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Nikon to Finally Show Some 1080p DSLR Love?

UPDATE:  Well, it looks like Best Buy has lent some credibility to the very loud rumors of the D3100.  According to Nikonrumors.com, Best Buy has actually put the Nikon D3100 into it’s inventory system; the SKU is 1222817, “Nikon D3100 DSLR w/ 18-55mm v”, with availability: 9/18/2010.  Hmmmm…

** DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER! RUMOURS AHEAD!  PLEASE TAKE 100 µm (1×10^-4 m) OF SALT WHILE READING! **

Ever since Canon released their 5D MarkII, the smaller 7D and more recently the Rebel T2i — all with gobsmacking Full HD shooting capabilities — to the masses, Nikon has been really quiet on this front.  While Nikon was the first DSLR manufacturer to include HD video recording on a DSLR with their D90, it was only at 720p.  Just a few months after the D90 was released, Canon fired back with the 5D MarkII which included Full 1080p HD recording and as well gave Full 1080p to their subsequent DSLRs the 7D, Rebel T2i and the 1D MarkIV.  Canon have pretty much dominated the market for HD-DSLRs.  People love having a full 1080p HD video camera at their disposal inside a DSLR, especially since they can now use all those beautiful interchangeable lenses.  But Nikon continued to stay quiet on the Full HD front.  Sure, they released 1080p video on their point-and-shooter, the P100, but many people wanted more.  Even when they released their newer  D300s, D5000 and the low-light monster D3s, those cameras only had the 720p D-Movie mode; much to people’s chagrin.  Many Nikon faithful since have wondered if Nikon could catch up with Canon on the HD front.

Well, as we get closer to the photographic industry’s largest trade, Photokina 2010 in September, rumours have been swirling around again that Nikon’s about ready to fire back at Canon.  Once again, these are just rumours so take what’s written here with that proverbial grain of salt.

First reporting from Nikonrumors.com — those guys try to at least report on things that have some validity to them — comes word that new DSLRs are finally coming from Nikon, to be announced in a few weeks just in time for Photokina.  Both cameras are said to have brand-spankin new sensors.

First up is the new consumer camera, the rumoured D3100 with the following features:

•    Continuous AF in video mode/live view
•    New AF points configuration which should cover a very large portion of the viewfinder. Total of 11 or 12 AF points.
•    14 MP CMOS sensor
•    HD video: 1080p/24 and 720p 30/24!
•    AVCHD video codec
•    In camera video editing capabilities
•    3 fps
•    Will be sold in a kit with a 18-55mm lens
•    No swivel display
•    Announcement: August 19th, 2010

The interesting thing here is the continuous autofocus feature in Live Video & Video modes.  If true, this would be awesome because no camera currently has a fast enough auto focus to be continuous in Live View/Video mode.  This is one of the holy grails people are looking for today.

Next is the long awaited replacement for the D90, the camera that started the HD video war on DSLRs in the first place.  The rumored D95 will feature:

•    Aluminium or magnesium-alloy body
•    16MP sensor
•    1080 HD video
•    Somewhere between 6-8 fps
•    Improved ISO (possibly base 100)
•    39 AF points
•    Price: $1199 for body only
•    Announcement: on/around September 15th, 2010

This camera is also rumoured to be the result of Nikon merging both the D90 and the D300 product lines together into only one product line.

Plus the P7000, Nikon’s supposed “G11-killer”, and their new EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangable Lens) camera system are also said to be announced soon as well.

To spur things on, it is also rumoured from Sonyalpharumors.com that Sony is set to release their new Alpha DSLRs, all of which will feature Full HD recording.  Now, why am I reporting this Sony news in an article about Nikon, you may ask.  For those of you who do not know, Nikon does not manufacture their own CMOS sensors for their DSLRs.  What they do is sub-license the manufacture of the sensors to Sony, which in turn are tweeked and modded by Nikon’s own engineers to Nikon specifications.  So as strange as it sounds, inside every Nikon DSLR is a Sony Alpha sensor.  So when Sony has new DSLRs coming to market with hot fresh new sensors, chances are very, very good Nikon will be releasing new DSLRs with those same sensors as well.  Here are the specs for the new Sony Alpha DSLRs:

•    Sony A55 16MP 10FPS EVF-1.44M 1.1X magnification 95% AVCHD full HD
•    Sony A33 14MP 7FPS EVF-1.44M 1.1X magnification 95% AVCHD full HD
•    Sony A560 14MP 7FPS MF recording AVCHD full HD
•    Sony A580 16MP 7FPS MF recording AVCHD full HD
•    Announcement is expected in August, in stock in September.
•    The A33 and A55 models are rumored to be Pellix cameras.
•    All new models are expected to have DOF preview, panorama/3D, ISO 100 (base), 15 AF focus points and AF during video recording.

Check out the articles in more detail at nikonrumors.com and sonyalpharumors.com.

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