Nikon D7000 vs Nikon D300s

by Enche Tjin on September 25, 2010

Nikon D7000 release may cause many confusion among people that want to get Nikon SLR cameras. If you are looking for upgrade from your Nikon older DSLR such as D80, D90 or D200, you might be confused whether to get, Nikon D7000 or Nikon D300s. Each cameras has its own positive and negative so it is hard to decide on which is the best.

Let’s take a look closer:

Nikon D7000 and 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, as shown in Photokina 2010

Nikon D7000 and 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, as shown in Photokina 2010

Nikon D7000 benefits

  • New 16 MP sensor
  • High ISO latitude from 100 up to ISO 25600
  • Full HD 1080p with continuous auto focus
  • Improved metering
  • Two user defined setting (U1, U2)
  • Smaller and lighter
  • Dual SD card slot
  • Dedicated live view switch
  • Scene modes for beginners
  • Approx. $200 cheaper

Nikon D300s benefits

  • Faster continuous shooting up to 8 fps with battery grip
  • 51 Auto focus points, 15 cross type
  • Dual CF/SD card slot
  • Dedicated switches for release mode, metering, and auto focus
  • Better ergonomic especially for people with large hand

From specification wise, Nikon D7000 is better in core area such as image sensor. Nikon D7000 is the first Nikon SLR cameras that offers 16 MP and only second below full frame Nikon D3x which has 24 MP. Beside that, D7000 offers improvement in ISO range, higher quality video, improve metering in a tight package. It also offers user to customize their shooting mode via user defined setting.

However, I think Nikon D300s is still better for photographers who shoots very fast moving subject such as candid or sports. It can shoot faster burst, has very fast and reliable auto focus system, and it has many dedicated switches so that you can change setting faster. D300s can also take CF or SD card altogether. Physically, D300s is a bit wider, a slightly taller, this is good if you use long or heavy lens. It improves balance.

In conclusion, take get D300s if you work primarily for sports, or wildlife photography. Grab Nikon D7000 for other kind of photography and save some money for lenses :)

Nikon D7000 Nikon D300s
Image 16 MP / APS-C Sensor 12 MP / APS-C sensor
LCD 3 inch, 910k resolution 3 inch, 910k resolution
Auto Focus 39 AF points / 9 cross type 51 AF points, 15 cross type
ISO ISO 100-6400, expandable to 25600 ISO 200-3200, expandable to 6400 and 100
Movie recording Full HD 1080p 24 fps with improved AF-F (Servo) HD 720p 24 fps
Continuous shooting 6 fps 7 fps and approx. 8 fps with battery grip
Handling/Control + others Dual SD card slot, dedicated live view switch, two user defined setting, improved exposure metering Dual CF/SD card slot, dedicated metering, release mode and auto focus mode switch, bigger top lcd screen
Body material Partial magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Price $1200, street Approx. $1450 street
Size/Weight 132 x 105 x 77 mm / 780 g 147 x 114 x 74 mm   / 918 g (2.2 lb.)
Viewfinder penta prism, 100% coverage, .94 magnification penta prism, 100% coverage, .94x magnification
Nikon D7000 top, Nikon D300s below

Nikon D7000 top, Nikon D300s below

Nikon D7000 top, Nikon D300s below

Nikon D7000 top, Nikon D300s below

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg September 26, 2010 at 2:40 am

Base ISO of the D7000 is 100, not 200.

Enche Tjin September 26, 2010 at 2:45 am

yes u’re right thanks.

pepex September 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

hey guys, does the d7000 can be used as a flash commander as same as the d300s capability? any idea about this..please feed me back..

Enche Tjin September 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

yes

wasserball October 19, 2010 at 8:32 am

Upgrading from D90 to D7000 for the ISO 6400 that the D300s does not have. One f stop in low stadium light means being able to freeze that soccer ball that the D300s cannot. Yes, burst mode is slightly better, 8 vs 6 for sports, but not significantly important. The D7000 wins out even for sports photography, particularly in low light situations.

Dan November 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Hi i read recently that the d300s still has a better quality sensor than the d7000 even though it has less mp is that correct and if so which would be a better picture quality ???

