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Photography

Nikon's budget models for spring

Nikon introduces the budget megazoom to its product line.

Nikon plays catch-up to the competition by introducing a budget megazoom model, the Coolpix L100. Characteristically, budget megazooms offer shorter lenses than their more expensive siblings and eschew the electronic viewfinder; the 10-megapixel L100 follows the pattern with its 15x f3.5-5.4 28-420mm lens, which is slower and shorter than its sister the P90's. Though it uses a 3-inch LCD, the L100's doesn't tilt like the P90's does.

Like the more expensive models, though, Nikon adds its "4-Way Vibration Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization" which consists of optical IS, auto shutter speed/ISO determination to compensate for moving subjects, and a Best Shot Selector option for choosing the sharpest photo out of a burst of 10. Like the P80, it supports up to ISO 1600 with reduced resolution for ISO 3200 and 6400. Also new, the camera has a mode for 13 frames per second continuous shooting at full resolution for an unspecified number of frames, or 30fps for 30 frames at 3 megapixels or less. Like all its competitors, Nikon introduces its own get-the-faces-right system comprised of automatic red-eye fix, improved face-priority AF, and smile- and blink-detection.

The Coolpix L100 is slated to ship in April for $279.95.

At the bottom of Nikon's photographic food chain sit the Coolpix L20 and L19, 3.6x zoom cameras that run off 2 AA batteries. The L20 is a 10-megapixel model with a 3-inch LCD, while the L19 uses an 8-megapixel sensor, and 2.7-inch LCD. Both ship this month; the L20 will cost $129.95, while the L19 will run $109.95, making it the cheapest Nikon ever.