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Nikon gave their first public showing of their newly announced D300 and D3 DSLRs at Photoshop World last week, and I got to spend some time with the both, and I was just blown away. They have really taken things to a whole new level, and it created a real buzz on the Photoshop World Expo floor.

Although I won’t get to really put the D3 [photo above courtesy of Nikon] through its paces until my workshop out in Montana next week, I did get to crank off a few shots on the show floor so I could try out some of the new features, and I was really tickled (OK, giddy is more like it). First, the larger screen on the back of the camera just rocks. It’s so crisp, clear, and incredibly bright (even on the well-lit expo floor, it was as bright as I ever seen a camera LCD). The real show-stopper though was the in-camera leveling screen (called the Visual Horizon Adjustment), which looks (and acts) just like horizon line gauge in commercial aircraft—it’s just brilliant (and really puts a smile on everyone’s face who sees it).

The much larger viewfinder rocks (it made a bigger difference than I initially thought it would), and the LiveView feature was cooler than I thought it would be, as well. The D3′s ability to write to two memory cards is very slick (you can shoot to one, and have it write an automatic backup of the same shots to the second card, or you can shoot Raw photos to one card; JPEGs to the other, or even have the second card kick in when your first card is full. This I love).

Although all the new bells and whistles get a lot of attention, everybody was talking about the low noise at higher ISOs, and I’ll have more first-hand experience with it soon, but for me, perhaps more than anything else, this is what is making me drool over the D3.

I did play around a bit with the D300 as well, (which made me realize I would soon be replacing my beloved D200), but I spent most of my time with the D3, which will inevitably replace my wonderful D2Xs.

Anyway, although I don’t have a full field report on them yet; I wanted to share my first impression on these amazing new cameras (way to go Nikon!), and I really look forward to getting them out in the field next week and really seeing what they can do. Can’t wait! :)