A lot of questions from our readers about differences between the D7100 and the D300s are rolling in, so I decided to do a separate article that compares the specifications of the two cameras. It has now been over three years since Nikon announced the D300s. Since then, both Nikon D7000 and D7100 have been announced with impressive specifications that top the D300s in a number of ways. In this Nikon D7100 vs D300s comparison, I will first go into detailed specifications, then talk about main features that differentiate the two cameras. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications.
First, let’s go over the bare specifications:
Nikon D7100 vs D300s Specification Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D7100||Nikon D300s|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Million||12.3 Million|
|Sensor Pixel Size||3.9µ||5.5µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||Yes|
|Sensor Dust Reduction||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||6,000 x 4,000||4,288 x 2,848|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||EXPEED|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, with flash commander mode||Yes, with flash commander mode|
|Storage Media||2x SD||1x CF, 1x SD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||6 FPS, 7 FPS in 1.3x Mode||7 FPS, 8 FPS with grip|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Lossless 14-bit)||6||30|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Compressed 12-bit)||9||45|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||150,000 cycles||150,000 cycles|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II||1,005-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 200|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-6,400||ISO 200-3,400|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 12,800-25,600||ISO 6,400|
|Autofocus System||Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX||Multi-CAM 3500DX|
|Focus Points||51, 15 cross-type||51, 15 cross-type|
|AF Detection||Up to f/8||Up to f/5.6|
|Video Output||MOV, Compressed||AVI, Compressed|
|Video Maximum Resolution||1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i, 60i||1280×720 (720p) @ 24p|
|Audio Recording||Built-in microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
External stereo microphone (optional)
|LCD Size||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD||3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD|
|LCD Resolution||1,228,800 dots dots||921,000 dots|
|Bracketing||2 to 5 frames||2 to 9 frames|
|Wi-Fi Functionality||Eye-Fi Compatible, WU-1a||Eye-Fi Compatible|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||EN-EL3e Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Life||950 shots (CIPA)||950 shots (CIPA)|
|Battery Charger||MH-25 Quick Charger||MH-18a Quick Charger|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Build||Top and Rear Magnesium Alloy||Full Magnesium Alloy|
|Weight (Body Only)||675g||840g|
|Dimensions||135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm||147 × 114 × 74mm|
|MSRP Price||$1,199 (as introduced)||$1,799 (as introduced)|
As you can see, there is a lot of catching up to do for the D300s here. The D7100 has much more resolution – 24.1 MP versus 12.3 MP on the D300s. That alone presents bigger cropping opportunities for the D7100, which also happens to have a 1.3x crop mode that creates 15 MP images, more than D300s’ native resolution. The base ISO of the D7100 starts at 100, which as we have seen from the D7000, has superb dynamic range. And it goes all the way to ISO 6400 natively, while the D300s is maxed out at ISO 3200. Boosted, the D7100 can jump up to ISO 12,800 and the D300s hard stops at ISO 6,400. From what we know from the D5200, the new 24.1 MP sensor delivers superb image quality with excellent dynamic range that far surpasses the D300s, so you can assume that the D7100 will have the same quality images.
Lack of an optical low pass filter, also known as “anti-aliasing filter”, also means that the D7100 can deliver sharper images straight out of the camera. The EXPEED 3 image processor is much faster than the original EXPEED processor, which means that the D7100 can handle more image and video throughput (more on video features below). Storage type is obviously different between the two cameras – the D7100 has dual SD card slots, while the D300s has one CF and one SD card slots (like the D800/D800s). Metering is also more advanced on the D7100 – 2,016 pixel RGB sensor versus 1,005 pixel RGB sensor on the D300s. With a more advanced autofocus system, better metering sensor and faster image processor, the D7100 will track subjects better and potentially acquire focus better and more accurately. On top of that, for those that like to use teleconverters, the D7100 will maintain autofocus at f/8, while the D300s cannot handle it beyond f/5.6.
