Nikon D300s Initial Impressions

Posted September 4th, 2009 by   |  Photography, Technology  |  Permalink
Nikon D300s. Photo courtesy Nikon, Inc.

Nikon D300s. Photo courtesy Nikon, Inc.

I picked up a new Nikon D300s yesterday from my favorite local camera store Kenmore Camera. I wasn’t expecting too much from the new camera since it is “just an upgrade” to the existing Nikon D300. However, I am very impressed. The camera has two memory card slots, one of them a CF slot and the other an SD slot. You can program the camera to use one card for RAW photos and the other card for JPEGs. Or, you can tell the camera to record video to one while you record images to the other.

The ergonomics of the camera have been improved over the D300 as well. Nikon has taken the best of the D300, D90 and D700 cameras and combined it all into this great D300s layout. I like having the Live View activate with a button rather than rotating the shooting mode dial on the D300. Also, the multi-selector has been upgraded to be the same type as the Nikon D3 and D700. Awesome.

The maximum frame rate has also increased to 7 frames per second, which is a great feature for sports and wildlife photography. The only downside regarding frame rate is that the system still shoots at a “slow” frame rate of 3fps when you are using 14-bit RAW. It will shoot 7fps with 12-bit RAW as well as JPEG images.

The video capabilities have been improved over the Nikon D90 in that it now allows you to autofocus while recording video. Also, the D300s has a new stereo input jack so that you can use an external microphone for recording audio. This is a nice touch. The frame rate for video is still 24fps and I wish Nikon allowed the option of 30fps as well. Sometimes having the faster frame rate helps for filming sports and action.

Image quality so far is fantastic, just as you would expect. I’m taking it to Denali National Park tomorrow to put it through its paces next to my Nikon D700. It’ll be fun to mate the D300s to my 200-400mm f4 to try to get some grizzly bear photos. I’ll post some photos from Denali after my return.

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