According to many the D300 was for long the best semi-pro DSLR on the marked, and with the upgrade to D300s I was rather interested to see how it preformed in the field. Carrying my D3 and D3x with me to
I realized soon, however, that testing the new camera under good conditions should be more difficult than expected. Firstly I love my D3 and D3x and the files I get from those cameras, and at the same time my wife, whom never used a SLR in her life, just wouldn't let go of the D300s. After only a short introduction to the art of photography she picked up the camera and started shooting good images of the African wildlife. I was quit fascinated at times, how easy she picked up the controls of the camera and how quickly she managed to do essential changes in the camera during action photography. After only a couple of days she was already catching eagles and vultures in flight!
Eventually I managed to persuade her to lend me the camera once and again, and I got to try it in the field as I wanted. Usually when I got my hands on the D300s the light was hard and conditions challenging with high contrast scenes. The first thing I noticed was the light weight of the camera. In addition to the body I took the new 18-200mm, also compact and light weight. This was quit a difference from the D3 and 500mm f/4! The combination turned out to be very handy, especially when trying to get close to wildlife in urban areas along the Kenyan coast. The Sykes’ monkey (ISO 250, 1/320sek and f/5,6) and the rare Angolean Black and White Colobus (ISO 400, 1/250sek and f/5,6) below was shot using the D300s and 18-200mm. Both using the build in flash.
It was also a good combination when I was going for snapshots during lunch breaks and between gamedrives. The build in flash was very convenient rather than having to pull out the SB900 every time I wanted to take a picture of the Masai guide and driver. The image below was taken on 18mm, ISO 200, 1/50sek and f/22. VR on the lens came in handy here. The picture is taken mid day under the harsh African sun and I believe it shows the great dynamics of the files from this camera.
However, when I needed to get serious with the big cats I put the tiny DSLR on my monstrous 500mm. Adding the 1,5 DX crop to this lens gave me an opportunity to compose interesting close ups of the resting Cheetahs below.
Well, then it was the 720p HD video. This seems to be great stuff. I didn’t really get to test it as much as I wanted since I was to busy getting my shots with the pro houses when something really good happened, and partly because my wife wouldn’t let go of the camera. I did however get some sequences. I have never used DSLR video prior to this and I was surprised just how simple it turned out to be. Choosing the preferred settings in the camera, press
PS! Press the HD button to see the true quality if the file output.
I am hoping to try the video function a bit more before I have to return the camera. I would like to see how the autofocus performs with moving waders on migration. Hopefully I have something more for you next week.
If I would have to conclude I must say that the D300s is a brilliant DX semi-pro DSLR that obviously is easy to use (according to my wife) and that delivers dynamic image files, and I wish my D3 could take HD video.
NOTE! Press on the images to see the 1400px version of the files.