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Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera
First Look Review - Pg 2

Nikon D80 side view

Nikon D80 Digital SLR





  • The D80 features a pop-up flash that supports Nikon's i-TTL flash control based on the cameras 420 segment RGB sensor. The flash modes available on the D80 include: 1) Auto 2) Fill-in flash 3) Red-eye Reduction, 4) Red-eye Reduction with Slow Sync, 5) Slow Sync, 6) Rear-curtain Sync 7) Off
Nikon D80 with built-in speedlight


The top flash sync speed on the Nikon D80 is 1/200 sec compared to 1/500 sec with the Nikon D70s. The faster flash sync speed on the D70s is an advantage for fill flash photography under very bright lighting conditions and when trying to freeze a moving subject. The D70s is an exception though, since both the Nikon D200 and Sony Alpha A100 offer built-in flash sync speeds in line with the D80.

Through Custom Settings, Auto FP High Speed Sync to 1/4,000 sec. with optional Nikon Speedlights can be activated, making it possible to perform fill-flash under brightly lit conditions or for stopping motion.

The D80 offers full support for the Nikon Advanced Wireless Lighting System with the built-in flash being able to function as the master flash unit (activated in the D80's Custom Settings menu) and perform as a two-group remote commander that provides direct control over wireless SB-800, SB-600 or SB-R200 Nikon Speedlights.

Nikon SB-800 and SB-600 Speedlights also offer a Wide-Area AF-assist Illuminator, which aids flash photography in dim light by projecting a pattern of red light that covers all of the D80's eleven autofocus areas.

Some of the other Nikon D80 flash functions include:

FV lock: allows you to match flash output level to the primary subject and then change the composition while maintaining flash output level

Repeating flash: the flash fires repeatedly during a single exposure, creating a stroboscopic multiple-exposure effect.

Modeling flash: allows photographers to visually check for shadows and reflective objects and assess overall lighting prior to shooting.

Flash Compensation: -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV

The effective range of the Nikon D80's AF-assist illuminator which helps the camera achieve focus in low light is approximately 0.5 - 3 m (1 ft. 8 in. - 9 ft. 10 in.)

  • The Nikon D80 also offers personal control over image optimization settings. Optimize image settings are designed to tailor results according to how photographs will be used or the type of scene. Optimization of sharpening, tone (contrast), color, saturation and hue can be controlled by the following selections:

    Normal (default): recommended for most situations

    Softer: softens outlines, producing natural results suitable for portraits or retouching on a computer

    Vivid: enhances saturation, contrast, and sharpness to produce vivid images with vibrant reds, greens, and blues

    More vivid: maximizes saturation, contrast, and sharpness to produce crisp images with sharp outlines

    Portrait: lowers contrast while lending natural texture and rounded feel to skin of portrait subjects

    Custom: customize image optimization settings for Sharpening, Tone Compensation, Color Mode (Mode Ia sRGB ideal for portrait, Mode II Adobe RGB provides wider gamut, Mode IIIa sRGB ideal for landscape), Saturation and Hue adjustment.

    Settings for Saturation can be selected from Auto, Normal, Moderate, and Enhanced. Hue can be adjusted between - 9° to + 9° in increments of 3°.

    User defined tone curves can be created and transferred to the Nikon D80 using the optional Nikon Camera Control software.

    Black-and-white: take photos in black-and-white. The black-and-white mode can be customized for red, green, yellow and orange filter effects as well as image sharpening and tone compensation.

  • The Nikon D80's advanced Auto White Balance (AWB) matches white balance automatically to the light source of the shot. Other options include a choice of six specific manual settings with fine-tuning, (Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, and Shade), as well as a preset option for using a gray or white object as a reference for white balance.

    The shutter speed capability of the Nikon D80 ranges from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds or can be set to bulb for time exposures. Exposure compensation can be selected in values between - 5 EV (underexposure) and
    + 5 EV (overexposure) in increments of 1/3EV or 1/2 EV.

    The Nikon D70s and D200 feature a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec. The Sony A100 offers a 1/4000 second top shutter speed.

Multiple exposure mode is selectable in the Nikon D80 Shooting Menu that creates a single image within the camera from up to 3 consecutive exposures, producing an effect automatically that resembles multiple exposure techniques used with film.

