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Digital SLRs Inch Toward The Mainstream

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.

Konica Minolta officially announced the specifications for its digital SLR, the Maxxum 7D. Pricing and exact availability was not announced.

The 6.1-megapixel 7D works with the company’s existing line of Maxxum AF lenses and D-series accessories. It features the company’s proprietary body-integral, CCD-shifting Anti-Shake technology.

The 7D features a 2.5-inch color LCD monitor, PictBridge compatibility, RAW image capture and a simultaneous RAW/JPEG recording mode.

The camera’s burst mode can capture up to nine RAW photos at 3 frames per second (fps) or up to 12 high quality JPEG photos at 3 fps. It uses both SD/MMC and CompactFlash Type I and II cards.

Konica Minolta will complement the new 7D with two new zoom lenses: the AF Zoom 17-35mm and the AF Zoom 28–75mm.

Nikon introduced the successor to the D1X, the new D2X, targeted toward the advanced and professional users. Pricing was not announced but is expected to fall near the D1X’s $5,000.

The 12.4-megapixel D2X’s burst mode can capture full resolution images at 5 frames per second (fps) up to 21 JPEGS images and 15 RAW images.

Pentax became the second digital camera vendor to introduce a digital SLR (d-SLR) with lens for under $1,000.

The *ist DS is a reduced-sized version of the company’s existing *ist D d-SLR, measuring 4.9 inches by 3.6 inches by 2.6 inches. It will be available in November for a suggested $999.95 with lens, and $899.95 without. The camera’s 18-55mm lens, the Pentax-DA Zoom, will be available for $199.95.

The 6.1-megapixel *ist DS is compatible with most of Pentax’s interchangeable lenses, and features a high-magnification viewfinder, a 2-inch LCD monitor, RAW image capture, PictBridge compatibility, USB 2.0 connectivity, and an auto picture mode for automatically selecting the proper exposure setting. It sports a burst mode for capturing up to 8 images at 2.8 fps and uses SD memory.

The *ist DS is equipped with a glass pentaprism viewfinder which provides 95 percent field of view and a 0.95x magnification. It offers 18 user-programmable custom functions and draws power from either two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA-size batteries.