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Nikon D300 Digital SLR First Look:
AF System and Camera Menu Screen Shots

The Nikon D300 incorporates Nikon's new Multi-CAM3500DX AF sensor module offering improved subject acquisition and auto focus tracking performance by working in collaboration with the D300 scene recognition system.

Primary features of the Nikon Multi-CAM3500DX AF sensor include:

1) Offers 51 densely packed AF points in roughly the same area containing 11 focus points on the Nikon D200.

2) New 3D-tracking function, which automatically switches the active focus point to follow subject movement and maintain focus on the primary subject. (Action and sports)

3) 15 of the Nikon D300 AF points operate as crosstype sensors when lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster are used.

  Nikon D300 Auto Focus

4) Subject identification information and subject tracking information acquired from the new scene recognition system allows for improved subject acquisition performance in the Nikon D300 by using color and light information from the 1005-segment RGB sensor to accurately track the subject.

5) In Dynamic AF area mode you can select to use 51, 21, or 9 focus points on the D300.

6) Contrast-detect AF is possible in live view mode (“Tripod” mode).

Nikon D300 digital SLR focus mode selector

The Nikon D300 offers three focus modes selected by using the C,S,M switch located on the front of the camera under the lens release button.

Single AF (S) In this mode, the D300 focuses when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. Focus locks when the focus indicator appears in the viewfinder, and remains locked while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway (focus lock). This mode is best for still subjects such as landscapes.

Continuous-servo AF (C) The camera focuses continuously while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. This mode is best for moving subjects such as with photos of sporting events. If the subject moves while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway, focus will be adjusted to compensate with predictive focus tracking.

Manual (M) Allows the user to manually focus the lens.

The AF area modes on the Nikon D300 digital SLR include:

Single-point AF
You can manually select one of the 51 focus points and the D300 will focus on the subject in the selected focus point only. The selected focus point is illuminated in the viewfinder display. When spot metering is used, metering is performed in the selected focus point.

Dynamic-area AF
You can manually select one of 51 focus points, although the D300 will employ information from multiple focus points to determine focus. Select from 9-, 21-, 51-point, or 51-point with 3D tracking autofocus, depending upon the subject.

If the subject leaves the selected focus point for a moment, the Nikon D300 will focus based on information from surrounding focus points. The focus point displayed in the viewfinder does not change.

When 51 points (3D tracking) is enabled, the camera focuses using all 51 focus points. The 3D-tracking function automatically switches the active focus point to track subject movement (based on colour and brightness) and maintain focus on the primary subject.

3D tracking detects subject colours and controls predictive focus tracking. The colours from the subject that is acquired first in the selected focus point are recorded, and subject tracking information from the scene recognition system, combined with information from the multi-cam AF3500DX AF sensor are used to track subject movement and automatically adjust the active focus point. 3D tracking may be unable to track and perform properly f the subject and surrounding colors are similar.

When used in combination with focus mode "C" (continuous-servo autofocus), this mode is convenient for tracking unpredictable moving subjects, and in other situations in which it is difficult to keep the subject within the selected focus point.

Auto-area AF
The camera automatically selects the focus point from all 51 focus points. Camera automatically detects subject and selects focus point. Focus point can not be selected manually. If type G or D lens is used, camera can distinguish human subjects from background for improved subject detection. In single-servo AF, active focus points are displayed for about one second after camera focuses.

The number of focus points used for autofocus can be limited to 11 if so desired (Use custom setting a8 to select AF11 point mode. AF51 mode AF selection is the default).

Active AF points on the Nikon D300 in AF11 Mode. ©

The above animation shows the location of the 11 active AF points that can be selected individually in AF11 mode on the D300.

The illustration on the above right shows how these AF11 points relate to the relative position of the 11-AF point selection available on the professional Nikon D2Xs digital SLR.

Picture Control System

The new Picture Control System found in the Nikon D300 makes it easier to select and apply desired adjustments and create optimized settings to suit individual image appearance preferences.  

These settings can be used to fine-tune multiple Nikon D300 or D3 bodies, assuring consistent rendering from camera to camera.

The Picture Control System offers four basic setting options – Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome.


These can be directly modified for easy adjustment and customization of image parameters, (sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, tone and saturation). Custom names can be added and up to 9 Custom Picture Controls can be stored in the camera.

