Nikon Announces D300s DSLR With HD Video

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Nikon D300s - DSLR With HD Video 
After a few furious weeks of rumors on the Web, Nikon has finally made it public – the Nikon D300s is official. The new camera is basically a bored-out, ported and polished D300. It has the same body and 12.3-megapixel DX sensor as the D300 along with some a few new features and some nice performance enhancements. But most important – the D300s has 720p HD video capture with auto focus. Very nice.

Besides the addition of video, the new D300s has a faster 7 frames-per-second continuous capture rate and Nikon claims their “newly-accelerated” Scene Recognition System (SRS) improves auto focus and metering performance. The D300s also has a new version of the Nikon D-Lighting contrast adjustment system, which offers up to five frames of Active D-Lighting bracketing. For wedding photographers there’s a new Quiet Shutter Release mode.

Nikon D300s Digital SLR With HD Video

It’s great that Nikon is offering some seriously upgraded specs for the still photographers. But there’s no way around it – video features and functionality are what everyone wants to know about. No, the D300s does not have1280p resolution like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Video is 720p at 24 frames-per-second and stereo sound is possible using an external microphone input. That’s great. But the really big news is that there’s now auto focus in the D-Movie mode. And maybe that’s a better feature than 1280p resolution. After all, what good is high resolution if you can’t keep it in focus? It could be argued that in the real world, for most people, auto focus is more important than resolution.

It might be tempting to dismiss the Nikon D300s as just a warmed up version of the D300. But I think Nikon did a really good job of heating things up. Even if you don’t care about the video, improved auto focus and the faster 7 frames-per-second frame rate (compared to the D300′s 6 FPS standard frame-rate) are pretty exciting. Nikon photographers who’ve been waiting to upgrade, it could be your time has come.

The new Nikon D300s will be available toward the end of August for about $1800. Nikon is also introducing a new consumer digital SLR, the D3000; and updated versions of the 18-200mm VR and 70-200mm VR lenses.

Nikon D300s Press Release >>

Related Content:
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Nikon Web Site

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Heiko Mausolf says:

    >>”But there’s no way around it – video features and functionality are what everyone wants to know about.”

    Sorry, I may be wrong, but I doubt that there are so many people out there who really care about finding HD video capabilities on an SLR’s feature list. Even worse: most photo web sites and print magazines note missing video capture as a “contra”. We shouldn’t force SLR makers to squeeze near senseless features into their cameras. In my opinion, there are more than enough reasonably priced compact cameras out there that offer a simple but effective video mode. So if I wanted video, I might spend 200 $ / Euros for a capable compact.

    I am quite impressed with the list of improvements Nikon built into their D300. It shows me that this is a mature camera, leaving only little to improve. The D300s seems to be a nice upgrade to any two- or four-figure Nikon, but I wonder whether there are so many D300 owners who simply upgrade to a D300s.

  • Mark Baker says:

    Looks like the D300s is in a D700 body not the D300. I have both a 300 and 700 and looking at the pictures the new 300s lacks the lock that is on the D3 and D300.

  • Bryan says:

    Twelve years ago I didn’t see the use for a mobile phone either. Now I can’t live without it. One year ago I wasn’t quite convinced about IPod touch and watching video on it. Now it saves me from being bored to death every morning. I have never been much of a video-fan myself, but seeing the little clips, shooting video with your existing lenses, the DOF, the possibility to spice up your photo taking with “living photos”, I can’t wait! Unfortunately, my wallet says I have to;)
    It’s the future man, stop fighting it;)

  • Heiko Mausolf says:


    I’m not fighting the future. I don’t question that it might be handy to have a video camera (or a cell phone, or an iPod, or something else). I just don’t think that it’s the right way to squeeze more and more features into one camera body.

    Photo magazines test cameras, and often they summarize their opinion in a pro and con list. I have noticed that a missing video recording feature will be listed as a “con”, and that’s what I find ridiculous.

    Camera manufacturers squeeze more and more megapixels into their cameras, because those figures appear prominently in adverts. More megapixels, video modes etc. say nothing about a camera’s quality.

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for commenting. I think you’re making some good points. I would never put not having video in the cons list of one of our pro reviews. Having the option to shoot video could be in the “pro” list. But since I don’t look to SLRs for video, I won’t hold it against a camera if it doesn’t have that feature.

    When I write these annnouncement articles, it’s hard to say much about camera quality unless I had a pre-production camera in my hands. In this case I didn’t. So it’s all speculation based on experience with other cameras and the features and specs in the release. In our actual pro reviews, we try to always put the emphpasis on “camera experience.” That’s how the camera actually operates in the field. It’s a combination of all the elements of the camera when you’re actually using it. I like to sum it up by asking, “Does the camera facilitate photo-making, or does it get in the way?” In the case of video, I don’t think it really matters much. Not yet, anyway. However, with D300s, the addition of auto focus for video might make a real difference. This may be the first digital SLR that can actually be used practically by the average person as a video camera. We’ll have to wait and see. As a DSLR, it doesn’t offer much of an upgrade if you already own a D90 or a D300. On the other hand, if you’ve got a D60, a D200 or a D80, it might look really good.

  • btp2u says:

    Heiko, just wait till you see the next upgrades, they feature5.57mm auto fire assault rifle with a 25 mm grenade launcher with a Ron Popeil pocket fisherman attachment. What amazing times we live in.

  • Photo-John says:

    Funny, btp2u. At first I was gonna delete your comment as spam and then I realized it was legit – sort of :-)

    I’m waiting for a camera with a microwave and a bottle opener. First one to make it gets my money!

  • Yebo gogo says:

    aaah yes – the swiss army of all cameras

  • Cameron says:

    Judging Nikon history, I generally find the minor upgrade models to be a waste of money. At best, they can be a good preview of what special features we might expect from the next generation of cameras. I.e.- “Quiet shutter” which is just a catch up position to Canon’s last two serious bodies. It’s a back and forth and I’ll wait for the D4 generation to come around.

    By the way, video sure is swell…. It’s a neat trick and all. but as a photographer making a living taking photos I’ll call a videographer buddy of mine to cover that angle. I’m not in it for that gimmick, despite what the future might bring. If the future outlaws still photos then I suppose I’ll adapt. I respect a cinematographer’s medium, but I prefer mine.

  • Joe Cottone sr says:

    I waited 31 years to upgrade to digital photography from my Nikon FE & I am extremley happy with my D300s, since I bought it in Sept 2009 I have taken over 4,500 pictures in all scenairos it performed better than I ever dreamed. If I had known what pleasure(s) awaited me I would have made the plunge sooner, but at least I have the option of using my old Nikkor Lenses on my D300s & did so with great results.I saw that the 300s is an upgrade to the 300 & thats why I bought it. As I said I am elated with my Nikon D300s & have not looked back even once.

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for your comment, Joe. You should really write a review for your camera. I think you have great perspective to offer. To write a review click on the green “Write A Review” button above and then share your experience with the D300s. We have a review contest now (through July 31st, 2010) and your reveiw will count as an entry. There’s more information on the contest here:

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment. And thanks in advance for your review!

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