Nikon Announces D300s and D3000 SLRs

Nikon has announced two new additions to its DSLR family: the D3000, which replaces the popular D40 at the low-end of the lineup; and the D300s, which replaces the D300.

Consumer-ready D3000

The budget-conscious D3000 offers a number of improvements over its predecessor, the D40 ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice ), including 10.2-megapixels of resolution, a 3-inch LCD, faster 11-point auto-focus, continuous shooting at 3 fps (frames per second) with full resolution, and an automatic dust-reduction system. The camera also features an expanded ISO range from 100 to 1600, with an additional Hi-1 setting that extends the ISO to 3200.

The D3000 offers several features geared to point-and-shoot photographers looking to learn more about photography. A Guide mode, which is accessed from the mode dial on top of the camera, offers step-by-step instructions for choosing the right settings, including example shots. Nikon also included several new creative filters, including a Miniature effect which blurs parts of the image to mimic the look of miniature-model photography.

The D3000 will ship with an image-stabilized AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens for $600.

Video-capable D300s

Moving to the professional end of Nikon's SLR lineup, the new D300s builds on the D300's success. Like the D300 ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ), the D300s offers 12.3 megapixels of resolution, a 3-inch LCD screen, and a 51-point autofocus system. The biggest addition is support for HD video. The camera shoots 720p video at 24 fps and includes an external stereo microphone input. When shooting video, the camera uses contrast-detection auto focus. Afterwards, photographers can edit the video on the camera and apply image effects.

The D300s features two memory-card slots--one CF and one SD--which can be used simultaneously. You can choose to assign videos and photos to separate cards, for example, or use the cards to separate your raw files from your JPEGs. You can also move files between the cards.

The D300s is also faster (7 fps continuous shooting) than its predecessor, and features a Quiet Shutter Release mode that reduces the sound of the shutter when shooting. For high-contrast scenes, a new Active D-Lighting bracketing feature lets you shoot as many as five frames with varying degrees of Active-D Lighting control.

The D300s will sell for $1800 without a lens.

Both cameras will be available in late August 2009.

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