Nikon D300 review

For the opportunity Nikon D300 body camera review many thanks to Vadim Jadan

Nikon D300 review

Nikon D300 review

Nikon D300 is positioned by Nikon as a professional APS-C camera (a camera with a matrix in which crop factor 1.5X). The camera was introduced on 23.08.2007 along with Nikon D3. D300 and D3 have opened up a whole new level of camera engineering among all Nikon cameras. A whole bunch of innovations was laid in them.

Popularly, Nikon D300 is legendary 'shooter', 'armor piercing', 'small D3', 'cropped D3', 'workhorse', etc. Actually, such epithets are the best characteristic of the camera.

View of Nikon D300 from different sides

View of Nikon D300 from different sides

The main parameters of the Nikon D300, which should be paid attention to the photographer:

1. Professional ergonomics in a very high quality case. The camera body is waterproof and dustproof. The entire body is made of magnesium alloy, this affects the weight of the camera (about 1 kg). The heavy weight of the camera helps with handheld photography and keeps weight balance well with heavy lenses. Even the lugs for the strap are asymmetrically positioned for proper weight distribution. The camera grip is rubberized, and the front and rear control dials are also rubberized. The camera fits perfectly in the hand.

The camera is very convenient to control, all the necessary control buttons are moved to convenient places. The Nikon D300 has an excellent large monochrome display for quick setup. Such a large monochrome display is only in Nikon D200 и Nikon D300s, other cropped models have this display 'cut down'. In general, Nikon D300 can be controlled only by this display and not enter the camera menu itself. But for whom it is not enough, Nikon D300 has an excellent 3-inch color display with 920.000 dots. The same display is used in Nikon D3, D3s, D700, D300s, D90... The camera has an 'info' button which calls up all basic settings on the color display.

2. The D300 uses a cropped CMOS sensor. Most likely the same matrix is ​​taken as the basis for the camera Nikon D300s, D90 and D5000. The ISO range is available from 200 to 3200 units. Strange, but in the professional camera Nikon D300 ISO is used instead of ISO 100 lo1, which is a plug-in and is equivalent to ISO 100. The ISO value can be expanded up to 6400 units (indicated by 'Hi1'). I do not recommend shooting at ISO higher than 1600. At present, the matrix does not show very clear images at high ISO. 12 megapixels are enough for any kind of standard tasks.

3. The camera has a huge maximum continuous shooting speed - Nikon D300 is one of the fastest "crop". The camera can shoot 6 frames per second. And if you connect an additional power supply unit (booster), then the speed increases to 8 k / s.

4. Nikon D300 has a built-in focusing motor, which allows the use of non-motorized lenses marked with 'AF', sometimes this allows you to save on optics. Also the camera can work with old AI lenses and AI-S types. You can store information on 10 manual lenses.

5. A very important indicator of camera speed is the frame buffer capacity. The buffer is the fast internal memory of the camera, where the captured photos are stored before they are written to the memory card. The Nikon D300 can hold a maximum of 18 frames in RAW format.

  • 17 frames with 12 bit RAW lossless compression
  • 18 frames with 12 bit RAW standard compression
  • 15 frames at 14 bit RAW
  • 14 frames in TIFF format
  • 21 frames in JPEG L format, quality priority

You can save RAW files in the camera in several ways: 12 or 14 bits per pixel and one of three compression levels. TIFF format is available.

Important: when shooting in RAW format with 14 bit color depth, the maximum shooting speed will be only 2.5 frames per second. This is a serious limitation, so if you count on a 14-bit color depth, you will need to sacrifice speed. One RAW file with 14 bit color depth occupies 25 MB on the card. The problem with a low shooting speed at 14 bit was solved in Nikon D7000but she surfaced again in Nikon D7100.

Important: when you turn on noise reduction at high ISO, noise reduction at slow shutter speeds, enable Active D-lighting frame buffer can be reduced to only 6 shots. I usually turn off all these features when shooting in RAW.

