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The Complete Nikon D300s Review

by Chris Gampat on 04/17/2010

The Nikon D300s review has been completed for a while now and so I am not taking my time to type up my complete thoughts on the camera along with post all links in the review diary. My conclusions are after the jump.

Please note that I spent a majority of the time shooting with the D3s and the D300s together. The reason why the D3s was reported on more often was because of the fact that it essentially cannibalizes the D300s.

Day 4 with the 70-200mm F2.8 ED VR II: Test shooting wildlife

Final Day: PAX East was a three day long event and the D300s was a constant companion of mine.

Conclusions

The D300s is a camera that I feel is best suited for students, hobbyists and photojournalists/celebrity photographers that don’t really need or want a full frame sensor body and also want to save money. It is an excellent camera, but I do feel that with the D700, D3s and D3x that Nikon very much so cannibalized their own camera line.

Image quality of this camera is excellent. However, it can be misleading as the back LCD can show you that you have more image noise than you really have.

The Autofocus, though not as great as something like the D3s (and understandably so) is still very snappy and very smart. However, I’m actually finding the 7D’s new system to be better.

What is very nice about the D300s is the quiet shutter. Combined with a long telephoto lens you will be the ultimate fly on the wall with the giant lens getting in to take the photos needed. When used with the correct autofocus settings, you’ll be able to do your job quickly as well.

The ergonomics on this camera are really quite good. The dials, buttons and switches all emphasize the most important features to photographers and will allow users to easily and quickly manipulate the settings to what they need. Students will get great use out of a camera like this as it will force them to learn all of these to be proficient in the field.

The reason for this is because of the fact that all three of these cameras offer you more versatility. All of them are full frame sensor camera that let the user access the cropped area mode, therefore allowing them to shoot in FX, DX, and more. Additionally, the D700 and D300s shoot the same number of frame with their battery grips. The D3s is a speed monster and the D3x shoots 5fps.

The D700, D300s and D3s are all mostly targeted at the same types of photographers: photojournalists, wedding photographers, event photographers, etc. What the full frame cameras have over the D300s is better high ISO abilities and being able to get the full view out of the lenses vs a cropped view.

For what it’s worth, the 7D is being tested and is almost complete at my time of writing this summary. The Canon 7D offers much more versatility and makes a great compliment to a 5D Mk II. The D300s doesn’t exactly compliment a D700 except for the fact that there is a video mode.

Ultimately, you’re best off buying the D3s. Any current Nikon photographer that considers themselves to be at least semi-professionals would greatly benefit from purchasing that camera. While the D300s has a much lighter and more discrete profile, you’re probably better off with the original D300 or the D700. With rumors of a D700s coming out at the time of writing this, you can expect Nikon to start pushing harder with their video output.

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