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Nikon D100 versus Nikon D300

The Nikon D100 and the Nikon D300 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2002 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D100 has a resolution of 6 megapixel, whereas the D300 provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D300

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D300 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D100 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D100 vs Nikon D300
Compare D100 versus D300 top
Compare D100 and D300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D300 are of equal size. However, the D300 is markedly heavier (19 percent) than the D100. It is noteworthy in this context that the D300 is splash and dust-proof, while the D100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the D300 can take 1000 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D100» 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Nikon D300« 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D90« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 470 n Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.0 in 21.9 oz 400 n Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 500 n Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D70« » 5.5 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 24.0 oz 400 n Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D300 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the D100 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D300

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D300 is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D100 and Nikon D300 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D300 offers a higher resolution than the D100 (6MP), but the D300 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). Yet, the D300 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 6 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

D100 versus D300 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D100» APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
Nikon D300« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-21.011.056156Nikon D40
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D50« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.910.856055Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70s
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D70« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-20.410.352950Nikon D70
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
The D300 offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D100 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D300

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D100 and the D300 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D100, the Nikon D300, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D100»optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
Nikon D300«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70s
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 8000 3.0 Y n Nikon D70
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X

Both the D100 and the D300 write their imaging data to Compact Flash cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Nikon D100»Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
Nikon D300«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D70s
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »Y-----1.0---Nikon D70
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X

Both the D100 and the D300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D100 was replaced by the Nikon D200, while the D300 was followed by the Nikon D300S.

Review summary: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D300

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Nikon D300 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 145g or 16 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).


Advantages of the Nikon D300:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 118k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1000 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D300 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

D100 02:09 D300

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D100 or the D300. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D100»-HiRecrevrev- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
Nikon D300«HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D40« »81/100HiRecrev5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499- i Nikon D40
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D50« »78/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Apr 2005 749- i Nikon D50
Nikon D70s« »---rev5/5 Apr 2005 899- i Nikon D70s
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D70« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 999- i Nikon D70
Nikon D1X« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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