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Camera Reviews

Nikon D80 review

Armando Heredia (Covey22) on August 9, 2006


Keywords: nikon, camera, bodies, product, articles

NIKON D80 and related bodies comparisons

It seems logical to assume this new body is aimed at

 

  • Current P&S shooters
  • Nikon D50 users, already looking for an upgrade
  • Nikon D70/D70s users, somehow hesitant to move into a Nikon D200
  • Nikon D200 users looking for a second body
  • Other brands users who should be very tempted to switch to Nikon.

 

Some may want to know what would they be missing from the D200 if buying a D80. Below a comparison and comments.
 
Click for enlargement
Nikon D80 DSLR with a good collection of lenses

 

   
Click for enlarged view
 
Click for enlarged view
 
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 Camera body      
Nikon D80
 
 USA Street price*
 body only
 
$550
 
$700
 
$999
 
$1,700
 Sensor  
23.7 x 15.6 mm RGB CCD
6.24 total megapixels
6.1 effective megapixels
 
23.7 x 15.6 mm RGB CCD
6.24 total megapixels
6.1 effective megapixels
 

23.6 x 15.8mm RGB CCD
10.75 total megapixels
10.2 effective megapixels

 

23.6 x 15.8mm RGB CCD
10.92 total megapixels
10.2 effective megapixels

 Image size  
[L] 3,008 x 2,000
[M] 2,256 x 1,496
[S] 1,504 x 1,000
 
[L] 3008 x 2000
[M] 2240 x 1448
[S] 1504 x 1000
 
[L] 3,872 x 2,592
[M] 2,896 x 1,944
[S] 1,936 x 1,296
 
[L] 3,872 x 2,592
[M] 2,896 x 1,944
[S] 1,936 x 1,296
  Print size
 At 300ppi, in inches
 Without resampling
 
[L] 10.03 x 6.75"
[M] 7.52 x 4.99"
[S] 5.01 x 3.33"
 
[L] 10.03 x 6.75"
[M] 7.47 x 4.43"
[S] 5.01 x 3.33"
 
[L] 12.91 x 8.65"
[M] 9.65 x 6.48"
[S] 6.45 x 4.32"
 
[L] 12.91 x 8.65"
[M] 9.65 x 6.48"
[S] 6.45 x 4.32"
 ISO sensitivity  
200 to 1600
in steps of 1 EV
 
200 to 1600
in steps of 1/3 EV
 
100 to 1600
in steps of 1/3 EV
plus HI-0.3, HI-0.7
and HI-1
 
100 to 1600
in steps of 1/3 EV
plus HI-0.3, HI-0.7
and HI-1
 Storage Card  
SD
 
Compact Flash
 
SD
 
Compact Flash
 AF Module  
Multi-CAM 900
 
Multi-CAM 900
 
Multi-CAM 1000
 
Multi-CAM 1000
 Metering RGB sensor  
420-segment
 
1,005-segment
 
420-segment
 
1,005-segment
 Metering System  
(1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II
(2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75%
(3) Spot of 2.5%
 
(1) 3D Color Matrix Metering
(2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75%
(3) Spot of 1%
 
1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II
2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75%
3) Spot of 2.5%
 
1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II
2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75%
3) Spot of 3%
 Shooting Modes  
S, C (up to 2.5 fps),
Self timer,
Delayed and Quick Response remote
 
S, C (up to 3 fps),
Self timer
Delayed and Quick Response remote
 
S, C (up to 3 fps),
Self timer,
Delayed and Quick Response remote
 
S, C (up to 5 fps),
Self timer,
Delayed and Quick Response remote
 Lens Servo  
AF-A, AF-S, AF-C, M; predictive focus tracking
automatically activated according to subject status
 
AF-S, AF-C, M;
predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
 
AF-A, AF-S, AF-C, M; predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
 
AF-S, AF-C, M; predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
 Viewfinder  
Eyepoint 18mm
95% coverage
Approx. 0.75x magnification
 
Eyepoint 18mm
95% coverage
Approx. 0.75x magnification
 
Eyepoint 19.5mm
95% coverage
Approx. 0.94x magnification
 
Eyepoint 19.5mm
95% coverage
Approx. 0.94x magnification
 Rear LCD Monitor  
2.0 inches
 
2.0 inches
 
2.5 inches
 
2.5 inches
 Shutter  
30 to 1/4000 sec. in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb
 
30 to 1/8000 sec. in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb
 
30 to 1/4000 sec. in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb
 
30 to 1/8000 sec. in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb
 Flash synch  
Up to 1/500 sec.
 
Up to 1/500 sec.
 
Up to 1/200 sec.
 
Up to 1/250 sec.
 Built-in flash  
Yes
GN=11m/33ft ISO 100
 
Yes
GN=11m/33ft ISO 100
 
Yes
GN=13m/42ft ISO 100
 
Yes
GN=12m/39ft ISO 100
 OEM grip/motor  
No
 
No
 
MB-D80
 
MB-D200
 Size  
5.2 x 4.0 x 3.0 in.
133 x 102 x 76mm
 
5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in.
140 x 111 x 78mm
 
5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in.
132 x 103 x 77mm
 
5.8 x 4.5 x 2.9in.
147 x 113 x 74mm
 Weight (body only)  
19.1oz / 540g
 
21.2oz / 600g
 
20.6oz / 585g
 
29.3oz / 830g
 White Balance  
Auto, six manual modes, preset,
white balance bracketing
 
Auto, six manual modes with fine-tuning, preset,
white balance bracketing
 
Auto, six manual modes with fine-tuning, color temperature setting, preset, white balance bracketing
 
Auto, six manual modes with fine-tuning, color temperature setting, preset, white balance bracketing
 Camera body      
Nikon D80
 

* $ USD as of August 2006

What is not in the chart above

Image Quality. Directly related to the final image quality of the image out of the Nikon D80 camera is its new high-resolution image processing engine, inheriting advantages from Nikon's latest professional digital SLR cameras. This is said to result in natural-looking images with faithful color and tone reproduction. The samples so far look very good. We expect to soon confirm this with our own images.

Shutter Speed. Reduced from a top 1/8000 of a second to a 1/4000 will only bother those needing to catch an ultrasonic speeding bullet, without flash. So it shouldn't be a problem for most users.

 

 

Sync Speed. We soon got spoiled to a sync speed of 1/500, specially when doing fill-in flash for strong shadows on fast moving subjects under very bright light, or at least 1/250. The D80 has a sync speed of 1/200. But the new SB-800 and SB-600 Speedlights support Focal Plane (FP) shutter synchronization from the flash itself, making this a no problem and certainly a no deal breaker.

No metering of non-CPU lenses. The Nikon D80 is obviously not aimed to Nikon fans with huge collections of vintage MF lenses. But if so, they can be used. Either apply the Sunny-16 rule of thumb, draw out the handheld meter or check your histogram and chimp until you get it right. Perhaps there was that felt need from new digital users currently considering buying the D70/D70s and wanting more features than those in the D50; surely some market research has shown many potential users even if those of the D200 had shown so far no urgency for it.

 

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Armando Heredia Armando Heredia (Covey22)

USA
Moderator, 10573 posts

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