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Nikon D300 Comparison Review

The Nikon D300 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in August 2007 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 12.2 megapixel.

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Is the Nikon D300 a good camera? The D300 has a Camera Elo of 1582. This rating puts the D300 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D300 also ranks below average. – Well, the Nikon D300 is more than 13 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2007.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D300
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video
ISO 200 - 3 200 (100 - 6 400)
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed body
1000 shots per battery charge
147 x 114 x 74 mm, 925 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Nikon D300 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon D300 vs credit card front
D300 versus credit card top view
D300 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D300 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
2.
 
Nikon D7000 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499i
3.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
4.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629i
5.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
7.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
8.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
9.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
10.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
11.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D300 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,799. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Nikon D300:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Nikon D300 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D300 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Nikon D300 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
2.
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/24p23.513.9116780
3.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
4.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
5.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
6.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
7.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
8.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
9.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
10.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
11.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the D300 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D300 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.63x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
2.
 
Nikon D7000optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
3.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D700optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
9.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D200optical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y2.5 / 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n

One convenient feature of the D300 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D7000Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D700Y- / ---mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D200Y- / ----2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D2XY- / ----2.0---

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D300 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
2.
 
Nikon D70004/5....80/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499i
3.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
4.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
5.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
6.
 
Nikon D700..89/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
7.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729i
8.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699i
9.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
10.
 
Nikon D200..+ +..+ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
11.
 
Nikon D2X......+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D300 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D300.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the D300?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Nikon equipped the D300 with the EXPEED image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D300?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D300?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 150 000 actuations for the D300. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D300 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 150 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my D300?

Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D300 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Nikon D300 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Does the Nikon D300 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The D300's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Which battery does the D300 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL3e (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the D300?

Yes, Nikon offers the MB-D10 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon D300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007
    Launch Price USD 1 799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 373 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4 288 x 2 848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.53 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 3 200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 6 400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 679
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    V-logging Friendliness No front-flip
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL3e power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1000 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 147 x 114 x 74 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 925 g (32.6 oz)

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