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Nikon D300S versus Nikon D7100

The Nikon D300S and the Nikon D7100 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2009 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D300S has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the D7100 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 D300S vs Nikon D7100

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D300S and the Nikon D7100 are illustrated 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 dimensions 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 side – the D300S – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D300S vs Nikon D7100
Compare D300S versus D7100 top
Compare D300S and D7100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D7100 is notably smaller (14 percent) than the Nikon D300S. Moreover, the D7100 is markedly lighter (18 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. 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.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 D300S» 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D7100« 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 7D« » 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Nikon D7500« » 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3100« » 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D3S« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D90« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D700« » 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Nikon D300« » 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200

Any camera purchase will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D7100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the D300S, 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 D300S vs Nikon D7100

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 D7100 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.

Technology-wise, the D7100 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 4) than the D300S (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D300S and Nikon D7100 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D7100 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the D300S. 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 3.91μm versus 5.53μm for the D300S). However, it should be noted that the D7100 is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 months) than the D300S, 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 D7100 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

D300S versus D7100 MP

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 D7100 offers substantially better image quality than the D300S (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.7 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 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.

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 D7100« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387Nikon D7200
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 D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
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 D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the D7100 provides a better video resolution than the D300S. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the D300S is limited to 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D300S vs Nikon D7100

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D300S and the D7100 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 D300S, the Nikon D7100, 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 D300S»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D7100«optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7200
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
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 D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200

The D300S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the D7100 uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

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 D7100«YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
Canon 70D« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 70D
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Nikon D7200« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Nikon D7200
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
Nikon D90« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200

Both the D300S and the D7100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D300S was replaced by the Nikon D500, while the D7100 was followed by the Nikon D7200.

Review summary: Nikon D300S vs Nikon D7100

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D300S better than the Nikon D7100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D300S:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2009).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D7100:

  • 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.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.7 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 4 vs EXPEED).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (136x107mm vs 147x115mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 173g or 18 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D300S launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D7100 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 3 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.

D300S 03:15 D7100

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D300S or the D7100. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available 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 D300S»HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D7100«HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3100« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
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 D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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