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Nikon Adds d-SLR Pair, VR Lens Options

Nikon formally unveiled last week a pair of d-SLRs at the entry and advanced levels of its line, each offering a range of advanced automatic and features to simplify the process of rapidly capturing the perfect shot for any given scene.

Added to the “affordable” end of the line, the Nikon D3000 (shipping in late August at a $600 suggested retail with 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens) is billed as the easiest to use and smallest camera in Nikon’s d-SLR lineup.

The camera introduces Nikon’s Guide Menu function (or Guide mode), which goes beyond the built-in help function carried over from the D40 to streamline the process of getting to the pictures that a photographer wants to take.

The D3000 has a 10.2-megapixel DX format CCD image sensor; a wide ISO range from 100 to 1,600, plus one step beyond 1,600 to 3,200.for very low light shooting; and a 3-inch LCD monitor screen.

It also employs Nikon’s Expeed image-processing engine, which encompasses multiple systems that play into the final image quality, from signal processing to image processing to color rendition.

A continuous shooting mode captures up to three frames per second, and a “split-second” shutter response significantly reduces shutter lag.

The advanced D300S, meanwhile, will ship in late August at an $1,800 suggested retail (body only), and includes a 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor, continuous shooting of up to 7 fps, Nikon Expeed image processing, and D-Movie HD video capture with 720p/24fps resolution. It makes use of the Nikkor interchangeable lens system featuring stereo microphone input and auto focus, and a one-button Live View feature.

The unit’s 3-inch LCD monitor includes 920,000-dot VGA resolution.

The low-noise ISO sensitivity range covers 200 to 3,200 speeds with expanded ISO settings of Lo-1 (ISO 100 equivalent) and Hi-1 (ISO 6,400 equivalent).

Other features include a fast 51-point Auto Focus system, 1,005-pixel 3-D color Matrix Metering II system, scene-recognition system, dynamic integrated dust reduction, Nikon’s Active D-Lighting and the in-camera image editing tools.

For more information on both Nikon cameras