And we're back with a larger review:
I started building interest in photography when I turned 19. We had a photography class during the first 2 years of my studies, where we mostly used analog SLR's to shoot. It even included working in a dark room to actually do everything yourself, which was a lot of fun. We had all kinds of cameras there, but I mostly used Canon Eos models. I graduated and photography got a bit lost in my stuffed agenda, but nonetheless I got myself a compact Canon Ixus V3 with 3.2 megapixel. Fun, good pictures but nowhere nere a real SRL. Still I'm a very satisfied Ixus user.
Sadly a few weeks ago my Ixus broke down. There was some kind of problem with the sensor (a problem Canon seems to reckognize). At first the shop where I got it told me it would cost 160€ but eventually another shop (with excellent service) told me that Canon would fix it free of charge because apparently the problem seemed to occur more often. But the damage was done: I was into the DSLR world and my photography passion was back in full force. After a lot of twists and turns, going from the 400D to the D40x, I chose the (in my opninion) ultimate affordable DSLR:
The Nikon D80
A friend of my always tried to get my to buy a Nikon, and after testing the Canon I soon realised it wasn't my kind of body. Small and lightweight, but that's just what I don't want. I don't mind the fact that the body is heavy, it just gives me a sense of quality. In addition, I didn't really like the camera's I tested with everything on the big screen on the back. It's great to have an extra screen that has all the necessary info on top of the body. Another reason why the Canon (but also the Nikon D40X) where out of the game. I do have to admit that, although the D40x is too small for me, it still was and is a great alternative. It has great features at an affordable price! That's also why I first ordered the D40x. There was a considerable price difference and it's an a-ok camera, but eventually I thought: "I'll regret the fact that I didn't pay 150€ extra and got the D80"...and so I did.
So, why did I pick the D80:
*Great build quality, sense of quality of sturdiness when you pick it up
*Second screen on top of body
*I loved it from the first moment I picked it up
The price I got at the shop was well below rival shops I visited, so I instantly had the opportunity the choose some extras as well:
Nikon AF-S 18-135mm lens
2GB SD Card
Lowepro mini bag
UV filter Sigma
Additional camera insurance for 3 years (full coverage)
All of this came to around 1200€
One of the major differences compared to rival DSLR is the build quality. It feels like a pro camera, has nice buttons, is solid... Absolutely fabulous. Some rival models have a more "plastic" feel, and that's something you really don't want when spending so much money. As for the design and ergonomy: another ace in the hole for the D80. All the buttons are exactly where you want them to be. It takes a while to figure everything out, but once you get to "know" the camera it's quite easy. It has a good grip and some might find it somewhat heavy, but that's just what I like about it.
The D80 is a great camera for both beginners and experienced photographers alike. At first I thought maybe the D80 is a bit too much for me and I should better go for a budget model, but now I'm confident that this was the right choice. The D80 really is the best of both worlds: you can shoot in full auto and get great pictures instantly, or (when you're up for it) start playing with all the settins and really get to know the camera. There's a "?" button to tell you what everything does, which again makes it quite easy for beginners to start out. The vari-settings (like sports, portrait,...) are very useful for me: I always see what settings the camera automatically uses while in such a setting, which teaches me a lot about how the use stuff like aperture, shutterspeed,...Not that I don't know what they do, but it's nice because you're never too experienced to learn more about all that. It really is a machine that rewards your effort both as a beginner and pro.
The lens is good is quite good for general use, but when you zoom in, it's hard to shoot without getting blurred pictures. I'm gonna start out with this lens and after a certain amount of time upgrade to the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. Build quality is ok and at this time I haven't found anything wrong with it.
You might have all guessed I absolutely adore the D80. It took me quite a while to figure out which camera I wanted, but in the end I'm sure I made the right decision. It's a bit pricy, but in my opinion the D80 isn't really an entry level DSLR, it's much more than that. Athough I do have to add that I don't have any other DSLR experience to compare, and that people with more or other needs are better off choosing another model. In my case however, the D80 looks to be an outstanding camera that fits my every need regarding photograpy: it's easy to use, with very good build quality and is ready to grow with you as you get better at photography.
One happy D80 owner here. Great work Nikon!
I'll keep you updated as I keep exploring the D80 world
. As said before, I'll be testing the camera extensively during my holiday in France.