6. The camera can use Live View. True, the activation of the mode occurs through the mode selection ring near the "tower" of control. This location of the Live View switch is very inconvenient. Live View works in two modes: “tripod” and “manual”. In one of them, you can compose images through the display, but when you press the shutter button, the camera turns off Live View and focuses through the focus sensors, and only then takes a picture. In the other mode, Live View works like a conventional point-and-shoot camera, allowing you to focus using contrast focusing. When zoomed in on a portion of the image using Live View, the image begins slow down, such a defect is no longer in Nikon D90.

7. The Nikon D300 has one of the best Multi-CAM 3500DX Focusing Systems, which includes 51 focus points (15 of which are cross-shaped). The same number of focus points have Nikon D3, D3s, D3x, D4,D4s, D800,D800e, D7100 и D700. Focusing is very tenacious and has a huge amount of settings. Focus speed is very dependent on the lens.

8. The camera’s battery can withstand over 1000 shots on a single charge. In fact, if you use a lens without autofocus and without a stabilizer, you can squeeze over 2000 frames on a single charge. Batteries are fully compatible with Nikon D90, D200, D80, D700.

9. Camera supports fast FP sync with external flashes. This means that with external flash it will be possible to shoot at any shutter speed, even for 1 \ 8000 s (the shortest excerpt in the camera). Also, the flash may work in command mode and control two groups of flashes using Nikon CLS. You can set the sync speed to 1 \ 320 s.

10. The camera has another million useful little things: fine-tuning the focus for different lenses, the processing functions of captured images, bracketing for different values, etc.

Nikon D300 is the continuation of the line, which previously included Nikon D100 и D200. The camera body is very, very similar to D200after I exchanged my camera Nikon D200 on Nikon D300, for writing a review, when manipulating the camera during shooting, I did not feel any difference. The controls are in their convenient places, all the buttons are the same.

Separately, it is worth considering the difference between Nikon D200 and D300

  1. The main difference in the number of focus points. 11 points D200 and 51 points on the D300. The difference is almost 5 times.
  2. The D300 optical viewfinder covers 100% of the frame, the D200 only 95%, which allows you not to be afraid of the edges of the frame when shooting.
  3. D300 has Live View
  4. The D300 has a matrix cleaning system. The types of matrices are also different: CCD vs CMOS.
  5. The D300 has a much quieter sensor than the D200. The D200's biggest problem is its very “noisy” matrix.
  6. Burst speed increased to 6 (up to 8 with a booster) frames per second, versus 5 fps for D200
  7. The display has increased. The difference in the display when viewing pictures is very much felt.
  8. D300 works much better with voluminous memory cards
  9. D300 consumes an order of magnitude better battery life. One battery charge in the D300 is enough for 1000-1500 frames, and in the D200 only for 400-500.
  10. The D300 can save 14-bit RAW files, which improves the original image during processing.

The rest of the cameras are very similar. The old D200 has even one advantage over the D300: frame buffer holds 21 frames, while the D300 has only 18, given the camera speeds, the D200 can shoot continuous high-speed shooting for a couple of seconds longer than the D300. (21/5 = 4,2 seconds versus 18/6 = 3 seconds, or 18/8 = 2,25 seconds). But since the D300 works better with memory cards, the difference is not particularly noticeable. I do not recommend upgrading D200 to D300, D300s without much need.

To date, the Nikon D300 is morally obsolete, it has successor Nikon D300s. Details the difference between Nikon D300 and D300s described in Nikon D300s review.

For whom will such a camera be useful?

First of all, Nikon D300 will be useful for professional photographers who can apply all the useful functions hidden behind the huge camera menu. Especially the D300 is good at reporting. For beginners, I do not recommend buying the Nikon D300. If there is a desire to join the ranks of the owners of the CZK, then to begin Nikon D90, D7000 much better, but you can even start with Nikon D40.

Sample photos on Nikon D300

All photos in this review were shot on Nikon D300, RAW + JPEG, JPEG L quality priority, ADL normal, Noise reduction on. The size is reduced to 2048 * 1536 and the data about the shooting parameters from EXIF. All photos were taken with Nikon 50mm F1.8D.


Examples of photos on HELIOS-44M 2/58 and camera Nikon D300 with readers of Radozhiva shared by photographer Alexander Gvozd.

