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Nikon Coolpix P80 | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
It’s surprising how little you can adjust on this top model in the compact camera line. For example, the Nikon Coolpix P80 is short of a setting for RAW. That is a true miss, certainly for a (DSLR) photographer who would want the Coolpix P80 as second camera. ISO sensitivity on the other hand ranges to ISO 6400, although that has its consequences for the picture format. ISO 2000 and higher is only available at lower resolutions.
Nikon Coolpix P80 | Digital Camera Nikon Coolpix P80 | Digital Camera
Image stabilization in the form of a motion sensor
The Nikon Coolpix P80 features a physical image stabilization system in the form of a motion sensor. Don't let the name VR (Vibration Reduction) misguide you, it is not exclusively meant for stabilization in the lens. Whether stabilization is carried out by a motion sensor or moving lens elements makes no difference to the affectivity effectiveness of it. The extreme focal points require image stabilization, you can't do without. The opening at the beginning gets smaller and at long focal points, you will see every small motion come back in the picture. It's a real pity the image stabilization does not work too well on the Nikon Coolpix P80. Many pictures still show blur, even taken in daylight with lots of sunshine. It might be a solution to enhance the sensitivity but you don't always want to do that. And I have not yet mentioned the pictures taken indoors. It seems that the effectiveness of the image stabilization system is not what we had expected.

Nikon P80 lens

ISO values of the Nikon Coolpix P80
Moreover, you have to be careful using the sensitivity. Up to ISO 200 everything is fine, however, after that, it is soon over. Not only noise increases, also details disappear. It really becomes clear when you put some pictures side by side to compare them. The noise reduction the Nikon P80 uses internally is aggressive. Forget about ISO 800 and higher, they are just not useful. Yet the sensitivity ranges up to ISO 6400, at a lower resolution, that is true, and it decreases noise slightly. Pictures taken in practice as well as the technical DIWA Lab tests are unmistakable; the Nikon Coolpix P80 fails at 400 ISO and higher and stays behind the competition in this area.

Sensitivity settings on the Nikon P80
The dynamic range is also encountering some problems. Up to ISO 200 everything is fine, but when ISO increases, the quality drops. In practice you will have to take care of the exposure to a great extent. And it's better to underexposure than overexposure, since the Nikon P80 already tends to overdo it, which is weird if you know that the sensitivity of the sensor is way below the specified values. More than a 30% deviation is rather a lot.
Photographing with incandescent light
The white balance does well in most types of light circumstances. And it is pleasant that there is not too much deviation for most sensitivities. Although there is a small shifting it remains extremely well. For incandescent light it is different. It still is a difficult thing for all compact cameras. Colour reproduction of the Nikon Coolpix P80 is excellent and true-to-nature.

Nikon Coolpix P80 lens
The lens performs reasonably well. At maximum wide angle, distortion is slightly visible. To see distortion at other focus points, you have to look really closely and it hardly plays a role. It means that you will not have to deal with it in practice. Sharpness is excellent for almost the entire range and on the entire picture. If you zoom in to the maximum, the corners show some blur, unfortunately. This is striking, for usually a telephoto lens is easier to correct than a wide angle lens. And chromatic aberration, the purple coloured edges, is most visible in maximum telephoto. They also appear at more focus points unfortunately, but at 486 mm you can no longer get around them. This is a rather strong disappointment and we never expected this much chromatic aberration from Nikon. On top of this, the lens suffers from vignetting too. Adjusting the aperture will decrease the effects and this is also the case with the Nikon Coolpix P80. Still, you only have three aperture modes at your disposal which is rather scarce. Using the camera on aperture priority is no use either. And when using the minimum aperture, the sharpness decreases due to diffraction, when light beams bend along the aperture.

Nikon P80

Nikon Coolpix P80 Megazoom camera
Unfortunately I have to admit that the Nikon Coolpix P80 never stands out as far as image quality is concerned. It lingers in the middle segment and even closer to the lower one. The specifications of the Nikon P80 created high expectations, however, the truth is, that the Coolpix P80 definitely drops stitches in a number of sections. Perhaps the next generation of the P-series will be able to lift the concept of Megazoom camera to a higher level.
Nikon Coolpix P80 Nikon Coolpix P80
   
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