Compact cameras may well be struggling for attention, what with the quality of the camera found inside the every day smartphone, but Nikon’s DL range plans to shake things up a bit.

A little different to your standard compact fare, Nikon’s new series of cameras is a little different from the ordinary refresh of cameras we’re used to seeing. Rather this range is said to be inspired by Nikon’s existing professional photographer community.

Called the “DL” range, Nikon claims the “D” stands for the heritage of the company’s existing digital SLR heritage, while the “L” is a reference to the Nikkor lens technology used in high-grade Nikon cameras and lenses.

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Put the two together and you have a range that looks a little more like a camera than a Nikon compact traditionally garners, and these will arrive in three forms: a DL with an 18-50mm lens, a DL with a 24-85mm, and a DL with a 24-500mm lens.

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The three options are very different, with the 18-50mm (above) providing a wide angle option with apertures ranging from f/1.8 at 18mm up to f/2.8 at 50mm, while the 24-85mm (below) appears to follow more of a kit-lens setup providing f/1.8 at 24mm and f/2.8 at 85mm, with a degree of macro also found in that 24-85mm variant.

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On the longer end, Nikon’s is taking its typically long ultra-zoom concept and applying it to the DL formula, bringing a long lens with f/2.8 at 24mm and f/5.6 at 500mm.

So what is this DL formula, and what makes it different to Nikon’s existing compacts, even its advanced compacts?

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From what we’re seeing, it’s about making a compact as close to a digital SLR as possible, similar to what Canon achieves in the G series of advanced compacts.

Some new technology is here for autofocus, with a hybrid AF system working on both phase- and contrast-detection, achieving autofocus lock in as little as 0.09 seconds, which Nikon says works a treat with a maximum shooting speed of 20 frames per second.

The sensor used on these cameras sits at 21 megapixels and it is paired with a new image processing sensor from Nikon called “Expeed 6A” that has four cores to do its bidding, suggesting some decent power that you’ll be able to use in conjunction with internal RAW processing.

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