Ur-Leica Contax Camera Comparison
Leica 1600mm Vivitar Shutter count
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Nikon D80 vs Sony NEX-3N

The Nikon D80 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2006 and February 2013. The D80 is a DSLR, while the NEX-3N is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D80 versus Sony NEX-3N
Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 16 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 200-16,000
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
600 shots per battery charge480 shots per battery charge
132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g 110 x 62 x 35 mm, 269 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D80 and the Sony Alpha NEX-3N? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D80 and the Sony NEX-3N. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The NEX-3N can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the D80 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D80 vs Sony NEX-3N
Compare D80 versus NEX-3N top
Comparison D80 or NEX-3N rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-3N is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Nikon D80. Moreover, the NEX-3N is substantially lighter (60 percent) than the D80. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D80 nor the NEX-3N are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D80) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-3N). Mirrorless cameras, such as the NEX-3N, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D80 gets 600 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the NEX-3N can take 480 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

scroll hint
Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
 
Canon 30D 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Leica M8 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 591 g .. n Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D50 133 mm 102 mm 76 mm 620 g 400 n Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599i
 
Sony A5000 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 269 g 420 n Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100 110 mm 63 mm 36 mm 283 g 400 n Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749i
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-3 117 mm 62 mm 33 mm 297 g 330 n May 2010 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The NEX-3N was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the D80, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-3N is 2 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D80 and Sony NEX-3N sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the NEX-3N offers a higher resolution of 16 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the D80. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 6.11μm for the D80). However, it should be noted that the NEX-3N is much more recent (by 6 years and 6 months) than the D80, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Sony NEX-3N implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-3N for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D80 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D80 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-3N are ISO 200 to ISO 16000 (no boost).

D80 versus NEX-3N MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the NEX-3N offers substantially better image quality than the D80 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 1.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

scroll hint
Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659
 
Leica M8 APS-H 10.4 3936 2630none21.111.366359
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
 
Nikon D50 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.910.856055
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.842955
 
Sony A5000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
 
Sony A5100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
 
Sony NEX-3 APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The NEX-3N indeed provides for movie recording, while the D80 does not. The highest resolution format that the NEX-3N can use is 1080/60i.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D80 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-3N relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-3N can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D80 and Sony NEX-3N along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Leica M8optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 2.0 n n
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D50optical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Sony A5000none n 3.0 461 tilting n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Sony A5100none n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0 n n
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Sony NEX-3optional n 3.0 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0 n n
The NEX-3N has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D80 does not have a selfie-screen.

The D80 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the NEX-3N uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Connectivity 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 Sony Alpha NEX-3N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Canon 30DY-----2.0---
 
Leica M8Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D50Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---
 
Sony A5000-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A5100-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereomono--mini2.0Y--
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony NEX-3Ystereomono--mini2.0---

It is notable that the D80 has a hotshoe, while the NEX-3N does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the D80 and the NEX-3N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D80 was replaced by the Nikon D90, while the NEX-3N was followed by the Sony A5000. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D80 better than the Sony NEX-3N or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D80:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 480) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2006).

ilogo

Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-3N:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 27%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (460k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (110x62mm vs 132x103mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 399g or 60 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D80 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-3N is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D80 04:15 NEX-3N

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D80 and the Sony NEX-3N place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D80 or the NEX-3N. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

scroll hint
Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Sony NEX-3N....4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399i
 
Leica M8..+ +...... Sep 2006 5,499i
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D5078/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Apr 2005 749i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
 
Panasonic L1085/100+3.5/5o4/5 Aug 2007 599i
 
Sony A5000+..4.5/5o4.5/5 Jan 2014 449i
 
Sony A5100+..4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i
 
Sony NEX-5R....4.5/5..4.5/5 Aug 2012 749i
 
Sony NEX-F3..74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599i
 
Sony NEX-3..70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D80:
Check Ebay offers
Sony NEX-3N:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~

    Specifications: Nikon D80 vs Sony NEX-3N

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2006 February 2013
    Launch Price USD 999 USD 499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 200 - 16,000 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 12.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 524 1067
    Screen Specs Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.62x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D80 Sony NEX-3N
    Battery Type EN-EL3e NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)600 shots per charge480 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm
    (5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
    110 x 62 x 35 mm
    (4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 668 g (23.6 oz) 269 g (9.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Nikon D80 vs Sony NEX-3N

    Thanks for your vote!

    You rated this page 4 out of 5.


    Rating

    Any additional comment or suggestion for improvement would be welcome.



    If you like it, make sure you share it.

    • Mention this page to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
    • Bookmark it in your browser for future reference by pressing "Crtl" + "D".
    • Create a hyperlink by copying the text below into your web-project or discussion forum entry.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.