Nikon officially announces the D300S, the D3000, and 2 upgraded lenses, 18-200mm VRII and 70-200mm VRII. Here’s a brief summary of what’s important and what’s enhanced – in some cases, what’s unchanged.

D300S: features that are new from Nikon
– HD video recording 1280×720 at 24fps with external stereo mic-in and AF during recording, using contrast-detect. AF will make sense if you use external mic, or else the motor sounds could be heard during recording.
– quiet drive mode, but don’t expect silent operation like compact digicams
– CF+SD card slots, a rare feature for mid-range semi-pro DSLR to have dual card slots and of different formats.
– 7fps without vertical grip, another boost to the mid-range semi-pro DSLR and another step ahead of all the competitors

There are minor GUI and hardware button changes based on existing Nikon models. For instance, virtual horizon, Live View and Info hardware buttons. I do notice that the card slot door no longer has a lock like D300, and I don’t like it because when I was using D700, I had the tendency to accidentally slide-open the card slot door.

D3000 is a replacement to the entry-level D60, including inheriting fundamental limitations to justify the low price.
– 10.2 mega pixel, same as D60
– 3fps, same as D60
– 3-inch LCD screen, although still at 230K
– 100 to 1600 ISO, with boost to 3200 ISO, same as D60
– 11-point AF system, similar to D5000
– 3D AF tracking, the first entry-level Nikon DSLR to have this feature
– only supports lenses with bulit-in AF motor, certainly the most damning limitation that prevents me from recommending Nikon to beginners. No doubt Nikon has released AFS prime lenses, but there is always this high possibility of legacy lenses not able to work with D3000, thus confusing beginners when looking for cheap third party lenses.

18-200mm AF-S DX VRII f3.5-5.6
A welcoming enhancement is resolving the zoom-creep issue with a zoom-lock, as well as new coating to reduce flare. VR II claims 4-stop benefit.

70-200mm AF-S ED VRII f2.8
Shorter but heavier than the original 70-200mm, the lens can continue to AF even if the focus ring is being handled, using the A/M mode.

The earliest date that any of the above products are available is September 2009.

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