A new budget digital SLR, the D70, has been launched by Nikon. The 6.1mp D70 is compatible with all AF and DX Nikkor lenses. Available from April or March, it will go on sale, body-only, for around £680 plus VAT, or with the new 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX Nikkor zoom, for around £850 plus VAT. Nikon D70

The D70 has a five-area autofocus system with predictive focus tracking and an AF-assist illuminator for dark shooting conditions. The shutter speed range is from 30 to 1/8000 sec, with flash synchronization speeds up to 1/500 sec.

Standard multi-program, shutter-priority, aperture priority and manual modes are provided with normal, vivid, sharp, soft, direct print, landscape or custom optimization options. The camera sports three metering modes – 3D colour matrix, variable centre-weighted and choice of spot meters – with auto exposure bracketing.

The camera can shoot at 3fps, Nikon claims, for a continuous burst of 144 pictures when using jpeg normal – large settings, and a SanDisk SDCHF256MB CompactFlash card. Sensitivity can be set between ISO 200 to 1600 or controlled automatically across the same range.

The new 6.1 effective megapixel Nikon DX CCD produces 3,008-x-2,000 pixel images. Six different manual white balance modes, preset white balance, and white balance bracketing are available. Nikon claims the rechargeable battery will deliver the power to shoot up to 2,000 images.

A USB interface is provided for connectivity and direct printing is available through PictBridge compatibility. The camera weighs approximately 595g without battery, and measures 140-x-111-x-78mm.

Nikon has also launched a new flash-gun, the Speedlight SB-600, offering i-TTL compatibility with both the D70 and the D2H. The SB-600 has a guide number of 30 (35mm, ISO 100) and will retail at around £195 plus VAT, available from May.