Nikon launches a world first: continuous auto-focus video in a digital SLR

Nikon this week announced a camera with something no DLSR has had before ¬†– real camcorder-like functionality. What’s most surprising about the technology is that it will appear in a camera that we expect won’t be too expensive.

The new D3100 takes over from where the entry-level D3000 left off, and adds a new sensor, new EXPEED 2 image processing engine, and a new video mode that introduces a proper auto-focus within the video capture mode.

The 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor is a step up from the D3000’s 10.2 megapixel, and low-light has been given a leg up here with a maximum ISO 12,800 on offer.¬†Guide menus designed to help amateur photographers have been improved too, with new screens designed to show you what happens when you change aperture settings, as well as provide less techie terms such as “Bring more into focus” or “Shoot movies”.
Nikon’s video capture can record at Full HD 1080p as well as the lower HD 720p and focus all throughout the video using Nikon’s new AF-F mode. Users simply need to hold down the shutter while the camera is filming and the camera will auto-focus for them. Prior to this, digital SLRs could only use pre-focus or manual focus when shooting video.
No word on a local price yet, but we’ve heard it has a $699 USD tag in America and as a result expect this to come in under a thousand dollars. This may push the D3000 down in price when it arrives next month.