Field Review: Nikon D300s (Final Day)

Despite the fact that the Nikon D3s seemed to be my constant companion for the past two weeks, the Nikon D300s also accompanied me many times where I felt the D3s was overkill, too bulky or I needed a backup camera. The new 70-200mm F2.8 ED VR II was almost always on it. My final thoughts on the camera and its uses at PAX East 2010 are after the jump.

I’ve been meaning to write about this camera more for a while now but haven’t really had the time. In truth, I was prepared to rip this camera a new one. I developed a lot of problems with the cameras image quality, something that Nikon focuses on so much. The reason for this though was because of the screen on the back of the camera. I wish the screen were better, it showed the images to be plagued with noise. Once put on the computer though, that changed.

ISO 3200 (the top of it without going into the high settings) is very usable and will not let down photographers. Granted it isn’t the high ISO abilities of a full frame camera, but it still can hold its own.

It’s a nice camera, the ergonomics are wonderful. The zoom in button for this camera is conveniently placed and works better than the D3s and D3x on this camera, which is great when you want to ensure optimal focusing on your images after they’ve been shot. The ISO button is a bit of an annoyance though because of where it is placed: on the top right near the dial. I preferred the approach of the D3s and D3x more, place it towards the bottom. The camera is light, even when coupled with that giant lens. You can put it in your bag and snipe (I mean photograph) your subjects easily, quickly and move onto the next task.

I shot everything in JPEG for ease of transferring and because the images didn’t really need much processing at all. I’m not going to go into 100% crops because of the fact that there are minute differences between this and other cameras and that no clients will ever look at 100% crops unless they’re gearheads or advertisers. ALWAYS keep that in mind.

During the two weeks that I had this camera, I had to charge the battery twice.

The shutter sound is very nice and quiet. Coupled with the crop sensor, you’ll be the ultimate fly on the wall with the 70-200mm F2.8 ED VR II. Keep in mind though that the autofocus isn’t as great as the D3s and now that I’m shooting with it more, I’m liking and feeling that the 7D’s system is better.

So why aren’t I posting anymore photos? Because I’ve really shot everything that users may use this camera for: portraits, wildlife, events, concerts, etc. I’ve talked about the autofocus and the ergonomics. The video wasn’t used because I actually saw the jello effect there vs the Nikon D3s.

Is there anything wrong with the camera? Not really for the intended audience. Nikon has still held its own in the APS-C sensor area quite well and users can expect optimal performance if they need an APS-C sensor camera or are on a budget as a professional. Just get the good glass with it and you’ll be fine.

Against the 7D though, which I just recently purchased, I feel that Nikon will have a lot to catch up on. The ergonomics of the 7D along with the higher FPS shooting, better High ISO ability, video capabilities and the higher resolution images priced at a bit less really puts a hurting on the D300s. If anything, I would probably just stick with a D300 if you can get your hands on one. When I held that camera, it seemed as if there was something magnificent and godly about it. In truth, it was an excellent camera and to be fair, I am a Canon user. However, if I were using the bodies professionally I would truthfully just go straight for the D700 or D3s. Those Nikon bodies are much better in my opinion.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.