The 12.3-megapixel Nikon D300 updates the older D200 with more resolution on a new CMOS sensor that promises improved noise control. The D300 is the first DSLR in Nikonís line to include dust reduction, and sits between the $999 D80 and the $3,499 D2Hs. It has an awesome 3-inch live view LCD screen, as does the pro model D3, with some of the best resolution on the market - 921,000 pixels. Overall, the D300 is an excellent camera for the serious or semi-pro photographer who doesn't mind getting involved in the minutae of photography. Point and shoot users won't want to need the features it offers, but it's a excellent camera for the serious (and well-heeled) shooter.

The D300 is $1799 for the body only; we reviewed it with a $1199 Nikkor AF-S 17-55mm lens. The total cost for this combination is about $3,000.

Nikon D300 Key Features

* 12.3 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor
* Self-cleaning sensor unit (low-pass filter vibration)
* ISO 200 - 3200 (6400 with boost)
* 14-bit A/D conversion
* Nikon EXPEED image processor (Capture NX processing and NR algorithms, lower power)
* Super fast operation (power-up 13 ms, shutter lag 45 ms, black-out 100 ms)
* Shutter life 150,000 exposures
* New Multi-CAM3500DX Auto Focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage)
* Auto-focus tracking by color (using information from 1005-pixel AE sensor)
* Auto-focus calibration (fine-tuning) now available (fixed body or up to 20 separate lens settings)
* Scene Recognition System (uses AE sensor, AF sensor)
* Picture Control image parameter presets (replace Color Modes I, II and III)
* Custom image parameters now support brightness as well as contrast
* Six frames per second continuous shooting (eight frames per second with battery pack)
* Compact Flash UDMA support
* 3.0" 922,000 pixel LCD monitor
* Live View with either phase detect (mirror up/down) or contrast detect Auto Focus
* HDMI HD video output
* 'Active D-Lighting' (adjusts metering as well as applying D-Lighting curve)
* Detailed 'Control Panel' type display on LCD monitor, changes color in darkness
* New MB-D10 vertical grip fully integrates into body, multi battery type compatible
* Buttons sealed against moisture