Nikon debuts new cameras, lens, speedlight

Nikon has been busy recently. The company announced 4 new products on Wednesday: the Coolpix 8700 and D70 digital cameras, the SB-600 AF Speedlight, and the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens.

The Coolpix 8700 is the next entry in Nikon's line of "prosumer" digital cameras. It features 8-megapixel resolution and an 8x optical Zoom-Nikkor ED lens as well as a 238,000-pixel electronic viewfinder. The 8700 can produce images up to 3,264 x 2,448 pixels, or larger than 20 inches x 30 inches when developed, and it features 4 exposure modes -- as well as an automatic mode for point-and-shoot simplicity -- 12 preset scene modes, Noise Reduction Mode, the ability to shoot as close as 1.2 inches from your subject, the capacity to shoot short video clips, and more.

In addition, the Coolpix 8700 includes Nikon's NikonView 6 photo management software, a software suite from ArcSoft, which includes VideoImpression for QuickTime movie editing and Panorama Maker for stitching together several photos into one, USB and video cables, an EN-EL1 rechargeable battery and charger, and neck strap. It will be available in March for a suggested retail price of US$999.95.

The D70 is Nikon's other new digital camera announcement. It fits into Nikon's SLR (single lens reflex) line and it features 6.1 megapixel resolution, Dynamic Buffer technology that allows you to shoot up to 144 pictures at the rate of 3 per second, simultaneous compressed NEF (RAW) and JPEG writing capabilities, and more.

In addition, you get PictureProject photo organizing software, a rechargeable battery and charger, and a neck strap. The price will be $999 -- $1,299 if you want the new DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens -- when Nikon ships it this spring.

The D70, as well as many of Nikon's other cameras, is compatible with the company's new SB-600 AF Speedlight, which features automatic balance fill-flash and wireless lighting capabilities, thanks to support for Nikon Advanced wireless TTL operation. You can also set it up as a remote flash controlled by the SB-800 Speedlight or the D70's built-in speedlight set to Commander Mode.

The SB-600 also features Flash Value Lock to keep settings as you recompose a scene, Auto FP High-Speed Sync Flash, automatic white balance, the ability to customize the settings, and more. Nikon will ship the new Speedlight in the spring, with pricing announced 30 days prior to the first day of sale.

Finally, the D70 and Nikon's other digital SLR cameras received a new add-on with the introduction of the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens, which features a focal length range equivalent to 27-105mm in 35mm format, the Silent Wave motor for super-quiet autofocus, and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass and internal focusing for better picture quality.

The lens is the fourth in Nikon's DX Nikkor line since it was introduced 13 months ago. The company expects to ship it this spring for a $590 suggested retail price.

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