Support Cameralabs by shopping at my partner stores or buying me a coffee!
Buy me a coffee!

Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
  Latest camera reviews

Lumix G80 / G85
Olympus OMD EM1 II
Sony RX10 Mark III
Sony RX100 Mark V
Nikon COOLPIX B700
Sony A6500
Lumix FZ2000 / FZ2500
Nikon COOLPIX B500
Lumix LX10 / LX15
Fujifilm XT2
Nikon D3400
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Ricoh GR II
Canon G7X Mark II
Canon SX720 HS
Canon EOS 80D
Olympus TG Tracker
Nikon D500 review
Canon EOS 1300D / T6
Lumix GX80 / GX85
Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X70
Lumix TZ80 ZS60
Sony A6300
Canon PowerShot G5X
Lumix TZ100 ZS100
Sony A7s Mark II
Sony RX10 II
Lumix FZ330 / FZ300
Sony RX100 IV
Canon G9X
Fujifilm XT10
Nikon COOLPIX L840
Canon SX530 HS
Olympus OMD EM10 II
Canon SX410 IS
Panasonic Lumix GX8
Olympus TOUGH TG860
Sony A7r Mark II
Canon PowerShot D30
Olympus TOUGH TG4
Canon PowerShot G3X
Canon EOS 5Ds
Nikon COOLPIX S9900
Sony HX90V
Canon EOS T6s 760D
Panasonic Lumix G7
Panasonic Lumix SZ8
Canon EOS M3
Olympus EPL7
Samsung NX3000
Panasonic Lumix GM5
Nikon D5500
Panasonic Lumix GF7
Olympus OMD EM5 II
Nikon COOLPIX S9700
Canon SX710 HS
Panasonic TZ70 / ZS50
Sony Alpha A7 Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Fujifilm X100T
Nikon COOLPIX S3600
Sony Alpha A5100
Sigma DP1 Quattro
Sony Cyber-shot W830
Nikon COOLPIX L830
Nikon D750
Canon SX400 IS
Sony Cyber-shot H400
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Canon SX60 HS
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon COOLPIX P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
  Best Buys: our top models
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories

Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
  DSLR Tips

Free Shipping on ALL Products
Nikon D80 review Gordon Laing, September 2006

Nikon D80 features : Lenses / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing

Nikon D80 sensor and files

The D80 is equipped with a 10.2 Megapixel CCD sensor which measures 23.6x15.8mm and conforms to Nikon’s DX format – this means any lenses you attach effectively have their field of view reduced by 1.5 times, so the DX 18-70mm and DX 18-135mm kit lenses deliver effective focal lengths of 27-105mm and 27-203mm respectively.

The sensor has the same resolution and area as that of the D200, but slower data readout: two channels as oppose to four. This limits the D80’s continuous shooting to 3fps compared to 5fps on the D200. We believe the D80’s sensor is the same as that in the Sony Alpha A100, but could not confirm it at the time of writing.

Quality settings

Like the D200, the maximum image size measures 3872x2592 pixels, which is a big step up from the 3008x2000 pixels of the D50, D70 and D70s. If you’re reproducing at 300 dpi, this allows the D80 images to be printed around 3.5 inches larger on their diagonal than the earlier 6 Megapixel models.

Support this site by price checking below

Nikon D90 - front view

SanDisk Extreme III SD memory card

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Nikon D80 image quality menu Nikon D80 image size menu

Images can be recorded at three different resolutions, each with the choice of three different JPEG compression levels; best quality JPEGs typically measure between 3 and 6MB, with most working out around 4MB each. Images can also be recorded in Nikon’s NEF RAW format, but unlike the D200 which offers compressed or uncompressed options, the D80’s RAW files are always compressed. RAW files can be recorded with or without an accompanying JPEG at any quality setting.

The D80’s RAW files were not supported by Adobe Camera RAW 3.5 (the latest version at the time of writing), although support is expected in version 3.6 due later in 2006. Nikon supplies the D80 with its Picture Project software which can perform basic conversions.

Annoyingly if you want to adjust RAW files though you’ll need to invest in additional software such as Nikon’s Capture NX. The D80's supplied CD directs you to a Nikon website where you can download a free 30 day trial of Capture NX, along with an update to support the D80, but once the trial expires, you'll need to pay. Capture NX is a fine program, but when Canon supplies its Digital Photo Professional software free with all its DSLRs, Nikon’s strategy to charge extra for adjusting RAW files seems a little mean.

