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.
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 and Noise Test – Noise Reduction ON – High ISO Noise Reduction at Normal
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
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.