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Nikon claims D3 is world's fastest digital SLR

12.1Mp camera launches in November

The £3,400 Nikon D3 is set to go on sale in the UK from November and its maker is claiming it represents 'a new benchmark in professional photography'.

The Nikon D3 is a 12.1Mp resolution camera capable of capturing 9fps (frames per second) in FX format (by which we understand Nikon to mean full-frame mode) or 11fps in the more standard DX 'crop' (ie non-full frame) mode.

Nikon says the D3 will also be the first of its digital SLR cameras to feature a second ‘crop' mode that takes photos with a 5:4 aspect ratio. The D3 will have a shutter release lag of just 41 milliseconds and will have a vast ISO range of 200 to 6,400. The 3in LCD screen offers Live View that autofocuses as the onscreen image changes, enabling accurate image composition. Nikon claims this feature is so far unique to its two new digital SLRs, the D3 and the D300, also announced today.

According to Nikon's professional products brand manager Robert Cristina: "The incredible speed, resolution and flexibility of the D3 will enable photographers to capture images under conditions previously thought impossible."

Chief among these attributes is the Nikon D3's EXPEED image-processing system which Nikon says enables the D3 to perform 14bit analogue to 16bit digital image conversions and thereby produce rich, accurate colour, smooth skin gradations and exceptional detail.

Resulting images can be stored on one of two CompactFlash card slots built into the camera body. Rather than boosting storage capacity for the Nikon D3, it seems the intention here is that users simultaneously shoot an image in two formats, Jpeg and NEF (Nikon's own RAW image format).

When it launches in September, the Nikon D3 is expected to compete with rival cameras such as the Canon EOS 1DS Mark III and the second generation version of Sony's Alpha digital SLR camera.

In common with the cameras Canon announced earlier this week, the Nikon D3 and D300 will be able to beam photos wirelessly using a dedicated Wireless Transmitter WT-4. In this way, images can be sent directly from, say, a Premiership football match, to the newsdesk via a wireless network server.

This setup also means the recipient can browse photos the photographer has taken and select any they want to receive. Nikon says this won't affect the photographer, who can continue shooting even as photo editors are pulling shots from the D3's memory.

The Nikon D3 has a guide price of £3,400 for the body only. Nikon says full list pricing for camera and lens bundles as well as compatible accessories will be announced in September.


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