Nikon D300S vs D7100 - Key Differences

February 22, 2013 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras | 11 Comments | |
News image

In some markets, Nikon is touting the recently announced Nikon D7100 as its new flagship DX camera. Therefore - having compared the D7100’s specifications to those of its most obvious forebear the D7000 - we were curious to find out how it stacked up against Nikon’s last truly pro-oriented DX model, the venerable Nikon D300S (read review). The two cameras share a number of components - such as a 0.94x pentaprism viewfinder with 100% frame coverage, a shutter unit capable of a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s and rated for 150,000 actuations, a weather sealed construction and an auto focus module with 51 focus points - and a legion of features; but there are some rather significant differences too. The Nikon D7100 comes with a 24-megapixel sensor that does away with the low-pass filter, a new LCD screen, a newly developed OLED display inside the viewfinder, an updated AF system whose centre point can be used with lens-teleconverter combinations as slow as f/8, a so-called “1.3x crop mode,” a 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor, and Full HD video with a number of frame rate options. At the same time the D7100 makes do with a much smaller raw buffer, slower continuous shooting speed and less robustly built body, and lacks the dedicated AF-ON button and PC sync terminal of the D300S. In addition, it uses a different battery and charger and is incompatible with the D300S’s optional MB-10 portrait grip. Upgrading from a Nikon D300S to a D7100 thus involves a number of compromises in addition to the obvious benefits.

In order to help you get a clearer picture of how they compare to each other specifications-wise, we have compiled a handy little table summarising the key differences between the two models, based on information available to us at the time of writing.

Key Differences Nikon D300S Nikon D7100
Sensor 12-megapixel CMOS
With AA filter
24-megapixel CMOS
Without AA filter
Image processor Expeed Expeed 3
Native sensitivity range ISO200/24° to ISO3200/36° ISO100/21° to ISO6400/39°
AF points usable through f/8 0 1
AF sensitivity range -1EV to +19 EV -2EV to +19EV
“1.3x” crop mode available? No Yes
Exposure bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV 2 to 5 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1, 2, or 3 EV
Continuous shooting speed
(JPEG or 12-bit raw)
8fps with MB-D10 grip
6fps at full resolution
7fps in “1.3x” crop mode
Continuous shooting speed
(14-bit raw)
2.5fps 6fps
Buffer size
(14-bit raw, lossless compression)
30 6
(8 in “1.3x” crop mode)
Metering sensor 1,005-pixel RGB 2016-pixel RGB
In-finder status display LCD OLED
Rear display 3”, 921k-dots 3.2”, 1,229k-dots
Wi-Fi connectivity Via Eye-Fi cards Via Eye-Fi cards or
WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter
Movie HD 1280x720 / 24fps
VGA 640x424 / 24fps
QVGA 320x216 / 24fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 60i
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 50i
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 30fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 25fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 24fps
HD 1,280x720 / 60 fps
HD 1,280x720 / 50 fps
Built-in microphone Mono Stereo
In-camera HDR exposure blending? No Yes
“Spot White Balance” in Live View? No Yes
Mode dial No Yes
Dedicated AF-ON button Yes No
PC sync terminal Yes No
Top-mounted ISO/WB/QUAL button cluster Yes No
Memory card slots 1x SD
1x CF
2x SD
Connection ports 10-pin Terminal
Stereo microphone input
Remote/GPS terminal
Stereo microphone input
WR-1/WR-R10 terminal
Battery EN-EL3e EN-EL15
Bundled charger MH-18a MH-25
Optional battery grip MB-D10 MB-D15
Main magnesium alloy parts Entire chassis (practically) Top and rear plates
Weight 840g 675g
Dimensions Width: 5.8 in. (147mm)
Height: 4.5 in. (114mm)
Depth: 2.9 in. (74mm)
Width: 5.3 in. (135.5mm)
Height: 4.2 in. (106.5mm)
Depth: 3.0 in. (76mm)

Do note that the table highlights the key differences only - there’s a number of interface changes as well, from the omission of the D300S’s physical AF area mode selector and metering mode selector to the inclusion of a D4-style live view mode switch and top-mounted movie record button as well as a completely new customisable “i” button on the rear plate; making the transition somewhat difficult for current D300S users.

NB: The image showing the two cameras side by side is not to scale.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

11 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Red

You need to correct that comparison table since D300s can't shot faster then 2.5 fps in 14 bit mode but that table above says it can do 7 without grip and 8 with it. That is correct but ONLY in 12 bit mode.

12:27 pm - Saturday, February 23, 2013

#2 Peter

I can see why the D300s has stood up to the test of time, even in the digital age. As I don't shoot many movies, the extra movie features of the D7100 are of no real benefit. If I got a good deal on the D300s I'd probably go for that one because it is so well made and a proven workhorse.

8:40 pm - Sunday, February 24, 2013

#3 Zoltan Arva-Toth

Well spotted Red, we have updated the table to include this piece of information.

1:00 pm - Monday, February 25, 2013

#4 Pauline Wong

Thanks for sharing some great examples.I know REX STUDIO who are also in photography field.
They have launched an interesting contest in their website,where user can win some amazing prizes.Go through this URL to participate in the contest&Win; amazing prizes.

1:47 pm - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#5 Pauline Wong

Thanks for sharing some great examples.I know REX STUDIO who are also in photography field.
They have been launched an interesting contest in their website,where user can win some amazing prizes.Go through this URL to participate in the contest&Win; amazing prizes.

2:03 pm - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#6 PT10981

I shoot youth sports (baseball) with the D300 + 70-200 VR-I lens and just acquired the D7100 because it supposedly has the same 51-point focus system. The D300 wins for sports. The difference I have experienced swapping both bodies in three games so far is significant: the D300 locks focus correctly 97% of the time, whereas the D7100 about 90%. When the D7100 misses it looks like back focus issue, but the I seem to experience it as a speed to lock focus. The D7100 gets there, but not as fast as the D300.

3:47 pm - Sunday, March 31, 2013

#7 Jonathan

Just got the D7100 and have the D300S, and the focus of the D7100 in lower light conditions is faster than the D300S, in good light I se eno real diffs in autofocus times, but the D7100 is more responsive for sure. Its lighter but incredibly well built, I like the heft of the pro body D300S but the D7100 is 95% as solid, and being lighter, its easier to carry around. The one thing that amazed me was the that compared to the D600 the high iso of the D7100 is only about one stop behind, I compared on DPReview, but the D600 has a poorer AF system which doesnt inspire, I think the D7100 is a better, more versatile option.

9:28 am - Monday, April 15, 2013

#8 sampath

what camera good camera
300s r 7100

4:48 pm - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#9 Frank

and wath about portraits?
Nobody talks about..

4:20 pm - Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#10 devis chassis

A very good post indeed. It's a shame about some of the responses. A very good post and an excellent blog.

10:31 am - Monday, June 10, 2013

#11 Peter

It sounds strange but I just bought a d300s.
I tried the d7100, good image quality, good stuff concerning iso and low light situations, but the feeling of the d300s is simply awesome.
I do not need 24mpix 16 or 12 are just enough.
I use the d300s for my work and it feels just great though the expeed1 vs expeed3, though the new sensor & co... but the built of the d300s is pro, and I am the photographer, and when I had the d7100 it felt like a toy, too much prosumer built and too much work behind the lcd screen.
The d300s is more firendly use and easy to setup, quick and the quality of the images is perfect with good lenses.

9:25 am - Wednesday, June 19, 2013