Movie features are obviously very different between the two cameras. The Nikon D7100 can do 1080p video at 30p (max) and 1080i at 60i (max), while the Nikon D300s is limited to mere 720p at 24p. The screen size and resolution are also different – the D7100 has a bigger 3.2 inch screen with 1.2 million dots (3 inch 921K on the D300s). Being a newer camera, the D7100 obviously has a lot more camera options and in-camera processing features (HDR, etc). Lastly, the D7100 is both smaller and lighter than the D300s.
Where the D300s tops off the D7100 is in better camera build (full magnesium alloy vs partial), faster base speed (7 fps vs 6 fps and can go up to 8 fps with the grip), much bigger buffer (keep in mind that the RAW images are also much smaller) and bigger bracketing range. Other than these, the D7100 has a lot more to offer, as you can see from the comparison above.
Has anyone put their D300 or D300s into retirement in favor of the D7100 or D7200?
If anyone has was anyone disappointed and went back to their D300 or 300s?
I have 1 D300 and 2 D3300 and I decided to go with a D7100 because the $500 instant rebate making a new D7100 just a little more expensive than used D300s.
But I must admit I don’t like the button layouts, locks on the top dial, and in some cases having multiple steps to change your settings on the D7100.
I’m really wishing I had considered a used 300s more than the D7100, but I was caught up in thinking of the improved features.
So a 2 week old camera is sitting in the box not being used.
Sometimes newer doesn’t necessarily mean it fits your needs better…..
Duane: As I mentioned, I have a D300 and a D7100. Sort of overkill, but I got a good deal on both of them.
The first few times I used the D7100, I wasn’t impressed. So, like you, I shelved it for awhile. But then I tried it again, spending some time to figure out the slight differences. When I finally got the hang of it, I was very happy with the results. I recently used it as a second camera and lens combination, along with a D3S. The results were very similar. One huge plus with the D7100 is the “crop-ability” of the 24mp images.
As others have mentioned, the buffer on the D7100 is small, and loads up quickly when shooting jpg+RAW. But the jpgs are so good that when I need to shoot bursts, I stick with jpg only, and just fire away, without ever having to wait for the buffer to clear.
I guess what I’m saying is to give your D7100 another chance. You may be surprised with the results.
Thanks Chuck for your reply.
Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel for me .
My friend who doesn’t have any digital cameras decided to get the D7200 and he isn’t having a problem because he has nothing to compare against the D7200 as far as buttons layout, operation, etc.
I switched over to digital 14 years ago so it seems I have a bigger learning curve or adjustment since I compare it to my current gear.
Or maybe the saying goes: ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ applies to this old guy. :)
I do know one person who has had a D90 for 10 years, borrowed her sister’s D 7200 and she wasn’t impressed as she thought the D7200 blew out some of the shots so she is sticking with her D90.
Hi Chuck, I had a choice between a D300 with only 15,000 shutter count, and the D300s with 40,000 count. Both around the same price. Went with the S cause of the video capability. It’s a proper hefty piece of kit!
Hefty is right! My D300, with a battery pack and an 80-200mm 2.8 lens weighs almost 7lbs. Definitely not a lightweight. And at 40,000 clicks, you’ve still got about 70% of shutter life left, if Nikon’s 150,000 click estimate for the D300 is accurate.
Hi Chuck, thanks for that. I bought the 300s !
320 Euro body only. Just waiting for 50mm lens to come from England, thanks to eBay. No doubt I will be back for advice!
Nigel: That’s an excellent price for a D300s. Coincidently, yesterday I just barely missed buying a used D300s for $350USD, about 326 Euro. I already have a D300, so missing the D300s deal isn’t driving me too crazy. I’d love to hear how you like the D300s after you get some time with it. There’s a good reason why those cameras have an almost cult following. Even though I also shoot with a D700, D3 and D3s, I still use my D300 and wouldn’t part with it.
Hi everyone, just came across this thread. Am buying my first DSLR (I know, late adopter! ) and have read a good few reviews on the net. My initial choice was a Nikon D3300.., which typically retails around Euro 530 on the high street in Ireland.
However I am now very tempted to go second hand with a D300s. All titanium body and much better weather proofing are attractive features to me. Price wise, with 50mm prime lens they are advertised around the Euro 430 mark. (I think that translates to about $500)
Thanks for all the info!
