Perhaps the worst kept secret of the year so far; Nikon's two new entry level DSLRs are officially launched today
Read Nikon's press releases:
Read our fully-illustrated hands-on Nikon D50 preview!
Nikon UK announces D70s digital SLRNikon introduces the new D50
Nikon introduces the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
Nikon announces the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED.
Nikon's huge success with its budget-priced D70 digital SLR, launched just over a year ago, has motivated the company to make subtle improvements to this model and develop a smaller, lighter and cheaper version for the mass market, culminating in the D70s and the D50, respectively. Detailed information, including pdf copies of the instruction manuals, has been circulating on the Net for several weeks. Today witnesses the official UK launch of the two new cameras, which are also accompanied by two new lenses.
The UK press launch is scheduled for 2PM UK time and we'll update this news item later today with some pictures and feedback after the event. In the mean time, below is a summary of the new camera features and a comparison with the competition:
|Model || Canon EOS-350D (Digital Rebel XT)|| Nikon D70 ||Nikon D70s ||Nikon D50|| Olympus E-300 (Evolt)|| Pentax *istDS
|Typical price (UK)* || £649|| £749|| £899 (msrp)**|| £649 (msrp)**|| £579 ||£669
|Typical price (USA)*|| $929|| $999|| $1199 (est)|| $899(est)|| $799 || $899
|Typical price (Euros)*|| €819|| €1089|| €1343 (est)**|| €971 (msrp)**|| €749|| €949
|Megapixels|| 8|| 6 ||6 ||6 ||8 ||6
|Kit lens|| EF-S 18-55mm (29-88mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6|| AF-S DX 18-70mm (27-105mm equiv) f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED|| AF-S DX 18-70mm (27-105mm equiv) f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED|| AF-S DX 18-55mm (27-83mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6G ED|| Zuiko Digital 14-45mm (28-90mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6 ||DA 18-55mm (27-83mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6 AL
|Shutter speed range|| Bulb-1/4000th sec|| Bulb-1/8000th sec|| Bulb-1/8000th sec|| Bulb-1/4000th sec|| 8min-1/4000th sec ||Bulb-1/4000th sec
|Flash sync speed|| X=1/200th sec || X=1/500th || X=1/500th ||X=1/500th ||X=1/180th or 1/4000th (Super FP)|| X=1/180th
|Max continuous shooting speed/frames (JPEG) || 3fps/14 frames || 3fps/12 frames || 3fps/until card filled with high performance card|| 2.5fps/until card filled with high performance card|| 2.5fps/4 frames|| 2.8fps/8 frames
|LCD size/resolution|| 1.8in/115,000 pixels|| 1.8in/130,000 pixels|| 2.0in/130,000 pizels|| 2.0in/130,000 pizels|| 1.8in/134,000 pixels|| 2.0in/210,000 pixels
|Special features|| Photostitch panorama software, E-TTL flash compatibility ||i-TTL distance related flash system, grid lines in viewfinder, extensive customisable image settings ||i-TTL distance related flash system, grid lines in viewfinder, extensive customisable image settings, fast power up ||i-TTL distance related flash system, compact design, SD card support (no CF), fast power up ||Porro viewfinder, supersonic wave sensor cleaner ||Compact design, SD card support (no CF)
|Body only dimensions/weight (no battery, card or strap) || 126.5x94.2x64 mm/485g ||140x111x78mm/595g || 140x111x78mm/600g|| 133x102x76mm/540g ||146.5 x 85 x 64mm/580g || 125x 92.5x 66mm/505g
*With kit lens
**Msrp (manufacturer's suggested retail price)
The most obvious aspect of the new D50 is its small size and weight. It's not quite as diminutive or light as either the Pentax *istDS or the new Canon EOS-350D/Digital Rebel XT, but it's not far off and certainly substantially smaller than the D70. Set with the task of competing at the lowest DSLR price point, the D50 is up against the Canon EOS-350D/Digital Rebel XT and the Olympus E-300/Evolt, both of which benefit from an eight megapixel sensor specification compared to the D50's six megapixels.
But apart from that, the D50 looks well equipped, especially with its continuous shooting rate of 2.5fps for as many frames as your memory card will stand – oh, and that's another point, the D50 depends on SD cards rather than the more usual DSLR staple of compact flash cards. A good-sized 2.0 inch LCD monitor is provided.
New standard zoom kit lens
The other notable feature of the D50 as a kit package is a new standard zoom lens, the AF-S DX 18-55mm (27-83mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6G ED. This is a cheaper and lighter alternative to the AF-S DX 18-70mm (27-105mm equiv) f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens that is bundled with the D70 and the new D70s. The lens is priced to sell on its own at £199 (€299, US$ estimate $349).
Outwardly, the new D70s looks identical to the original D70. The main physical alteration is the implementation of a larger LCD monitor, up from 1.8 inch diagonal size to 2.0 inches, though the number of displayed pixels remains as before. Under the skin, there are detail improvements to various camera functions, including AF function, menu structure and presentation and there is a slightly improved lithium ion battery.
AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
Complementing the new AF-S DX 18-55mm (27-83mm equiv) f/3.5-5.6G ED lens is a new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm (83-300 equiv) f/4-5.6G ED affordable telephoto zoom, providing coverage of the 27-300mm focal length range with just two lenses. The new 55-200 has a manufacturer's guide price of £199 (€299, US$ estimate $349). Incidentally, both lenses are designed specifically for Nikon APS-C sensor digital SLRs only and shouldn't be used with film models.