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Nikon just unveiled eight new fixed lens models across almost all their series.  The new models include an advanced compact with an ultra-bright F/1.8 lens, an ultra-zoom with the world’s biggest optical zoom, a travel zoom and 3 uses of their new 12 Megapixels CMOS sensor.

The Coolpix P300 introduces advanced photographic features in a compact body built around the 12 megapixels CMOS sensor mentioned earlier and an ultra-wide angle lens. This lens covers the effective focal-range of 24 to 100mm and has an ultra-bright F/1.8 aperture at its widest angle. At the telephoto end, the aperture closes down to a rather dim F/4.9. The P300 is designed with dual control-dials to allow efficient controls of exposure parameters in P, A, T and M modes.

The CMOS sensor gives it some unique capabilities in its class, namely full 1080p HD video recording and an 8 FPS continuous drive.  This positions the P300 differently than its competitors which use large CCDs to keep image quality high but consequently are dealing with lower video resolutions and burst rates.  This digital camera is equipped with a very sharp 3″ LCD with 921K pixels. It is powered by AA batteries and will be available in March for $329 USD or $379 CDN.

There is new flagship ultra-zoom in the form of the Coolpix P500 which packs a 36X optical zoom lens, edging the Canon SX30’s 35X zoom in the right direction. The Nikon Coolpix P500’s lens is equivalent to 22.5-810mm in 35mm terms. This is nearly the widest lens on a digital camera and almost the longest. Keep in mind that there are no easy substitute for wider-angles but longer focal-lengths can be simulated by cropping.

The P500 also uses the new 12 megapixels CMOS sensor which gives it full 1080p HD video recording and 8 FPS continuous drive.  High-speed videos up to 120 FPS are possible at 320×240 as well.  This model is equipped with full manual controls including custom white-balance and spot-metering. The P500 will be available in March for $399 USD or $449 CDN.

The last of today’s Nikon to use the CMOS sensor is the new flagship travel zoom, the Nikon Coolpix S9100.  This 12 megapixels compact camera is equipped with one of the longest zooms in its class, an 18X lens which is equivalent to 25-450mm. The ultra-wide side is particularly appreciated for versatility. This one too has a 3″ LCD with 921K pixels and full 1080p HD video capabilities. A rarity among compact cameras is that the S9100 allows the use of its optical zoom during video and has a built-in stereo microphone. The S9100 will be available in March for $329 USD or $379 CDN.

There is one more ultra-zoom appearing today, it is the 14 megapixels CCD-based Nikon Coolpix L120.  This is a medium-sized camera with a 21X optical zoom lens, equivalent to 25-525mm. Being CCD-based, the L120 records HD videos at 720p. This is point-and-shoot model with a 3″ LCD having 921K pixels but no EVF, like on the P500. It conveniently uses AA batteries, giving it the longest battery-life we have seen in a while, up to 890 shots per charge, with 50% flash use. The L120 is scheduled to be available this month for $279 USD or CDN. At least this price reflects the exchange rate between currencies!

The remaining 4 cameras are all CCD-based as well:

  • Nikon Coolpix L24 with a 14 megapixels sensor and a 3.6X optical zoom lens. This point-and-shoot also runs on AAs with a battery-life of up to 700 shots per charge. This model will be available in March for $119 USD or CDN.
  • Nikon Coolpix S6100, an ultra-compact with a 16 megapixels sensor, a 7X optical zoom lens and a 3″ touchscreen LCD. This one will be available in March for $199 USD or $229 CDN.
  • Nikon Coolpix S4100, an ultra-compact with a 14 megapixels sensor, 5X optical zoom lens and a 3″ touchscreen LCD.  This one should be available in March for $179 USD or $169 CDN.  This is the only time the MSRP is lower in Canada than the US.
  • Nikon Coolpix S3100, another ultra-compact with a 14 megapixels sensor and 5X optical zoom lens. This one uses a 2.7″ LCD with 230K pixels.  It will be available in March for $139 USD or $149 CDN.

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