Nikon D300

At 825 grams, the Nikon D300 is more than heavy, but if you're a keen photographer and have an eye for detail, the D300 will prove itself with great image quality shot after shot. However, first time photographers and social-snappers might find this dSLR slightly overwhelming.


8.5
CNET Rating
8.0
User Rating


If you're looking to save money on a camera and weight-set for your home gym, then perhaps you may have found the right product in the Nikon D300. As large and bulky as this digital SLR is, one cannot just stop and stare at its size without staring at the great images it is capable of producing.

The large size of the Nikon D300 is such that one can only assume it is to house the complex internal technologies that make each image so clear. Naturally it still requires a keen eye to make a good composition, though while using one of its three Automatic modes, the D300 still appears to preference the right settings to produce a clear, crisp image. The D300 may be an expensive camera for an amateur, but it's great tool for the well experienced photographer.

Design
Big. Don't take this the wrong way, but the D300 certainly not the kind of camera you can just slip in your handbag and whip out at a party. This camera has presence, in fact, it might have its own invitation to the party.

One advantage to the large body of this camera is the stability you can achieve hand held. Light cameras are subject to handshake, but this beast is like a shock absorber, and tends to subdue the severity of any shakes you may have when you nervously pull out a not-so-subtle camera and shove it in your friends face.

At the end of an evening of taking photos, your hand wont hurt thanks to the comfy large grip areas on the camera, but you might discover your biceps are larger than they were before you arrived.

Features
There are two quality scroll wheels on the right hand side of the camera which are your primary controls for aperture and shutter speed. Once you get used to which direction is "increase" and which is "decrease", you will be able to operate both settings simultaneously which makes quickly adjusting your shot very efficient.

All the settings are visible in the EVF as well as on the top-side LCD display, which always shows the number of shots left in the camera even when the camera is turned off. The ISO and Image Quality control buttons are accessible on the left of the camera, which saves changing them in the internal menu.

Despite the amount of room for all the switches and dials, your nose may tend to locate the four-way rocker switch when you go to take a photo, and inadvertently change your focus or aperture point. When your nose is not controlling the settings, you will find that four-way rocker an easy control mechanism for the extensive internal memory.

It is very easy to feel inundated with complex settings, which may deter a first-time photographer, but it does make fine-tuning your camera's settings down to the nth degree very doable.

Performance
The D300 really shows off its image quality when in low-light situations. With an ISO of 500, f-stop in the 2.8-4 range, and a shutter speed of around 1/30sec, night time party and street shots turned out well with a good balance of sharpness and exposure. Not to neglect its daytime performance, the D300 manages to squeeze off multiple shots very quickly in burst mode without compensating the image quality.

We were quickly disappointed when we attached the heavy wide-angle lens to the body and attempted to use the built in flash on the camera, as the bulbous physicality of the lens blocked the light from covering the entire image frame and we were left with a dark, semi-circle patch of image in the bottom 8th of the photo.

Image quality
As mentioned in the performance section, the image quality is phenomenal, and that is only at "high" quality. In order to maintain a good balance between the numbers of photos left in memory and the size/quality of the images, we did not run the camera at its maximum 12.3mpx setting, but chose the next option in the menu -- 10-megapixels -- instead. This reviewer doesn't intend on blowing any images up to poster size, but if you do, the D300 would be a perfect model for the job.

When zoomed close in on the photo, the sharpness of the image really stands out. Even in the softer low-light situations, the edges and fine lines don't blur into the background. When sat on a tripod and opening its depth of field wide open, the whole image is captured in pristine detail. One standout feature of the D300 is its colour saturation levels. Brilliant colours are achieved in high and low light environments.

If you don't mind a swinging around a large camera, enjoy playing with settings and speeds, and have an eye for detail then this camera will satisfy your hunger. On the other hand, if you just want something to casually to take photos with, and don't like to fiddle then perhaps start with a compact camera. The D300 compensates for its size and complexity with very impressive image quality.

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Leroy
1
Rating
 

Leroy posted a review   

Was initially happy with the camera but after just 18 months of very very little use it died with the well documented F0 error (the camera is well looked after, never dropped, never travelled overseas). Nikon Australia advises that it is 'Normal' to fail in this manner and consider the problem 'wear and tear' .... What a joke! A $2500 DSLR that 'normally' fails 6 months out of warranty. Although it looks good in reviews I would stay away from Nikon Australia as the day your warranty expires you are on your own!

 

rooster posted a comment   

Extremely hard to understand all the gadgets and gizmos

this is truly a statement from someone who knows less than nothing about photography. James buy a point and shoot

chrisrip
9
Rating
 

chrisrip posted a review   

The Good:Awesome clarity and colour

The Bad:My wife won't let me get one

A good friend of mine has recently purchased one and the quality of the product is 2nd to none, as is the photo quality.

bakerm
9
Rating
 

bakerm posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Low noise and exceptionally comfortable to use

The Bad:None - this camera isn't a toy, so experienced users will generally find nothing to complain about

Spectacular camera - it might be heavy but as with all Nikon DSLR's the handling and balance is excellent. The way this camera moulds into your hand really counters any issue about weight.

James
6
Rating
 

James posted a review   

The Good:None really takes a normal picture

The Bad:Way over price for what you are getting.
It is not a professional camera like Nikon wants to make out.
Painfully confusing

Nice Cam, Extremley hard to undersand all the gadgets and gizmos. I am disappointed with the flash though when you are taking a portrait photo with auto flash does not adjust it self, It is very heavy as well compared to my Canon 400d

Alroy101
10
Rating
 

Alroy101 posted a review   

This is a great camera. I have found nothing wrong with its performance

 

Zennith Geisler posted a review   
Australia

In regards to the pop-up flash being obstructed by the lens, the reviewer has mentioned this to make readers aware -- most dSLR owners would have a standard lens in addition to a wide-angle but not everyone may know that they'll also need a speed light if they wish to use the flash. He doesn't mention it as a flaw.

And NDT -- I think the comment about whipping it out at parties is purely to reflect on the sheer size of the camera!

NDT
10
Rating
 

NDT posted a review   

the flash would never cover the angle-of-view of this fish-eye lens anyway so its an invalid point. (use an external speedlight) The reviewer is clearly not interested in this type of camera, of course the performance is stellar, and of course this performance requires better handling through a bigger chassis. Anyone who understands how to use a camera like this properly (not a beginner) would never complain about the size. And as for 'whipping it out at party's', please! buy a compact if you want to do that.

timwhunt
9
Rating
 

timwhunt posted a review   

I just wanted to comment that it's silly that the original review listed as bad that a big lens blocked the popup flash. It indicates the reviewer is not qualified. On a camera of this caliber, the popup flash is a convenience, not meant to server all purposes (like using a big lens). Best results will always come from an external flash, especially if it's off the camera. Blocking the pop-up with a big lens is just a fact of universal camera designs, not a flaw.

zeek
10
Rating
 

zeek posted a review   

The Good:amazing pictures, perfect focus and color.

The Bad:none

amazing pictures, perfect focus and color. not a pro-grade camera but thats not the target. many options allow complete customization




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User Reviews / Comments  Nikon D300

  • Leroy

    Leroy

    Rating1

    "Was initially happy with the camera but after just 18 months of very very little use it died with the well documented F0 error (the camera is well looked after, never dropped, never travelled overs..."

  • rooster

    rooster

    "Extremely hard to understand all the gadgets and gizmos

    this is truly a statement from someone who knows less than nothing about photography. James buy a point and shoot"

  • chrisrip

    chrisrip

    Rating9

    "A good friend of mine has recently purchased one and the quality of the product is 2nd to none, as is the photo quality."

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