The Nikon D80 is a discontinued cropped sensor digital SLR camera, originally launched in August 2006. The D80 is easy to find either refurbished or used, and is a good way to enter the world of SLR photography without spending a lot of money on the most up-to-date model.
Nikon D80 Specification
The D80 is a 10.2 megapixel camera and the body weighs 585g which is potentially lighter than many of the lenses you can attach to it. It is not surprising to find that the body of the camera is predominantly made out of plastic. The view finder on the rear of the camera is an ample 2.5 inches across and the D80 takes SDHC memory cards. It’s worth pointing out that it’s predecessor, the Nikon D70, uses Compact Flash memory cards, so with the newer model, a change in memory format is required. The shutter speed of the D80 ranges from 30 seconds down to 1/4000, which is slightly surprising as it’s predecessor and successor, the D70 and D90 respectively, can take shots at 1/8000.
Nikon D80 image quality
Below are a few examples of photos taken with the Nikon D80 using a Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 55-200mm and Nikkor 70-300mm lens. These photos are un-edited and hopefully will provide a good idea of the sort of picture quality that can be expected when using this camera. The photos are very vibrant in colour, with excellent saturation levels, as well as being very sharp. The sharpness of the images, can be down somewhat to the lenses used however.
Alternative Cameras to the Nikon D80
The Nikon D80 sits between the D70 and D90 in the family of Nikon SLR cameras. The Nikon D70 is quite a bit older and uses a 6 megapixel sensor. It also has a smaller LCD screen at the rear, smaller view finder and uses Compact Flash memory.
The D90 is the current model in the Nikon family, which you buy new today. Some of the main differences between the D90 and the D80 include the ability to take photos at 12 megapixels, a larger view finder, the ability to shoot video at 720p as well a useful sensor cleaning function. To remove dust from the sensor, the D90 will vibrate the mechanism to dislodge any dust, a very useful addition to the camera!
Another camera that was launched at a similar time to the D80, is the Nikon D200. The D200 uses the same sensor, so image quality is identical, however the build of the camera (metal body) and layout of it’s various buttons is far superior.
Nikon or Canon?
Nikon’s main competitor in the digital SLR market is typically Canon. Both makes of camera produce excellent photos and generally they have the same functions across the board. It is generally a question of personal taste as to which make of camera you prefer, and it’s advisable to go into a shop and try the different makes of camera to get an idea of which camera suits you better.
The Nikon D80 is a very impressive camera considering it’s capabilities and how much it costs to buy as of today (January 2011). The plethora of buttons on the camera body can, at first, be somewhat confusing, but after repeated use, knowing which button to press eventually becomes second nature. Saying that however, The Nikon D200 is generally purchasable at a similar price, and has a superior body construction and button layout, so, it’s worth considering purchasing the D200 as an alternative. Nevertheless, you won’t be disappointed with the D80!