Written on: 11/06/2009 by amclaurin (2 reviews written)
Autofocus is excellent, once it locks on to a subject you can set it to follow that subject and it will continue to track even if it temporarily moves out of vision, I don't think there is a better camera than the D300 at doing this. Shooting options are excellent, there are a huge variety of shutter speeds, exposure bracketing and flash options as well as a good range of ISO settings (and ISO up to 800 in low light gives very usable results). JPEG are also well rendered, having shot hundreds of JPEG and RAW files side by side unless you have a high ISO setting you have to look very hard to see any loss of detail in the JPEG. The fast shooting speed (6.3 frames a second using high quality jpeg) is also excellent, I have one excellent shot of my son in mid air scoring a rugby try, when friends compliment me on the shot I rarely explain that I actually took around 18 shots in 3 seconds and just picked the most dramatic.
This is a heavy camera, you will notice it if you carrying around for a full day or tracking a subject for an hour. There are no really easy point and shoot modes, I have shot some truly useless shots with this camera through having the settings incorrectly set (although you can set up presets as you learn how to use it). Both the D90 and D5000 have some interesting features which this camera may lack. Although not bad in low light it really isn't a patch on the D700 if indoor photography is your thing. Nikon make you pay for the image processing and camera remote control software which I understand Canon supply for free with their SLRs.
Before buying any camera I would advise people to go to a real dealers and actually try holding the camera and using it for a few minutes with the lenses you want to use. I say this because I went to a dealers after reading many reviews to buy the Nikon D90 and ended up with the D300, simply because paired with the lens I most wanted (the 105mm Macro) the D300 fitted my hands perfectly and the D90 didn't. This is a heavy camera but one where you feel the engineering quality, after a while you can concentrate on the picture / viewfinder and know the controls are where you want them. The build quality is superb, I have dropped it (once, but from height!) taken over 6000 pictures and the thing looks like new. The viewfinder is excellent, another factor which led me to pick it over the D90. The lens selection is also very good, I love the 105 macro, the 18-200 zoom is a use all day lens and I have recently bought the excellent 11-16mm Tokina to play with wide angle.