Nikon D300s ISO Test and Sample Images

by on September 24, 2009

in Nikon

Nikon D300s

The Nikon D300s is a 12.3-megapixel DSLR with an equivalent sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400.  I have had the pleasure of testing the D300s for a few weeks now and wanted to share some sample images that demonstrate the image quality and low light potential from this camera.  The following images were captured at night using the Nikon D300s and AF-S 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Below you’ll find several handheld shots at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, followed by a series of shots from a tripod capturing the same scene from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 with one series using noise reduction and one series without noise reduction.  Additionally, you will find several charts showing a comparison of the sensitivity range at a variety of Noise Reduction settings.

All images were captured using auto white balance and JPEG large / fine quality.

Feel free to click on any of the images for the original files to inspect for personal use (or, right-click and choose “Save as…”).  Please do not reproduce any images on the Internet or elsewhere without permission.

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/4.5 @ 1/80s

Nikon D300s
ISO 6400 – f/2.8 @ 1/25s

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/2.8 @ 1/40s

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/2.8 @ 1/60s

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/2.8 @ 1/125s

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/1.4 @ 1/1250s

The following images demonstrate the D300s’ low light noise performance at both low and high sensitivity settings.

The first set of images were captured in Aperture Priority mode at f/5.6, High ISO Noise Reduction and Long Exposure Noise Reduction were turned off. The focus point is the Bank of America sign at the top of the building near the center of the frame.

In the second set of images, High ISO Noise Reduction was set to normal and Long Exposure Noise Reduction was turned on.

In the final set of images at ISO 3200 and 6400, High ISO Noise Reduction was set to high with Long Exposure Noise Reduction turned on.

Nikon D300s ISO and Noise Test – Noise Reduction OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 100 – f/5.6 @ 13s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 200 – f/5.6 @ 5s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 400 – f/5.6 @ 1.6s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 800 – f/5.6 @ 1.3s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 1600 – f/5.6 @ .625s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/5.6 @ 1/3s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s
ISO 6400 – f/5.6 @ 1/6s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned OFF

Nikon D300s ISO and Noise Test – Noise Reduction ON – High ISO Noise Reduction at Normal

Nikon D300s
ISO 100 – f/5.6 @ 10s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 200 – f/5.6 @ 5s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 400 – f/5.6 @ 2.5s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 800 – f/5.6 @ 1.3s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 1600 – f/5.6 @ .625s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/5.6 @ 1/3s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 6400 – f/5.6 @ 1/6s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

The following chart compares the D300s images with and without Noise Reduction.

Nikon D300s ISO and Noise Test – Noise Reduction ON – High ISO Noise Reduction at High

Nikon D300s
ISO 3200 – f/5.6 @ 1/3s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

Nikon D300s
ISO 6400 – f/5.6 @ 1/6s – High ISO NR & Long Exposure NR turned ON

The following chart demonstrates the difference between the “High” and “Normal” settings for High ISO Noise Reduction.

Initial Impressions on the Nikon D300s

I really like this camera. I feel pretty comfortable shooting at ISO 3200 in most situations.  I’m sure there are plenty of wedding photographers out there getting good results with fast glass and available light with this camera and its predecessor, the D300.  Keep in mind that these are images are straight out of camera JPEG files.  Once you coax a little bit out of the NEF raw files, you get a bit more leniency on low light shooting.

I’ll dig more into the overall performance of the D300s in a full review, which should be coming soon. However, I have to say that even though the Nikon D300s is getting tagged as “just” a refresh to the D300, that’s not so bad.  Pair the D300s with the AF-S 50mm f/1.4 lens and there’s not much it will be afraid of.

For more on the Nikon D300s, you can see Photography Bay’s Nikon D300s Reviews and Resources. You can order the D300s from reputable online retailers like B&H Photo.

