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Cameras

Photos: Hands-on with the Nikon D3 and D300

Nikon was showing off the full-frame dSLR, the D3, and its sibling the D300 at the Nikon Solutions Expo at London Olympia yesterday, and we were mighty impressed

At yesterday's Nikon Solutions Expo at London Olympia, we were able to wrestle sample models of the new D3 and D300 cameras from the grasping hordes long enough to get some first impressions.

The Nikon D3 is Nikon's first ever FX format or full-frame camera -- that is, with a sensor the same size as a 35mm negative. The D3 and D300 are both professional-level dSLRs, with the D300 incorporating elements of the D3's top-end technology into a slightly smaller prosumer-friendly body. The Nikon faithful seemed impressed with the new models, and were keen to test the cameras and lens range.

We managed to keep the baying crowd back just long enough to grab some pictures of the two cameras. Click through to see more. -Rich Trenholm

The D3 packs a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor that boasts an ISO range of 200 to 6,400. It includes a whopping 51 autofocus points.

A Kevlar/carbon fibre-composite shutter and Expeed image-processing engine enable it to shoot at 9 frames per second -- and possibly makes it bulletproof. The environmentally sealed magnesium alloy body is certainly tough -- you'd hope so for £3,800.

The enormous 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen supports two live view modes, and has a whopping 920,000-dot resolution. You can also compose pictures with that lovely round viewfinder, which gives 100 per cent coverage. There's an HDMI video output too, for displaying pictures on your new HDTV.

Nikon has also added dual CF card slots, allowing you to fill both with the same images, for backup, or fill one and then the other.

The D300 is a compact professional SLR, incorporating elements of the D3 into a compact DX format body. The 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor benefits from a self-cleaning dust removal system.

The Expeed image-processing engine gives you 6fps, although you can hit 8fps with the optional MB-D10 battery pack. ISO speeds go up to 3,200. The D300 also has that 51-point autofocus, and will set you back around £1,200.

The D300 also shares the 920,000-dot 76mm LCD screen, two live view modes and HDMI video output.