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Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D300S/D300SA.HTM

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Nikon D300S

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Nikon D300S High ISO Noise Reduction

The D300S's four noise-reduction settings also allow you quite a bit of flexibility in choosing how you want to make the tradeoff between subject detail and noise levels. It's not clear that the "off" setting truly eliminates the noise processing altogether, but it is true that it leaves a lot of fine/subtle subject detail there for you to work with. The combination of shooting with NR turned off and using a good noise-filtering program after the fact can produce very clean images with lots of fine detail in them.

See for yourself how the noise reduction works under both daylight and tungsten-balanced lighting. Click on any of the crops below to see the corresponding full-sized image.

High ISO Noise Reduction Comparison
Daylight-balanced illumination
Off
Low
Normal
High
I
S
O

8
0
0
Off
Low
Normal
High
I
S
O

1
6
0
0
Off
Low
Normal
High
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
Off
Low
Normal
High
I
S
O

6
4
0
0

The above crops show the effects of the 4 levels of high ISO noise reduction, under our studio HMI lighting we use to simulate daylight. Note that some minimal NR is still performed at ISO 3,200 and above when High ISO NR set to "Off". We prefer the "Low" setting, as the default "Normal" is a bit too aggressive for our tastes.

How does the Nikon D300S compare with the previous D300 and other competing cameras? See the following table which compares at the default Noise Reduction setting.

High ISO Comparison with
Nikon D300, Canon 7D, Pentax K7
(All default NR)
Daylight-balanced illumination
Nikon D300S
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Pentax K7
I
S
O

8
0
0
Nikon D300S
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Pentax K7
I
S
O

1
6
0
0
Nikon D300S
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Pentax K7
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
Nikon D300S
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Pentax K7
I
S
O

6
4
0
0
Nikon D300S
Nikon D300
Canon 7D
Pentax K7
I
S
O

1
2
8
0
0
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported
N/A
ISO 12,800
Not Supported

As you can see, the Nikon D300S performs very similarly to its predecessor, and holds its own against the competition. Keep in mind these shots used the default noise reduction settings. To see how the sensors actually compare in terms of high ISO noise, see our Nikon D300S RAW comparison page.