New Nikon DL-Series Premium Compact Cameras

Posted by on February 22, 2016

New Nikon DL Premium Compact Cameras

For the past few years the most coveted compact camera has been Sony’s RX100. With great image quality, manual controls and a solid feature set, it’s the “point-and-shoot” every serious photographer wants in their pocket. Tonight, Nikon launches their own line of premium, 1-inch sensor compact cameras. Clearly designed to compete with the Sony RX and Canon G X high-end compacts, the new Nikon DL-Series of premium compact cameras combines a large 1-inch sensor, premium optics, 4k video and professional controls in a compact, competitively-priced package.

Nikon DL18-50 Point-and-Shoot - Angle View

The Nikon DL18-50, one of Nikon’s two new premium poacket cameras.

There are three models in Nikon’s new DL premium compact camera line: two pocket-sized models, the DL24-85 and DL18-50; and a DSLR-style bridge camera, the DL24-500. As you may have surmised, the model names indicate each camera’s zoom range. The DL24-85 has a 24-85mm f/1.8-2.8 (equivalent) Nikkor optical zoom with 1:1 macro mode, 4x VR compensation, aspherical and ED elements, etc. The DL18-50mm has, you guessed it, a similarly spec’d 18-50mm f/1.8-2.8 Nikkor zoom lens.

Nikon DL18-50 Premium Compact Camera - Selfie-Friendly LCD

Selfie-friendly tilting LCD display on the new Nikon DL18-50 premium pocket camera.

The DL cameras are built around a 20.8-megapixel “CX-format” 1-inch backlit CMOS sensor and powered by Nikon’s new EXPEED 6A image processor. They all share the same core features including 4k and high-speed (1080 120p and 720 240p) video recording, RAW shooting, high-speed hybrid auto focus with 105 phase detect and 171 contrast detect focus points, high-speed burst with continuous auto focus up to 20 frames per second (faster than any pro sports DSLR), built-in time lapse recording and an OLED touchscreen display. Because we all need to share everything immediately, the DL cameras all include Nikon’s SnapBridge Bluetooth connectivity.

The DL24-500 is a different animal from the two pocket cameras. It’s more of a DSLR replacement with a huge built-in zoom lens. However, a 21x 24-500mm f/2.8-5.6 zoom lens for a DSLR would cost you a thousands of dollars. And it would be huge. The Nikon DL24-500 camera gives you the control and much of the performance of a DSLR in a much smaller and more wallet-friendly package.

Nikon DL24-500 - Top View With Zoom

The Nikon DL24-500 premium bridge camera, which features a 21x optical zoom lens and a 20.8-megapixel CX-format sensor.

Based on my positive experiences with the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera system, which shares many of the same performance features, I have high expectations for Nikon’s new Nikon DL compacts. They should be solid competition for the Sony RX-Series compacts and the Canon PowerShot G7 X and G7 X Mark II. And they’ll be really exciting for photographers and videographers who want to capture fast action. The Nikon 1 system has amazing speed and auto focus accuracy so I expect the DL cameras to be outstanding action performers.

The pocket-sized Nikon DL24-85 and DL18-50 should be available in late April of this year (2016) and will sell for US $649.95 and $849.95, respectively. The DL24-500 bridge camera is expected I stores in mid to late March with a suggested retail price of $999.95. Nikon is also introducing an optional accessory DF-E1 electronic viewfinder for the DL24-85 and DL18-50. Pricing and availability for the viewfinder has yet to be announced.

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