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Nikon D300S 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

by Nikon
160 customer reviews
| 32 answered questions

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Body Only

From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 82%
See review summary and sample images
What is DPReview and its awards?

Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

Gold and Silver Awards are given to products that deserve special recognition based on how well they perform relative to their competitors at the time of review.

  • 12.3-megapixel CMOS image sensor for high resolution, low-noise images
  • Body only; lenses sold separately
  • Nikon EXPEED image processing; D-Movie HD Video for cinematic 24 fps, 720p HD movie clips
  • 3-inch Super-density 920,000-dot VGA LCD; one-button Live View
  • Capture images to CF (Type I) and SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
4 new from $1,079.00 17 used from $402.99 4 refurbished from $648.55

Frequently Bought Together

  • Nikon D300S 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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  • Nikon EN-EL3e Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery for D200, D300, D700 and D80 Digital SLR Cameras - Retail Packaging
Total price: $1,140.00
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Style: Body Only

Technical Details

Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Tested November 2009
The Nikon D300S is an absolutely excellent product - a gently polished and refined update of a product that we considered a benchmark when it was released.
Richard Butler Richard Butler Lars Rehm Lars Rehm


A relatively minor upgrade to one of the defining cameras of the semi-pro sector adds a useful HD video mode and a wealth of minor improvements that improve the already excellent handling. Although the D300S has stronger competition than its predecessor, it still manages to impress, as do the images it produces.

Reasons to buy

  • Highly competitive image quality at all ISO settings
  • Excellent high ISO performance with low noise and good levels of detail
  • Highly configurable Auto ISO function (can set maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed)
  • 7 frames per second continuous shooting speed (8 with battery grip)

Things to consider

  • Unreliable white balance under artificial lighting
  • Slight tendency to overexpose in contrasty conditions
  • Occasional 'grain' in blue skies, even at base ISO
  • Contrast detection AF is slow (as it is on all DSLRs)

Suggested for

Pretty much anything from landscapes to sports

Not suggested for

Serious movie making
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

Style: Body Only

Product Description

Nikon D300S 12.3MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) - 25464

From the Manufacturer

The rugged D300S' hallmarks include versatility, speed, agility and exceptional image quality. Versatility is its 12.3-megapixel, DX-format CMOS image sensor, with Nikon EXPEED image processing that captures stunning low-noise stills and extraordinary 24 fps, 720p HD video with sound. Speed is split-second startup and continuous shooting at up to 7 fps-8 fps with the optional MB-D10 grip, which also extends shooting capacity and makes shooting more comfortable. Accurate image review, Live View shooting and Menus come alive on a 3-inch tempered glass-protected, 920k-dot LCD monitor, while image quality is bolstered by a 51-area AF system and Nikon's 1,005-pixel RGB exposure sensor, in concert with the newly accelerated Scene Recognition System technology that increases exposure and AF accuracy, improves white balance detection, and more. Photographers have preferences, and the D300S offers choices--including Picture Control, Center-Weighted and Spot Metering, user-assignable CompactFlash and SD card slots and an external stereo microphone input. Included is Nikon ViewNX software--ready to process rich 14-bit NEF (RAW) or JPEG files. For more editing power, optional Capture NX 2, with U-Point technology, safeguards image quality and speeds workflow. The D300S' pro-level performance, paired with world-famous Nikkor lenses, was engineered to exceed the expectations of demanding photographers.

Nikon D300s Highlights

12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS Image Sensor
Delivers stunning high resolution, low-noise images with striking detail and tonal gradation.

Continuous Shooting up to 7 fps
High speed shooting and fast response is essential to versatile performance in a wide variety of shooting disciplines.

Nikon EXPEED Image Processing
Drives breathtakingly rich image fidelity, low noise and fast image processing.

D-Movie HD Video
Capture cinematic 24 fps, 720p HD movie clips, enhanced by Nikkor interchangeable lens quality and versatility—featuring stereo Mic input and AF
D300S Image Sensor
D300S LCD Display
3-inch Super-density 920,000-dot VGA LCD Monitor
Every monitor is factory-calibrated to assure accurate color for critical still image review and Live View or D-Movie shooting.

