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February 21, 2006 – Nikon expanded its Performance series today with the announcement of the Coolpix P3 and P4. The cameras are virtually identical – 8.1 megapixels, 3.5x zoom lenses, and 16 scene modes – with the exception of the P3’s inclusion of wireless technology. The Nikon Coolpix P3 can send images to printers and computers via its WiFi connection. The P3 will sell for $449 and the P4 for $399. Both digital cameras will be available this month.
The cameras are equipped with mostly automatic modes and 9 of the 16 scene modes have advanced framing features. The Nikon Coolpix P3 and P4 have aperture priority modes too. With this, users can select apertures from f/2.7 at the widest 36mm focal length to f/5.3 and beyond at the telephoto 126mm focal length.
Each camera sports a 3.5x Zoom-Nikkor lens with an electronic vibration reduction system that is controlled by a button atop the camera. The vibration reduction system has two modes, Active and Normal, which are optimized for hand-shake and more movement. They work in both still image and movie mode, the latter of which records in three image sizes at a 30 frame-per-second rate.
As with other Nikon releases this year, the Coolpix P3 and P4 will have improved menus that have an easier to view color scheme and more proportional icons. Both cameras have an 11-point auto focus system, which is updated from the earlier 9-point system on the old P1 and P2. Both new cameras also add more resolution with 150,000 pixels on their LCD screens. The old P2 had 5.1 megapixels and the P1 had 8 megapixels, like the new releases.
The Coolpix P3 and P4 bodies are slightly thinner too. The P1 and P2 were 1.5 inches thick, while the P3 and P4 measure 3.6 x 2.4 x 1.2 inches and weigh 5.6 ounces. The new releases also include Nikon’s built-in technology suite that focuses automatically on faces, fixes red-eye, and compensates for dark images.