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Differences

Nikon D300S advantages over Nikon D5100

  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 0.5 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Longer stills battery life
    More info 950 vs 660 shots
    Capture more photos
  • Top deck display
    Yes vs No
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • More viewfinder magnification
    0.63x vs 0.52x
    Get a bigger view of the scene through the eye-level viewfinder
  • More cross-type AF points
    15 vs 1
    Cross-type AF points improve autofocus performance
  • Dual card slots
    Yes vs No
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
    Pentaprism vs Pentamirror
    Much better viewfinder picture fidelity
  • More AF points
    51 vs 11
    More AF points improve autofocus
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    7.1 fps vs 3.9 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Faster RAW shooting
    7.1 fps vs 4.0 fps
    Faster RAW shooting in burst mode
  • Faster shutter
    1/8000 vs 1/4000 sec
    Shoot wide open in bright light

Nikon D5100 advantages over Nikon D300S

  • Tilt-swivel screen
    Tilt-swivel vs none
    Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
  • Less expensive
    $499* vs $2550
    Save money for lenses or accessories
  • Higher effective ISO
    1,183 vs 787 iso
    Take photos in low light with less noise
  • More dynamic range
    13.6 vs 12.2 evs
    Retain detail in highlight and shadows
  • Shoots 1080p video
    Yes vs No
    You'll want this if you shoot video
  • More pixels
    16.2 vs 12.3 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
    100 vs 26 shots
    Take more JPEG shots before waiting (burst mode)
  • Higher extended ISO
    25600 vs 6400 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • External Mic Jack
    Both provide
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Internal flash
    Both provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • Focus peaking
    Neither provide
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Touchscreen
    Neither provide
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • In-camera panoramas
    Neither provide
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Neither provide
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • NFC
    Neither provide
    Simplifies pairing your camera with supported phones
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Neither provide
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Neither provide
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • Headphone jack
    Neither provide
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

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Review Excerpt

  • Rugged construction; 51-point AF system capable of sophisticated AF tracking; Large, bright optical viewfinder; 7 fps JPEG or 12-bit RAW burst mode; HD Video capture.

  • 14-bit RAW mode slows continuous shooting from 7 fps to 2.7 fps; Somewhat slow AF for a camera at this level, especially in 51-point auto-area mode; Video capture tops out at 720p24.

  • Side-mounted tilt / swivel LCD screen; same sensor and processing as the Nikon D7000; good speed and battery life; in-camera HDR and filter effects; Full HD video capture with aperture control; audio levels control and external microphone jack.

  • AF-S lens mount doesn't offer autofocus with screw-drive lenses; popup flash isn't the greatest; no built-in wireless flash control; HDR function doesn't microalign source images.

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D90

Nikon D300S
Nikon D90
  • $1199
  • APS-C
  • More cross-type AF points
  • External Mic Jack
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
Nikon D5100
Nikon D90
  • $499
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1300
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • Longer stills battery life

Compared to Canon 50D

Nikon D300S
Canon 50D
  • $1199
  • APS-C
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Less shutter lag
  • More pixels
Nikon D5100
Canon 50D
  • $499
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $1000
  • APS-C
  • Fast startup
  • More telephoto lens reach

Compared to Sony DSLR-A550

Nikon D300S
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $1199
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Tiltable Screen
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
Nikon D5100
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $499
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Lens selection
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • Longer stills battery life

Compared to Sony A35

Nikon D300S
Sony A35
  • $1199
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Fast startup
  • $567
  • APS-C
  • In-camera panoramas
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
Nikon D5100
Sony A35
  • $499
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • $567
  • APS-C
  • In-camera panoramas
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization

Compared to Sony A57

Nikon D300S
Sony A57
  • $1199
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $800
  • APS-C
  • Focus peaking
  • Tiltable Screen
Nikon D5100
Sony A57
  • $499
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • $800
  • APS-C
  • Focus peaking
  • In-camera panoramas
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