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{ 10 comments }

1 Doda September 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Nice one! Thank you very much for this detailed post.
It once more affirmed me in shooting raw. The build in noise reduction makes the pictures way too soft, for my taste. Even the ones at ISO6400 look better to me if nothing is applied.
Plus, one always can adjust specified noise reduction to the “keepers”.

2 Sony-Canada September 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm

From what i have been reading lots of people with the Nikon D300 upgraded to the D300s and feel they got rob….. most of the people think the D300s is just a re bag camera and at Around $1700 with no lens i see why they are pissed..

3 NikoDoby September 25, 2009 at 2:32 am

Why would you “upgrade” to a D300S if you already have a D300?! What exactly would you hope to gain? It’s a D300 with an extra card slot and video. So why would they be “pissed”?

4 Sony-Canada September 27, 2009 at 12:47 am

Not me i don’t really like Nikon all you buy with Nikon is am name..i was reading in a Nikon chat form.. as for Camera i will stick to Sony there more to come from Sony that will have the rest running for cover..my way of thinking is why pay more when you can get more for less.just to give you a ideal i got a A700P 16-105, VG Grip, Extra Bat, 62 mm UV and Cir PL Hoya Filter for $1550 New in the Box. Try and get a D300 with that……

5 NikonTheWay October 1, 2009 at 5:33 am

All camera have their own pedigree, people like it or not it is up to them to choose. They are people prefer Nikon over Sony, or Canon over Sony. Just like a car Mercedes with BMW or Jaguar. If you ask me to get the D300s or A700, I would just say D300s is my preference as simple as that.

6 PP October 1, 2009 at 7:33 am

@Sony-Canada: Sony doesn’t offer the same quality as Nikon does. Even if you compare camera’s that have the same sensor (Sony makes Nikon sensors), even then the Nikon camera’s outperform the Sony offerings!

By the way; to me the Sony camera’s jest feel like clumsy bricks compared to the Nikon bodies.

Finally you cannot even start to compare the lenses that you can buy for your camera. You do not buy just a camera, you buy a system!

7 Sony-Canada October 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Yeah just a Regular Nikon user they are all kings you can stay with Nikon and Sink your money there but i have better thing to do with the extra money i save With a Sony . yes they outperform with bell and other stuff that camera don’t need Video Live view all yes you buy a system lens extra everything is extra on a Nikon..you call that a system .it a system to get your money.DxOMark Sensor scale results A700 and a D300 it one point diff on the scale so why such much for a D300 and in Photo you really can tell the difference.

8 Sony-Canada October 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm

The Sony Alpha 700 with its new version 4.0 firmware scored a 66.3 on the DxOMark Sensor scale, putting it in 17th place on the dxomark.com overall ranking, and in 5th place for APS-C cameras. Given its launch date (Sept. 2007), this is a pretty good result.

9 Christopher November 1, 2009 at 8:41 pm

This is very interesting, so thanks for publishing it. The high ISO capabilities are certainly very impressive. But what I would like to know very much, and I have not seen very much comment on, is a comparison with the D300 to see if there has been any real improvement over the past two years. Do you think there has? and if so, what do you think it amounts to? I am not looking for anything too scientific- just to know if you think the difference, if any, is noticable in real-life situations

10 Daniel Dytrych December 26, 2010 at 11:24 am

at sony canada.

Hmmmm, what planet are you currently orbiting. To say Sony make better cameras is like saying Ford make better cars than Ferrari. Nikon is in totally a different league, do your research and find out for yourself before coming here and making a complete fool of yourself. You pay more for a Nikon because you get the quality and genius technology that others cannot match. Just take a look how long Nikon have been making cameras, their portfolio speaks for itself and they are renowned and highly respected for their contribution to the photographing world.

As for Sony, they don’t hold the market in anything they do. Yes, they have a place in many areas of the market but they specialise in none of it, and they don’t even come close to the big boys like Nikon. Sony rely on other manufacturers for their components to build their cameras and Carl Zeiss lenses, they are SHIT!!!

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