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Nikon has unveiled a pair of new digital SLRs and five new lenses at a press conference in Japan yesterday.

Both the D3 and D300 cameras will incorporate Nikon’s new Expeed image processing engine; 3-inch, 920,000-pixel LCD screens with 170-degree viewing angles; and a pair of live-view modes for previewing images on the LCD before shooting.

They will also feature a new 51-point autofocus system, and a new scene-recognition system that the company said improves autofocus and subject tracking.

Both d-SLRs will feature HDMI outputs and a new “Active D-Lighting” mode. Formerly available only in playback, Active D-Lighting will allow users to apply the effect to a photo before it is snapped.

The D3 will incorporate a 12-megapixel FX format, full-frame CMOS sensor. It is capable of burst speeds of 9 fps at full resolution at full frame or 5-megapixel DX format images at 11 fps. It also offers light sensitivities to ISO 6400 and a dual CF card slot. Since the D3 uses the larger FX sensor, the camera will automatically switch to a DX-format image if a Nikkor DX lens is attached to the camera body.

 

The D300 uses a 12-megapixel DX format CMOS sensor. It is capable of shooting 6 fps bursts at full resolution or 8 fps using an optional battery back. The D300 also offers a “self cleaning sensor” that vibrates to shake off dust. In addition to Nikkor lenses, the cameras will work with a host of optional accessories, including a new wireless transmitter and a GPS adapter.

Five new lenses will also join the Nikkor family, among them the AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 and an AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

The company will also introduce its vibration-reduction (VR) technology into new 400mm, 500mm and 600mm super-telephoto lenses (previously VR was available on lenses up to 300mm).

Nikon’s CEO, Michio Kariya said that the company has set a goal of achieving a 40 percent share in digital SLRs worldwide. In addition, Nikon expects roughly 7.5 million digital SLRs to be sold in 2007 worldwide, growing to 10 million by 2009.

The company will also focus on besting Canon rather than the “home appliance manufacturers” like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung because of the large number of Canon lenses in consumers hand and due to Canon’s photographic heritage. Moreover, the company will also try to broaden its appeal to younger users and women, Okamoto added.

See: www.nikon.com.au

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