And the "nominees" are:
COOLPIX 990: Yes all of you haters keep hating on Nikon for their COOLPIX line but those little COOLPIXes are the bread and butter of Nikon. The 990 was arguably the last "great" COOLPIX. OK I know the 990 came out in 2000 but let's NOT turn this thread into a "when did the new millennium/decade really start" debate(2000-2009 or 2001-2010). Back when DSLRs were too expensive for mere mortals to own, the COOLPIX 990 was the most highly anticipated COOLPIX EVAR! It had a great swivel lens/body design and it was made out of magnesium alloy. The 990 was one of the first "affordable" digital point & shoots with a price tag of just under $1000. It was named Time magazine's "Machine of the Year" and Dpreview gave it a "Cult Status Value" rating of 10! Yeah that's right. COOLPIXes use to be COOL.
D70: This is the DSLR camera that started it all. Nikon's first "affordable" digital SLR camera for the masses. Before this camera Nikon's digital line up consisted of high dollar pro models like the D1 series and the D100. Although canon got all of the headlines by making the first under $1000 digital Rebel, the D70 had better specs, better build quality, and the awesome new CLS flash system. The D70 won numerous awards including Popular Photography's "Camera of the Year 2004"
F6: This is Nikon's most advanced film camera ever made and sadly it maybe their last :^( When everyone and their mother was celebrating the move to digital photography, Nikon stopped the music buy unveiling the "analog" F6. With outstanding metering, superior i-TTL flash control and film's superior dynamic range, nothing comes close to the F6.
D40: This little camera was the first Nikon DSLR to sell below $500. It was also the first to do away with the internal focus motor which shocked and angered many Nikonians. However it's smaller size, price and Nikon's great marketing strategy made it an immensely popular model. It had the "same" 6mp sensor as the D100 and D70 but it was significantly tweaked to give outstanding image quality. It also featured a great new graphics based menu layout that Nikon used on subsequent models.
D300: When this camera was announced along side it's big brother the D3, nobody could believe the specs. It had the "same" 12mp CMOS sensor from the pro D2X and the same 51 auto focus points of the D3. It was an incredibly hot selling camera that made many amateurs sell their D70's and D40's to move up to the ranks of "pros" :^) Nikon again won PopPhoto's "Camera of the Year" award in 2007 with this camera.
D3: This camera was Nikon's first full frame DSLR. After complaining about the DX format for years, Nikon pros finally got their dream full frame pro camera. Up to this point the DX D2X and the 4mp D2H cameras weren't wining the battle against canon's dominance of the pro market. The 12mp full frame CMOS D3 changed that. Nikon aggressively marketed the D3 to canon pros. Several "top" pros dumped their canon gear and made the switch to the D3. The D3S added to this success two years later and became know as the new "Lord of Darkness" for it's outstanding high ISO image quality. The D3/S have won numerous awards including being named Japan’s Camera Press Club's "CAMERA GRAND PRIX 2008 Camera of the Year".
D90: The D90 was the worlds first DSLR to record HD video. We all remember where we were when we first saw Chase Jarvis' intro video of the "D90 on the down-low", right? The D90 would go on to become one of Nikon's greatest selling cameras. When paired up with the 35mm f1.8 DX lens, this camera would become the most recommended camera/lens combo in the history of the Nikon Rumors Forum! :^)
D700: Take everything found in all of the above cameras and you have the Nikon D700. This camera came out of nowhere and made everyone's eye's pop out of their heads. It didn't replace anything in Nikon's line up. It was a completely new camera. Well kind of. It was based on the D300 but Nikon stuffed the D3's sensor inside. Amateur Photographer magazine named it their 2009 Camera of The Year. The D700's popularity will continue to grow as it's price falls on the used market. For years to come, this camera will be the first full frame digital Nikon for many.
And the Most Important Nikon of the Past 10 Years is....
well let's hear some of your thoughts before we announce who the "winner" is :^)