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Nikon D300 versus Fujifilm X-T20

The Nikon D300 and the Fujifilm X-T20 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and January 2017. The D300 is a DSLR, while the X-T20 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the Fujifilm provides 24 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 D300 vs Fujifilm X-T20

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D300 and the Fujifilm X-T20. 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 use the toggle button 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 D300 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D300 vs Fujifilm X-T20
Compare D300 versus X-T20 top
Compare D300 and X-T20 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Fujifilm X-T20 is considerably smaller (42 percent) than the Nikon D300. Moreover, the X-T20 is substantially lighter (59 percent) than the D300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D300 is splash and dust resistant, while the X-T20 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D300) and the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-T20). Mirrorless cameras, such as the X-T20, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D300 gets 1000 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the X-T20 can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-W126S power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 D300» 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Fujifilm X-T20« 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 n Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Fujifilm X-T100« » 121 mm 83 mm 47 mm 448 g 430 n May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-A5« » 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 n Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 n Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T10« » 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 n May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D300S« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D700« » 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D90« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D3« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« » 157.5 mm 149.5 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D200« » 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-T20 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the D300, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 D300 vs Fujifilm X-T20

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 X-T20 is 1 percent smaller. 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.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Nikon D300 and Fujifilm X-T20 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the X-T20 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the D300. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.92μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the X-T20 is much more recent (by 9 years and 4 months) than the D300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X-T20 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D300 versus X-T20 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 D300» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Fujifilm X-T20« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-T20
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Fujifilm X-T100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-A5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/15p----Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T10« » APS-C 16.0 4896 32641080/60p----Fujifilm X-T10
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
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 D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
Nikon D90« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The X-T20 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D300 does not. The highest resolution format that the X-T20 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D300 vs Fujifilm X-T20

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the X-T20 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D300 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D300, the Fujifilm X-T20, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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 D300»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Fujifilm X-T20«2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T20
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Fujifilm X-T100« »2360 n 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-A5« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »2360 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T10« »2360 n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 8.0 Y n Fujifilm X-T10
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
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 D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
Nikon D90« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2X

The X-T20 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the D300 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D300 was succeeded by the Nikon D300S.

Review summary: Nikon D300 vs Fujifilm X-T20

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D300 and the Fujifilm X-T20? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D300:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1000 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).

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Reasons to prefer the Fujifilm X-T20:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (118x83mm vs 147x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 542g or 59 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D300 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X-T20 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

D300 07:13 X-T20

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D300 or the X-T20. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 D300»HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Fujifilm X-T20«HiRec82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-T20
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Fujifilm X-T100« »Rec79/1004/5-4.5/5 May 2018 599 i i Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-A5« »Rec-4/54/53.5/5 Jan 2018 399 i i Fujifilm X-A5
Fujifilm X-E3« »Rec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2017 899 i i Fujifilm X-E3
Fujifilm X-T10« »HiRec80/1005/54/55/5 May 2015 799- i Fujifilm X-T10
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
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 D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D90« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »-HiRec-rev- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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