Nikon D300 vs Sony A68
The Nikon D300 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and November 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D300 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D300 and the Sony A68. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A68 is notably smaller (11 percent) than the Nikon D300. Moreover, the A68 is markedly lighter (34 percent) than the D300. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D300 is splash and dust resistant, while the A68 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|2.||Sony A68||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||610 g||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|5.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|7.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|9.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|11.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|12.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||121 mm||93 mm||70 mm||558 g||410||n||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|15.||Sony A77 II||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||647 g||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|16.||Sony A58||129 mm||95 mm||78 mm||492 g||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision 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 A68 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 61 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A68 is 2 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the A68 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the D300. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the A68 is much more recent (by 8 years and 2 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.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A68 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A68 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D300 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D300 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A68 offers substantially better image quality than the D300 (overall score 12 points higher). The advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|8.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|9.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|12.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|14.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|15.||Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The A68 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D300 does not. The highest resolution format that the A68 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A68 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D300 has a higher magnification than the one of the A68 (0.63x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D300 and Sony A68 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|14.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One feature that differentiates the A68 and the D300 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A68 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D300 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
The Nikon D300 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D300 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|14.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D300 (unlike the A68) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D300 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D300 was replaced by the Nikon D300S, while the A68 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D300 or the Sony A68 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Nikon D300:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.63x vs 0.57x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1000 versus 540) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (143x104mm vs 147x114mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 315g or 34 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (61 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D300 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A68 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D300 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D300 or the A68 perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|2.||Sony A68||3/5||..||..||4/5||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|3.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|5.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|6.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|7.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|8.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|9.||Nikon D3||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|11.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|12.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699|
|13.||Pentax K-S1||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||749|
|14.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|15.||Sony A77 II||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|16.||Sony A58||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|17.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D300 vs Sony A68
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 1,799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.8 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||372.88 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4288 x 2848 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.53 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.28 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||67||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||679||701|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D300||Sony A68|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1000 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
147 x 114 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||925 g (32.6 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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