Nikon D300 Reviews, User Opinions and Tests

First published on: Thursday, 30 October 2008

Last update (Aug 16, 2009): Low-light AF (autofocus) speed of the D300 vs the Canon EOS 1D Mark II N.

This page is a compilation of annotated links to Nikon D300 reviews, user opinions and experiences, tests, conclusions, ratings and feedback.

Full attribution is given by linking to the source, and where available, the author’s homepage or photo gallery.

Recent updates

Low-light AF (autofocus) speed of the D300 vs the Canon EOS 1D Mark II N — AmatureMike says:

One important thing to comment also is that with low-light, low-contrast subjects, the D300 is faster and continues to track when the 1D Mark 2N starts to bog down.

Brief impressions from a Nikon D70 user

“mrchile” shared his initial opinions about the new Nikon D300, citing the bigger viewfinder, improved noise control and sharper photos as benefits over the much older D70. The Tamron 28-75mm lens also works better on the D300.

Al Linsky‘s D300 story

Al is a sports photographer who upgraded to the D300 from the Nikon D200. In this post, he mentions how happy he was with the autofocus and continuous burst performance on the D300 during a basketball shoot, and shares some camera settings that he used.

life9328 switched from Canon to the D300 after having owned the Canon 10D, 20D and 30D. He likes the amazing AF (autofocus) and is impressed by Matrix Metering, the viewfinder, ergonomics and weather-sealing on the D300. He uses the D300 with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR lens most of the time.

If there’s any doubt whether the Nikon D300 can do as well as the Canon 40D in the AF (autofocus) department when it comes to photographing soccer games, Kabe Luna has this to say:

A good friend has recently gotten a 40D which he uses to shoot soccer and I must say I am very impressed what that camera can accomplish set to automatic selection, which is how he uses it: only eight out of more than 200 were misfocused. But this same guy borrowed my D300 and 80-200/2.8 AF-S prior to getting his 40D and out of nearly 200 shots, only three were misfocused. He really liked the D300’s AF, but he’s on a very tight budget and couldn’t afford both the D300 and a decent lens, which is how he wound up with the 40D.

More on the 51-point AF system:

Nikon’s 51-point, along with being smart enough to distinguish a subject by color as well thanks to the 1005-pixel RGB meter, does a great job tracking subject throughout the frame despite having the cross sensitive pixels concentrated at the center.

The 51-point system seems to lend itself well to tracking small BIF (bird-in-flight) too, read Daniella’s comments in this Nikon D300 vs Canon 50D comparison.

Brian, an ex Canon 1D Mark II owner, states that the 3D, 51-point AF (autofocus) system on the Nikon D300 actually works and is better at tracking than the Af system on the 1D II, giving him a higer keeper rate.

Miscellaneous reviews and opinions

Preston Mack, a Florida-based sports photographer, switches to the Nikon D3 and D300 from the 1D Mark III.

First Nikon D300 Delivered in China, and a Short Review.

AF — Nikon D300 vs D200: After an initial learning curve, LuvLatins conclude that the D300’s autofocus system is better than the D200’s.

AF capability — Nikon D300 vs Nikon D2Xs: Jim Fenton praises the superior autofocus capability on the D300.

Nikon D300 mini-review by Ketzal Sterling of Ketzal rates the D300 as “brilliant” for shooting scooters and landscapes, and shares some thoughts on a couple of Nikon lenses. Conclusion: The D300 is the “best camera on the market” if you’re a “serious amateur or a professional”. In this post, Ketzal talks about the benefits of Advanced D-Lighting and the use of ISO 100 (1 stop below ISO 200) to get the lowest possible image noise.

Ex-Pentax users: Here’s an interesting thread where ex-Pentax owners share their impressions of the D300. Some continue to use both systems.

AF (autofocus) fine tune calibration: Wade Dowdy a.k.a. Commodorefirst tests the AF fine tune feature on the Nikon D300 with 4 Nikkor lenses — 35mm f/2 (see a photo of the 35mm f/2D AF with lens hood attached mounted on the D300), 50mm 1.4, 85mm f/1.4, 105mm f/2.8 VR, 180mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-D. Using this feature, Wade adjusts for front- or backfocus for each lens and the amount of compensation is stored in the Nikon D300 for the individual lenses.

Clint Thayer on the D300’s Live View mode: Clint remarks that the Live View on the D300 cannot be activated via the built-in timer, which is a shame. The refresh rate of the LCD is also slow. Regarding his Nikon D300 vs Canon 40D comments, RXGolf reports to the contrary — that both the Canon 40D and Nikon D300 perform at the same level with regards to noise in blue skies and AF (the 40D was tested with the 24-105mm f/4L and EF 100-400mm L while the D300 was tested with the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR). Another poster, Shawnski, confirms that AF fine tuning works with 3rd-party lenses too, specifically, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM.

Noise and sensor efficiency comparisons — Emil Marinec posts a highly technical article comparing various digital SLR cameras, including the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D.

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