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Nikon announces latest D-SLR

D80 to hit the market next month

Nikon has announced the impending arrival of its latest digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera, the D80.

Due for a September release, the D80 sports a generous 10.2Mp (megapixel) DX CCD (charge-coupled device) sensor as well as an enhanced feature set built on customers' feedback of the D70, the D80's predecessor.

With most current mid-range digital SLRs hovering around the 8Mp mark, the Nikon D80 and the recently released Sony Alpha are the first non-professional cameras to break into double figures. The timing of Nikon's announcement suggests Nikon has been a little unnerved by the arrival of Sony's young pretender.

After a brief hands-on demonstration of a D80 yesterday, PC Advisor can report that the D80 looks and feels good, although it's not a radical departure from the D70.

Despite a slightly smaller profile than its predecessor, most of the D80 is seemingly geared around ease of use with almost everything being scaled up slightly. From the generous 2.5in LCD screen and redesigned menus to the slightly less slippery controls, the D80's handling has been nicely streamlined.

In addition to the resolution increase, the D80 boasts more highlights than the average hair-dressing salon, including the 3D Colour Matrix Metering II metering system, near-full frame viewfinder and a rather nifty 11 point auto focus system. If this isn't enough there's also an Advanced Auto White Balance, RGB colour histogram, multiple exposure overlays and in-camera picture editing to play with.

Prices start at £699 inc. VAT for the body only, or can be purchased in one of two zoom kits with the choice of either an 18-70mm AFS-DX F/3.5-5.6 lens, or the newly announced 18-135mm AFS-DX F/3.5-5.6 lens Prices for the kits are £899 and £949 respectively, including VAT. Nikon has also announced another lens in the form of the 70-300 AFS-VR sporting an f/4.5-5.6 aperture range, and advanced vibration dampening allowing lower shutter speeds up to four stops slower. It's pencilled for release in October and weighs in at an eye-watering £399 inc. VAT.

Look out for a full review of the Nikon D80 in a future issue of PC Advisor.

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