Nikon D300s DSLR Review: Not Much of an Upgrade! Come On Nikon!

The D300s remains a capable, even impressive camera. I mean, it’s not like it got worse: The D300 retains the same sensor, excellent 51-point autofocus system, fantastic chassis build quality and ergonomics—just about the same everything—as the D300, and it still holds up 2 years later, mostly.

Low-light performance is solid, as you can see in the giant sample gallery here that walks through ISO ranges. We’re talking fairly good-looking stuff up through ISO1600, though noise starts to creep in there, finally getting oogly around ISO3200. It’s no 5D Mark II or D700, but it still stands up. Color saturation remains top-notch, and it seemed to handle white balance even a bit better than 5DMkII we shot alongside last week. Bottom line, though, you’re getting the same D300 performance.

The New Features Are
• 720p video recording
• Extra SDHC slot
• More Active-D Lighting controls
• Tweaked button layout

What’s majorly new in the D300s is video, and even it’s not a whole lot different than what you saw with the D90, which also shot 720p video and had a similar 12.3MP sensor. But, there’s stereo input, and you can autofocus during recording. However it’s god-awful slow, so you’re better off doing it your own damn self. Not to mention movies are capped at 5 measly minutes. And if you’re still in live view, you can’t actually watch the stuff you’ve just shot, since the playback button is how you adjust the display’s brightness in live view mode.

The video quality itself is good, generally, but pushing past ISO1600, it starts getting a little dicey Beyond video, my favorite new addition to the D300s are the dual memory card slots, which were formerly a super pro feature. The extra slot holds an SDHC card, which you can use a number of different ways—continuing the storage over from the CF card, duping whatever goes to the CF card, or to save JPEGs from RAW+JPEG shooting. FYI, OS X and Aperture don’t support D300s RAW files yet.

And of course, one of the best things about Nikon cameras is that since the lens mount for their SLRs hasn’t changed in about 50 years, you can use seriously vintage lenses and save money, which is something we definitely took advantage of while shooting.

Here’s the thing about the D300s: It’s a great camera, no doubt. The problem is two-fold: At $1800, it costs the exact same as the D300 did when it was released two years ago, but beyond video, delivers no major advancements. There’s no new pixel-squeezing camera tech here. The other part is that the very shortly forthcoming 7D from Canon is their first direct competitor to Nikon’s D_00 semi-pro cameras, and it may make the value proposition look even less fantastic with what appears to be the most advanced video features of any DSLR yet. As it stands, the D300s is a tough purchase call (you can pick up a D300 for $150 less if you don’t need video), and certainly not a necessary upgrade. But we hope to head-to-head the 7D and D300s very soon to figure out the best camera you can buy for about $1800.

We want Nikon to just given us the D400 like we wanted. If you’re going to spend $1700, you’re probably a pretty serious amateur. So why not spend $2100 and get the full frame D700 with twice the sensor area.

NIKON D60 DIGITAL SLR CAMERA

The new D60 digital SLR camera, which provides consumers with stunning picture quality and versatility in an easy-to-use, compact camera design. The D60 joins Nikon’s award-winning line of D-series digital SLR cameras and shares a form factor similar to the D40 – Nikon’s smallest D-SLR camera ever. With 10.2 effective megapixels and a wealth of innovative and user-friendly features, the D60 enables both photo enthusiasts and those new to digital SLR photography to capture incredible images like never before.

nikon-d60

NIKON 12.3 MP D90 DIGITAL SLR

Nikon D90

The D90, a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera that redefines the creative boundaries of digital photography allowing photographers to easily create stunning still images and High Definition (HD) movie clips with sound—with the same camera. A host of Nikon core technologies were leveraged to develop the D90’s scope of versatility, calling on years of photographic and optical expertise. Whether consumers are graduating from an advanced compact digital camera or are a seasoned D-SLR enthusiast, the Nikon D90 emphasizes brilliant image quality and versatility with its exclusive advanced Scene Recognition System, intuitive creative controls, blazing fast performance and the industry-first ability to create HD movie clips at 720p in the new D-Movie mode.

It would seem logical for the first DSLR with video capture to come from a company that also makes camcorders. Nikon defied that logic, though, by creating the D90 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens). And not only does it capture movies, it captures 720p high-definition video with sound. On top of that, it ably replaces the highly regarded D80 as Nikon’s main midlevel DSLR.

Borrowing its 12.3MP APS-Csized CMOS sensor from the higherend D300, the D90 is the fourth successive 12MP Nikon DSLR. Clearly, the company has eased off the megapixel race, instead focusing on other areas of image quality, such as low noise at high ISOs and convenient features. And the results are impressive. In our lab tests, the D90 scored Excellent in overall image quality right up through ISO 3200.

NIKON 12.3 MP D90 DIGITAL SLR CAMERA, ACTION…

While the D90 offers a slew of upgrades and worthwhile additions, the groundbreaking feature is, of course, its 1280×720-pixel (720p) video capture. Rivals are already hot on Nikon’s heels. As we went to press, Canon announced its 21.1MP EOS 5D Mark II , which also allows HD video capture — at 1920×1080 pixels.

