The Nikon D300s replaces the popular D300 as Nikon’s flagship DX-format DSLR, and brings HD video capture plus a host of other refinements. Is this Nikon’s most complete enthusiast DSLR yet? Our Nikon D300s review finds out...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon D300s

Noise/resolution:
Metering:
Features:
AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:
Build/Handling:
Autofocus:

Product:

Nikon D300s review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,499.99

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Our verdict

With the D300s, Nikon has taken a good camera and made it better. Although there are few ‘new’ features, those that have been added, like a video mode and quiet shutter release, are of value, and make the D300s a more convincing option when viewed in a shop window beside cameras such as the Canon EOS 7D and Pentax K-7D.

Everything that was right about the D300 remains right in the D300s, and core to its performance are AF, white balance and metering systems that are currently second to none. However, there are some things that the D300s cannot do. Its resolution of 12 million pixels might be enough, but it is starting to look rather low compared to some of the competition.

Its screen offers excellent resolution, but Canon’s latest DSLRs provide much better anti-reflective coatings, which makes a huge difference when using Live View or shooting video in bright light. Speaking of video, the inclusion of an external microphone jack makes the D300s more satisfying to use in this mode than the D90, but contrast-detection AF is still slow and jerky, and without an external mic handling and focusing sounds still overpower video footage.

At its current price point, the Nikon D300s is undoubtedly a very compelling camera, and represents a better value proposition now than the D300 did a few weeks ago, but has Nikon done enough? The only way we can determine that is with more testing against the current crop of APS-C format DSLRs.

Nikon D300s Focal points

Histograms

The D300s features two histogram displays – luminance and the RGB channels separately. In the latter mode, if the image on the screen is zoomed, the histogram changes to show the luminance level of the enlarged area.

Active D-Lighting

At its ‘auto’ and ‘standard’ settings the effect of Active D-Lighting is often subtle to the point of being unnoticeable, but the effect at its ‘high’ and ‘extra high’ settings is profound, if a little too much for most purposes.

Fine-Tune Optimal Exposure

The D300s’s ‘fine tune optimal exposure’ custom function allows the camera’s metering system (in any or all of its three metering patterns) to be universally biased up to ±-1EV in 1/6EV increments.

Continuous Shooting

The D300s can shoot JPEGs and 12-bit raw files at 6 frames per second with its included battery, increasing to 8fps on AC power or with the optional MB-10 grip. 14-bit raw files are captured at a lower rate of 2.5 fps maximum.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. White balance and colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Resolution, noise and sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range and Gamut
  9. 9. LCD, Live View and video
  10. 10. Our verdict
  11. 11. The competition
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