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Nikon expands consumer lens, flash choices

Welcome a new 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 kit alternative and update to Nikon's entry-level flash.

Nikon's newest consumer lens, the 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 Nikon

Nikon made a couple of small but welcome announcements on Monday night for owners of its consumer dSLRs. First is a new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens, slipping into the lineup between the 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 and 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 lenses, and which will likely become a kit step-up staple. And second, the Speedlight SB-300 flash, which replaces and improves upon the entry-level SB-400.

Priced between its two siblings, the 18-140mm fits in the spot left unoccupied when Nikon discontinued the 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 over three years ago. In addition to the expanded focal range over the 18-105mm, it offers an extra half-stop of optical stabilization for a total of four stops -- not a surprise since it's a longer lens -- as well as a metal mount (versus the 18-105mm's plastic mount) and internal focus.

Speedlight SB-300 Nikon

The new flash, a compact unit intended for use with models like the Coolpix A and other Nikon hot-shoe-blessed enthusiast cameras, also has some nice tweaks over its predecessor. The head tilts by 30 more degrees, for a total of 120 degrees, and it gets a power boost to GN59. It still uses two AAA batteries, though, and we don't yet have specs for battery life (or a lot of other things, for that matter).

Nikon USA

Like the SB-400, the SB-300 takes a just-the-basics approach: the controls consist of a power switch and an indicator light.

The flash is slated to ship at the end of August and will cost $149.95.