Nikon D300s

This ven­er­a­ble body is long over­due for an up­grade, but the D300s is still a force to be reck­oned with

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Nearly as old as the D90, the D300s re­mains the only pro­fes­sional-class DX body in Nikon’s line-up. Signs of age­ing in­clude a hum­ble 12.3-megapixel im­age res­o­lu­tion, 720p video cap­ture and first-gen­er­a­tion Expeed pro­ces­sor. On the plus side, build qual­ity is more ro­bust than in any other cur­rent DX­for­mat cam­era, with a full-metal mag­ne­sium al­loy body de­signed to with­stand the rigours of a hard-work­ing life. Han­dling is sublime, with many of the pro­fes­sional el­e­ments that are fea­tured on the D800 and other up­mar­ket cam­eras.

It’s not all bad news when it comes to spec­i­fi­ca­tions, some of which cer­tainly aren’t old­fash­ioned. There’s the same 51-point aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem as in the D7100, and a class-leading con­tin­u­ous drive rate of seven frames per sec­ond. Bet­ter still, the mem­ory buf­fer is able to hold be­tween 17 and 45 shots in RAW qual­ity mode, depend­ing on which 12-bit or 14-bit colour depth and com­pres­sions set­tings you opt for. There’s no short­age of de­tail in the rear LCD ei­ther, which is a three­inch 921,000-pixel screen. The max­i­mum shut­ter speed of 1/8000th of a sec­ond is matched in the DX line-up by only the D7000 and D7100 cam­eras.

Per­for­mance

Sur­pris­ingly, the D300s’s lab scores for res­o­lu­tion ex­ceed those of the D7000, de­spite the rel­a­tively low im­age pixel count. Un­der de­cent light­ing con­di­tions, im­age qual­ity is gor­geous, al­though the D300s strug­gles with im­age noise when the go­ing gets dark and you are forced to push the ISO set­tings. All in all, the D300s re­mains some­thing of a clas­sic, al­though it’s start­ing to lose out to the very lat­est cam­eras. Pros… Su­perb build qual­ity, pro-level re­fine­ments, ex­cel­lent im­age qual­ity at low to medium ISOs. Cons… Rel­a­tively low stills and video res­o­lu­tion, im­ages are quite noisy at high ISOs in very dull light­ing.

Build

There are no com­plaints about build qual­ity, which is rock-solid and wor­thy of a place in Nikon’s pro­fes­sional line-up.

From the top

As on many pro-spec Nikons, the shoot­ing mode dial is re­placed by but­tons for ISO, White Bal­ance and qual­ity set­tings.

Around the back

It’s supremely quick and easy to se­lect any of the highly ac­cu­rate aut­o­fo­cus and me­ter­ing op­tions.

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