Nikon has announced that the Russian Federal Space Agency has ordered three Nikon digital SLR cameras, four interchangeable lenses, software and various accessories to be used on board the International Space Station (ISS). The equipment will be transported to the space station by the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft, to be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on June 16, 2010. The cameras subject to the order are one Nikon D3S and two Nikon D3X DSLRs. The lenses include the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR supertelephoto lens.
The D3S, released in late 2009, has a newly designed full-frame, 12 megapixel sensor that features extraordinary low light performance up to 102,400 ISO, continuous shooting of up to nine frames per second and high definition video. The D3S was reviewed by DCR this past April and awarded 4 ½ stars out of 5, with our reviewer stating that it is "probably among the most capable pro DSLRs on the market today." The D3X, released in late 2008, has a full-frame 24 megapixel sensor. We also had the chance to review it earlier this year. DCR contributor Theano Nikitas stated that "the D3x's image quality is stunning." The AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR, released in 2007, is constructed with extra-low dispersion glass elements that minimize chromatic aberration, producing high quality images, an extra-low refractive index coating and a meniscus protective glass element.
The new equipment will be used along with other Nikon SLR cameras and lenses already being used by Russian cosmonauts in the Russian portion of the space station.
The United States also makes use of Nikon equipment in space. In 2009, NASA ordered eleven D3S cameras and seven AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses for use in recording activities aboard the space shuttle and the International Space Station.
For additional information, see Nikon's press release.