Nikon's hot hand...2012 is looking good!

On Wednesday, February 8, 2012 0 comments

Nikon is really on a roll. We have seen the recent introductions of the new flagship D4 with its incredible focus on high-speed and quality imagery, the COOLPIX line-up updated including an awesome 42x zoom camera and yesterday the new D800 is unveiled.

So let's break it down a bit...

Nikon D4
The Nikon D4 ($6,000 body w/o lens) is an update to the 2007 D3. This is Nikon's high-end, full-frame sensor camera and is a beast to behold. This version provides a modest uptick in resolution and frame-rate and adds a hefty dose of horsepower in the auto-focus, high-iso, low light category as well as video capture. Nikon has really suffered behind Canon in the area of video capture and this is a their attempt to steal some of that thunder away. I'd have to venture to say that Nikon is targeting professional news and sports photographers for the most part. If you are into landscape photography and the like, you'll probably be more interested in the new D800 I'll talk about in a bit due to its substantially higher resolution.

I'm not going to get into the technicals, I did cover that in my original write-up when the D4 was announced last month. Look for its release in February and more details after getting to spend more time with the camera beyond my 15 minutes at CES.
Nikon COOLPIX P510
Nikon COOLPIX Line-up
Nikon's latest COOLPIX line-up is becoming available for pre-order online. One standout in the line-up is the new COOLPIX P510 superzoom camera featuring a 16.1 megapixel sensor (geek note: 1/2.3-inch CMOS) and a spectacular 42x Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens.

We are talking about a camera that can shoot from 24mm wide-angle then zoom to an amazing 1,000mm to capture distant images. In addition it has the ability to do close-up macro mode allowing you to focus as close as 0.4 inches away from the lens for real close-ups.

To put this level of zoom into perspective, check out the picture to the right.

Included is a GPS to record where your pictures are taken. A hi-speed photo mode allowing you to capture roughly five frames per second. And 1080p high-definition video capture with special features like slo-mo and fast-motion video effects. Adding a bit of bulk to the camera, you also get a nice ultra high definition (921,000 pixel) swing out monitor to enable a wide range of viewing angles for those difficult shots.

Expect the P510 to be shipping on March 22nd at $430. Be sure to check out all the new Nikon COOLPIX cameras.

Nikon D800
And the big news of the day is the introduction of the Nikon D800...the pro-sumer, full-frame sensor replacement for the aged D700. The D800, like the D4 mentioned above are FX-Format sensors. This means that they accept pretty much all of Nikon's lenses including full-frame or cropped sensor (DX) lenses as well as old film camera lenses. Of course, if you use a cropped DX lens you are only using a small part of the full sensor inside of the D800 but at least you are not throwing the lens away.

The excitement around this camera starts with its all-new 36.3 million-pixel resolution sensor and its EXPEED3 processing unit designed to handle all those pixels.

  • Wide sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400, expandable to Lo 1 (ISO 50 equivalent) or Hi 2 (ISO 25600 equivalent)
  • 51-point AF system with enhanced performance in subject acquisition and focusing in low-light situations
  • Glass pentaprism viewfinder with approx. 100% frame coverage (FX format) 
  • Approx. 921k-dot, wide-viewing angle, 8-cm (3.2-in.) LCD monitor 
  • Newly developed shutter unit tested for over 200,000 cycles; shutter speed up to 1/8,000
  • Continuous shooting at approx. 4 fps* (FX, 5:4) and approx. 5 fps* (1.2x, DX)
    • *With EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • MB-D12 Multi-Power Battery Pack (optional) that enables high-speed continuous shooting at approx. 6 fps* in DX format
    • *When using batteries other than EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery.
  • The D800E option is a unique alternative that realizes the sharpest images possible but can introduce moire patterns if not careful

Not only does this system focus on high-pixel photography but it has a strong focus on video clearly targeting the Canon 5DMKII and 7D's dominance on the DSLR cinematography realm...
"Recording of 1920 x 1080p/30-fps full-HD movies is supported, and users can choose to record using the FX-based movie format or the DX-based movie format according to recording conditions. The FX-based movie format offers a shallow depth-of-field with an emphasis on blur characteristics while the DX-based movie format enables recording of movies that bring subjects closer when lenses with short focal lengths are used. The D800 is also equipped with a headphone jack and supports precise adjustment of microphone sensitivity. In addition, it supports simultaneous display of movies or the movie live view display in the camera monitor and on an external monitor. Further, the D800 responds to the needs of professionals who require uncompressed movie files with the ability to record movies directly to an external HDMI recorder in movie live view mode."
Matter of fact, some early video we have seen really shows a lot of promise. Here's a film short produced with the D800.

The D800 seems to really fill a Nikon market gap nicely, providing amateurs and professional studio/landscape photographers with a nice-sized, powerful full-frame camera. Nikon has provided some sample photography and more details if you are interested in checking them out.

Nikon's great comeback
Don't get me wrong. Nikon makes great camera gear. The Nikon D5100 is a wonderful DSLR for under $1,000. Definitely one of my favorites pick of the last year. And of course, loyal Nikon purchasers have always had something new and interesting to keep their eye on. But Nikon has lacked a bit of sex appeal of late to help them garner new consumers or steal people away from Canon or the other manufacturers camps. After reading all the hot news captured here, you have to give Nikon credit, in the last 30 days they have provided details on a really powerful line-up for 2012! I am glad to see Nikon back in the game with some impressive gear. Canon has really dominated the innovation in this space for quite some time. Speaking of time, I guess time will tell if these latest introductions will all pan out well and deliver on the promise but I'm looking forward to testing some of these out in the coming months and providing you with more insights as they unfold.

Looks like a good year for photography lovers!

LarryLarry Pacey, award-winning designer tracks the latest news on consumer products, electronics, appliances, smart devices, networking and the gadget lifestyle.
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