Enche Tjin November 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm

No Dan, I don’t think D300s has better image quality than D7000

Greg Lyles November 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

Any word on when the d7000 will be available? I’ve got one preordered from Adorama.

velt5 November 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm

dimension of light sensor is the same. More mpx means size of one is smaller, so worse quality (less light for one pixel ). D300s wins.

kaye November 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

i think d300s is more suited if you are on sports photography or animal photography or anything that is fast moving, while d7000 is for other kinds.

sheldon December 23, 2010 at 8:04 am

D300s is a Semi-Pro body compared to a D7000 which is mid level. While the specs of the D7000 screams pro, it still is not at the same level in build quality “front bracket still plastic” as the D300s. While I cannot argue at the results of the D7000, the D300s has a larger buffer making it more suited for Sports photography. Set both Cameras to JPG, Fine with largest quality and you will see the D7000 will only do around 20pictures before slowing down to 1.5FPS. This is not acceptable for sports and is a major hindernce. Even the EOS canon 60D can do long bursts without slowing down “mind you it is slightly slower at 5.3ftp, however you can hold 5.3 for a very long time before waiting for the camera to slow down”

So it really boils down to what kind of photography and what you need. The D7000 is by no means a D300s killer.

Enche Tjin December 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

well said Sheldon

Lauri December 29, 2010 at 11:14 am

I was just given the d7000 as a gift, but I am torn on exchanging for the d300s. While I don’t shoot a lot of sports, I will shoot inside for dance recitals with lower light conditions. I had my mind set on the D300s until the D7000 came out! I know the body is smaller and lighter, but I read that the D300s is still a better body for the longer, heavier lenses. I have the 24-70 2.8 which is heavy and want the 70-200 2.8 next. Has anyone shot with either of those on the d7000 and has feedback?

Enche Tjin December 29, 2010 at 11:29 am

Yes, that is true, D300s is better if you have bigger lenses. It feels more balanced. Furthermore, for action photography, D300s is better than D7000, because the auto focus is better, and the continuous shooting is faster. So in your case, I recommend Nikon D300s.

dennis February 8, 2011 at 1:19 am

I need a camera that I can use occasionally for indoor ice skating. I am debating between Nikon D7000 and Canon 7D. However, Nikon D300s might be a good choice too. Anyone has any comments on this indoor low light shooting recommendations?
Other uses on the camera is just indoor / outdoor product shots.

Thanks

Sliggor March 13, 2011 at 1:46 am

Nikon D90 and D300s is similar in image quality. i can say this, cous i have them both. but i like d300s cous its larger, and feels more pro. So, if D7000 is better than D90, its better than D300s.

beginner March 31, 2011 at 11:40 am

Thanks for excellent review and all the comments. We would like to get our first DSRL to take pics for my kid activities, such as soccer, piano, karate as well as occasional travel. We used to use general oint-shoot. We read several reviews and talking with friends. We decided to jump into mid-level or semi-pro level to get better quality photos. However, we still could not decide D7000 vs D300. My wife is about 5′5, is D300 too heavy for her to carry for day-to-day taking pics for my son. Very appreciated in advance for your input.

JustOrderedOne March 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

to beginner:
The D300 is geared towards the semi-pro and has the build quality and ergonomics to match. Someone not used to using an SLR might not be comfortable with the size and weight of a D300. Not to sound sexist, but I have read comments from a few D7000 owners who switched over from a D300 because of a wife with small hands who did not like the feel of the D300.
For family use (kids, travel, parties, etc.), the D7000 will most likely be a better choice than the D300. Image quality is arguably (slightly) better with increased resolution and lower noise and other features such as “scene” modes and in-camera editing favor use by a hobbyist or enthusiast – especially one who wants to grow in their photography hobby. The price difference is also substantial – I thought a D300s was about 1699 without lens, while the D7000 is 1499 (less if you shop around) with the respectable kit lens or 1199 for body only. If you go body only, the 18-200 zoom is a great all-arounder for the 600 range. Costco.com had a D7000 with the 18-200 lens along with, I think a bag, and how-to video and book for 1799. But when I look now, they are out of stock, but apparently expecting more.
Depending on your experience level and interest, don’t overlook the D3100 or D5000 (the D5000 is out of production but still available at some places). They are lighter and while geared more towards the beginner, they offer great features and photo quality in a compact package for a lower price. The D90 is also worthy if you don’t want to spend as much as a D7000 (about 1050 with lens).
I considered the D5000 and D90 before deciding on the D7000. I have been a hobbyist for 30 years and my feeling was that I could by a D5000 now and end up upgrading to the D7000 (or it’s successor) or just get the D7000 now and get more use out of it.
Just my $0.02.
Best wishes!

JustOrderedOne March 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm

velt5:
By your rationale, wouldn’t the D40 (6.0 MP, APS-C size sensor) have better picture quality than any other non-full sized sensor camera Nikon has made since?

beginner April 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Very Appeciated your comments. After a hard searching, we finally got the D7000 with 18-200 mm lens kit from Costco yesterday. It costs about 2000 including tax. We have not opened it yet. My neighbour gave us a quoto from a website for D90 with the same lens. For a kit, it is 1460; while a body plus lens is 1350. But my neightbour only uses point-shot camera. She looked up on the web just to help us. We really would like to know if the extra 500 is worth the difference bt the two models and make significant impact on our routine use. Another question is about accessary suggestions (i.e. filters for lens, flash light, tripod). Those are a lot of variety, we try to decide if certain brand are trusted and good price/utility ratio.

Enche Tjin April 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Hello beginner, Nikon D90 is predecessor of D7000. The body looks similar with some differences. But inside, it is totally different.

D7000 has improved from almost every aspect
- built quality
- image quality (high resolution) but need high quality lens to realize its full potential
- shoot 6 fps instead of 4.5 fps
- new auto focus system
- dual SD card slot
- full HD video recording
- about 1 stop better noise management in high ISO

Whether $500 worth the upgrade or not depend on your photography needs. For casual shooters, D90 might be good enough. But for more enthusiasts and active shooters in less fortunate condition (bad weather, high speed subjects, low light environment), D7000 will shines. Otherwise, D90 is more than enough.

Remember that you will need to have high quality lenses too, if not that you will not realize the full potential of Nikon D7000 16 MP sensor.

For filters, I recommend HOYA which is not very expensive but pretty good. For tripod, there are induro, manfrotto or gitzo. For flash, you might want Nikon SB 600,700 or 900 to capitalize on wireless creative lighting system, or if you want to go on budget third party flash like Nissin or Metz will do well.

beginner April 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Many thanks, Enche. Do you think the 18-200 mm can make the differences bt two cameras, or the differences are made by other high end lens?

Enche Tjin April 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm

18-200mm is basically just an average lens, it just slightly better than 18-55mm IS + 55-200mm VR.

I actually recommend 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR lenses if you want to save cost (but you will need carry extra lens in your bag).

other good alternative for walk around lens and a step up from kit lens is Nikon AF-S 16-85mm VR.

beginner April 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks, Enche. So the 18-200mm lens which was got from the D7000 kit will not let me enjoy the advantages of D7000 over D90, right?

Enche Tjin April 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm

you will enjoy some advantages in image quality but not by much.

beginner April 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

In that case, which lens you would suggest to enjoy the bigger benefit from D7000 and also good financial value?

Enche Tjin April 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm

It’s all depend on your budget, minimum, I’ll recommend Nikon 16-85mm VR</a for walk around lens.

For telephoto zoom, I recommend Nikon 70-300mm VR.

Then, there is a prime lens, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 for portrait or low light condition

There are plenty higher quality lenses in $1000-$2500 price range. Let me know if you are interested to know

beginner April 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Hi Enche, I compared to the prices of D7000 + 16-85 mm lens versus D7000 with 18-200 mm lens bonus kit (costco). The costco kit was 1800 plus tax (about 2000). The other is 1860 plus 30 s/h. So, it is about the same. Should I return the costco kit (which is still not opened yet) to get D7000 with 16-85 mm lens? If the difference is big, I would do that.

Enche Tjin April 4, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Yes, I will recommend that (the D7000+16-85mm) it will be sweet :)

beginner April 5, 2011 at 1:01 am

Many thanks, Enche.

lol April 17, 2011 at 4:10 am

velt5: you’re such an idiot

beginner: i would get the 16-85 since you would have all the ranges: wide-angle (for landscapes), general purpose (18-50), and portrait (50-85) all in the same lens.

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