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Nikon Unveils New Consumer Digital SLR

The competition for the high-end digital camera user intensified as Nikon introduced its second sub-$1,000 digital SLR, the D50, and an upgrade for its D70 — the D70s.

Priced at an estimated $899.99 with lens, the 6-megapixel D50 will ship in June. It features a 2-inch LCD screen, a start-up time of 0.2 seconds, and a continuous shooting mode of 2.5 frames per second for up to 137 photos in JPEG normal mode. The D50 can simultaneously capture RAW and JPEG images.

The D50 can capture up to 2,000 images on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery and offers shutter speeds from 30 to 1/4,000 seconds. According to Nikon, a new 3D Color Matrix Metering II uses a built-in library of over 30,000 photo scenes to ensure accurate exposure control in a variety of lighting situations.

The new SLR is PictBridge-enabled and sports seven digital vari-program modes, including a new “child” setting, a five-area autofocus (AF) system with predictive focus tracking, and an automatic AF-assist illuminator for low light photography. It offers sharpening, tone, color, saturation and hue image enhancements in several shooting modes and a choice of three color modes when shooting manually.

A new small picture function can save reduced-size photos in-camera for e-mailing or Web use. The camera uses SD memory and offers a USB 2.0 high speed interface.

Complementing the D50’s release are two new DX Nikkor lenses, which will work on any of the company’s D-series cameras: the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED and the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED.

Nikon also announced that it will update its D70 SLR next month with the 6-megapixel D70s, featuring an improved AF system, larger LCD at 2 inches and a new user interface. Its five-area AF now offers an all-area search priority, which the company said improves the camera’s ability to focus on fast moving subjects.

The D70s also gets a built-in speed light with a wider angle of coverage and support for 18mm lenses. Nikon also updated the included battery with the higher capacity EN-EL3a and a new, smaller MH-18a charger.

The D70s will be sold as an outfit with lens for an estimated $1,199.95 and as a set without lens for an estimated $899.95.