Simon Stafford casts an eye over the new D300.
The new D3 is undoubtedly the "flagship" in the Nikon D-SLR lineup but the D300, announced alongside the D3 has the ability to emulate many of the key aspects of its advanced performance.
Making use of the same 51-area auto focus system, 3-inch / 920,000-dot rear LCD monitor screen, Nikon's new EXPEED Image Processing System (EIPS), which it the key to the camera's speed and processing power, 14-bit A/D conversion for NEF Raw files, the new Picture Control System options that enable the user to fine-tune and adjust fundamental aspects of the way in which images are rendered, so they can define the exact tone, sharpening, brightness and saturation they require, LiveView, High Definition Media Interface (HDMI) video out, AF calibration adjustment, Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) CompactFlash card support to provide significantly faster camera-to-card write times (using for example UDMA-capable cards such as Lexar's 300X and SanDisk's Extreme IV range), real-time lateral chromatic aberration correction, Active D-Lighting, and compatibility with the new WT-4/WT-4A transmitter, the D300 is set to pack a powerful photographic punch!
The D300 uses a Sony-made, DX-format (15.6 x 23.7 mm) sensor that delivers 12.3 million (effective) pixel resolution images that incorporates a self-cleaning feature. In its body only configuration, powered by a single EN-EL3e battery, the D300 can shoot at up to 6 fps but attach the optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 that accepts a single EN-EL4a battery (the same battery used for the D3 and D2-series cameras) and the frame rate is increased to an impressive 8 fps. In order to deliver such pace the shutter has a lag time of just 45ms shutter lag. Underlining its professional aspirations the viewfinder offers a full, 100% coverage (the D200 extends to only 95%), and the camera offers an ISO range of 200-3200 (plus Lo-1 & Hi-1 options of 100 and 6400 respectively). As to be expected the D300 is fully compatible with Nikon's i-TTL Speedlight (flash) system and has a full-featured Commander Mode for wireless control and triggering of compatible remote flash units.
Nikon is set to begin deliveries of the D300 from November 2007, with an expected recommend price of £1299.99 inc. VAT.
If the auto focus system and high ISO performance are as good as Nikon claim the D300 represents a significant step forward in the evolution of the digital SLR; based on a handful of frames shot with a prototype camera a few weeks ago my very earliest impressions of both aspects are very favourable but only comprehensive testing in real world conditions will tell just what the camera can do!
Interestingly Nikon have announced that the D300 is not a replacement for the D200, which will remain in production for the time being at least; a measure of the latter's success to date and the belief that it continues to fulfill a role in the midrange D-SLR lineup. Once the D300 is available I would expect the price of the D200 might become even more attractive than it is currently. The full press release from Nikon can be seen here.
The basic specification of the new D300 is set out in the following table, with details of the D200 alongside for the purposes of comparison. Significant differences are highlighted in red. The full press release with specification can be seen at here.
|Effective Pixels||10.2 million||12.3 million|
|Format||Nikon DX||Nikon DX|
(four-direction vibration system)
|Image Size||3,872 x 2,592||4,288 x 2,848|
|ISO||100 - 1600||200 - 3200|
|Low ISO||No||Yes - 100|
|High ISO||Yes (+1/3, +2/3, and +1EV)||Yes - 6400|
(single card port)
(single card port)
|Storage System||Uncompressed NEF, Compressed NEF, JPEG||Uncompressed NEF, Compressed NEF, JPEG|
|White Balance||Auto, 6 manual settings, Kelvin, and Preset||Auto, 6 manual settings, Kelvin, and Preset|
|LCD Monitor||2.5" 230,000 TFT LCD||3.0" 920,000 TFT LCD|
|Interface||Hi-Speed USB 2.0||Hi-Speed USB 2.0|
|Chassis||Metal Alloy||Metal Alloy|
|Lens Mount||Nikon F||Nikon F|
|Support for non-CPU type Nikkor lenses||Yes||Yes|
|Autofocus||Multi-CAM 1000||Multi-CAM 3500DX|
|AF areas||Eleven (7 wide-area)||Fifty-one|
|AF modes||Single, Dynamic, Group Dynamic, Dynamic with closest subject priority||Single, Dynamic, Dynamic with closest subject priority. AF sensor areas can be grouped as 9, 21, or 51.|
|Metering Sensor||1005-segement RGB sensor||1005-segement RGB sensor|
|Exposure Metering||3D Color Matrix II, CW, Spot||3D Color Matrix II, CW, Spot|
|Exposure modes||P, A, S, and M||P, A, S, and M|
|Exposure Compensation||+/- 5 EV||+/- 5 EV|
|Exposure bracketing||Yes - 2 to 9 exp. Increments of 1/3,1/2, 2/3, 1EV||Yes - 2 to 9 exp. Increments of 1/3,1/2, 2/3, 1EV|
|Shooting modes||Single, Continuous-low, Continuous-high, Mirror lock-up, Self-timer||Single, Continuous-low, Continuous-high, Mirror lock-up, LiveView, Self-timer|
|Max shooting speed||5 fps||6 fps
(8fps with MB-D10)
|Shutter||30 to 1/8000 sec. +Bulb||30 to 1/8000 sec. +Bulb|
|Flash Sync||1/250 sec.||1/250 sec.|
|Auto FP Hi-Speed sync||Yes||Yes|
|Flash control||TTL flash (1,005-pixel sensor)||TTL flash
|GN (m/ft - ISO100) - manual||13/42||12/39|
|Power||1x EN-EL3e||1x EN-EL3e|
|Battery grip||MB-D200 (2x EN-EL3e, or 6x AA)||MB-D10 (1x EN-EL3e, 1 x EN-EL4a, or 8x AA)
(Note: battery in body is retained)
|Wireless Transmitter||WT-3/WT-3a||WT-4/WT-4a (compatible with D3)|
|Remote Release||Nikon 10-pin accessory terminal||Nikon 10-pin accessory terminal|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||147 x 113 x 74 mm
5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in
|147 x 114 x 74 mm
5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9 in
|Weight (g/oz)||830 / 29||825 / 29|
© Simon Stafford
Posted on: Friday 24 August 2007