One-button Live View
Handheld and Tripod Live View modes, activated with one button, for challenging studio and remote shooting conditions.

Low Noise ISO Sensitivity from 200 to 3200
Additional expanded ISO settings of Lo-1 (ISO 100 equivalent) and Hi-1 (ISO 6400 equivalent) extend versatility to match shooting requirements.

Fast, Accurate 51-point Autofocus
Features 4 Dynamic AF modes including 3D Focus Tracking for precise autofocus and razor sharp images.
Dual memory card slots (CF and SD)
Assign card functions from a variety of storage options, optimizing available memory and file handling.

1,005-Pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Nikon's unique RGB metering is the only sensor that also evaluates color information when determining exposures with remarkable accuracy.

Scene Recognition System
Referencing an onboard image database and teamed with RGB metering, SRS enables even more sophisticated determination of exposures and auto white balance, along with faster, more accurate autofocus.

Dynamic Integrated Dust Reduction System
Ultrasonic process combats the accumulation of dust in front of the image sensor, safeguarding image quality.

D300S Dual Card Slots
D300S Sample Image
Nikon's Active D-Lighting
Optimizes shadow and highlight detail in real time--selectable values and 5-frame ADL bracketing offer complete control.

Picture Control
Select from 4 preset image capture preferences (Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome, plus 9 user-customizable settings) controlling Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue.

In-Camera Image Editing
Exclusive in-camera image editing, featuring Edit move, D-Lighting, Image Overlay, Monochrome, NEF (RAW) processing and more.

Rugged and Durable
The strength and precision of magnesium-alloy construction with advanced dust and moisture countermeasures is teamed with a shutter mechanism test to beyond 150,000 cycles for real-world reliability.

100% Viewfinder Accuracy

Virtual Horizon Graphic Level Indicator

Up to 950 shots per EN-EL3e battery charge
Shoot as many 2,950 shots with the body's EN-EL3e battery installed and the optional MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack with an EN-EL4a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery.
*Based on CIPA standards/guidelines
D300S Body Construction

Product Details

Style: Body Only
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.9 x 4.5 inches ; 1.9 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B002JCSV6M
  • Item model number: 25464
  • Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required.
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,858 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at July 29, 2009

Read about our customers' top-rated cameras and lenses on our review pages: Digital SLR Cameras, Lenses

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

565 of 578 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Neve on December 7, 2009
Style Name: Body Only
Hello everybody, My name is Daniel and I am about as serious as you can be and still be considered "amateur". I have been taking photos on SLR's since I was 10 years old on an old film Minolta and I bought my first DSLR (a Nikon D50) and since then I have owned everything from a base line Canon XSi all the way up to the the best camera I have ever handled... the D300s. I have operated the D3, D3s, D3x and the top of the line professional $10k Canons, and this is still my favorite ALL AROUND camera. So here is the break down to why I love this camera and I will give you a list of pros and cons. I love this camera for many reasons... [...]... not many people can justify spending another $4,000 (2-3 times the money) when they are looking to spend around $1,500- $2,000 for a good DSLR. So here is the benefits that I see to D300s over the other great Nikon models.

1. if you are into sports the D300s has a higher continuous frame rate than other models including the ever so popular full frame D700. With it's DX sensor it has a crop factor of 1.5 which means more bang for you buck when using a telephoto zoom lens. If you purchase the MB-D10 battery pack it will shoot at even higher speeds of 8fps when using continuous shooting and also allows for up to nearly 5,000 pictures to be taken on one charge (when upgraded battery is purchased). With 51 auto-focus and 3-D tracking you are almost guaranteed to have your subject in focus every time you take a picture. The D300s also features Active D Lighting which makes to so your pictures end up properly exposed so you don't end up with areas of under and over exposure which tend to be common in sports and in shadowy landscape photography

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600 of 648 people found the following review helpful By Lon J. Seidman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2009
Style Name: Body Only Verified Purchase
Length: 0:55 Mins
This is a tough review because this camera is so excellent as a still device and easily earns five stars. However, if you're currently a D300 owner looking to upgrade for this camera's new video capabilities you will be disappointed. The unfortunate 'rolling shutter' problem that plagues the video feature on the D90 exists on the new D300s too.

