updated 12:10 am EST, Tue January 29, 2008
Nikon Coolpix PMA 2008
In addition to its D60 SLR, Nikon tonight has also taken the wraps from six new COOLPIX cameras. At the top, the P60 (shown) straddles the line between regular compacts and more advanced cameras such as Nikon's P5100. Though stopped at 8.1 megapixels and lacking the flash hot-shoe, it improves on the P5100 with both a longer-range 5X optical zoom as well as hardware image stabilization. Using the newer EXPEED image processor also boosts light sensitivity to ISO 2000 while reducing overall noise. The P60 ships in March for $230.
Four mid-range, S-series cameras make up the bulk of the announcement. The flagship 10-megapixel S600 is one of the smaller cameras available at its size but earns its greatest distinction for warm-up time: the S600 has the fastest startup of any high-end compact, Nikon claims. It also builds in hardware image stabilization and a wide-angle, 28-112mm lens with 4X zoom to capture unusually-proportioned images while reducing jitter effects. The S550 shares the same resolution but sheds the optical stabilization in favor of ISO-boost correction (up to ISO 2000) and a more conventional but longer reach 5X zoom lens. The 8-megapixel S520 restores optical stabilization at the expense of a basic 3X zoom lens, while the S210 trims costs by using the ISO techniques of the S550. All four ship in March at prices of $180 for the S210, S230 for the S520 and S550, and $300 for the S600.
Just one budget camera joins the range. The L18 is capped at 8 megapixels, 3X zoom, and ISO 1600 sensitivity but adds a large 3-inch preview LCD and a full automatic mode that adjusts virtually every setting on its own for newcomers to digital cameras. It arrives in March for $140.