The Nikon D80 is a 10.2 MP DX format DSLR which was introduced in August 2006. It is slotted above the Nikon D40/D40x and below the D200/D300 in Nikon’s lineup. The D80 uses an SD memory card, rather than the CF card storage used in the D70, D70s and D200. The higher storage capacity SDHC standard is also supported by the D80. The D80 body retails at $1000 and is available in a kit with the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED lens at a retail price of $1300. The D80 can be found at a significant discount, however, on the street.
It’s one of those cameras which just feels ‘right and sorted’ from the moment you pick it up. Things just get better the more you use the camera, you will begin to discover the usefulness of major features like the customizable automatic ISO and the subtle touches like being able to tap the DELETE button twice to delete an image (sounds insignificant, but in use things like this make the D80 far more usable than other cameras).
10mp is a lot of data, and the D80 in some ways does it better than the D200 (at least for JPEGs). Acuity is very good with careful sharpening, color is excellent, and noise performance is excellent at low ISO values and more than acceptable at higher ISO values. With the right settings and discipline, this camera performs near the state-of-the-art.
This is a heck of a camera, and one that should be at the top of your list if you’re buying your first D-SLR. If you have a D50 or D70 then I’d strongly consider upgrading. And, unless you need a faster burst rate and even more custom functions, then you can save hundreds by skipping the D200 and getting the D80 instead.
My D80 has the same great image sensor, LCD and viewfinder of my D200 jammed inside a smaller, lighter body like a D50. It’s the same price as the D70 was in 2004: $999. This makes the D80 a screaming deal if you want the most pixels.
Shooting with the Nikon D80, we found it to be a very responsive camera in all respects. Startup was quick enough that you’re never likely to notice, shutter lag was low, and shot to shot cycle times in both single-shot and continuous mode were very good. It falls short of its big brother the D200 in several areas, but that’s to be expected, given the substantial price difference between the two models.
Existing Nikon users won’t be disappointed with this new model as the company have more than met the challenge of producing a camera with suitable features coupled with fantastic image quality for the enthusiast and beginner DSLR user. The Nikon D80 is now part of a crowded market place and there is even plenty of crossover between this model and Nikon’s own 10 megapixel D200 model.
With the D80, Nikon has proven that it is very much still pushing ahead strongly. With 10.2 megapixels, lightning-fast performance, high-quality images with very low noise, and a heaping pile of convenience features, Nikon’s D80 will not disappoint.
In short – it’s a mixed bag of goodies. A lot will appeal to the prosumer, and a lot will also appeal to the first-time DSLR buyer or upsell customer.
The Nikon D80 is without a doubt a very classy camera. It feels great, handles well, performs superbly and has one of the best viewfinders around. At times when rivals struggled with various lighting conditions, the D80’s metering remained unfazed and quite simply delivered great-looking images every time.
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices. Additionally, purchasing your camera through these links helps support this site.
[tags]nikon, d80, review, dslr, digital, camera[/tags]