There's a host of technical reasons for this (the CMOS sensor is to blame) but the bottom line for those looking for a great still and video camera should probably not rely on the D300S to be the 'holy grail' of sub $2000 "prosumer" cameras just yet. There is software out there to correct these issues, but it is a bit disappointing that Nikon didn't address this in firmware. Watch my video to see more.
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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Carpenter on March 18, 2010
Style Name: Body Only
There are plenty of very good comprehensive reviews here of the D300S here already, so I'm instead of posting another I'm going to attempt to focus on what I see as some of the pros and cons of the D300S versus other camera bodies in the Nikon line-up. The D300S has essentially identical image quality to the $500 D5000 and the now quite old (in DSLR terms) D300 and D90; and it remains a small-format DX camera while the next step up in price gets you a full-frame D700. Even so, my personal choice for the majority of my photography is a D300S rather than any of those alternatives. I have also owned and shot with every other camera mentioned here: all are excellent and I believe all can be considered good values for the money spent in today's market. Perhaps some readers would find my perspective useful.

As far as I'm concerned, image quality from Nikon DSLRs has really been quite excellent at least since the introduction of the D70. Of course there have been all kinds of incremental improvements since then, but comparing anything since the D70 to the funky highlights produced by the earlier D100, for example, makes it clear that we have long since reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to real, visible improvements in DSLR image quality. In terms of the finer points it will continue to improve, but whether you buy a D5000, a D300S or a D700, the differences between the images you can make with the camera are going to be tiny compared with the differences in how you can use it - with the exception of the FX-vs-DX field of view, which is very important.
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Kevin T. Nguyen-tu on September 8, 2009
Style Name: Body Only
Bought this camera recently to replace the many years, but still trusty Nikon D200. Took both of them on a road trip recently and was extremely please with the Nikon D300s. The auto focus was super fast and accurate. The video feature was a nice bonus. While I wouldn't use it often, it does come in handy when I want to illustrate to my friends and families certain scenic views I come across.

The ability to shoot many frames per second and the auto focus system being able to keep up with it was beyond my own expectation. The picture quality and low level noise was nice. I was able to do ISO-1600 perfectly where I couldn't before using D200.

Highly recommend this camera to anyone. [...]
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Eskrimador1 on September 29, 2009
Style Name: Body Only Verified Purchase
I recently upgraded from the D80 to the D300s. I was actually saving up for the 300 and they released the 300s. This is the top of the line DX camera from Nikon which is loaded with features. I can't compare the 300 to the 300s and you can go on line to sites like Ken Rockwell to see a break down comparison. However, compared to my old D80 this camera was a big upgrade.

With the purchase of this camera I was quickly forced to learn more about photography and after about 3 weeks or so I can now say that I have a good understanding of the camera it's features and settings. The D80 has pre programmed shooting settings e.g. (landscape, nightshot, portrait, Auto etc.) which automatically sets everything for you. This camera really forces you to learn about photography. ISO's WB, shutter speed, aperature etc. If you are looking for a more user friendly camera with pre programmed setting I would go with the D90. If you want a more serious enthusiast to pro level camera than the D300s is your choice.

The D300s also has a video mode which in my opinion isn't half bad. However, if video is not that important to you I would go with a used D300 which you can probably get a great deal on. I've taken some video with this camera and the mic is very sensitive. I wouldn't try using the video for recording live shows which I did. Even at low sensitivity mic settings I had problems with the sound. The good thing is the 300s has an external mic connection. I believe the D90 does not. I haven't experimented with this feature.

Picture quality has been great! However, i've always been a firm believer that aside from the camera the lens plays a major role in picture quality. If you want superb pics I suggest investing in good lenses.
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