Nikon D500 vs D300
The Nikon D500 and the Nikon D300 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D500 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the D300 provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Nikon D500||Nikon D300|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor||12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (50-1640000)||ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 2359k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|1240 shots per battery charge||1000 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g||147 x 114 x 74 mm, 925 g|
Body comparison: Nikon D500 vs D300
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D300 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. 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 D500 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D300 are of equal size. However, the D300 is markedly heavier (8 percent) than the D500. 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 compare the optics available 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.
|Nikon D500»||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D300«||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D7100« »||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D7000« »||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S« »||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D700« »||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||157.5 mm||149.5 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
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 D300 was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the D500 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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: Nikon D500 vs D300
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 D300 is 1 percent bigger. 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the D500 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 5) than the D300 (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D500 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon 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 4.22μm versus 5.53μm for the D300). However, it should be noted that the D500 is much more recent (by 8 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 D500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon D500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D300 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400..
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 review, the D500 provides substantially higher image quality than the D300, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D500»||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.0||14.0||1324||83||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D300«||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||APS-C||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||24.3||14.0||1483||86||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D7100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.7||1256||83||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D7000« »||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||10800/24p||23.5||13.9||1167||80||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D700« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2303||80||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77||Panasonic GH5|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D300 does not. The highest resolution format that the D500 can use is 4K/30p.
Feature comparison: Nikon D500 vs D300
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D500 and the D300 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 D500, the Nikon D300, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon D500»||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||n||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D300«||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||optical||Y||3.2||922||tilting||Y||8000||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D7100« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.5||Y||n||Nikon D600|
|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 D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||8000||12.0||n||Y||Panasonic GH5|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D500 has a touchscreen, while the D300 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The D500 writes its imaging data to SDHC or XQD cards, while the D300 uses Compact Flash cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D300 only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Nikon D500 vs D300
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 D500 and Nikon D300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D500»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D300«||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D7100« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D7000« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D700« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic GH5|
It is notable that the D500 offers wifi support, while the D300 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The D500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. 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 D500 vs D300
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D300? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 12.2MP) with a 30% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 5 vs EXPEED).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- 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 (2359k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1240 versus 1000) on a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D300 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D300:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D500 or the D300 handle or 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.
Expert reviews: Nikon D500 vs D300
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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.
|Nikon D500»||HiRec||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||Nikon D500|
|Nikon D300«||HiRec||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Nikon D7500« »||HiRec||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299||Nikon D7500|
|Nikon D7200« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D750« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D7100« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D610« »||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||HiRec||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D7000« »||-||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||-||Nikon D7000|
|Nikon D300S« »||HiRec||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D700« »||89/100||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200« »||HiRec||HiRec||rev||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Panasonic GH5« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, 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? 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.
- Canon 100D vs Canon 5D
- Canon 20D vs Canon 550D
- Canon 50D vs Nikon D3100
- Canon G5 X vs Panasonic G85
- Fujifilm X-E2 vs Canon M6
- Nikon D500 vs Panasonic TZ200
- Nikon W300 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Canon G7 X
- Panasonic G9 vs Canon G7 X
- Panasonic GX85 vs Canon G9 X Mark II
- Panasonic TZ100 vs Fujifilm X20
- Sony RX100 V vs Nikon D700
Specifications: Nikon D500 vs Nikon D300
|Camera Model||Nikon D500||Nikon D300|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||August 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 1999||USD 1799|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.6 x 15.7 mm|
|MP Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Size||4.22 μm||5.53 μm|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-1640000 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||CF cards|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL15 power pack||EN-EL3e power pack|
|Battery Life||1240 shots per charge||1000 shots per charge|
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
147 x 114 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||925 g (32.6 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.