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Nikon D80 Comparison Review

The Nikon D80 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in August 2006 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 10 megapixel.

camera

Is the Nikon D80 a good camera? The D80 has a Camera Elo of 1072. This rating puts the D80 below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D80 also ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 2.5-star performance rating. – Well, the Nikon D80 is more than 16 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2006.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D80
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video
ISO 100 - 1 600 (100 - 3 200)
Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second
600 shots per battery charge
132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g

Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Nikon D80 vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon D80 vs credit card front
D80 versus credit card top view
D80 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D80 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999ebay.com
2.
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
3.
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
4.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
6.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D80 was launched in the US market at a price of $999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Check D80 offers at
ebay.com

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Nikon D80 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D80 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Nikon D80 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
2.
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
3.
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
4.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
5.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
6.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
7.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
8.
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
9.
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
10.
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
11.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the D80 does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D80 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.62x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D80 and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D80optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
2.
 
Canon 30Doptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
3.
 
Leica M8optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0/s n n
4.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
5.
 
Nikon D90optical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5/s Y n
6.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
7.
 
Nikon D300optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D50optical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D70soptical n2.0 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D70optical n1.8 / 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0/s Y n
11.
 
Panasonic L10optical n2.5 / 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One convenient feature of the D80 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D80Y- / ----2.0---
2.
 
Canon 30DY- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Leica M8Y- / ----2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D90Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D300Y- / ---mini2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D50Y- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D70sY- / ----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D70Y- / ----1.0---
11.
 
Panasonic L10Y- / ----2.0---

Further information on the features and operation of the D80 can be found in the free online Nikon D80 Manual or on the Nikon support site.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D80 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D80..+..+ +o4.5/5 Aug 2006 999ebay.com
2.
 
Canon 30D..+ +..+ +o.. Feb 2006 1,399ebay.com
3.
 
Leica M8......+ +.... Sep 2006 5,499ebay.com
4.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D90..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299ebay.com
6.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D300..+ +..+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D50..78/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Apr 2005 749ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D70s..........5/5 Apr 2005 899ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D70......+ +.... Jan 2004 999ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100..+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Check D80 offers at
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Nikon D80 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D80.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the D80 based on?

The camera is build around a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) sensor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D80?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D80?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the D80. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D80 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my D80?

Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D80 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.

Does the Nikon D80 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The D80's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Which battery does the D80 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL3e (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the D80?

Yes, Nikon offers the MB-D80 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review with another camera, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon D80
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2006
    Launch Price USD 999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 373 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3 872 x 2 592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1 600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3 200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 524
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.62x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Size 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Touch Input No touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Single card slot
    UHS card support no
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type EN-EL3e power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 668 g (23.6 oz)

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