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Nikon D300S vs D700

The Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2009 and July 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D300S) and a full frame (D700) sensor. The D300S has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the D700 provides 12.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D300S   Nikon D700
Nikon D300S Nikon D700
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
720/24p Video no Video
ISO 200-3200 (100-6400) ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
7 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
950 shots per battery charge1000 shots per battery charge
147 x 115 x 81 mm, 938 g 147 x 123 x 77 mm, 1074 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D300S vs Nikon D700
Compare D300S versus D700 top
Comparison D300S or D700 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D700 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Nikon D300S. Moreover, the D700 is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the D300S. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the D700) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (D300S). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 D300S» 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D700« 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
 
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D300S was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the D700, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D300S features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D700 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D700 is 131 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D300S and Nikon D700 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon D300S offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D700. 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 5.53μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). However, it should be noted that the D300S is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the D700, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

The Nikon D300S 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 Nikon D700 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

D300S versus D700 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D700 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D300S (overall score 10 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 D300S» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D700« Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
 
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
 
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
 
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
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 also of capturing video footage. The D300S indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the D300S can use is 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D300S and the D700 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 viewfinder in the D300S offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D700 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D700 has a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.63x), 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 D300S and Nikon D700 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D300S»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D700«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n Nikon D500
 
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
 
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
 
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2X

The Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700 both have 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 D300S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the D700 uses Compact Flash cards. The D300S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D700 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity 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 D300S and Nikon D700 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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 D300S»YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D700«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
 
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D800« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800
 
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
 
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D300S and the D700 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the D300S was followed by the Nikon D500. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Nikon D300S:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/24p movies.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 136g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the D700).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D700:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.63x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D300S comes out slightly ahead of the D700 (6 : 5 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. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D300S 06:05 D700

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D300S and the Nikon D700 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D300S and the D700 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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 D300S»+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D700«89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D500« »+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
 
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D800« »+ +82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
 
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3100« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D5000« »+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
 
Nikon D60« »80/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
 
Nikon D3« »-+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »+ ++ +o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »-+ +-o- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 D300S:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D700:
Check Ebay offers

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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D300S vs Nikon D700

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2009 July 2008
    Launch Price USD 1799 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 12.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 4256 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.53 μm 8.43 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 1.40 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200-3200 ISO 200-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-6400 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 70 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.5 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 787 2303
    Screen Specs Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.63x 0.72x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D300S Nikon D700
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL3e EN-EL3e
    Battery Life (CIPA)950 shots per charge1000 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 147 x 115 x 81 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
    147 x 123 x 77 mm
    (5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 938 g (33.1 oz) 1074 g (37.9 oz)

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