We understand many people may rarely shoot with RAW files or of course already own suitable third-party RAW software, but like the D200, you’ll also need Capture NX to support the D80’s dust reduction option where a reference frame is taken and used to automatically remove dust from subsequent RAW images. We believe any dust reduction options should be supported out of the box as standard, so Capture NX should either be included or the feature supported by Picture Project.

Sensitivity and noise reduction

Nikon D80 ISO sensitivity menu

Sensitivity is offered from 100 to 1600 ISO in one-third EV steps with three further extended options known as H0.3, H0.7 and H1.0 – these correspond to sensitivities of 2000, 2500 and 3200 ISO respectively.

Nikon D80 noise reduction options

Four noise reduction modes are available and appear identical to those on the D200: the default Normal setting applies reduction automatically at 400 ISO and above, High and Low adjust the degree of reduction, while Off disables it at or below 800 ISO, although minimal noise reduction will still take place at 1600 ISO. There’s also a long exposure noise reduction option for exposures longer than 8 seconds which employs dark frame subtraction.

Colour and white balance

Nikon D80 white balance menu

Along with Auto and manually preset white balances, the D80 offers separate Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy or Shade options, or the option to manually enter a temperature from 2500 to 10000K.

For all modes apart from manual temperature or custom, you can fine-tune by three steps up or down.

Nikon D80 optimize image menu Nikon D80 image sharpening option

Sharpening, tone, colour, hue and saturation settings are applied using a variety of Image Optimisation presets. These include Normal, Softer, Vivid, More vivid, Portrait, Black and white, and Custom for your own choices. Colour space can be switched between sRGB and Adobe RGB.

We used the default Normal preset for our Results and Gallery pages and it produced consumer-friendly vibrant JPEGs out of the camera, although purists may find them a little over-saturated at times. It’s easy to choose a different preset or make custom adjustments though.

Image processing and handling

Nikon quotes a continuous shooting rate of 3fps for up to 100 JPEGs at Fine Medium size or six RAW images. To put this to the test we fitted a Lexar Platinum II 1GB SD card rated at 60x, and set the D80 to a shutter speed of 1/250 and Large Fine mode. After all, medium quality files are all very well, but we wanted to see how it performed when recording bursts at its best quality.

Under our test conditions, the D80 fired-off 15 Large Fine JPEGs in five seconds before slowing down; this equates to 3fps for the first 15 shots anyway. After this, the next 15 shots took just over seven seconds, thereby delivering a rate closer to 2fps. We then reshot a burst of 100 Large Fine JPEGs in 45 seconds, resulting in an average rate of around 2.2fps.

Switching to RAW (without an accompanying JPEG), the D80 fired-off six in two seconds before slowing down; this perfectly matches Nikon’s quote of 3fps for six frames. After six frames, the rate slowed to just under 1fps.

Since most of our earlier camera tests were performed using an older SanDisk Ultra II card, we retested the D80’s JEPG performance for comparative purposes. With the SanDisk Ultra II SD card, the D80 fired-off 12 Large Fine JPEGs in four seconds before slowing. This again equates to 3fps, but the slower card allowed fewer frames to be captured. Either way, while the 3fps rate matches the EOS 400D / Rebel XTi speed, the Canon fired-off 27 best quality JPEGs with a similarly-rated SanDisk Ultra II CF card before slowing down. The Canon buffer’s clearly bigger or faster to clear, but if you want quicker 5fps continuous shooting you’ll need either the Nikon D200 or Canon 30D.

In terms of overall handling though, the D80 is a dream: it starts in just 0.18 seconds and responds quickly to any request. The 80ms shutter lag may not be as quick as the D200’s 50ms, but it certainly didn’t feel unresponsive during our tests.

The AF and Matrix metering systems were both accurate, and it was interesting to compare the metering in particular against the Canon 400D / XTi which often slightly underexposed under identical conditions – see our Gallery page for examples of the D80 in practice.

Nikon D80 features

Lenses / Screen and menus / Sensor and processing

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ Best Cameras / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs