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Camera Reviews

Nikon D300 Review

Romulo Lubachesky (Romulo Lubachesky)


Keywords: nikon, d300, camera, bodies

Page 3/5 show all pages

The first big novelty is the revolutionary Multi-CAM 3500DX auto focus module with an apparently absurd 51 focus points, 15 of them cross-type. So many focus points seemed like an exaggeration, however another notable innovation is their use in continuous focus with 3D-tracking. With this option, you can focus an object with a determinate color, like red, and if this object or camera moves, the focus points will track this movement. The speed of this tracking will depend on the lens that you are using, of course. however, I did some tests with one lens without internal motor (non-AF-S), an 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor, known as a slow lens, and it's tracking was most efficient.

Click for enlargement

Nikon D300 12 bits RAW image; 50mm f/1.8D AF NIKKOR @ f/5.6 aperture; 1/250 shutter speed; ISO 200; Adobe RGB color space; Direct sunlight -1 white balance

 

I felt a slight improvement in the focusing speed, but a huge difference in the accuracy and lock of the focus whichever the focus point was used. I focused on an irregular texture, with several focal planes that would prove difficult under normal focusing conditions.

The result was surprising; the D300 did a perfect focus in all my attempts and in all focus points, while the D200 did it in only 80% of the attempts with the central focus point and in none of the attempts with peripheral points of focus.

 

 

In other adverse conditions, like direct back light or dim light, the D300 execution is also higher, with much better precision in focus acquisition and locking.

 

Another remarkable innovation, that I consider to be one of the main features of the new Nikon, is the capabilty of focal adjustment with several lenses. The front- and back-focusing has been reported as a serious problem that could happen even with brand new lenses.

The Nikon D300 has a new system that just does that, it compensates and saves the information of 12 different lenses in a fine adjustment. This fine tunning goes from +20 till -20, loading this information every time the specific lens is attached to the camera.

Clicxk for enlargement

300mm f/4 ED IF AF NIKKOR @ f/4 aperture; 1/4000 sec. shutter speed; ISO 800
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My 300mm f/4D ED AF-S Nikkor had a slight back-focusing problem on the D300 and it didn't exist, or it wasn't visible on my D200. I solved this problem in just 3 minutes, compensating the focus to +15. Until now this flaw has needed no further correction by any authorized technical service.

To meter with precision when using non-CPU lenses (that don't have any electronic contacts with the body) it is necessary, via the menu, to chose the focal length and the maximum lens aperture.

I have 4 manual focus lenses and had to go through the menu every time I changed lenses; a significant delay in most situations.

But now the D300 has the ability to store up to nine non-CPU lenses' information, allowing to switch from one to another by using the customized button and the back command disc. A genius solution.

My D200 has a tendency to underexpose, the D300 doesn't have this characteristic. This could change the way to meter and may need some time to get used to it if you have previously been using a D200 with the same meter bias as mine.
I always use the Center-Weighted Metering mode with an 8mm diameter circle.

Clixck fort enlarged view

55mm f/1.2 AI NIKKOR @ f/2.8 aperture;
1/180 sec. shutter speed; ISO 1600

The frame rate was already quick on the D200 (at 5 frames per second), but it is even faster now on the D300, with 6 frames per second or 8 fps if you are using the MB-D10 vertical grip or the AC adapter.

I noticed a smoother movement coming from the mirror; this reduces the camera vibration during continuous drive shooting. The result is a very minor chance to vibrate at low speeds from mirror slap.

Click for enlargement

55mm f/2 AI NIKKOR @ f/2.8 aperture;
1/180 sec shutter speed; ISO 1600

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I am a big suporter of the SLR system; therefore the D300's Live View option isn't a great advantage for me. However is interesting and, in a certain way, attractive the fact that you could see live the digital image on the LCD monitor. I believe this capability could be helpful in low light situations or in a landscape with lot of details; it would be easy to see all the composition elements on the LCD.

With this D300 new system you can even use contrast-detected auto focus, driven from the imaging sensor. The Nikon D300 simply reads data off the CMOS image sensor and evaluates how abruptly light to dark (or dark to light) transitions happen on the image plane. AF operation in this mode is unfortunately quite slow, so they really mean it when they call it Tripod Mode.

(6 Votes )
Page 3/5 show all pages

Originally written on July 11, 2008

Last updated on October 28, 2016

5 comments

Dennis Page (DenyP) on August 14, 2018

I enjoyed the D300 review.

Antonio Marreiros (miranikon) on November 5, 2016

This articles they are very important for me. Thank you. Antonio Marreiros

Henry M. Ford (Team) on January 25, 2016

Love my d300s. Both for pictures and video.

Ludvik Gomulski (CrustyCrab) on May 2, 2013

A succint and valuable review of the cameras main features

Jose Santos (espeto68) on February 9, 2013

Excellent preview!!!

G