Nikon D300s Review
Tough competition calls for upgrades on various gadgets, including DSLR's. Following the success of the Nikon D300, the Japanese brand decided to up the ante for its well-received device by launching the Nikon D300s. How different is it from its contemporary?
There are only a few notable changes in terms of design and appearance. For one, the D300s is heavier, weighing 840g, compared to the 825-gram weight of the D300. Despite the heft, the camera is still easy to grip and carry around. The front of the camera is essentially the same, minus the D300s logo engraved on the left-hand corner. Beneath it is the monaural microphone used especially for recording videos.
A 3-inch fixed LCD takes most of the space in the camera rear. On its right, the live view button sits awkwardly together with the new Info button and multi-selector disk, which now has a button in the middle. The now smaller thumb grip pad also rests on this side of the camera. One aesthetic and functional aspect that we like about the D300s is that the memory card slot now has a sliding design. The only problem with this is that the sliding card door has a tendency to become loose. Just like its forerunner, the D300s has a magnesium alloy body that gives the camera a sturdy and solid feel. It is sealed to keep the camera safe from dust and moisture.
One main difference between the D300 and D300s is that the latter has now great video support. D300s has a similar video engine with the D90. The camera can record 24 frames per second at 720p resolution. It captures movies as motion JPEG compressed AVI files. The length of the video that is recorded by the device is dependent on the movie-mode resolution. For a full movie-mode resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, the clip length is limited to five minutes only. For a movie-mode resolution of 320 x 216 pixels, the clip length reaches about 20 minutes.
To further support video recording, the D300s does not only rely on its monaural microphone. There is a 3.5mm stereo input jack where one can connect an external microphone. It also has a microphone amplifier to assure the quality of the sound being recorded. Another welcome addition to this device is its dual card capability. It has two memory card slots : one for Type-I CompactFlash cards and the other is for SDHC cards or even the Wi-Fi capable SD cards, which can allow the camera to transfer image and video files across networks.
There is also an increase in the D300s’ performance. When taking still images in burst mode, the shooting rate is seven frames per second. The original D300 used to have a shooting rate of six frames per second. The camera's single shot mode is also fast. The photo quality of the camera stays the same, but we wish Nikon improved the ISO sensitivity settings for better noise reduction. But the colors of the images are more vivid and brighter than ever.
There are only a few changes from the good old D300 and its protégé, the Nikon D300s. All the small changes in the D300s are welcome improvements, but we still wish Nikon included a better ISO sensitivity setting in the list.
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