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Nikon Intros New D-SLR, High-End Fixed Lens Models

Melville, N.Y. — The digital SLR deluge continued unabated with Nikon’s announcement yesterday of its newest model, the D2X, targeted toward the advanced and professional users. The company also introduced its flagship consumer model, the 8-megapixel Coolpix 8800 in addition to two other consumer models.

The D2X will replace the D1X. Pricing was not announced but is expected to fall near the D1X’s $5,000.

The 12.4-megapixel D2X uses a DX Format CMOS image sensor and a new image-processing engine. In burst mode it can capture full resolution images at 5 frames per second (fps) up to 21 JPEGS images and 15 RAW images. A high speed “cropped image” mode lets the camera take up to 35 JPEGs or 26 RAW images at 8 fps by down-resizing the files to 6.8 megapixels.

It features a 2.5-inch LCD monitor and works with the new 802.11b/g compatible Wireless Transmitter WT-2A that lets users transmit images directly from the camera over a wireless LAN. In addition to sending images over a Wi-Fi network, the transmitter lets users wirelessly control the camera from a computer running Capture 4.2 software.

The company also introduced two new, high-end fixed lens models: the Coolpix 8800 and 8400, and a mainstream compact camera, the 4-megapixel Coolpix 4800.

Both the 8800 and 8400 offer Nikon’s D-lighting option, a first in its consumer line. Accessible in playback mode, D-lighting automatically compensates for insufficient flash or excessive back-lighting in order to obtain a balanced exposure throughout the frame. This allows users to correct for common lighting problems after the photo has been taken.

Nikon also incorporated In-Camera Red-Eye Fix in both models. In the Red-Eye Reduction flash mode, In-Camera Red-Eye Fix will automatically corrects most cases of red-eye inside the camera.

The cameras use the new EN-EL7 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, allowing users to shoot up to 240 frames on a single charge in the 8800 and up to 260 shots with the Coolpix 8400. Both cameras also support the new JPEG EXTRA file format — a version of the common image file format that offers less compression for higher quality images

The 8800 features a 10x optical zoom Nikkor ED glass lens which, according to Nikon, is currently the longest zoom range in the 8-megapixel category. The camera is also the company’s first to offer a version of the company’s Vibration Reduction (VR) system formerly available in its Nikkor series of professional SLR lenses.

The 8800’s 35-300mm lens uses VR to automatically detect and compensates for small camera movements that cause image blur. According to Nikon, VR enables the user to shoot at shutter speeds up to three stops slower without the risk of camera vibrations blurring the image.

Other features include a 238,000 pixel electronic viewfinder (EVF) and a 1.8-inch vari-angle LCD screen. The 8800 offers four exposure modes programmed auto, shutter-priority auto, aperture- priority auto and manual. In addition to an automatic mode, the 8800 offers 15 preset scene modes, RAW image capture, nine area multi-autofocus, and macro shooting up to 1.2-inches supported by Nikon’s Best Shot Selector — which takes ten shots and automatically selects the best exposed to save to memory.

The 8800’s movie mode captures VGA resolution video at 30 fps. The camera supports a series of accessory lenses, which expand the camera’s zoom range from 7mm to 600mm and include the new 1.7x ED glass teleconverter (TC-E17ED – 600mm), the new 0.8x Wide Angle Adapter (WM-E80 – 28mm) and the Fisheye converter lens (FC-E9 – 7mm).

The 8800 ships this fall for a suggested $999.95.

According to Nikon, the new 8-megapixel Coolpix 8400 offers the widest-angle coverage of any digital camera currently available with a 24-85mm (35mm equivalent) ED glass 3.5x optical zoom lens. The camera features both automatic and manual exposure controls and employs a new Auto Focus (AF) system and 15 scene modes, including panorama assist and a macro up to 1.2-inches. A continuous shooting mode allows the camera to capture up to 5 images at 2.3 fps at full resolution. Other features include a 238,000 pixel EVF and a 1.8-inch vari-angle LCD.

The 8400 ships this month for a suggested $899.95.

Finally, Nikon will ship the 4-megapixel Coolpix 4800 this month for a suggested $399.95. The compact model uses SD memory and offers an 8.3x optical zoom lens with macro shooting up to 0.5 inches.

A Voice Memo function on the 4800 can append 20-second audio clips to still images. Other features include Nikon’s Best Shot Selector, 15 preset scene modes, a 1.8-inch LCD monitor and PictBridge compatibility.