Nikon D80 Review
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Nikon D80
Nikon D80 Preview
Nikon D80 SLR - Page 1/15
Wednesday 9th August 2006
Written by Dennis Hissink
Introduction
2006 has been the most interesting year to date in the digital reflex market. In the early years, it was dominated by just a few manufacturers (Nikon and Canon), but recently they have been joined by several new players in a rapid tempo. Look at Sony, with its new Alpha 100, a 10 Megapixel digital reflex camera that immediately caused a price breakthrough in the high resolution DSLR segment. It certainly attracted a lot of attention from consumers and the future looks bright for a digital SLR manufacturer. Since the introduction of the acclaimed Nikon D200, Nikon has earned itself a strong position in the high resolution segment and caused a shockwave last year in the market for advanced semi-pro DSRL cameras. Today, Nikon is repeating that remarkable feat with the introduction of the 10 Megapixel Nikon D80. We had access to a pre-production model of the Nikon D80 DSLR camera and will discuss the functions and special features in the following preview. Maybe we are being overhasty, but the only conclusion we could come to was that future owners of a Nikon D80 will get good value for their money. This new model has incorporated a lot of technology that was previously used in the Nikon D200 and the professional D2X.
Nikon D80 Digital SLR Preview
Nikon D80 - Secure Digital
Nikon D80 - Camera
Nikon D80
Nikon D80 Camera Nikon D80 Secure Digital
The new Nikon D80 has a new 10.2 effective Megapixel CCD image sensor. Naturally, this sensor has the DX format, a format set up by Nikon that acts as a standard for the entire range of Nikon digital reflex cameras. The 10.2 Megapixel CCD image sensor is part of the basis of an increased level of quality in the advanced semi-pro DSLR class and enables photographers to be creative with pictures they have taken. The CCD sensor with the DX format in combination with the Nikon F lens mount guarantee a hitherto unknown exchangeability of AF Nikkor lenses and DX Nikkor lenses. The Nikon D80 has Nikon's own high resolution image processing processor. This is in addition to several innovative features from the professional Nikon DSLR cameras like the extremely accurate 12-bit digital image processing algorithms integrated to guarantee natural, life-like colours. A newly developed processor accelerates the speed performances on all levels to unknown heights while ensuring low energy use so that you can get more pictures from a fully charged battery.
The measurements of the Nikon D80's casing are practically identical to those of the D50. The compact format lies comfortably in your hand and it is a nice weight for carrying around. The Nikon D80 is just a bit heavier than the D50 and this is good when you are holding it. The Nikon D50 was Nikon's first digital reflex camera that used a small Secure Digital memory card instead of the CompactFlash card that had been a standard for DSLR. With the introduction of the Nikon D80, the D50 has been toppled from its unique position; the Nikon D80 DSLR also has a Secure Digital card slot. Nothing amazing really, but it is a pity for owners of an 'older' type of (Nikon) digital SLR, who will eventually have to buy a SD card. There are enough different types and storage capacities, but if you want to profit from the speed of the Nikon D80, you will need to use a quick Secure Digital card like the SanDisk Extreme III SD card. The Nikon D80 can reach a speed of up to 100 JPEG (Fine, M of S format) at 3 frames per second when capturing a subject. Any future firmware updates can be carried out using the Secure Digital slot.
Exposure External flash Exposure compensation
Nikon D80 External flash
Nikon D80 Exposure Nikon D80 External flash Nikon D80 Exposure compensation
The command dial with the main programs (P/S/A/M), AUTO and several pre-programmed scenes can be found on the top left hand side of the Nikon D80. It can be turned 360°s and announces the program with a clearly audible click. The AUTO mode is for anyone in search of high resolution and ease, but you would be doing the Nikon D80 a disservice if you only used it in the AUTO stand. The P, S, A en M modes offer the most creativity and will give enthusiastic photographers every opportunity to practice digital photography at a higher standard. It is, of course, possible to equip the Nikon D80 DSLR with an external flash in addition to the inbuilt flash. It is necessary to mount a dedicated Nikon flash on the flash shoe but the range of flashes is large enough to be able to make a choice. The Nikon D80 supports i-TTL, TTL and non TTL flashes and offers a maximum flash synchronisation to 1/200 seconds. With support from the Nikon Creative Lighting System it is also possible to combine the Nikon D80 with the new SB800, SB600 and SB-R200 Speedlight flash. Sometimes it is necessary to manually compensate the exposure value automatically set by the Nikon D80. By taking photographs in RAW format you can make exposure compensations effortlessly afterwards, but the JPEG format follows it more accurately. Clear subjects like snow can be assessed incorrectly and have colour deviations; exposure compensation in the + direction can provide a solution and inversely you can brighten a dark subject by compensating in the - direction. The Nikon D80's exposure can be adjusted to a range of -3 to +1 EV with 1/3 or 1/2 EV stop.
Dennis Hissink
AEL AF Assistance Illuminator
Editor's comment:
"The introduction of the new 10 Megapixel Nikon D80 is precisely on time. Just after Sony, a newcomer to the DSLR market, launched its Megapixel after the takeover of the camera division of Konica Minolta, Nikon was able to answer back at once with the Nikon D80, a magnificent, fully equipped digital SLR camera. Although the Nikon D200 was an immediate hit, in the sense that it heralded a new class of cameras with an attractive price tag, many beginning photographers were left out of the race due to the relatively high purchase price. When the Nikon D80 becomes available, many of these consumers can be reached and I anticipate success and a warm welcome for the Nikon D80 DSLR. We will have to wait and see what Canon has in store for us on the 24th of August, but there is sure to be a reaction from that side also..."
Nikon D80 AEL Nikon D80 AF Assistance Illuminator
The Nikon D80 is a great tool for anyone interested in the creative aspects of digital photography as well as the AUTO stand. If you have an eye for the different light values that can crop up in a single composition, you can act directly by locking the exposure despite maintaining a change to the composition. By pressing the AEL button beside the viewfinder the exposure will be locked. Normally, two functions are found on this button; AEL and AFL. If you only want to fix the exposure you can change this in the menu. As well as the manufacturer's setting, ten other combinations and settings are possible. An AF assistance illuminator that can help the camera focus in dim lighting conditions is placed on the front of the Nikon D80 beside the handgrip. This function can be turned off in the Nikon D80's menu which is useful if you want to take a photograph without being noticed. The AF assistance illuminator gives a bright white light bundle. Its effective range lies between 50 cm and 3 meters.
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