The 12.3-megapixel Nikon D300 digital SLR is finally here, but how does it improve on the already acclaimed D200?
Image Quality & Value For Money
Nikon D300 review – Image Quality
The Nikon D300 has a JPEG engine of the EXPEED processor and can produce some fantastic JPEGs, and there’s a definite improvement over earlier models. However, as expected, it’s the Raw files that offer the most opportunity for sparkling results, especially if using Nikon NX or Adobe’s Raw engine in Photoshop or Lightroom.
Nikon D300 review – Exposure
There aren’t many instances where the D300 gets it wrong, with consistent exposures time and again. There are times when bright skies can fool the meter, but I rarely had to resort to exposure compensation and when I did, it was during particularly tricky lighting.
Nikon D300 review – Image Noise
There’s little to criticise, with exceptional noise control throughout the 300’s ISO range. In fact, we would say that visually, this has the best noise control we’ve have seen yet on a DSLR.
Nikon D300 review – Tone & Contrast
There’s so much information recorded on the D300’s 12MP sensor that bringing out the full tonal range from the Raw files is easy, even in the deepest shadow areas.
Nikon D300 review – Colour & White Balance
Overall the WB is pretty spot on, though we wouldn’t say it’s perfect. Images shot in artificial light maintain a warmth rather than a neutrality, though some may like the look. The built-in flash, typically of these units, is too cold, though.
Nikon D300 review – Sharpness & Detail
Hooking the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 zoom lens up to the D300 body, we managed to produce exceptionally sharp and detailed images. Thanks to the high-resolution sensor, detail even in extreme cases is maintained and crisp.
Nikon D300 review – Value For Money
Nikon D300 review – Little to Criticise
Though the Nikon D300 isn’t a cheap DSLR camera, it has so much going for it that there’s little that can be criticised. Its nearest competitor in the current crop is the Sony Alpha A700 – which scored an impressive 91% in the December issue, is a lovely camera and £200 cheaper – but the Nikon D300 and its added value of access to the Nikon system adds a huge number of brownie points.