When Nikon released the D300, working photographers quickly found their new favorite workhorse. The D300S takes the rugged popularity of the D300 and adds some of the bells and whistles from the D90 to give photographers a modest, but much appreciated, upgrade. Current D300 owners might not find the new D300S particularly tempting unless they've been lusting after the ability to shoot video, but I get the feeling that wasn't Nikon's intent. After spending several weeks with the D300S I can't shake the feeling that the D300S was really meant to give current D90 owners a reason to upgrade.
Sure, there are plenty of photojournalists who will appreciate the SDHC card slot on the D300S because it means they can use the built-in card reader on their laptops when they're out in the field. Likewise, I'm sure more than a few working pros are eager to shoot HD video with their DSLR. However, consumers (not pros) are the ones who have really embraced DSLRs with video capabilities. The overwhelming success of the D90 meant that Nikon needed to give D90 owners an obvious choice for their next camera purchase, and the D300S is that camera. Entry-level DSLRs make up about 80 percent of Nikon's DSLR sales, and Nikon would love to see some of those consumers spend some extra cash on higher-end bodies.
Regardless of whether you're a seasoned professional who needs a rugged DX-format camera or merely a shutterbug looking for the next level of photographic equipment, the D300S is a very attractive camera. The D300S combines high-speed performance, exceptional image processing, rugged build quality, and great video capabilities in a very familiar package. Add to that Nikon's extraordinary collection of lenses, fantastic speedlights like the SB-900, and a huge variety of accessories and the Nikon D300S becomes the obvious centerpiece to a top-quality photographic kit.
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