updated 07:35 am EDT, Thu July 30, 2009
Nikon on Thursday launched an update to its highest-end crop-frame DSLR. The D300s practically replaces the regular D300 and adds 720p, 24FPS video recording inherited from the D90 but with several improvements: it can now autofocus while shooting movies, change the color and tone of videos, and attach an external microphone. The autofocusing system is now faster than the D300 and, because it tracks 51 points instead of the D90's 11, can better follow a given subject.
The upgrade also provides the very rare addition of a second, different-format card slot on a Nikon camera. An SDHC slot supports the existing CompactFlash slot and gets a number of specific controls to match. On a basic level, SDHC cards can be used as extra capacity; it can further be used as a backup or to automatically separate storage for shot types, such as storing JPEG photos or movies only on the SDHC card.
Still imaging also gets a boost with faster 7FPS continuous shooting, a quiet shutter mode that reduces the noise from the mirror, and a dedicated Live View button. The D300s continues to shoot at 12.3 megapixels with ISO sensitivity between 100 and 6,400 (in extended modes).
A body-only version of the D300s is due to ship by late August and will sell for $1,800. No kit versions have been announced.