Nikon D300s DSLR
Quality stills workhorse gets HD video
Review The Nikon D300s is the successor to the original D300 that appeared in the UK almost two years ago. Sharing the same 51-point autofocus and 12.3Mp sensor, it’s the cheaper DX format alternative to the top of the range Nikon D3 DSLR, and sits neatly next to the full frame D700.
Nikon's D300s: still for stills, but with video if you need it
The differences from the original D300 are quite subtle from the outside. The Live View Control and Info Buttons have moved, and the Multi control pad on the back has been tinkered with. The previous version was flatter and encouraged more 'OK' confirmations than with the D300s panel, which sticks out more and needs fewer actions for the various prompts.
Unsurprisingly, HD video is the headline grabber with this model, which is recorded as a Motion JPEG AVI file with a resolution of 1280 x 720p at 24fps. The recording time is five minutes at the maximum resolution or 20 minutes at 640 x 424. It might not seem much but is a perfect amount of time for the short events that occur in front of us, while giving the nod to filmmakers with the frame rate choice.
One feature you might find useful – especially if the best man's speech didn't start exactly on time – is the trim editing in-camera of the video shot. You can cut the beginning and end off, though with a five minutes maximum recording time – it's seat of your pants time! We used a Sans Disk Ultra II SDHC card, which was very happy to record burst stills and video, despite not being cutting edge.
If not recording in Auto mode, you should meter and set your aperture/shutter manually for the scene before pressing Live View mode, so the camera will not be tempted to add any video gain and, hence, noise. In short, if it what you’re seeing on the LCD panel would make a good photograph, then you can be reassured that it's going to make very pleasing moving images too.
HD video recording, but a five minutes maximum for each shot
In crowded areas the built-in microphone – under the model number in the top right corner – did well, picking out the subject from the background. Like most in this new class of video capable devices, the audio is a bolt on and not a selling point, and it is worth reiterating this is not a camcorder. So expectations should not be as high, especially as it records at 11kHz rather than the professional rate of 48kHz.
As well built as an F3?
Give over, my F3 "Dinosaur" will be working many years after this generation of digital junk is in a landfill
Oh Yeah. The one that has had at least one firmware upgrade since its launch a few months ago.
That when compled with the AF Problems with the 5D2 seems to me to be a sign that they release stuff before its ready.
I have a D700 and it is great. Video? Not for me thanks. One of my photo buddies is biting the bullet and selling his Canon gear after his 5D2 shutter failed for the second time. He spent a weekend with my D700 and that made his mind up for him. Sod Canon and Hello Nikon.
mines the one with a load of Nikon gear in the pockets.
What I don't need is you bastards telling me about a decent Nikon DSLR. I love my old Nikon film SLR and am trying not to be tempted right now. Nikon seem to make admirablysolid cameras which provide great results with minimal hassle.
I hate you guys :)
You think the F3 is tough, had an F1 fall from a table ~42" land on its head.
Had a dent in it, but other than the cosmetic dent, it still works like a charm.
Now try that with any of the newer cameras.
A hand grenade because thats how tough Nikon products are.
BTW, while you could modify your old bayonet mounts, not worth the price.
Then you'd appreciate this line:
"This, combined with the magnesium alloy chassis, makes the D300s reminiscent of some of those tanks like the F3, from a bygone film age."
Actually I used to shoot with an F1 and then the EL and ELW.
Considering what it will cost to actually process film, I'll gladly take the digital cameras any day.
As to the other poster talking about using your old lenses. More than likely not.
It depends on how old your lenses are.