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Nikon announces live view D3 and D300 digital SLRs as well as new pro lenses

Press Release—Nikon has introduced 12.1-megapixel D3 digital SLR with a new FX-format CMOS sensor, measuring 23.9 x 36mm, which is "nearly identical to the size of 35mm film." Nikon boasts the D3 has the fastest startup time, shortest viewfinder blackout time and shortest shutter lag of any DSLR and can achive a 9 frames per second capture rate at full FX-format resolution.

Designed with sports photographers and photojournalists in mind, the Nikon D3 introduces new features and technologies that include Nikon’s new EXPEED Image Processing System that is central to the speed and processing power needed for many of the D3’s new features.

The D3's normal ISO range spans 200 to 6400. By setting the camera to its built-in options of Lo-1 or Hi-2, the ISO range of the camera can be expanded to the equivalent of ISO 100 or ISO 25,600.

The D3 also features an entirely new 51-point auto focus system with Nikon’s 3D Focus Tracking feature and two new LiveView shooting modes that allow photographers to frame a photograph using the camera’s high-resolution LCD monitor. The D3 uses the world’s first Scene Recognition System to enhance the accuracy of auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance detection in the camera by recognizing the subject or scene being photographed and applying this information to the calculations for the three functions.

The DX-format the D300 is a 12.3 effective megapixel digital SLR camera that combines brand new technologies with advanced features inherited from Nikon’s new D3.

Similar to the D3, the D300 features Nikon’s EXPEED Image Processing System that is central to driving the speed and processing power. The D300 features a new 51-point auto focus system with Nikon’s 3D Focus Tracking feature and two new LiveView shooting modes that allow users to frame a photograph using the camera’s high-resolution LCD monitor. The D300 shares a similar Scene Recognition System as found in the D3 that promises to greatly enhance the accuracy of auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance by recognizing the subject or scene being photographed and applying this information to the calculations for the three functions.

The D300 is capable of shooting at a rapid six frames per second and can go as fast as 8 fps when using the optional MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack. In continuous bursts, the D300 can shoot up to 100 shots at full 12.3 megapixel resolution.


 

Nikon’s digital SLR cameras based on its DX-format sensor have been hugely successful, but there is an increasing demand among professionals for a digital SLR camera that features higher ISO sensitivity, wider dynamic range and offers the same relationship between picture angle and depth-of-field that were the hallmarks of the 35mm film format.

Responding to this demand, Nikon developed the D3 as its first digital SLR camera that features the Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor to meet the real-world requirements of its professional customers. The D3 delivers full resolution 12.1 megapixel images at up to nine frames per second when used with conventional AF-Nikkor lenses. When used with DX Nikkor lenses, the D3 automatically switches to the DX-format mode that uses a cropped portion of the sensor to generate 5.1 megapixel resolution images. While in this mode, the D3 automatically masks the portion of the viewfinder that will not be photographed and enables the capability to shoot up to 11 frames per second.

The D3 introduces a range of innovative technologies and features that significantly improve the accuracy, control and performance. Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System advances the use of Nikon’s  1,005-segment sensor to recognize colors and light patterns that help the camera determine the subject and the type of scene being photographed, before an image is captured. This information is also used to improve the accuracy of auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance detection functions in the D3.

The D3 incorporates Nikon’s new Multi-CAM 3500FX auto focus module that features an intelligent array of 15 cross-type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors. These sensors can either be used individually or in groups, with the option for Single Area AF mode and Dynamic AF modes using groups of either 9, 21 or all 51 focus points. The system also features 3D Focus Tracking with automatic focus point switching that takes advantage of all 51 AF points as it uses color and light information to accurately track the subject. Nikon's new Scene Recognition System and improved focus algorithms also contribute to the impressive performance of the new 51-point AF system.

Taking a cue from the popularity of Nikon’s D-Lighting technology, the D3 features a new Active D-Lighting mode that, when enabled, provides remarkable real-time highlight and shadow correction with optimized image contrast. Active D-Lighting 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 pleasing level of contrast across the entire image. And because the advantages of Active D-Lighting are applied as images are captured, image editing time can be shortened.

The D3’s LiveView feature offers two modes for confirming subjects and composition on the new 920,000-dot, high-resolution 3-inch LCD monitor while shooting. The Tripod mode is designed for precise focus and accuracy when the camera is on a stable platform and the subject is not moving. In this mode, the camera focuses on the subject using focal-plane contrast and any point on the LCD screen can be selected as the focus point for the picture. The second mode, called Handheld mode, allows photographers to use the camera’s conventional TTL focusing system, with all 51-points and 15 cross-type points available. When using this mode, the camera activates focusing immediately when the shutter button is pressed, to ensure accurate focus.

The D3 also features two CompactFlash card slots that can be used for consecutive recording (overflow), simultaneous recording (backup), separating recording of RAW and JPEG files or even copying pictures between the two cards. Images can be displayed directly from the camera to a high-definition monitor using the camera’s HDMI port and an optional cable. 

The D3 will be available from authorized Nikon Professional Dealers beginning in November 2007 for an estimated selling price of $4,999.95. With the introduction of the D3, Nikon’s current lineup of digital SLR cameras now includes the new D3, D2xs, D300, D200, D80, D40x and D40. 

Like the D3, the D300 incorporates the new Scene Recognition System, Multi-CAM 3500DX auto focus module, Picture Control System, Active D-Lighting mode and LiveView.

The D300 also employs a new self-cleaning sensor unit. Four different resonance frequencies vibrate the optical low pass filter in front of the image sensor to shake particles free and reduce the appearance of dust.
Refined Ergonomics and Usability.

The camera’s viewfinder provides virtually 100 percent coverage so pictures can be framed accurately, while an ultra-high definition 920,000 dot VGA LCD screen on the rear of the camera displays images with vivid color and clarity. Its 170-degree wide viewing angle makes it easy to compose shots using the LCD screen in LiveView mode.

The D300 features rugged magnesium alloy construction and the camera’s shutter mechanism is tested up to 150,000 cycles. The 3.0-inch LCD is strengthened with tempered glass and the D300’s rubber gaskets and seals protect vulnerable entry points from dust and moisture.

The D300 will be available from Nikon Authorized Dealers beginning in November 2007 for an estimated selling price of $1,799.95.  

Nikon also announced a 14mm ultra wide-angle zoom lens with constant f/2.8 aperture and a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom.

The new AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens is one of the fastest 14mm ultra-wide angle zoom lenses available today while the new AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens is a highly versatile lens ideal for a broad range of applications and lighting conditions. While designed for use with either of Nikon’s FX and DX format digital SLR cameras, these new lenses truly maximize the potential of Nikon’s recently announced D3 FX-format professional digital SLR camera. Combined with Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR, these new lenses offer professional photographers the ideal three-lens solution with a constant f/2.8 aperture across all three lenses. 

Both lenses will be available beginning in November 2007. The estimated selling price for the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens will be $1,799.95, and the estimated selling price of the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED will be $1,699.95.