The “Color mode” and “Optimize image” settings found in the D200 that are the closest to Nikon Picture Controls are:

  • Color mode “I”: closest to “Standard” Picture Control
  • Color mode “II”: closest to “Neutral” Picture Control
  • Color mode “III”: closest to “Vivid” Picture Control

Active D-Lighting Feature

Active D-Lighting control provides real-time highlight and shadow correction with optimized image contrast. Produces broader tone reproduction in both shadows and highlights by controlling highlights and exposure compensation while applying localized tone control technology to achieve a more even level of contrast across the entire image.

Nikon D300 Digital SLR Camera Menu System


Most shooting, playback, and setup options on the Nikon D300 can be accessed from the camera menus.

To view the available menus, press the "Menu" button located on the back of the camera.

The six operating menus on the D300 are: Playback, Shooting, Custom Settings, Setup, Retouch, and My menu. Choose a specific menu by selecting the related icon.

Nikon D300: Playback Menu and Options

Nikon D300 Playback Menu

Nikon D300 Display mode options in Playback

Nikon D300 shooting info in Playback

Nikon D300 RGB Histogram in Playback

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Nikon D300 Digital SLR Shooting Menu

Nikon D300 Shooting Menu #1

Nikon D300 Main Shooting Menu #2

Nikon D300 Shooting Menu #3

Shooting Menu: Options

Sub Menu Options

Shooting menu bank

Shooting menu options are stored in one of four banks. The default names for the four shooting menu banks are A, B, C, and D. To store a particular combination of frequently-used settings, select one of the four banks and set the camera to these settings. The new settings will be stored in the bank even when the camera is turned off. A descriptive caption can be added using the Rename option.

Reset shooting menu

Yes or No

Active folder

Select the folder in which images will be stored.

File naming

The "File Naming" option is used to select three letters to replace the "DSC" portion of the file name.

Image quality

Nikon D300 Image Qality Settings

Image size

JPEG compression

  • Size Priority
  • Optimal quality
  • NEF (RAW) recording

  • Type
  • NEF (RAW) bit depth
  • 12-bit
  • 14-bit
  • White balance



    4) White balance fine tuning values saved in shooting information and attached to EXIF data
    4) White balance fine tuning Compared to the color temperature (A-B) option available on other models, a color cast (G-M) option has been added on the Nikon D300 for adjustment on 2 axes. The camera's multi selector is used to fine tune white balance up to 6 steps in each of 4 directions: A (amber), B (blue), G (green), M (magenta).

    Fine-tuning steps (A-B) are now equivalent to 5 mired each (same with bracketing) compared to 10 mired each with previous models. G-M fine tuning is used to compensate for green/magenta cast, just as color compensation (CC) filters do. Precise fine tuning is possible with adjustment up to 6 steps. (+3 to -3 in each direction)

    • Colour temperature can be specified with the horizontal axis. Movement to the right (A amber) reduces color temperature. Movement to the left (B blue) increases color temperature.

    • Adjust green and magenta intensity with the vertical axis. Movement up (G green) increases green intensity. Movement down (M magenta) increases magenta intensity.

    Set Picture Control

    Manage Picture Control

    Modify and save custom picture control settings, or Load/save custom picture controls using a memory card

    Color space

  • sRGB
  • Adobe RGB
  • Active D-Lighting

  • Enhanced
  • Normal
  • Moderate
  • Off
  • Improves the level of detail in highlight and shadow areas under high contrast situations. Select before the image is captured.

    Long Exp. NR (Long Exposure Noise Reduction)

  • On (At shutter speeds slower than 8 sec Long Exp. NR is applied)
  • Off
  • High ISO NR

  • High
  • Normal
  • Low
  • Off
  • High ISO NR is performed from 800 ISO. Choose the amount of noise reduction from High, Normal, and Low.

    ISO sensitivity settings

  • ISO sensitivity
  • ISO sensitivity auto control
  • Maximum sensitivity: Specify the maximum sensitivity (ISO 400 - HI 1) for Auto ISO
  • Minimum shutter speed: Specify the minimum shutter speed at which “ISO sensitivity    auto control” is performed. Values from 1/250 sec to 1 sec can be selected
  • Live view

  • Live view mode
  • Continuous low-speed
  • Release mode for Live view
  • Single frame
  • Continuous low-speed
  • Continuous high-speed
  • Multiple exposure

  • Number of shots
  • Select from 2 to 9 frames
  • Auto gain
  • On
  • Off
  • Interval timer shooting

  • Choose start time
  • Select duration and number of    shots
  • Shoot photographs automatically at pre-selected intervals.