Personal experience:

I really like the Nikon D300 because it has a full Live View, but there is no video mode that I do not need. Working with the Nikon D300 is very pleasant, since all the controls are at hand. The camera works with any optics that can be planted on it. In hand Nikon D7000 и Nikon D7100 inferior to the convenience of the D300, and for me, convenience is a very important indicator, since I have to run around with the camera all day. On the other hand, Nikon D300 is much inferior in some respects to brand new cameras.

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Hack and predictor Aviator

Nikon D300 performs very well in use, it is one of the best Nikon 'crop'. In an unequal struggle with time, it began to yield in some parameters to newer amateur cameras. But still, when working at low ISO - Nikon D300 is a camera, after 'talking' with which you don't want to use something else.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 434, on the topic: Review of Nikon D300

  • Vlad

    Good afternoon, Arkady. I am an amateur, I use nikon d5600, sometimes I perform commercial shooting (subject, portraits, animals). I want to become an animated photographer. Recently, some features of advanced models that are missing in my camera are missing (AF tuning, focus motor, shooting speed, body protection, control, depth of field preview, etc.). I found a d300 + sigma 30 / 1.4 kit at a good price. Question: does it make sense to buy it in 2019 (as a second camera) and will I lose much in picture quality compared to the d5600? Thanks)

    • Vlad

      Mileage 60k

      • Alexander

        If you are not embarrassed by half the number of pixels (you have to crop before you press the shutter button, you can’t cut much later), a slightly smaller DD (and you still need to pull it out from the RAV) and, possibly, lower working ISOs (xs like in d5600, and the d300 ISO 800 is quite working), then you can buy. What you get, you probably already know, no need to explain. Only now there is a possibility that d5600 after three hundred in rubles will not want to take)).

        • Rado

          The D5600 in the photo is much better in all respects than the ancient d300 s, which, apart from the body and the viewfinder, at the moment has no advantages in comparison with the newest crops))

    • Dima

      Today, the d300 is a wretched heavy huge brick with a small noisy matrix and ff sizes. Starting from the d5200, everyone will simply lay it down.

      • B. R. P.

        yeah. just not for pro-functionality.

  • Michael

    Arkady, in the article in the examples of Alexander Gvozd all photos are signed as taken on S3Pro ...

    • Arkady Shapoval


  • Alexander

    Hello Arkady!
    Is it possible to fine-tune the AF of manual lenses such as (Jupiter 37, Vivitar 200mm 3.5, Tair-3, etc.)
    on Nikon d300 and similar cameras where there is a fine tuning of autofocus.

    • B. R. P.

      AF fine tuning of manual lenses? Hmm ...

  • Andrei

    I read your reviews about the camera - I bought myself a dead copy and, of course, spoiled me in terms of graspingness and convenience. Then I switched to newer ones simply due to the fact that 300ka is dark and old already.

    Arkady, you have been complaining for a very long time that there is no successor for the 300 / 300s, now it has appeared - I would very much like to see your review of it)

    • Alexander

      “300ka dark” is a question for the producers, for some reason they do not want to make prof. cameras are not black)).

  • Alexander

    A question for those who shoot with this technique, can the D300 or D300s work with a wireless remote control or will you have to use a cable?

    • Michael

      Can't, only with a wire through the connector

  • Andrew

    Good afternoon!
    The other day I became a happy owner of the Nikon D300.
    I pressed the camera in the body kit, so if you would like to be powered up, would you please buy from optics at first?
    Thank you for the answer.

    • Ivan


      • Andrew

        to court it almost more

        • Ivan

          It does not exist. If everything were simple, there would not be a huge variety of lenses for different tasks. Roman correctly pointed out a lens for beginners.

        • Novel

          Ok, more details. It all depends on the amount of money you have. If you take an outdated crop (albeit more or less advanced for its time), then you don't have much money. So you have to save.

          In an amicable way, all most focal lengths can be divided into three main ranges. Wide angle lens, “normal” and telephoto. For a crop, focal 12-24 can be attributed to a wide angle, to a normal range of 24-40, to a tele-range of 40-150. Everything that is wider will be quite expensive and specific super-wide, everything that is already 150-200 will be no less expensive and specific telephoto, especially if it is fast.

