Nikon unveils six new digital cameras

Nikon on Wednesday took the wraps off a total of six new digital cameras, with new offerings for consumers, hobbyists and prosumers, and digital photography professionals. The new lineup includes the point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix 4600, 5600, 7600, 5900 and 7900 models, as well as the D2Hs, a digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera.

The new 4-megapixel Coolpix 4600, the 5.1-megapixel Coolpix 5600 and the 7.1-megapixel Coolpix 7600 all share some common traits designed to help improve the pictures you take while they're still in the camera, like Nikon's In-Camera Red Eye Fix technology, new D-Lighting feature, which can compensate for insufficient flash or excessive backlighting; and Blur Warning, which lets you know when camera shake or hand shake may ruin a shot. They also sport a new redesigned user interface that makes it easier for beginners to find what they need. All the camera sport 1.8-inch LCD screens and consume less power -- they use AA alkaline batteries. All the new cameras will reach store shelves in March. The Coolpix 4600 will cost US$199.95, the Coolpix 5600 will be $279.95, and the Coolpix 7600 will be $379.95.

Aimed what Nikon refers to as "step-up consumers," the Coolpix 5900 and the Coolpix 7900 are 5.1-megapixel and 7.1-megapixel resolution, respectively, and they feature all-metal bodies, 3x optical zoom lenses, two-inch LCD screens and a new "Face-Priority" auto-focus feature. Both cameras use lithium-ion batteries, good for more than 200 shots at a charge, according to Nikon. The 7900 and 5900 can shoot continuously at 1.7 and 2 frames per second respectively, and feature multi auto-focus with a choice of 99 manually selectable areas and five choices for auto select auto-focus. The cameras weigh about 5.3 ounces empty. They also will hit stores in March 2005; the Coolpix 5900 will cost $349.95 and the Coolpix 7900 will cost $449.95.

The $3,499 D2Hs is Nikon's latest professional digital SLR model. Like its newly-announced consumer-focused brethren, the D2Hs ships in March. With a 4.1-megapixel sensor, the D2Hs is designed for photojournalists and sports or action photographers who need high speed but don't necessary need high resolution. A large picture buffer for continuous shooting lets photographers snap up 8 frames per second for up to 50 consecutive shots using fine quality images and JPEG compression (or 40 shots using RAW format). The D2Hs features a new image processing engine that produces higher quality pictures with finer gradations and lower noise. Also new on this model is a refined exposure metering system, improved auto white balance and better auto focusing. The D2Hs uses USB 2.0 to connect to a Mac or PC, and can also send pictures wirelessly to a Mac OS X or Windows XP-equipped system using Nikon's optional WT-2/2A 802.11g transmitter. The D2Hs is compatible with DX Nikkor and Nikkor AF lenses.

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