    Nikon D300 Custom Settings Menu


    The Custom Setting menu on the Nikon D300 allows you to adjust options related to specific camera functions and performance.

    There are a total of 48 different custom settings that can be adjusted on the D300.

    Custom settings are grouped under six categories labelled a through f, and include;

    a) Autofocus, b) Metering/Exposure, c) Timers/AEAF lock, d) Shooting/display, e) Bracketing/flash, and f) Controls


    New MB-D10 vertical accessory battery grip for Nikon D300

    The Nikon MB-D10 is equipped with a shutter-release button for vertical shots

    Main-command dial, sub-command dial, and AF-ON button for vertical shooting

    One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, EN-EL4a, or EN-EL4a can be used

    *The battery-chamber cover BL-3 is required when an EN-EL4 or EN-EL4a is used.

    8 AA batteries (alkaline, rechargeable Ni-MH, lithium, or nickel manganese) can be used.

    Battery level display (6-level indicator for EN-EL3e, EN-EL4, EN-EL4a; 3-level indicator for AA batteries)

    The optional Nikon MB-D10 vertical battery grip for the Nikon D300 has been completely redesigned compared to the MB-D200 vertical grip for the D200.

    The grip itself is now also made from Mg alloy providing added durability and ruggedness when paired with the Nikon D300.

    From a performance stand point, the MB-D10 vertical grip extends the continuous shooting capability of the Nikon D300 from 6 frames per second to 8 frames per second when used with 8 x AA batteries or an optional Nikon EN-EL4 (4a) Li-Ion battery.

    New WT-4 Wireless Transmitter for Nikon D3 and D300

      The WT-4 is a high-performance stand alone wireless transmitter that offers image transfer capabilities when connected with the Nikon D3 or D300 via USB cable.

    It supports wireless LAN conforming to IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11a, and wired LAN conforming to IEEE 802.3u (100BASE-TX) and IEEE 802.3 (10BASE-T). Transmission range when wireless LAN is used is approx. 180 m (IEEE 802.11b/g) or 260 m (IEEE 802.11a). (Varies according to transmission conditions.)

    Four connection modes are available:

    • Image Transfer mode: Images stored in a memory card and those just taken can be transferred and saved (computer or FTP server)

    • Thumbnail Select mode: Thumbnail images can be displayed on a connected computer, and selected images can be downloaded and saved.

    • PC mode: With Camera Control Pro 2 (optional), camera settings can be controlled and images taken can be transferred and saved on a computer.

    • Printer mode: JPEG images stored in a memory card can be transferred to a printer connected with a computer.

    Nikon D300 Digital SLR with a WT-4 wireless transmitter attached via USB cable.

    The WT-4 draws its power from an EL-E3e battery that fits inside the unit. This is the same battery used in the Nikon D300.

    Nikon D300 Viewfinder Information

    Nikon D300 Integrated Dust Reduction System

    The shutter unit's drive mechanism and other moving parts on the Nikon D300 are designed so that as little dust as possible is created with their operation.

    The shutter unit itself is operated before insertion in the camera to limit the amount of dust dispersed after assembly. Breaking in also controls the amount of dust created with operation of moving parts inside the camera.

    Anti-static processing is used around the image sensor and OLPF unit to prevent the adherence of dust and foreign matter to these components.The area surrounding the OLPF has a special design that prevents dust a nd foreign matter from adhering to the OLPF.

    The space between the OLPF and the image sensor, as well as the edges surrounding the rear surface of the image sensor, is sealed to prevent the introduction of dust or foreign matter to these components.

    Post-processing using the Dust Off feature in Nikon’s optional photofinishing software, Capture NX, can be used to reduce the effects of dust or foreign objects in RAW images.

    The self-cleaning sensor unit utilizes ultra-sonic vibration to remove dust and foreign matter that has adhered to the OLPF. Four different resonance frequencies vibrate the optical low pass filter in front of the image sensor to shake dust particles free, minimizing the appearance of dust on images.

    Custom Function Button Options

    The Function (Fn) button on the Nikon D300 is located down near the camera lens mount. Custom setting f4 lets you select and assign a specific camera function to the Fn button for fast access

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