          Actually, 18-105 covers all these three ranges. Yes, it is not very wide, not very telephoto and not very fast, but you can get skills on it and competently operate the background and you can shoot the model. You can wind up macro lenses and try some kind of macro.

          You can do it differently by taking a separate lens - prime or zoom - for each of these three ranges. For a full frame, it would be some 24 - 50 - 105 mm, especially since Nikon seems to have inexpensive options for a screwdriver. Crop is more problematic. If in the middle you have a quite good and high-aperture 35 / 2D, you can take some 85 mm telephoto lens, then at a wide angle there are no cheap fixes for crop, alas. It means some 10-20. But the more you spend on crop glasses, the less likely you are to use them later. Cheap ones, with a screwdriver, will not work on the inevitably advancing mirrorless cameras. Dear ones - it's expensive and pointless, God forbid that Nikon survived these few years at all.

          Therefore, we again return to the inexpensive kit zoom. Well, you can look for some inexpensive manual of the 35-50 type for Nikon's bayonet.

    • Novel

      If you have no experience of shooting, some whale like 18-105 at first.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You did not name any goals or budget limit. Whatever I recommend, the next comment is often - too expensive. For example, a good all-rounder is the native Nikon 16-80 / 2.8-4 or Nikon 17-55 / 2.8 I recommend them, but their price tags are cosmic

      • Andrew

        Thank you all for changing the message.
        Tsil - amateur (amateur) photojetting.
        The budget is not a lot of clean ones, but my brothers are expensive, I don’t bach senseu, so I’ll not often be vicoristosuvati, and it’s a pity if I’ll go to the police.
        Ask a friend for the AFS 50m G1.8 test. I put on a portrait lens AFS 35mm G1.8- for 75 US dollars to see (see?)
        I would like to have a more budgetary one with a focal point of 14mm or 16mm with a change of aperture (for photography intereurs) - ale me to be built even between fiction ^ _ ^

        • Ivan

          The 35mm 1.8 is not a portrait lens. Classic portrait lens - 85 mm.

          • Andrew

            Start thinking about 35mm-50mm-80mm with an aperture of 1.4-1.8 for the category of portraiture.

            • Paul

              Right! On a cropped lens, this is a “portrait lens,” although, in fact, you can shoot a portrait with any glass with a focus of more than 35-40mm on a cropped lens.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Tokina 12-24 / 4 used is inexpensive. 35 mm is not a portrait photographer, but no one forbids him to take portraits.

        • B. R. P.

          Surprise Sam'yang 14mm 2,8. Vin manual, ale for a super-wide cut, tim bolsh, for an inter'eriv autofocus є is not necessary. The quality of the image is good, inexpensive.

        • OLexander

          For a wide cut є an inexpensive zoom Sigma 15-30 3.5-4.5. Tezh kostuє inexpensive. She's got her own shortcomings, she's got her pennies.

          • Novel

            15-30 on a crop “for a wide angle” is a mockery, a whale is better then. Here is the same one recommended by Arkady 16-80 or even 18-105.

  • Andrew

    Friends have a problem. Today I have broken a small knob like a trim in a memory card.
    adding a photo. How can you add a detail? Wonderful, trim on two small bolts and easy to spin.

    • Novel

      Fast you.

  • Jury

    Good afternoon, Arkady. How will the D300's low ISO image differ (better or worse) from the D5100 and D7000, in particular when shooting portraits?

  • Yuri

    Good day, Author!
    I do not read the look around, ale tilki at once brutalizing respect:
    Nikon D300 main parameters
    2. The D300 uses a cropped CMOS sensor.

    View D200 and D300:
    4. The D300 has a die cleaning system. Matrix types are also different: CCD vs CMOS.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      where is the mistake?

      • Yuri

        Good day, Arkady!
        At your glance at the part: Look at the D200 and D300, you mean, what type of matrices are: Matrix types are also different: CCD vs CMOS.

        I'll look around for the text:
        4. The D300 has a die cleaning system. Matrix types are also different: CCD vs CMOS.