While the quality of the Nikon’s video compares favorably to what you’d get from some HD camcorders in terms of sharpness and a relative lack of video artifacts, the camera records at only 24 frames per second, slower than the 30-fps standard for TVs (which the Canon shoots). So video may not be as smooth as what you’d get from a camcorder. The D90 records only mono sound, and HD video is limited to 5 minutes before the sensor becomes too hot. Set to standard definition (640×424 pixels), expect up to 25 minutes of video.

Note, however, that autofocus doesn’t work while shooting video. You can preset focus beforehand with AF, but once the video starts rolling it’s strictly manual. Manual focusing is more difficult for video than for still images, especially if you’re moving the camera during a shot. Also, if you’re zooming in or out during a shot, you’ll have to refocus after you zoom. Technically, you could do both at the same time, but you’d need to use a tripod to free up both hands.

While we wouldn’t count on the D90 as a primary video camera, it’s fine for short clips. One fun thing about video capture in a DSLR is that you can use any lens in your collection, even a fisheye. For example, a 50mm f/1.4 can give you shallower depth of field than almost any consumer-level camcorder.

NIKON 12.3 MP D90 DIGITAL SLR SMOKIN’ GUN

Updates over the D80, aside from megapixels and video, include a 3-inch 920,000-dot LCD, up from 2.5 inches and 230,000 dots. The spotmeter is slightly more concentrated, covering 2% of the finder instead of the D80’s 2.5%. ISO reaches one stop further to 6400, and the burst rate notches up to 4.5 fps from 3 fps on the D80.

The D90 is the first camera that can take advantage of SanDisk’s new 30MB/sec Extreme III SDHC memory cards. In our lab tests, it captured 54 full-sized Fine-quality JPEGs in 12 seconds for an average of 4.5 fps, just as Nikon claims. Shooting RAW, we got 9 frames in 2 seconds before the buffer filled up, again verifying Nikon’s 4.5- fps spec. And with this new card, the D90’s buffer clears so quickly that the burst is like the Energizer Bunny — it just keeps going and going. Slip any other SDHC card into the camera, and you can count on only about 13 JPEGs before the buffer fills. As with any DSLR, the number of images you get in a burst decreases as you raise the ISO, since the file size typically increases. Our tests were performed at ISO 200, the camera’s lowest setting in the normal ISO range.

Also debuting with the Nikon D90 is the company’s new optional GP-1 GPS unit. While we didn’t have one to test by press time and the price is yet to be announced, it’s among the smallest GPS systems for a DSLR — tinier than most wireless flash transmitters. Mount it in the hot-shoe, attach a cable to the D90’s mini-USB-sized terminal, turn on geotagging in the setup menu, and you’re in business. Drawing power from the camera body, it inserts latitude, longitude, altitude, and universal time code data in the metadata of your photos.

Nikon D3X Image Quality is Best in Class, According to Latest DxOMark Sensor Rankings

nikon_d3x

Nikon D3X INFO

  • FX-format, 24.5-megapixel (6048 x 4032) CMOS sensor
  • Five FPS at full resolution
  • 12 and 14-bit capability
  • Dual card slots (CompactFlash)
  • 5:4 Crop Mode for 8 x 10 shooting
  • 7 FPS using DX-format lenses at 10.5 megapixels
  • ISO 100-1,600, expandable to 50 and 6,400
  • .12 seconds start-up time
  • 3D Color Matrix Metering II
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points
  • Up to nine available customizable presets
  • Tested to exceed 300,000 cycles for maximum durability and longevity
  • Viewfinder offers 100 percent coverage with 0.7x magnification
  • Up to 4400* shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium ion battery
  • Shoots tethered or using the WT-4a wireless transmitter to eschew writing to cards
  • Available right now for $7,995
  • Nikon D3X with a 24.5MP DSLR Image Sensor

    The new Nikon D3X with a 24.5MP DSLR image sensors claims that it has the best image quality on the market — by a considerable margin.

    According to DxO Labs which launched its DxOMark testing service last year, the D3X “takes the lead on the DxOMark Sensor scale with a 6-point gain above all other camera bodies currently evaluated on the dxomark.com website.” The D3X scored an 88 out of 100 for its image quality which is first out of 54 cameras tested on the site.

    DxOMark is run by DxO Labs, a software company which produces RAW image conversion, processing, and correction software. DxOMark was created as a free online resource designed to objectively test sensor performance based on RAW image evaluation of leading digital SLRs.

    According to DxOMark’s testing, thhe Nikon D3x is “the first camera which actually achieves more than 12-bit depth of effective image information and thus is able to take full advantage of its 14-bit Analog/Digital (A/D) converter.”

    Interestingly, the top three cameras in DxOMark’s Image Quality Database are all made by Nikon. In second place, for image quality, is the Nikon D3, which scored an 80.6 out of 100. In third place is the Nikon D700, which scored an 80.5. The top ranked camera from Canon is the 1Ds Mark III which is in fourth place in the Image Quality Database with a score of 80.3.

