Nikon D90 vs Nikon D300

Nikon D90


Nikon D300



Reasons to buy the Nikon D90

Large viewfinder
Viewfinder size
Has live view
Live view
Preview your photos
Almost no delay when powering up
Startup delay
300 ms startup delay
Great viewfinder

Reasons to buy the Nikon D300

Weather sealed
Weather sealed
Shoot in extreme weather
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
6 fps
Battery life
Great battery life
1000 shots
Focus points
Many focus points


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D300.
Explore our gallery of 47 sample photos taken by the Nikon D90.


Nikon D90 Competitors

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300

Entry-level DSLR

$474 body only

$459 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Higher resolution movies
True resolution Much higher true resolution
Viewfinder Doesn't have a pentaprism viewfinder
Nikon D300S

Nikon D300S


$1,755 body only

$2,299 with 18-200mm lens

Continuous shooting Shoots much faster
External mic jack Has an external mic jack
Size Larger
Canon Rebel T3i

Canon Rebel T3i

Entry-level DSLR

True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
External mic jack Has an external mic jack
Viewfinder size Significantly smaller viewfinder

Nikon D300 Competitors

Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000

Entry-level DSLR

$602 body only

True resolution Significantly higher true resolution
Storage slots Has more storage slots
Focus points Fewer focus points
Nikon D300S

Nikon D300S


$1,755 body only

$2,299 with 18-200mm lens

Storage slots Has more storage slots
Continuous shooting Shoots faster
Lowest price Significantly more expensive
Nikon D5600

Nikon D5600

Entry-level DSLR

$468 - $597 body only

$500 - $647 with 18-55mm lens

Movie format Shoots movies
Startup delay Much less startup delay
Weather sealed No weather sealing


Nikon D90

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Nikon D300

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Showing 7 comments

alwyn (7:45 AM, September 24, 2012)
Shiva, I have owned both the D300 and the D90. The D90 is a stellar camera, which explains why it is still on the market today (well here in South Africa at least). Although the D300 has more AF points I did not find the D90 to be lacking. I worked around this by pressing the shutter in halfway and refocussing with the desired AF point to place it where I want it. The D300 in all of it's majestic powers could not improve the speed of AF when I was shooting birds in flight. The D300 only has a higher per second frame rate (which drops by the way when you select RAW 14 bit) and a tougher body with weather sealing. When I had both I still found myself using the D90 most of the time especially when I knew the light would be poor. The D300 was reserved for days when the weather looked suspect. So, go for the D90 and save for better glass. That is the only thing along with practice that got me better results with my birds in flight shots. I now have a D7000 (which carries a 5 year warranty in SA) and still fondly remember my D90.
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (2:05 AM, August 31, 2010)
You could be right that having a lower f-stop helps with focusing, I think camera's have the lens wide open for focusing, and definitely more light helps. That lines up with the 'depth of field preview' button, which stops the lens down to the desired f-stop (say f/5.6 or whatever) so you can see the actual depth of field.

I haven't used that Sigma lens, nor have I read about it. I do own three Sigma lenses myself, 1 of which I don't like at all (a cheap 70-300), I have a 30mm f/1.4 which is ok, and a 28mm f/1.8 which I like.

Glad you like the site!
shiva (0:20 AM, August 31, 2010)

In my reading of reviews of various lenses I often found reviewers stating that "....Lens was slow in focusing.." specially for lens which higher f-Stop. It made me infer that may be less light leading to focus issues.

The SIGMA lens I referred to is being sold at AMAZON ( ), I believe when you say that you are not familiar you meant you have not used or ?

Snapsort rocks, its now in my fav's list. Thanks a LOT.
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (10:16 PM, August 30, 2010)
Hi Shiva, glad I could help. To answer your questions:

1. No, having a lower f-stop does not improve the focus or quality. A lower f-stop does two things: it lets in more light, allowing you to attain a faster shutter speed (to avoid blur for example), and it narrows the depth of field enabling you to blur the background for example. See Snapsort's article on wide aperture lenses.

2. Yes, I think 3rd party lenses are great value.

3. I've never heard of a 3rd party lens damaging a camera.

4. I'm not familiar with that lens, but having a range like that in one lens would be very convenient and would be a great all around lens, I'd definitely recommend that type of focal length range to a new amateur DSLR user.

5. I'm not sure which of those macro lenses will help you focus better, sorry. Typically the main attribute people look for in a macro lens how large the subject will be in the image compared to real life (which is determined by how close you can focus and the magnification of the lens).
shiva (10:04 PM, August 30, 2010)
Thanks a lot for the precise reply. I was confused because for now I believed DSLR is a one time buy.
However with you answer at least I am now clear that D90 will be the body for me.

Few more questions pertaining to lens
-Does having a lens with lower f-stop (2.8,..) improve the focus and quality?
-Should I consider 3rd party lens SIGMA/TAMRON for the same focal length and fstop?
-Are there any chances that 3rd party lens can damage Camera ?
-Would you recommend Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens? it kinda gives me a range to start with!

As I told before that I have interest in Macro and macro of flying Bees/Insects intrigues me and hence made me start thinking about Autofocus capabilities. which of the macro lens you have mentioned will help me focus better.

I know its too many questions in a single frame.
Appreciate you for the time and response.

) Shiva

Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (4:48 PM, August 30, 2010)
Hi Shiva,

Overall I think the D90 would be a great camera for you.

The D300 (and D300s) are basically the same camera as the D90 but for Pros, and have some subtle advantages including focus points as you mentioned. Yes, the D300(s) will have much better focusing than the D90, partly due to more focus points (allowing you to be more precise about where to focus), and due to having a more advanced focusing system (CAM3500 vs CAM1000). In fact I think the D300(s) have the same focus system as the D700 and D3(s).

I think the more advanced focus system would be important if you are photographing fast action (say animals, cars, or sports events), or photographing moving subjects in low light (say weddings). You mentioned macro and landscape, which makes me think the D90's focusing might be more than good enough.

For landscape lenses, I'd suggest a good start would be the Nikon 18-55mm AF-S lens, or if you want a bit wider, consider the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G AF-S or Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S.

For macro, both the Nikon 60mm f/2.8D and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G are well regarded.
Shiva (4:09 PM, August 30, 2010)

I will be new entry into the DSLR segment. I have been trying to learn photography using knowledge from internet/Books and my A620 camera.
However recently have been facing limitations in my camera hence planning for a DSLR.
Interest: Macro and Landscape.
Budget: 1500$(Max) on body.

I have read your comparision of cameras and seems D90 is recommeded for my budget.
While reading details about cameras I believe Autofocus-points are something to be concerned about.

D90 has 11 AF-point(1 cross-type) compared to 51 (15 cross-type). Please let know if having more AF-Points leads to better Auto Focus?
Also request you to recommend the lens for Nikon for my interest.