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Nikon Intros 10-Megapixel D-SLR

Melville, N.Y. – Nikon announced the second generation of its consumer-level digital SLR today, packing the camera with technologies from its professional SLRs and also adding a few features from its point-and-shoots as well.

The 10-megapixel D80 is a successor to the company’s first consumer-level d-SLR, the D70. It offers a burst mode of 3 frames per second (fps) up to 100 JPEG normal images. It boasts a start-up time of 0.18 seconds and a shutter lag of 80 milliseconds.

New to the D80 is an 11-area auto-focus system, a new image-processing chip inherited from the company’s professional SLRs, an “Optimize image” menu for adjusting creative color controls while shooting, built-in i-TTL flash control with the ability to control up to two remote groups of Speedlights, as well as over 32 custom settings.

The D80 is also Nikon’s first SLR to use SD memory instead of Compact Flash to achieve a smaller form factor than the D70.

A new retouch menu gives D80 users access to several in-camera corrections and enhancements including Nikon’s D-Lighting exposure balancing, red-eye correction, image trimming, image overlay and several filter effects. The camera offers seven scene modes and a 2,700-shot per charge rechargeable battery.

The D80 also borrows features from Nikon’s point-and-shoot line, including its Pictmotion slideshow feature for playing back images on the camera’s 2.5-inch LCD screen with music and transition effects added automatically. The LCD screen is viewable at a 170 degree angle and offers a dedicated zoom button to magnify images up to 25 times their original size.

The camera’s menu system is also new – with larger fonts and a customizable setting.

The D80 will ship in September for an estimated $999.95 without a lens and for $1,299.95 with the camera body and new 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF-ED DX Nikkor Lens.