    Best Form and Function
    Engineered for real-world functionality, the D3X retains a rugged shell with moisture, dust and shock resistance that has become a hallmark of flagship Nikon D-SLRs, while preserving the usability and ergonomics that allow the camera to remain an extension of the photographer’s vision. Attention to detail goes so far as to include a self-diagnostic shutter system that is tested to exceed 300,000 cycles for maximum durability and longevity. The camera’s body also maintains the resilient magnesium alloy construction and form factor of the D3, promoting consistent Nikon system synergy.

    A bright and accurate viewfinder offers 100 percent coverage with 0.7x magnification. The body also houses Nikon’s acclaimed 3.0-inch super density LCD screen, now relied upon by so many photographers. The high-resolution 920,000-dot screen is viewable at wide angles up to 170 degrees, and will allow photographers to quickly zoom in to confirm critical focus. Users can also output the video signal to an external display via HDMI to allow client viewing. Thanks to incredibly efficient internal circuitry, the D3X can capture up to 4400* shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium ion battery.

    Nikon will increase its price soon 1st February 2008

    If you are Nikon shooters or want to use Nikon camera equipment in short term, the price on many part of the world including USA reported will be increase on February 1st. On all items. approximately 15% on camera bodies and 18% on all lenses. It will also increase compact cameras and accessories.

    So if you need some Nikon gears for coming months, please be prepare for the price hike or order it before the month ends.

    Nikon D700 vs Nikon D300

    Some of you maybe a little bit confused on what should you get, either Nikon D300 or Nikon D700. Both are high quality top of the line Nikon digital slr camera. Almost similar in size and shape, but they are actually fall into different category.

    Nikon D700 is a full frame sensor (FX), which means that it employs larger sensor than D300 which is using 1.5 crop sensor (DX or smaller sensor) .
    Because of the differences of the crop factor, there will make a difference in focal length of the lens you attached to each camera. In crop factor camera, you will get a farther reach because you will multiply the lens focal length with the crop factor of 1.5. So if you have 100mm lens, then it will be acting like 150mm (100 X 1.5) in Nikon D300. This feature will be helpful if you shooting wildlife or sports. On the other hand, Nikon D700 will be great in wide landscape shots.

    In term of noise handling, The D700 is pretty usable up to 6400, while D300 is very usable at 1600, so it you will gain 1-2 stops advantage if you use D700. This is especially useful if you shooting in low light condition or fast-pace action indoor sports.

    The other important different is the viewfinder will be significantly larger.

    Read More…
    Body and Controls
    As you can see in the images, D300 is a wider camera. This will help if you have a big hand or fingers. Because it is wider, D300 also has a larger top LCD screen where it display almost everything you need including Nikon’s sophisticated the auto focus mode.

    On the other hand, The D700 is more narrower. It has a big viewfinder and pop up flash in the middle. The trade off is you get a narrower top LCD screen. But don’t worry you still get most of the important information handy.

    Other than that, most of the controls, button placements and build quality are almost the same as D300.

    Lens Compatibility
    If you decided on moving from DX format camera such as D300, D70, D80, D60, D40, you will need to let go DX lenses and low quality lenses. Because the full frame sensor is not compromising on low quality lens. It will show the defects on the image.

    The good news is you can still use the DX lens on D700, but the resolution will be down to 5 megapixel instead of 12 megapixel.

    Some newer lens such as 70-200mm VR f/2.8 also can’t escape from this unforgiving sensor in D700. To get the most fo this camera, you need to invest on lenses that designed for FX. They are quite expensive, for example: Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8.

    In a nutshell, if you choose Nikon D700, prepare to spend more bucks on the lenses. Without good lenses, you can’t get the image quality that you suppose to get from full frame camera.

    Related posts:

    Nikon 50mm f/1.4G or Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM

    Recently, Nikon just launches their new 50mm f/1.4G lens. This lens has been long waited by Nikon fans. But is this lens a lot better than its predecessor? Nikon 50mm f/1.4D ? or Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM?

    What is the improvement?

    1. First, this lens will work with Nikon D40, D40X and D60 digital slr camera.
    2. Second, it has a faster focusing due to AF-S motor
    3. Third, it is sharper wide open.
    4. Fourth, it produce better color-contrast

    According to Tom Iancu, a Nikon user who posts review in Amazon.com, the extreme sharpness of this lens has a trade off. The bokeh or blur in the background is not smooth. On the other hand, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (slightly cheaper by the time I write the article) is not as sharp wide open, but it create a smooth, buttery bokeh.

    About the build quality, Sigma is better. It feels tougher, but also heavy and bigger (520g vs 290g).

    So it boils down to what you like, extreme sharpness, or smoother bokeh. Tom personally suggests that you get both.

    For Nikon 50mm f/1.4D owner, the upgrade will help boost sharpness and faster in auto focus especially if you use older or smaller Nikon cameras (D70, D80, D60, D40).