would dictate my need to change (please note I did not use the word 'upgrade' Wink ) as for me, it's a question of what are my photography needs... and the D200 delivers those for me both now and for the short/mid-term based on what I am seeing with the D200.

Mike
theorderingone 10 2.4k United Kingdom
30 Aug 2007 7:00PM
Ian, you forgot to mention the seemingly pro spec AF with 15 cross-type AF sensors.

That alone is enough to tempt me. Smile
IanA 11 3.0k 12 England
30 Aug 2007 7:35PM
That was mention in the article Gary.
And is a killer for my needs!! lol

Smile Smile
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
30 Aug 2007 7:55PM
You're not kiddin'! All them wings flappin' about Ian!!

Wink
douglasR 7 55 Scotland
30 Aug 2007 9:43PM
The new camera looks and sounds brilliant, but I have just printed 10 19"x13" prints from my D200, superb clarity, sharpness and contrast, better quality than I ever got from Velvia. They have got us flapping every two years on average. If you bought a pro film camera
It would last for decades, and to crown it all when you go to trade in you will get about 25% of what you paid BUT! as someone who has over the years had 15 Nikon film cameras, I might buckle next summer.
hobbs 10 1.2k United Kingdom
31 Aug 2007 3:37PM
Well lets put it this way it looks that good I'm changing to the darkside. Yes I'm going to change my user name to Darth Nikon!!!!!
dlcmhd 7 1 Malaysia
28 Sep 2007 11:47AM
Has everyone seen these yet? The first of the high-ISO Nikon D300 samples , (and one at ISO 100), full-sized.
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