Nikon might be late to the party with its mainstream advanced compact, the DL24-85, but at least Nikon doesn’t make the mistake of coming in with ho-hum specs as we’ve seen from others. It’s created a new DL series of “premium” fixed-lens cameras, launching with two compacts, the DL18-50 and DL24-85, in addition to the DL24-500, a 20x full-size megazoom.
The two compacts are almost identical with only a few exceptions — most notably the lens, as indicated by the product names. The DL24-85 is the more mainstream-targeted of the two; it has a longer 2.6x zoom, a built-in flash, and at $650 costs about $200 less than the shorter-zoom DL18-50. (I don’t have other pricing yet, but that’s equivalent to £460 and AU$900, directly converted, and a price difference of £141, AU$276.) It also has a Super Macro mode for 1:1 close-up shooting. The camera’s scheduled to ship in June.
For everyday photography, the DL24-85 stands out for its fast continuous shooting rated at up to 20 frames-per-second with autofocus and autoexposure; that will likely make it a great choice for photographing kids and pets in action, if the relatively short 85mm maximum focal length doesn’t hold you back. The 24-85mm focal-length range is a solid choice for most travel, landscape, street and portrait photography, though the longer 10x zoom range of the Panasonic ZS100 might turn out to be more attractive for a lot of people than the Nikon’s 3.6x zoom.
Common specs of the DL camerasSensor and image processor. They pair a 20.8-megapixel 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor with the Expeed 6A processor for a sensitivity range of 160-6400, or ISO 12800 in the expanded range.Stabilitzation. “Dual-detect” Optical VR. This is Nikon’s branding for its optical-plus-electronic-for-movies stabilization system.Lens. They have different lenses, but both have a maximum aperture of f1.8-2.8, a manual aperture ring on the lens and nine-blade apertures for smooth out-of-focus areas. Nikon also adds a fluorine coating to the front element to protect it, and they’ll accept screw-on filters.Autofocus. Hybrid phase- (171 points) and contrast- (105 areas) detection autofocus system, the same as in Nikon 1 J5.Performance. Both can shoot a up to of 20 frames per second with continuous autofocus and autoexposure at full resolution.Design. They both take the optional, hot-shoe-based tilting electronic viewfinder and have a 3-inch tilting and flip-up OLED LCD. Video. Support for recording Ultra HD 4K (3,840×2,160) video at 30p, as well as slow motion at up to 1,200fps, albeit at a tiny 400×144 resolution. They offer cleain HDMI output, 4K frame grabs, time-lapse movie, and more.Connectivity. Bluetooth for a persistent low-power wireless connection along with NFC and Wi-Fi.
At its price, the DL24-85 looks quite promising: it offers a more-than competitive set of features, with the added bonus of its fast continuous shooting. Though I expect the DL18-50 has a better lens, it might be worth the trade-off for the longer lens and cheaper price of the DL24-85, even for hard-core enthusiasts. Plus, it’s far less expensive than and will likely offer better performance than the Sony RX100 IV, though that model does have a built-in viewfinder. (The price for the Nikon’s optional viewfinder has not yet been announced, that that may make a big difference in its competitive position vs. the RX100 IV.)