August 24, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Nikon answers Canon with full-frame SLR

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Other full-frame competition is possible, most likely from Sony, which entered the SLR market by acquiring the assets of Konica-Minolta. One Sony enthusiast site, Photoclub Alpha, reported in July that Sony's forthcoming professional SLR will be a full-frame model and will be accompanied by several compatible lenses. Sony announced the model in March but offered no details.

Two other SLR contenders, Olympus and Panasonic, aren't in the running for the foreseeable future. They've both opted to use the Four Thirds system, whose sensor is a notch smaller than that found in the Nikon DX and Canon APS-C.

Through a partnership, Four Thirds lenses from one maker, or from a third-party company such as Sigma, will work any Four Thirds camera body. That lens-camera body compatibility stands in contrast to the incompatible lens mounts used by Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax. Each of those companies' lenses can't be used on other companies' lens bodies.

The D3 and D300 share a range of new features. Among them are live view shooting modes to compose pictures with the LCD rather than just the viewfinder, a newly branded Expeed image processing chip; a 3-inch LCD with a whopping 920,000 pixels; a 51-point autofocus system; D-Lighting to improve tonal details in shadows or highlights; and compatibility with the new WT-4A wireless transmitter to connect to wired or wireless 802.11a, b and g networks and to permit remote control of the camera.

Among the D3-specific features:

• It can shoot up to nine frames per second, compared with five for Canon's 1Ds Mark III and 10.5 for Canon's photojournalist-oriented 1D Mark III. With DX lenses and the 5.1-megapixel mode, it can shoot up to 11 frames per second.

• Its regular ISO sensitivity ranges from 200 to 3,200, with extended range modes that reach to 100 and 25,600. Its sensor is made using complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing--a change from the charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors used in previous Nikon SLRs--and the chip features 14-bit image data compared with earlier 12-bit designs. Greater bit depth permits finer shades between light and dark in images and a better ability to print and edit photos.

• Its Scene Recognition System combines Nikon's exposure and autofocus systems for more sophisticated control over both aspects of shooting.

• Its shutter is rated for 300,000 cycles.

• It accommodates dual CompactFlash cards with high-speed Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) transfer technology.

• Its viewfinder covers "virtually" 100 percent of the sensor's view at a magnification of 0.7 in FX mode.

The D300 also has several notable features: image-cleaning technology to shake dust off the sensor; a viewfinder with 100 percent coverage at a magnification of 0.94; an optional battery pack, MB-D10, that can bump up the maximum shooting rate from a regular 6.5 frames per second to eight frames per second; a 14-bit CMOS sensor; a magnesium alloy chassis with many waterproofing seals; and a shutter rated to 150,000 cycles.

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New wide zoom is a 14-24 f2.8G ED
Not 12-24/2.8 as stated. (Nikon has an existing 12-24/2.8 DX.)
Posted by mbenedict (1001 comments )
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Change made
You are correct--we've made the change to the story. thanks for reading
Posted by mike ricciuti (12 comments )
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How will they answer Canon now?
Interesting that Canon increased their flagship camera to 21mp,
like one day before this was announced.
Posted by rpphoto555 (31 comments )
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compatibility horse is out of the barn
In the formative days of digital, pro- and semi-pro photographers were demanding full-frame digitals because it would have enabled them to make the transition to digital using the expensive collections of 35mm lenses they had built up. Unfortunately, the industry was reluctant to comply and the photographers were unaware of the technical differences between electronic receiving plates and film. Now that time has passed most of the 35mm lenses everyone was hoping to use are obsolete because of changes in lense electronics and camera interfaces, and photographers understand that lenses must be made to optimize the image against the curved digital sensors. 35mm full-frame compatibility is yesterday's issue, too late to serve the original need, though such cameras will serve as a poor man's "medium format". There are size and weight advantages to the smaller-sensor SLR's and the manufacturers just need to be sure their lense lines include genuine wideangle lenses, the focal lengths that disappeared when 35mm lenses were retooled into digitals...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
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There still are a lot of old lenses floating around
I agree with you for the most part, especially since a lot of buyers of lower-end SLRs never had an SLR before. But there are a lot of pros out there who still use old lenses--good ones don't go out of date as fast as computers--so I don't think the issue of compatibility with existing lens collections still has some currency. In addition, some people might enjoy getting the original behavior back--for example, a favorite 70-200mm zoom being a more moderate telephoto.
Posted by Shankland (1858 comments )
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The digital Cinema has arrived.
Hollywood has been using 4K digital (4000 pixels horizontally, and however many it takes vertically to make the aspect ratio.) for post production for several years now.

One unexpected side effect of the thange was a new standard for makeup. The digital post production process was so much sharper than 35MM internegative, release prints, etc., the guys eyeliner became visible.

Now we see imaging chips that exceed the editing formats, the processing frame rate is faster than needed, MPEG uses 2 keyframes per second, the rest is motion data, easily picked up by a second, standard definition, 60i or higher, camera placed two inches to the right. The vector information from the offset, the motion information from the high speed camera, and the SHD spatial information from the SLR's chip provide the movie's editors with a fully time rendered, three dimensional model of the event being photographed.

More real than real, and the actors possibly more Human then Human.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
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the lense for Einstein's space
You mention 3d modelling from sofware. I find it intriguing to consider what frontiers are left for the lense as imaging device and the one frontier I see ahead which was never exploited by the camera industry during the heyday of 35mm film photography is the use of the bellows lense for almost unlimited perspective control. Maybe it was because the bellows lenses used on the View Camera seemed so quaint that nobody cared what they did, but the View Camera remains one of the most powerful imaging devices in photography because of its unique control over perspective. I realize software can edit perspective after the fact, but flexible-tube bellows with autofocus or internal joints could allow astonishing feats of photography out in the field, and editing "in camera" is always preferable to software as the first step...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
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Long time coming
It seems to me that I saw a full frame insert for optical 35 mm cameras as a drop in accessory a while back. Advertised for $800. supposedly, I looked everywhere and no one had seem and few had heard of such a device. Just give me a cannister and window image size device and I'll be happy. Don't give me all that automatic controls, maybe a USB port or XD/SD memory slot. I know it can be done but will the mfgrs do it..
Posted by mjd420nova (91 comments )
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I bought Nikon D40X 1 year ago... and I am still happy that made correct choice.
This is really nice camera with nice lens. I just wish to have in our city (Lviv) more repair centers for Nikon cameras. Month ago I had a small problem with battery, nobody could repair it. Everybody asked to find repair instruction. In Internet there is no good instructions. Found just:
<a href="">repair manual for D40</a>
<a href="">nicon repair manual</a>

But on these sites I didn't found info that I need... Maybe somebody can give me links to other such sites?
Posted by vladimir5130 (2 comments )
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