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Nikon D300 Digital SLR review




  • Editors choice
Nikon D300 Digital SLR


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As I've remarked before, I get to see and use a lot of digital cameras in the course of my job, from the cheapest budget compacts to the very best professional DSLRs. As a life-long camera nerd I couldn't be happier with this arrangement, but there is a drawback. The cameras that I review are loaned to me by the manufacturers; I keep them for a few weeks, and then I have to give them back. The problem with this is that sometimes I find a camera that's so good I really want to keep it. That Editor's Choice award isn't given lightly; I only award it to cameras that I would very much like to own. The Nikon D300 is just such a camera. It's going to be a sad day when I have to give this one back, because at a shade under £2,000 with the 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens there's no way I'm going to be able to afford to buy one for myself.

The D300 is the third-generation product of Nikon's successful semi-pro series which started off with the D100 back in early 2002. The D100 was a very long-lived model, and wasn't superseded until the launch of the D200 in late 2005. The 10.2-megapixel D200 is still available, costing around £800 body-only, or around £1,650 with the same 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens seen in this review. The D300 joins it in Nikon's range, providing a short step before the giddy heights of the 12.8-megapixel full-frame D3 professional camera, costing around £3,400 body-only. The D300 was launched at the same time as the D3 in August last year, and shares many of that camera's features, however it has a 12.3-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor, which as far as I know is the same Sony sensor as found in the Sony Alpha A700. The D300 is currently priced at around £1,100 body-only, around £1,275 with the 18-70mm AF-S D kit lens, or £1,950 with the gorgeous 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens seen here.

The most obvious comparison is with Canon's semi-pro offering, the 10.1-megapixel EOS 40D. The D300 beats it by a couple of megapixels, but then the Canon is significantly less expensive, costing around £700 body-only or £950 with an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM kit lens. Perhaps a more realistic comparison is with the aforementioned Sony Alpha A700. The two cameras have very similar specifications, but the A700 is currently selling at around £930 body-only, or £1,450 with the excellent Carl Zeiss T* 16-80mm F/3.5-4.5 lens. Another competitor in the same market is the forthcoming 14-megapixel Pentax K20D. Pentax has yet to be announce a price for the K20D, but the almost-identical Samsung GX20 is launching in March priced at just £699 with a kit lens.

Sabyasachi Bose

July 18, 2008, 1:42 pm

Don't you think shutter noise is too much considering the other aspects of the camera and the terget users? Some times 'red' tends to bleed in vivid mode. focus braket indication doesn't move on top LCD in single focus mode. Else this one is a gem!


February 7, 2009, 7:23 pm

I WISH i had money to buy this dream cam...someone in FLICKR has taken bird's photo which is my desktop background...the picture is amazing with even the faint hairthin cobweb is visible clearly.seeing is believeling...DIFFICULT to better nikon d300 in picture quality.


July 13, 2009, 3:15 pm

Hi Cliff

I have been considering going from my K20D to the Nikon D300, particularly due to the faster AF locking and it seems the D300 has a slightly better noise control than the K20. Another aspect about the K20D that is really bad is the shutter release noise which is absolutely horrendous. I know the K7 is much softer and has a few more features that are better than the K20 but the AF systems basically it seems is not as good and fast as the Nikon D300.

But what I was wondering reading your review and the image at ISO 100 is why still the shake on the image even though you used mirror lock up and a tripod.

I have been also in split mind between the D300 and the D700 for its FF feature, been debating on this for days now so if anyone has any advice or recommendations please let me know, I will be much appreciated.




March 12, 2010, 10:34 pm

For Sale Brand New Digital Camera

Nikon D200 - $900

Nikon D200 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm lens $600

Nikon D60 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses $800

Nikon Coolpix 5700 - supported memory: CF, Microdrive $700

Nikon D80 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm and 70-300mm lenses $800

Nikon D80 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm lens $600

Nikon D300 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm lens $800

Nikon D80 - Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm lens - supported memory: MMC, SD $700

.................................................. .

Canon EOS 40D - $500

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi - Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens - black $500

Canon EOS 40D - Canon EF 28-135mm IS lens $600

Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi - Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens - silver $400

Canon EOS 40D - Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS lens $600

Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10MP Digital Camera Kit $900

Canon Digital Cameras 1901B002 EOS 40D 10.1 Megapixel $900

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