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(Pocket-lint) - As one of the biggest camera manufacturers in the world, Nikon compacts have, by and large, been uninspiring and lost out to better competition. Until now, thanks to the announcement of a trio of 1-inch sensor compacts, called Nikon DL.

It's an interesting approach from the Japanese maker. On the one hand the DL line-up is a catch-up move, to align itself with the sucess of the Sony RX100 series, keep in check with the Panasonic LX100 (which has a larger Micro Four Thirds sensor), and try to muscle in on Canon's attempts with its GX line.

The range, a trio of fixed-lens compacts which kick off Nikon's "premium compact" section on its website, consists of 24-85mm f/1.8-2.8, 18-50mm f/1.8-2.8, and 24-500mm f/2.8-5.6 models, each with a 20.8-megapixel 1-inch sensor.

The names of these intrepid compacts? Nikon's not mucking about with gimmicks: it's gone with DL24-85 f/1.8-2.8, DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8 and DL24-500 f/2.8-5.6 respectively. What you see is what you get - well, sort of, as all those focal lengths are their 35mm equivalents to try and keep things simple.

And what we see - not that we've seen the cameras in person just yet - is a series that's here to fight, complete with decent Nikkor optics, with fast aperture lenses leading the way. All models come with a hotshoe (ISO 518) to add accessories of Nikon Speedlite flash guns, but only the 24-500mm comes with a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) as standard. The new DF-E1 tiltable EVF can be purchased for the two shorter zoom cameras.

There's the promise of fast autofocus thanks to Advanced Hybrid AF, optical stabilisation from Nikon's Dual Detect Optical VR, and super-fast burst speeds capable of shooting 60fps (with focus locked) or 20fps with continuous autofocus. Just think about that for a moment: 20 frames per second with C-AF, that's faster than best-of-best pro-spec DSLR cameras (although the autofocus ability remains to be seen from the DL line just yet).

In addition there's a big push for 4K capture. When not capturing raw or JPEG stills you can use any of the three cameras to shoot 4K video at 30/25fps.

The Nikon DL24-85 f/1.8-2.8, which features close-up macro capability and a customisable lens control/zoom ring, will be available in June, priced £550 (£670 with the DF-E1 EVF).

The Nikon DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8, the wide-angle model of the group, complete with the brightest aperture Nikon has ever made at 18mm (equivalent), will be available in June, priced £670 (£800 with the DF-E1 EVF).

Lastly the Nikon DL24-500 f/2.8-5.6, the superzoom of the group, which already includes a 2,359k-dot EVF and vari-angle touchscreen, will also be available in June, priced £750.

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Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 23 February 2016.