Nigel; One major plus of the D300s over the D3300 is the in-camera lens motor on the D300s, which gives you a much wider selection of lenses. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the D3300 has that motor, so all the lenses must have their own motors.
The consensus on here seems to be “i want” nd in most cases nothing that will improve their ability to see never mind take a good “picture”.
What a shame Ansell could only take one photograph an hour, he must have really struggled not having a review screen, 19 fps, and f1.4 lenses.at Iso 128500.
Maybe it’s true that you see more walking than sitting in a vehicle plus I wonder about the old addage with film that it’s the photos you refuse to take that improve the ones you do.
I just compared some real-life, low-light images myself, using the same lens, metering and settings. Yes, the 24MP sensor provides larger images, but not double, like many pixel-shoppers would believe. At ISO1600, both cameras produce images that look nearly the SAME, with about the same noise. Surprisingly, (or not, considering sensor physics), the old D300 picked up slightly more detail in the low light shots! I’m not ready to throw my D300 on eBay just yet.
Chuck; Thank you! This helps me out very much! I am definitely leading towards the D7100 after what you have said and further researcher I have done. In terms of price, I haven’t had the best experience using eBay and Craigslist. I camera store near where I live is selling a D300s for $1,349 used and the D7100 for $1069.00 new.
But again thank you so much for your help.
I see the older D300 on Craigs all the time here in Colorado for $350, body only. If you don’t enjoy editing video, you can’t go wrong with a D300 that is clean, has low actuations, and is only $350! I’m tempted to buy the next one I see, just to keep in the car.
Marshall: The D300 prices you’re seeing are what I paid for one on Craigslist for $340 a few months ago. I never shoot video, so there wasn’t much reason to pay more for a D300S, even though it does have a few more features than the D300.
I’m keeping my D7100 because even though the much smaller buffer is a drawback, it has some features I like, even though they may seem minor. One of them is the ability to quickly change the number of live focus points using the button on the CSM switch on the front of the camera, which is a nice feature that I wish all my Nikons had. With the subjects I shoot, being able to save even a split-second or two is a major plus.
To go off-subject just a bit, I’ve quickly learned in my relatively short time shooting with Nikons is that you really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. As others have said, cameras are tools, like screwdrivers or hammers. You can do the job with one size screwdriver or hammer, but you can do a much better job if you have different types, or one that most closely matches the jobs you do most, and Nikon seems to have the best variety of models, no matter the job. Geez, I’m starting to sound like a Nikon commercial!
I have a dilemma, I take a wide variety of pictures but manly sports photos for my college everything from field hockey in the fall, to swimming in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring. My camera guy says both of these would suffice but I wanted to get some thoughts on those who have used these cameras for either it for similar pictures or in general.
Let me know!
Steve: As you can see from my earlier comment, I’ve only been using a D7100 for a couple of weeks, and I’ve shot with a loaner D300s for a bit longer, so my experience is limited. But the one requirement you stated that rings a bell is shooting swimming, which usually requires high ISO when shooting indoors, often under iffy lighting. And shooting outdoors in the Fall or Winter can also be less than ideal for good light. For those reasons alone I’d say go with the D7100, which has more than twice the high ISO capability than the D700s. Others with more experience here may say otherwise, but that’s my two cents worth.
Chuck: That is what I was thinking too, however I did recently purchase a 85 mm 1.8 lens which shoots really well in low light situations. Would this change your recommendation or would you still recommend the D300s?
Steve; I mistakenly wrote “D700s”, but meant to write D300s. And my comment was worded badly. With that lens, the choice becomes more of a coin-toss between the D300s and the D7100. But I’d still go with the D7100, unless you need full frame. As others have said, the D7100 image quality is better, though the frame rate is a bit slower. The D7100 also has the latest bells and whistles, is slightly smaller, and has the “DX reach” that some people like – including myself. As the article states, you can shoot the D7100 in cropped mode and still have “more image” than the D300s in full frame. As I wrote, I chose the D7100 over the D300s and I’m glad I did.
Steve; I neglected to add one more reason why I went with the D7100 over the D300s. The D7100 doesn’t have a low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter, which should improve sharpness. I say “should” because some have commented that the improvement in sharpness is slight unless you’re using a high-dollar lens.
Since I got my D7100 I’ve been able to shoot about a thousand photos with it at an Indy car test session, where I also shot with a D700, D2x and Sigma SD15. With all the Sigma’s shortcomings, it does produce some very sharp images, since it doesn’t use a low-pass filter, either. After viewing the D7100 images, I’ve seen that the sharpness, using some garden variety (medium cost) lenses, is very close to that of the Sigma SD15. In other words, pretty damned sharp.
One more consideration – to muddy the waters even more – is the cost of the D300s and the D7100. A used D300s on eBay and Craigslist sells for a bit more than half what a used D7100 costs, at least according to the listings I’ve seen. The lowest prices I’ve seen for the D300s are around $500+ and $800+ for the D7100.
In my experience Craigslist is a better place to find bargains, since there’s no bidding and you’ll sometimes find a seller who just wants to dump their gear in a hurry without the eBay hassles. The downside is you won’t have any of the buyers protection you’ll find at eBay and PayPal.
Sorry if I went off-subject. Once I start typing, it’s hard to stop.
I noticed that many Nikon shooters are suffering from severe buffer complaint disorders especially if you have the older professional D300s model. It feels like the “machine gunners” really want to hold on to the old model even if it is outperformed in many ways by the newer semi-professional D7100. Now my intention is not to criticise or compare these cameras since I think they are both great. I only want to state a few facts although it is clear that I would personally choose the D7100 over the D300s.
Here are the reasons: If you insist on higher buffer capacity with the D7100 then you can use the crop (1.3x)mode which will give you approx 15MP size pictures compared to the D300s which gives you 12MP and I bet the D7100 in crop mode 15MP have higher quality images compared to the native 12MP in the D300s. Additionally you can use continous low (CL) at 4 fps to get a good or even better result than you get with the D300s.
Verdict (confirmed): The D300s buffer capacity in lossless compressed 14 bit (highest quality) is 30 images at 2,5 fps before the buffer fills up. The D7100 can shoot at least 50 images lossless compressed 14 bit (highest quality) at 4 fps before the buffer fills up. So by using continous low ( CL ) at 4 fps and lossless RAW, 14 bit then the D7100 actually outperformes the D300s by 1,5 fps and also with the D7100 you can shoot continously 4 fps and get at least 50 images which is 20 more compared to the D300s which only gives you 30 images.
Michael: As I await the arrival of the used D7100 I recently purchased, after deciding not to buy a used D300s, all I can say is thanks for making my day with that buffer info! While I’m definitely not a machine-gunner, and I was until recently a real snob about avoiding burst shooting, I have to admit that I lean on the ability to keep pressing the trigger ever since using a D700 and D2x for motorsports events.
But at least I do it while looking through the viewfinder. (A guy who shoots the same surf spots that I do takes great pride in just aiming his Canon in the general direction of the action, with the camera at arm’s length, and without live view, all while carrying-on his chatter.)
Thank you Chuck, I am glad you find my comment useful.
Yes with crop (1.3x) mode and JPEG this camera can go up to 100 shots before the buffer fills up.
I recently was shooting with RAW compressed 12 bit( smaller RAW size ) and I was using continous low shooting with the setting 5fps in crop (1.3x) mode. The buffer lasted for at least 50 shots so I guess even for RAW continous shooting the D7100 performs very well with 5fps.
I was using compressed 12bit (smaller RAW size) and there is no visible difference between lossless compressed 14 bit (highest quality) and compressed 12bit (smaller RAW size). Most RAW shooters shoot with 12bit anyway….at least to my knowledge when we are talking continous shooting.
It was a good choice to take the D7100 and I wish you many happy moments with it- Cheers, Michael
I am owning sigma 300mm f2.8 nikon fit lens and looking at best dslr. My prime skill is bird photography. Can you suggest a good dslr and i am not a pro, hence looking a dslr around the budget of $1100.
Your suggestion pls.