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