Nikon’s new cameras

While in Vegas I had the opportunity to get my hands on the new Nikon D3 and D300 cameras. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the new technology that Nikon has employed. There are several innovative features that are unique to the new cameras but I am sure will be copied by other manufacturers in the future. The first is the dual CF card slot. I know that Canon had something like this in their cameras but it was not dual CF. The dual slots make it possible to configure your storage in several unique configurations such as overflow (images start saving on the second card automatically when the first card is full), back-up mode (images are stored simultaneously on both cards), and dual format (raw on one card and jpeg on the other). The images sensor for the new camera is a full frame CMOS sensor. While it is only 12.1 megapixels, it is a full 23.9mm X 36mm in size. Instead of trying to cram more pixels into a small space, they have made the pixels larger and closer together. One of the main benefits to the larger pixels is the reduction in noise. The camera has an ISO range from 200-6400. I took photos at ISO 4000 with almost no visible noise. The active noise reduction is also light years faster than any older camera thanks to Nikon’s new Expeed processing engine. Nikon is no longer using the Sony CMOS sensor but is now producing their own so we will see how this pans out in the future. I am guessing that it will lead to better control over chip features since they have the ability to directly influence the manufacturing process. One other small but really cool feature was the camera leveling display. Imagine an artificial horizon like in an airplane cockpit. When you are level (it works both horizontally and vertically) the dial in the middle turns a small arrow green. This can be displayed on the new 3″ display on the back of the camera. It is also available within the viewfinder as a small scale to the right side of the viewfinder space. For those of us that seem to have trouble holding the camera level, this will be very handy. There are other great features to the camera but not necessarily unique to Nikon such as the live preview on the LCD screen, and a much better active focus system. The bottom line on this camera is that it appears to be a winner. It is not just an upgrade to the D2X but a new, from the ground up, build that holds some great promise for Nikon shooters. As for the D300, It has almost all of the same features as the D3 except a smaller DX sensor (the D3 automatically crops to DX size when using a DX lens). Some features of the D300 that are not on the D3 are a new sensor vibration feature that will supposedly remove dust, the pop-up flash that can act as a commander for your off-camera SB flashes, and a new additional battery grip that will allow for greater variety in battery selection (you can use AAs or even the EN-EL4 batteries from your D2X cameras). Of course there are way more features for these two cameras that I did not touch on but I really don’t like typing that much. I hesitate to go real crazy over these new cameras without having time to put them through their paces but I can say that I am impressed with the innovation and advancement in this new line of cameras. If you would like to see more information about the camera, try checking out the DPReview here


New Nikon D3

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