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Nikon D80 review Gordon Laing, September 2006
Nikon D80 Gallery

The following images were taken with the Nikon D80 using the optionally-bundled Nikkor DX 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens. Unless otherwise stated, each image was recorded using the Large Fine JPEG mode, with Auto White Balance, 3D Matrix metering and the Optimise Image parameter set to the default Normal for sharpening, tone, colour, saturation and hue; High ISO Noise Reduction was set to Normal. The individual file size, exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and lens details are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized full images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Harbour: 3.77MB, Aperture Priority, 1/60, f16, ISO 100, 18-70mm at 22mm (equivalent to 33mm)

Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 22mm   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 22mm upper left crop   This shot was taken in a harbour using the Nikkor DX 18-70mm at 22mm, with the aperture closed to f16 to ensure a large depth of field.

The crops are detailed, sharp and bereft of noise, as you'd hope at 100 ISO.

There's a tiny degree of coloured fringing in high contrast areas near the edges, but nothing to worry about.

We have a similar shot taken with the Canon 400D / XTi here.
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 22mm middle right crop  
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 22mm upper right crop  

Portrait: 4.12MB, Program, 1/250, f8, ISO 200, 18-70mm at 44mm (equivalent to 66mm)

Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 44mm   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 44mm upper middle crop   This portrait shot was taken with the Nikkor DX 18-70mm at 44mm.

The D80's metering judged the scene well considering an overcast sky and selective rays of bright sunlight.

The crops are again sharp and detailed, this time at a sensitivity of 200 ISO, and there's no undesirable artefacts to mention.
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 44mm middle crop  
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 44mm lower right crop  

Boat: 3.78MB, Program, 1/500, f5.6, ISO 100, 18-70mm at 70mm (equivalent to 105mm)

Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 70mm   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 70mm left crop   This shot was taken with the Nikkor 18-70mm lens zoomed all the way in.

The boat was approaching quite quickly, but posed no problem for the D80's AF systems. Indeed it reacted sufficiently quickly for a sharp result here even with its single shot AF-S mode.

Stark lighting and a very bright hull posed no problems for the D80's metering and the crops are packed with detail.
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 70mm upper middle crop  
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 70mm lower right crop  

Night landscape: 4.57MB, Manual, 3 seconds, f8, ISO 800, 18-70mm at 27mm (equivalent to 40mm)

Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm   To test the D80's high sensitivity performance we took this shot after dusk using the Nikkor DX 18-70mm at 27mm f8 and an exposure of 3 seconds at 800 ISO.

With High ISO Noise Reduction set to Normal, there's impressively little noise to worry about, but a small amount of smearing is visible in the shadow areas when viewed at 100%.

It's barely noticeable at 800 ISO, but purists may prefer to set the D80's Noise Reduction to Low or even off.
Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm upper left crop   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm lower middle crop   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm middle right crop  

Action: 4.30MB, Program, 1/60, f5.6, ISO 1600, 18-70mm at 27mm (equivalent to 40mm)

Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm   Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm upper right crop   Switching the D80's sensitivity to 1600 ISO allowed its popup flash to illuminate skiers performing stunts at relatively close range. AF was set to AF-C and a shutter of 1/60 selected to introduce some motion blur.

Noise has become visible at 1600 ISO, but it's certainly not a problem, and slightly lower than that on the Canon 400D / XTi. As above, there's a little smearing of ultimate detail due to Noise Reduction set to Normal, but this setting can be reduced.
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm upper middle crop  
  Nikon D80 with 18-70mm lens at 27mm middle left crop  
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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