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Nikon D90: HD Video-Enabled SLR Announced

Nikon has finally annnounced the D90, a 12.3-megapixel SLR capable of shooting video in 1280 x 720 high definition.

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August 27, 2008 – After weeks of rumors, Nikon has finally annnounced the D90, a 12.3-megapixel SLR capable of shooting video in 1280 x720 high definition. This successor to the two-year-old D80 is scheduled to ship in November at $999.95 for the body alone or $1299 with an 18-105mm VR lens.

Video capture distinguishes the D90 from other digital SLRs: while movie mode is a commonplace feature in point-and-shoot cameras, it's never been done effectively in a still camera with interchangeable lenses. The D90 shoots video at three resolutions, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480 and 320 x 240, at up to 24 frames per second, with sound. Video files, which are captured with the camera in Live View mode, are stored in Motion JPEG format. An HDMI port is available for connecting the D90 to an HDTV for video or still image playback.

ISO settings range from 200 to 3200, plus Lo 1 (effectively 100) and Hi 1 (effectively 6400). Burst rate clocks in at up to 4.5 frames per second. The Live View mode supports face recognition, identifying up to five faces for auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance adjustment. Nikon's Image Sensor Cleaning system, which vibrates the low-pass filter to remove dust, has also been implemented in the D90. Picture Control settings, with choices of Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape are available in the D90, and in-camera editing functions have been expanded with three new options: Distortion Control (to correct for lens aberrations), Straighten (corrects skewed horizon angles) and Fisheye Effect.

The new camera is equipped with a 3' LCD with 920,000-dot resolution, a nice step up from the 2.5', 230,00-dot D80 screen. Battery capacity, at 850 shots, is the same as the earlier camera.

Also included in today's announcement is an 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR (Vibration Reduction). Nikon says that the VR capability enables handheld shooting at up to 3 shutter speeds below what would be practical with a non-VR lens. The lens will be sold on its own for $399.95 starting in September, or bundled with the D90 when the camera ships in November.

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