        Behind the data of the virobnik, the D300 vikoristan has a CMOS matrix Sony IMX-021-BQR, it is not a CCD, it is guessed.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          That's right, the D300 has CMOS. D200 has a CCD, as indicated

          • Yuri

            I vibrate, get lost, not having read the characteristics for a long time. Nadali will be respected!

  • Roman D

    Arkady, it would be worth writing that the speed of continuous shooting when switching to 14-bit RAW drops from 6 fps to an insignificant 2.5 fps. He himself was the owner of this device, and the above fact was very upsetting

    • B. R. P.

      You should read carefully. Everything is written there.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The review states this:

      Important: When shooting in RAW format with 14-bit color depth, the maximum shooting speed will be only 2.5 frames per second.

  • Veronika

    Hello! Please tell me which lenses will better reveal the camera, I want the picture to be beautiful. I'm thinking of taking used tamron or sigma 18-55 / 2.8 or 28-70 /2.8
    There are nikkor 35 / 1.8 and sigma 18-200 / 3.5-5.6
    I think what to sell and what to leave.
    I will shoot photo shoots and weddings.
    They write that Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f / 3.5-5.6G ED VR gives a good picture.
    Please advise, otherwise the further, the more options.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The answer has long existed, in descending order (without fanaticism and without any cosmic 58 / 1.4N):
      Universal: Nikon 17-55 / 2.8G, Sigma 18-35 / 1.8 ART, Sigma 17-50 / 2.8 OS, Tamron 17-50 / 2.8 VC, Sigma 17-70 / 2.8-4 Contemporary (all of them in one bottle here)
      Creative / Portrait: Sigma 50 / 1.4 ART, Nikon 50 / 1.4G, Nikon 50 / 1.8G, Sigma 50 / 1.4 HSM, Nikon 50 / 1.8D, Yongnuo 50 / 1.4E, Yongnuo 50 / 1.8 (all of them here)
      Standard fixes: Sigma 30 / 1.4 ART, Nikon 35 / 1.8G, Sigma 30 / 1.4 HSM, Nikon 35 / 2D, Yongnuo 35/2

    • Alex

      “They write that Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f / 3.5-5.6G ED VR gives a good picture” quite good, but no frills. However, no one in their right mind will demand sophistication from a regular dark zoom)). His task is to produce a sufficiently high-quality picture, which he copes well with. By the way, I shot a couple of events like a wedding for them. For portraits 50 / 1.4. I had 50 / 1.4d - fast, accurate (I corrected a small front in the camera settings), on an open soft, on a f2 razor. Sigma should be better on the open (judging by the existing Sigma 30 / 1.4 HSM), but there can be fatal surprises with autofocus.

  • Vladyslav

    I know that 22 dinosaurs have commerce, object photos and walks. What can I say, you can buy your first camera for an inexpensive price, the best option among the average brands, I’ll explain why, for a canon 35mm the cost is 10k hryvnia, but in principle one lens is necessary for the photographer, in Nikon there is no cost 4. The whole secret of photography is sharp lenses, at least 35 1.8, the photo is indistinguishable from fuji for 45t. UAH. Cool af and yoga cover, everything can be worked with infopogon, buttons are too rich, one fn is empty in me), 6 k.s. And that sharp picture is cool. Not without minus points, it’s actually 1000, at 400 you can already see the grain, 800 frames at 2.5 bits, the live view is trishka kalichny, due to the fact bit pixels began to appear even though lightroom doesn’t polish, that’s obviously stupid algorithms you have to use lightroom through yak spend a lot of time for the work and the search for the skinton. Having bought yoga 14 rocks for $3, I do not regret a single drop. At the same time, I wouldn’t take it for granted, 100 years of the chamber, all the same, already 15 *** series nikon cost adequately, and even more beautifully d7.

    • B. R. P.

      On Kenon, 35-ka ff and ten won are not worth it. 7000 series more than 10 years of May.

  • goel

    salut aidé moi à comment bien réglé mon d300 ça complique un peux vue que ça tellement duré est suis un débutant en photographie

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