Nikon Coolpix P80 Megazoom digital camera
To be blunt: the specifications of the Nikon Coolpix P80 created high expectations but the camera can't live up to them. The Nikon P80 is a compact Megazoom camera with a number of interesting specifications and features. However, these do not appear clearly. Perhaps too many compromises were made. This way I cannot rate the Nikon P80 with a Pro status, however, if you are not a demanding photographer I would still recommend the camera.
Zoom range of the Nikon Coolpix P80
The zoom range is interesting, without question, also thanks to the wide angle and the huge telephoto. I cannot imagine someone needing more telephoto. Walking forward might be an option, if it was only to obtain a more stable image. The Nikon Coolpix P80 may have been equipped with VR (Nikon's stabilization system), unfortunately you cannot rely on it. In maximum mode the image stabilization has difficulties compensating the movements. If you stay in a more normal range the image stabilization works fine.
Nikon P80 camera in practise
You can work speedily with the Nikon P80. The camera responds quite swiftly, is sufficiently quick in focussing and pictures are written to the card fast enough. And if you know your way on the camera, you can set it to your own preferences reasonably well. However, this also brings me to the biggest disadvantage of the camera. If you don’t use settings and shoot only in the green mode, there is no problem. If you want more than this, you will find your limits in the menu and the Setup function. Certainly the latter is very annoying since you constantly have to change the dial mode on top of the camera. Moreover, there are functions under this button that you would like to change more often. It is a pity Nikon did not have an eye for frequent actions or the accessibility of interesting setting possibilities.
Image quality and ISO sensitivity
As long as you stick to average things, the image quality is fine. However, with a Megazoom camera and the specifications of the Nikon Coolpix P80, you don't want to be average and do special things. It needs precise exposure and avoiding of high contrasts. It's a matter of using the built-in flash regularly, to take into account the effective range of it and to avoid the high ISO settings. At 200 ISO, and if you look less closely at 400 ISO, the quality diminishes due to noise that is simply too apparent. Details disappear like snow before the sun. This is no problem if you only shoot snapshots for the Internet; however, that's not why you have this 10 Megapixel camera.
Energy use of the Nikon Coolpix P80
Finally the Nikon P80 is not economical on energy, the least when you use the built-in flash frequently. The battery life is far too short. We are getting more and more used to a long life-span of batteries that make it possible to go on holiday for a few weeks. An extra battery is a useful purchase for the Nikon P80 even if you don't go on holiday that long.
Mixed feeligs about the Coolpix P80
The Nikon Coolpix P80 has stirred up some mixed feelings inside of me. It is a camera that seems to have everything going for it and seems remarkably interesting. Besides that, it is the new Megazoom camera of the Nikon brand continuing the successful Coolpix 8xxx series. However, it just doesn't hit the spot. And therefore you can't shoot that all-round with the camera the way you would want to. If you are not demanding much and if you just want to shoot a nice snapshot without worrying about being able to sufficiently zoom in, then the Nikon Coolpix P80 might be worth a thought. If however, you demand more from a camera, you'd better focus on Nikon's successful DSLR assortment!
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2GB SD of SDHC memory card
There are quite a few pixels on the small sensor of the Nikon Coolpix P80. This is noticeable in the file size, among other things. All files are stored in JPEG which makes a difference to the size. In the highest quality it is still approximately 5MB. If you are a large-scale photographer, you have to purchase some more memory. I would recommend purchasing at least a 2GB card. And in this case it makes a difference if you put a cheaper slower card or a faster one in the Coolpix P80. The table below shows how many pictures fit on a 2GB card.
Considering 2GB of storage capacity:
JPEG - 3648x2736 pixels - Fine - 200 pictures
JPEG - 3648x2736 pixels - Normal - 400 pictures
JPEG - 3648x2736 pixels - Standard - 600 pictures
JPEG - 3648x2432 pixels - 3:2 - Fine - 110 pictures
JPEG - 3648x2432 pixels - 3:2 - Normal - 440 pictures
JPEG - 3648x2432 pixels - 3:2 - Standard - 880 pictures
JPEG - 3584x2016 pixels - 16:9 - Fine - 280 pictures
JPEG - 3584x2016 pixels - 16:9 - Normal - 540 pictures
JPEG - 3584x2016 pixels - 16:9 - Standard - 1080 pictures
JPEG - 3264x2448 pixels - Fine - 240 pictures
JPEG - 3264x2448 pixels - Normal - 500 pictures
JPEG - 3264x2448 pixels - Standard - 980 pictures
JPEG - 2736x2736 pixels - 1:1 - Fine - 260 pictures
JPEG - 2736x2736 pixels - 1:1 - Normal - 520 pictures
JPEG - 2736x2736 pixels - 1:1 - Standard - 1040 pictures
JPEG - 2592x1944 pixels - Fine - 400 pictures
JPEG - 2592x1944 pixels - Normal - 780 pictures
JPEG - 2592x1944 pixels - Standard - 1520 pictures
JPEG - 2048x1536 pixels - Fine - 620 pictures
JPEG - 2048x1536 pixels - Normal - 1220 pictures
JPEG - 2048x1536 pixels - Standard - 2320 pictures
JPEG - 1600x1200 pixels - Fine - 1020 pictures
JPEG - 1600x1200 pixels - Normal - 1960 pictures
JPEG - 1600x1200 pixels - Standard - 3480 pictures
JPEG - 1280x960 pixels - Fine - 1560 pictures
JPEG - 1280x960 pixels - Normal - 2860 pictures
JPEG - 1280x960 pixels - Standard - 5240 pictures
JPEG - 1024x768 pixels - Fine - 2320 pictures
JPEG - 1024x768 pixels - Normal - 4180 pictures
JPEG - 1024x768 pixels - Standard - 6980 pictures
JPEG - 640x480 pixels - Fine - 5240 pictures
JPEG - 640x480 pixels - Normal - 7860 pictures
JPEG - 640x480 pixels - Standard - 12580 pictures
Buffer & Shooting speed of the Nikon P80
The buffer takes standard 9 pictures. That is quite a bit and you will not meet the limits. This is only emphasized by the fact that the camera takes only 1.1 frame per second at full resolution. This can be faster, even up to 13 frames per second but then at a lower resolution and only at a higher sensitivity which would not be my first choice because of the image quality. All of this doesn't make the Nikon Coolpix P80 an ideal camera to use for action photography. And if you want the highest quality you have to settle for 1.1 fps.