Nikon D300s, now with auto-focused 720p video

Nikon just refreshed its D300 digital SLR camera, adding an "S" to its name, meaning that now it can shoot 720p video at 24 frames per second, just like its cheaper D5000 brandmate. The best news about this D300s is that unlike lots of vid-shooting DSLRs, you can use its autofocus while you're shooting video, and there's a jack for an external stereo microphone, so you have a fighting chance at doing a good job at video production. Too bad Nikon stopped short of higher-rez 1080p video, though.

Nikon's added a few other niceties to this 12.3-megapixel camera, such as the ability to use two flash memory cards at the same time, one CompactFlash (CF) and one Secure Digital (SD) card. Oh yeah, and it also shoots first rate stills, especially with its slightly improved 51-point auto focus routine, face detection, and sped-up continuous shooting routine, now snapping seven frames per second.

Current D300 users will like some of the minor tweaks added to this updated model, including a more conveniently placed Live View button, and an "accelerated" scene recognition system that Nikon says will improve white balance and light metering. As a D300 user, I can tell you that will be a welcome improvement. All this for about the same price as its predecessor, $1800, available late next month.

Nikon press release