Nikon D300 Digital Camera

Mar 13, 2010 10:07 PM EDT

Review from Sgbrown

I've recently upgraded from my D200 (itself a wonderful camera) to the D300. The key improvements that matter to me are:

  • The new 51-point auto-focus system. This makes relying on the camera's "choice" of focus a much more practical affair. Unlike the D200 where I tended to select the central focus point, focus on my subject, and then with the shutter release pressed half-way to lock the focus, recompose the shot, I'm now pretty much happy to compose and shoot, knowing that the camera will make a pretty good job of getting the focus right.
  • Active D-Lighting. This is a way of increasing the dynamic range of the camera, which as those who've read my article on "Digital Capture's Lack of Latitude" will know is a serious problem with most digital cameras. I leave this setting on high as my default. The beauty is that in Nikon Capture NX you can change this later with no loss of image quality. The system works best when you let it take care of the highlights, so whereas before I always bracketed with 1 stop under-exposure, I now bracket with 1 stop over-exposure to improve shadow detail without having to worry too much about blown-out highlights.
  • Image noise. Nikon have tended to be less good at controlling image noise at high ISO values than Canon. Now the gap has closed, with both marques turning in excellent performance. With my D200 I rarely felt confident about noise levels above about ISO 400, but with the D300 I'm prepared to let the auto ISO feature push the ISO up to 1600 when necessary.
  • Sensor dust. The D300 has a sensor cleaning system that uses vibration of the low-pass filter in front of the sensor. To be honest I've no idea yet if this is effective. Although I often got dust spots on my D70, I never experienced any in the D200. So I simply don't know whether the new functionality will help me or not!
  • Vertical grip. I've also bought Nikon's new vertical grip for the D300, which increases the maximum frame rate to 8fps, but as I never use such facilities it isn't for that reason that I bought it. It's very convenient for taking portrait-format shots, and of course it also gives you a great deal more battery life. The grip can take standard AA batteries, so there's pretty much nowhere you can go in the world and not be able to get emergency power for your camera.

Review from Maknbacon

You cannot go wrong with this camera and lens. I went from the Nikon D50 which was a great camera to the D300. Mostly I like the way they added most of the most used options as buttons and dials. No more searching through a menu for most items. I had a Tamron 28-300 lens which was OK, but I was getting disappointed with the sharpness. I got the Nikkor 18-200 VRII and I've been very happy ever since. I miss the telephoto 300, but as I suspected I needed the 18 wide angle much more than the 300 on the other end in most cases.

The longer you use this camera and lens, the happier you'll be with it. I really don't see me upgrading from this for a long time. I will get a nice f/100 or f/60 Macro lens eventually.

Review from Dennis Gazso

I've had this camera for a year and a half and it's been excellent. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Typical Nikon quality.



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