1-The shutter is more quiet than the D2X with a different tone.
2-The auto focus seems fast, and with less hunting than the D2x (Which surprised me).
I think the D2X and D300 have equally fast auto focus with all AFS, AF, and AFD lenses.
3-The high ISO is much better than I expected. I had taken the Nikon marketing hype...then scaled
back my expectations. The hype is right.
4-You almost don't need a manual if you are familiar with any Nikon DSLR body. It just comes
naturally. I have few settings left at default now.
5-The feel, and heft was much better than I had expected - very D2X like - Solid, and fits
the hand well.
6-The Auto Focus is the most accurate of any camera I have ever used!
7-The Auto White balance is the most accurate of any camera I have ever used!
8-Image quality is stunning!
9-Images are sharper than any camera I have used...NC2000, D1X, D2X, D200, and D50.
In fact, lenses that were soft on my D2X are sharper on the D300...a wonderful surprise.
Here are some detail shots.
Sub Command Dial, DOF Preview & Function Button, and AF Assist Light
Shooting Mode and Flash Buttons
Mode Dial, Hotshoe, and Eyepiece
Command Dial, AF Buttons, and Diopter Adjustment
First Shots D2X vs D300 Photo Comparison - all photos at 100%
First, I set both the D2X and D300 to the next highest contrast setting from normal. Second, I upped
the sharpness two clicks on the D300 (out of nine settings), and one click higher on the D2X (out of five).
WB=Auto on all these. Some Manual, and some Auto exposure. All images are straight out of the camera
at 100 percent. Only the face was given an auto levels adjustment in Photoshop. The candle was metered
differently by both cameras, but I wanted to show the clean ISO 3200 area around the flame on the D300
and the remarkably clean ISO 6400. It looks like I can conclude one thing.
The reds and magenta have been made velvia-like. Otherwise the other colors look remarkably the same.
These were shot at ISO 200 on both cameras...using AB strobes, 250th sec...same f-stop & lens - etc.
Otherwise my contrast settings may have shifted the D300 slightly. The morie pattern is due to the halftone
line screen. I wanted to check and see how the D300 handled color - due to complaints about the D200 being
different to the pro bodies.
D2X + PS Auto Levels
D300 + PS Auto Levels
Candle at 3200 D2X - no post processing
Candle at 3200 D300 - no post processing
Candle at 6400 D300 - no post processing
Nikon D300 vs D2X ISO test - all photos at 100%
Ok, I know how to make noise :) I combined all the things I have run into that were nightmare noise situations.
Under exposure is one...so I under exposed all these. Next I shot against a black velvet backdrop that was getting
light spill from two AB 150 watt modeling lights with the reistat set to the lowest setting. (about 20 watts of light per
strobe head + softbox modifiers + candle light). Velvet has a tendency to pick up highlight speckles from the light.
Next, the subject is really dark. In this case I shot a two candle candelabra that is made of bronze. Lastly, we will pixel
peep a bad area that measures 600 x 900 pixels at 100%.
Here is the setup...
D2X ISO 800 + a likely noise reduction version
D300 ISO 800 + a likely noise reduction version
D2X ISO 1600 + a likely noise reduction version
D300 ISO 1600 + a likely noise reduction version
D300 ISO 2000 Straight out of the camera
D300 ISO 2500 Straight out of the camera
D300 ISO 3200 Straight out of the camera
D300 ISO 4000 Straight out of the camera
D300 ISO 5000 Straight out of the camera
D300 ISO 6400 + a likely noise reduction version
I shot all the D300's at 12bits per color - not 14 bits. You may think it weird to deliberately make noisy
images, but I wanted to see the difference in how each camera handled a bad situation with a bad
exposure. I wanted to know exactly where the dynamic range begins to break down, and if it would be
fixable. I bought the D300 as a backup to my D2X, and it looks to be a perfect backup. I'm really jazzed
about the high ISO performance.
End of Day one 11-24-07
The sun peeked out for just a minute...got this sparrow. This photo HAS been imaged.
Day two...What about that impression my 400mm Sigma was sharper on the D300?
I have this beautiful 400mm f5.6 Sigma APO Macro that I got from KEH for bird shooting. Well, it
has never worked well on my D2X. It focuses, but not correctly, or accurately. So, I thought I would
try one more time with this new body. Wouldn't that be great if it was sharp on the D300? There is one
odd thing. It is sharper through the entire DOF!!! Look at this apple both the front edge closest to the
camera, and the stem which is the furthest from the camera.
My theory is that the new sensor is sharper by decreasing the area between photosites. (no I don't
have any inside info...just a guess) I combine that with the more accurate focusing system in the D300
versus the D2X, and I think it has pulled this lens off the dust collection shelf, and pressed it back into service.
D300 with Sigma 400mm
D2X with Sigma 400mm
Monday, I discovered that the D300 will shoot when the CF slot is empty (A Default Setting)! I don't
think this is a positive feature. You could think you were capturing images when none were captured.
One kind Australian has pointed out to me that this feature (most likely a marketing feature)
can be turned off. "This "feature" can be disabled by setting Custom Function f9 to [Release locked].
By default it is set to [Release on], which allows a picture to be taken even if no memory card is in the
camera. It will display the picture on the LCD in demo mode." This did become an issue for me. My wife
called me excitedly yesterday that a hawk was sitting on our deck. I explained over the phone how to use
the D300 and to change the settings which I remembered leaving the camera set. I thought I left the CF
slot empty, but told her to try shooting a photo. She reported that it fired, and that she could see the image
in the rear LCD. So, off she fired a bunch....the bird flew away, and she was left with no images. I can
understand in the store wanting this turned on by default, but not after that.
Which brings me to the 421 page manual. I have fallen asleep reading it, but I will continue to read it
hoping to find things like the above, or any new thing. It is very much like the D2X manual, and I find
it hard to maintain concentration, because it is like reading the same book over again...too soon after
reading it the first time.
Hope this info helps
Day four - Lunch Addendum
I suspect the camera image processor has some face recognition thinga-ma-bob in it. I have never seen
so many eyes in focus in my life! It could be a sparrow, wren, nuthatch, finch, squirrel, or person yet the
eyes are spot on in terms of focus. Quite amazing to zoom in real close and see that many keepers. This
probably will effect my workflow.