Nikon D300s is a significant update

AS THE “s” denotes, the D300s is a slightly updated version of the very successful D300. It keeps a number of features from the D300, including 12.3MP sensor, tough build quality, 3-inch LCD display, 51-point AF system, Live View and HDMI port.

By Magnus Nystedt

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Published: Sat 14 Aug 2010, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:45 AM

Having been primarily a Nikon shooter since the D70 many years ago now, I can certainly feel the heritage in the D300s. It continues the tradition of great build quality and solid feel in the body.

In fact, I’d say that the D300s is the camera that has felt the best for me to hold and operate without a battery pack. My fingers fall naturally on the controls and operating the menus and options is no trouble at all.

Most things inherited from the D300 are still very impressive in the s-model. The 51-point AF system makes accurate and fast focus settings even in tough situations, and the bright viewfinder, covering almost 100 per cent of the frame, makes framing shots and even focusing manually as easy as could be.

The D300s has a 23.6x15.8mm sensor, giving it a 1.5x crop factor. In effect a 50mm lens becomes a 75mm lens. Nikon boosted the speed a bit up to 7fps, or 8fps with the optional battery grip. That’s not a stellar speed, but should be more than enough for most photographers, even professionals.

In terms of video, the D300s shoots HD at 1280 by 720, 24fps, so it’s not the 1080 we’ve come to expect; that’s disappointing. But video quality is excellent and the camera does a good job of adjusting exposure, for example, while recording. Autofocus while recording, although it’s there as a function of you press the “Af-On” button, is all but useless if there’s any movement in the picture, so you’re better off just adjusting yourself anyway. The built-in mic only records mono sound, but there is a 3.5mm jack for an external mic and that worked very well in my testing.

Besides adding video, the most exciting addition in D300s is dual card slots. You can now insert a Compact Flash card alongside a SD card. If you’re moving up from lower-end cameras, like D90, this means you can keep using your SD card.

There is quite some flexibility in how you can use the two cards. For example, you can record the same thing to both cards, giving you a great backup system; you can record RAW to one card and JPG to the other; and you can let one card take over storage when the other card is full, expanding the total space available.

In conclusion, the D300s sell for Dh6999 and it’s an excellent camera. Look at it as a top-notch prosumer/professional DSLR that can also record high-quality video. How you record video is a bit complicated, but it’s manageable. They’ve significantly updated the D300, an already great camera, and made the s-version a compelling model in between entry-level DSLRs and the purely professional models.


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