Nikon had a bumper year last year with the launches of the pro-end D3 and its amateur-aimed baby brother, the D300.

Now Nikon is going for the middle ground with a new model that it is aimed squarely between the two, and Nikon has great hopes that the new D700 will not only help it to retain its 50% market share but also its top spot in the "DSLR over £700" arena.

The D700 is the first compact FX model but also the first in its line to integrate a dust reduction system.

The only downside of the dust system is that the viewfinder has 95% coverage as opposed to 100%.

But this model also inherits many of the features of the D3, which was £3500 upon its launch as compared to the D700's £1999.99 price tag (when it arrives at the end of this month).

The key shared feature is the 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, which, as its FX format, has a sensor area of 36 x 23.9mm.

Coupled with this is a 12-channel readout, which enables continuous shooting at approximately 8fps (with Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10/Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a or eight AA batteries), or 5fps otherwise.

Amongst the other pro level features is an ISO range of 200 to 6400 at normal setting although sensitivity can be increased to HI 2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent), or decreased to Lo 1 (ISO 100 equivalent).

Also worth a mention is the D700's start-up time of 0.12s, and a shutter release time lag of only 40ms - again equal to the D3; and high-density 51-point AF.

The Nikon D700 is also compliant with the next-generation high-speed card UDMA Compact Flash cards.

Improvements on the D3 and D300 include a better 1005-pixel RGB sensor so this now feeds data to the auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus tools.

So 3D-Tracking in AF, for example, achieved by using the Scene Recognition System, tracks subject colour position and automatically shifts the AF points used to match the subject’s movement within the frame.

Nikon's James Banfield told Pocket-lint after the presentation that the D700 almost equals the D3 in features, but is smaller at 147 x 123 x 77mm as compared to 160 x 157 x 86mm; and weighs in at around 995g without battery, memory card, body cap or LCD monitor cover.

But it's not quite so tough as its pricier big brother although does have a magnesium alloy exterior cover, rear body and mirror box; and is said to be as weather-proof as the Nikon F6 with o-ring sealing where connections are made effectively shuts out dust and moisture.

The D700 will arrive in the UK at the end of July for £1999.99.

Keen snappers should check out our sister site, Photography Press, for details of two new lenses and the SB-900 flash, which were also unveiled today.