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While still occupying the rarefied realm of professional use, digital SLRs continue to edge closer to mainstream price points as Pentax became the second vendor to offer a model, with lens, for under $1,000.
Konica Minolta and Nikon also introduced new d-SLRs compatible with existing stores of film SLR lenses and accessories while keeping their sights on more sophisticated users.
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Nikon became the second major camera manufacturer to announce a sub-$1,000 digital SLR with the preliminary announcement of the D70, a product targeted at the rapidly growing market for advanced, interchangeable-lens digital cameras at consumer-friendly price points.
Pentax unveiled two digital SLR cameras late last month alongside a new naming system that harkens back to the company's 35mm heritage.
In the place of the *ist D nomenclature, Pentax will refer to its digital SLR models as its “K-series” after the company's line of 35mm film SLRs. The move completes a model naming realignment announced at International CES.
Canon aimed to upset the SLR applecart again with the introduction of a new Digital Rebel, which will join the existing model beneath the $1,000 mark.
The new EOS Digital Rebel XT will be offered in March with a lens for an estimated $999, and without a lens for an estimated $899. It will ship in black or silver. Canon will keep the older Rebel in the line and lower its price to $799.
Pentax added a new entry-level K-series digital SLR to its lineup.
The K100D Super is a follow up to last year's K100D and adds a dust-removal system that combines a coating on the unit's low pass filter and CCD vibration to combat dust.
The 6-megapixel K100D Super also features a CCD-shifting anti-shake technology, a 2.5-inch LCD screen, an 11-point autofocus and light sensitivities to ISO 3200 (available both automatically and manually).
As consumer fascination with digital still cameras (DSC) continues to draw demand toward more and better featured models, camera manufacturers have stepped up their emphasis on delivering d-SLR models that appeal to both eager novices and better skilled photographers.
Olympus announced its second consumer-level digital SLR, the Evolt E-500, which will join the company's existing E-300.
The 8-megapixel E-500 will ship in October with a 3.2x optical zoom (28-90mm/35mm equivalent) lens for an estimated $899.99 ($799.99 without lens).
Seeking to overcome the limitations of hybrid film-digital interchangeable lens digital camera systems, Olympus has introduced the first all-digital SLR system based on the Four Thirds standard.
The 5-megapixel E-1 and accessory Digital Specific Lenses are designed from the ground up specifically for digital cameras with an entirely new CCD and lens system designed to negate the limitations inherent in previous digital SLRs (which have had to rely on 35mm lenses designed for film cameras).
Canon said it would ship the new EOS Rebel XSi, the successor to its consumer-level Rebel XTi digital SLR, to dealers this April.
The 12.2-megapixel XSi camera will offer an improved autofocus sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, a 3-inch live-view LCD and Canon's new DIGIC III processor. The XSi is Canon's first consumer-level SLR with live view and it can focus on an image without the reflex mirror coming down.