Cameras

Nikon Refreshes the Coolpix Cycle with P500, P300, and More

The CP+ photo show in Japan has picked up steam, with Nikon's latest announcement of eight brand new Coolpix cameras for 2011. These new point-and-shoot models are led by the feature-packed P500 ultrazoom and the compact F1.8 P300.

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The CP+ photo show in Japan has picked up steam, with Nikon's latest announcement of eight brand new Coolpix cameras for 2011. These new point-and-shoot models are led by the feature-packed P500 ultrazoom and the compact F1.8 P300. All eight cameras are due to hit store shelves in February and March for prices ranging from $119.95 to $399.95.

2011's flagship Coolpix, the P500, will feature SLR-like ergonomics, without the hassle of interchangeable lenses. The 22.5-810mm lens has 36x optical zoom and is supported by a dual image processor and 12.1-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. It shares many of the same features as the P100, including 1080p video recording and a 3-inch vari-angle 460k LCD. The P500, however, has an updated grip texture, zoom control on the lens barrel, and both AV and HDMI terminals on the camera. The P500 will retail for an estimated MSRP of $399.95.

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Also at the top of the Coolpix lineup is the stylish P300 compact camera, with a 4.2x optical zoom, 24-100mm F1.8 lens. This new entry in Nikon's high-end point-and-shoot lineup will have separate dials for aperture and shutter speed, plus the full range of program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes. The P300 is outfitted with a 12-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and 3-inch 921k LCD. 1080/30p video can be captured with the camera, then displayed via the HDMI interface. The P300 is expected to retail for $329.95 MSRP.

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Nikon's S-series is receiving a number of updates: the Coolpix S8100 will be upgraded to the S9100, the S6000 will be replaced by the S6100, the S4000 will be replaced by the S4100, and the S3000 will be replaced by the S3100. All four new models will have a variety of improvements over its predecessor, including a new array of CMOS and CCD sensors. The S9100 (shipping in black, red, gold, and dark silver) will have a 25-450mm lens with 18x optical zoom lens, the ability to capture 1080/30p video, and a 3-inch 921k LCD. The S6100 will improve upon the S6000's sensor and LCD: the 14MP CCD is replaced by a 16MP CCD, and the LCD is increasing in size (to 3.0 inches and 460,000 pixels) and receiving a touch screen interface.

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The S4100 will feature Nikon's new advanced graphical user interface with tabbed "drawers"—displayed on a 3-inch 460k LCD with improved brightness. The S4000 has an improved sensor (12MP to 14MP) and will be available in plum, silver, bronze, red, and black for $179.99. The S3100 will retail for $139.95 MSRP with a 14-megapixel CCD sensor and 26-130mm 5x optical zoom lens.

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The last of the new cameras announced for CP+ are the L120 and L24: successors to Nikon's entry-level L110 and L22 from 2010. The L120 has 21x optical zoom with its 25-525mm ultrazoom lens, as well as a 14MP CCD with optical vibration reduction. Like the S4100, the L120 has a new 3.0-inch 921k LCD with improved brightness and an HDMI port. It will also receive some of the P500's upgrades, including zoom control on the lens barrel and a new grip texture. The L120 will operate on AA batteries (like its predecessor) and will retail for an estimated MSRP of $279.95. The compact entry-level Coolpix is the L24, which will hit the market later this month for an MSRP of $119.95.

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