Hot on the heels of Canon's 40D and IDsMk3, Nikon has introduced the first two models of its new range—the D300 and D3.
The big news is that the D3 (most probably the "high speed" camera meant to compete with Canon's 1D series rather than with the 1Ds) is Nikon's first full-frame camera, boasting a true full-frame 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor designed by Nikon and made by Nikon's-not-saying. The large sensor size and "reasonable" pixel count make for a generous 8.45 micrometer pixel pitch. The story of the camera will doubtless be in the FX chip and its 14-bit EXPEED image processor, but there are a couple of other items of note. Nikon has developed a carbon-fiber composite shutter said to be good for 300,000 actuations. The new 3" LCD has almost a megapixel of resolution and is visible far off axis. And the D3 is said to be blazingly fast, improving on the already super-fast D2xs. In terms of startup time (120 milliseconds), shutter lag (37 milliseconds), and mirror blackout (74 milliseconds), the D3 is claimed to be the fastest DSLR ever made. The camera has a Live View mode, takes two CF cards, and allows for the use of any DX lens, which automatically crops the sensor to 5.1 megapixels.
I'm also pleased to see that it sports a 100% viewfinder with 18mm eye relief and a diopter correction range down to –3.
PhotographyBay has posted an interesting "History of the Nikon D3," which tracks all the rumors of the new camera all the way back to 2003. Kind of fun to compare various pundits' predictions against the actuality, now that it's known.
The D3 will sell for $5,000 and will ship in November.
The D3's Little Bro
The D300, an improved D200, will feature a 12.3-MP CMOS reduced-size sensor. It also has the 14-bit EXPEED processor, 51-point AF system, and 922,000-pixel 3" LCD. It's expected to sell for around $1,800. Here are a couple of pictures: