Nikon today introduced two digital SLRs: The D3000, which is aimed at mainstream and novice users, and the D300s, aimed squarely at professional and enthusiast shooters.
The $600 D3000 continues Nikon’s new model nomenclature, begun with the recent D5000. The D3000 replaces Nikon’s D40x which has had an impressive run and remains a leading budget SLR choice. The camera kit ships with the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens with image stabilization.
The D3000 marks a major refresh. This model is about the same size as the D40, but it bumps the megapixel count from 6 megapixels to 10MP. It has a wider range of ISO settings, now 100 to 1600; a larger LCD screen (3-inches, to the D40-generations 2.5-inches); an 11-point autofocus system (same as in the D90 and D5000); and a 3-frames-per-second burst mode (up from 2.5-frames-per-second).
The redesigned menu makes it easy to maneuver through the menu options, and to understand settings and get assistance as you go along. And the camera boasts a slew of scene modes and in-camera editing features, including scene recognition, Active D-Lighting, face detection, and a retouch menu (with funky effect modes like miniature and outline modes).
The midrange, $1800 (body only) D300s succeeds Nikon’s D300, a versatile and flexible model introduced two years ago. The D300s shares many of the characteristics of its predecessor: Both have a 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor and 51-point autofocus system. The shape and size are similar, too.
However, the D300s boasts a number of useful upgrades that its intended audience should appreciate. The camera has a faster Expeed processor than the D300 used; this new processor enables faster burst-mode (7 frames per second in continuous shooting mode) and the cameras HD movie feature. The first pro-level DSLR from Nikon to include video recording, the D300s can capture 720p high-definition video at 24fps, offers autofocus in movie mode (using the camera’s contrast-detection autofocus system), and includes a stereo input to add an external microphone.
The D300s now has 11 additional custom settings, and three additional retouch functions. A nifty addition: Active D-Lighting, which provides real-time image adjustments, supports five-frame bracketing, so you can easily capture different exposures and see how they will look, automatically.
Another welcome new feature: The addition of dual memory card slots. In an interesting twist, Nikon provides both CompactFlash and SD Card slots (previously, the D300 only had a CompactFlash Card slot), and the slots are designed with similar features as on the D3 (for example, the ability to transfer images from one to another). Even niftier: You can set the camera to save still images to one card, and movies to another--a huge convenience for sorting and organizing content as you capture it.
Both cameras will ship in late August 2009.
This story, "Nikon Introduces D300s, D3000 SLR Digital Cameras" was originally published by PCWorld.