After decades as the undisputed leader of the market for professional 35mm cameras, Nikon finds itself in an unfamiliar position in the digital age. Canon so dominates the professional market today, particularly when it comes to photojournalism, that it recently tweaked Nikonâ€™s nose with an advertising campaign about its triumph. Now the companies are renewing the fight. On Thursday, Nikon is introducing two cameras that it hopes will help it regain its old position. And last week, Canon promoted a new camera with a 21-megapixel sensor, more than twice the resolution of typical digital single-lens reflex cameras for consumers. â€œItâ€™s always been a competitive field, but digital stepped it up a notch,â€ said David C. Lee, senior vice president of Nikon USA.
The new Nikon D3 is the first camera from the company with a full-size sensor. Well, almost full-size. One side of the frame is 0.1mm short. The sensor has 12.7 megapixels, which is not exceptional. Its light sensitivity, however, is another matter. The cameraâ€™s maximum ISO setting is 25,600, about 64 times what was commonly regarded as high-speed film. Unlike Canonâ€™s full-frame cameras, the D3 is intended mainly for photojournalists and can take 9 pictures a second. Indeed, Canon said that its new super-high-resolution EOS 1DS Mark III camera, which is full-frame format, is intended for photographers who formerly used larger-format film cameras like the Hasselblad. Lee said that professionalsâ€™ camera choices influence consumer tastes. Price is less of a concern for pros, making these cameras more profitable. The Nikon D3 will sell for $5,000, and the Canon Mark III will cost $8,000; both cameras ship in November. Neither camera comes with a lens.
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