ISO AUTO mode on the Nikon D80 automatically adjusts sensitivity between ISO 100 to 1600 to maximize available light and achieve optimal exposure. Sensitivity can also be set manually between ISO 100 to 1600 in steps of 1/3 EV, plus HI-0.3, HI-0.7 and HI-1 the same as on the Nikon D200. The Nikon D70s offers an ISO sensitivity range from 200 to 1600 ISO

ISO sensitivity can be selected by pressing the ISO button and rotating the main command dial until the desired setting is displayed in the control panel. ISO sensitivity can also be adjusted from the shooting menu. The following options can be specified in the menu.

"Max. sensitivity"
The maximum sensitivity for "ISO auto" can be selected from ISO 200, 400, 800, or 1600.

"Min. shutter speed"
In modes "P" and "A", the minimum shutter speed at which "ISO auto" is activated can be specified from 1/125 sec to 1 sec.
Three levels of High ISO Noise Reduction are available (Normal, Low, High) with the D80 when shooting at high ISO settings.

Long Exposure Noise Reduction is also available when shooting at shutter speeds of 8 seconds or slower. Minimal noise reduction is performed at sensitivity settings higher than ISO 800, regardless of the option selected for "High ISO NR

The Nikon D80 is compatible with the optional Nikon MB-D80 vertical grip battery pack. Able to run on either one or two EN-EL3e batteries or six AA-size batteries, the MB-D80 battery pack also features an additional command dial and alternative buttons for shutter release and AE-Lock/AF-Lock that makes vertical shooting more comfortable.

Nikon D80 with MB-D80  vertical battery grip

Nikon does not make a vertical accessory grip for the Nikon D70s although some third party solutions do exist. The Nikon D200 is compatible with the optional Nikon MB-D200 battery grip which offers similar functionality to the MB-D80. There is no vertical grip available for the Sony A100.

    According to Nikon the included EN-EL3e rechargeable battery (same as supplied with the D200) is capable of delivering up to 2700 shots per full charge.

    The D70s is rated at up to 2500 shots per charge using an EN-EL3a battery, and the D200 is rated at up to 1800 shots per charge using the EN-EL3e battery based on Nikon's test conditions.

    Real world battery performance will vary depending on the lens used (VR), how much the camera's built-in speedlight is used or if the LCD monitor is left on for a longer period of time. Sony claims up to 750 shots per charge using their supplied Li-Ion rechargeable battery NP-FM55 with the A100.


    The Battery info feature found in the set up menu shows information on the EN-EL3e rechargeable Li-ion battery currently inserted in the camera. The following battery info is displayed:

    Bat. meter: The current battery level as a percentage of full charge
    Pic. meter: The number of times the shutter has been released since the battery was last charged.
    Charge life: A five-level display showing battery age, from 0 (new) to 4 (displayed when the battery has reached the end of its charging life and requires replacement).

The Nikon D80 offers a variety of built-in slideshow options, including style selections such as the Pictmotion option that controls transitions and background music. Shows can be enjoyed on the camera's 2.5-inch LCD monitor or on a television, complete with audio when connected via the supplied AV cable. The D80 offers 2 options for creating Pictmotion slide shows, one with background music and one without.

The Nikon D80 features a USB 2.0 High Speed connection, AC adapter socket, AV connection plug and a remote control connection on the side of the camera. (Protected by a rubber hinged door)


The Nikon D80 Custom Settings Menu allows you to adjust 32 camera settings to suit personal preference. (The Nikon D70 features 25 settings and the Sony A100 digital SLR offers 12 custom settings)

CS Menu display can be switched between "Simple" and "Full" from the setup menu. "Simple" displays the first 10 basic options. "Full" displays all 32 Custom setting options. "My Menu" on the Nikon D80 lets you customize Menus to display only the items you wish to see. The available Custom settings are:

Nikon D80 Custom Settings Menu
Nikon D80 Custom Settings

R) Reset 

• No
• Yes

16) FUNC button

 • ISO display
 • Framing grid
 • AF-area mode
 • Center AF area
 • FV lock
 • Flash off
 • Matrix metering
 • Center-weighted
 • Spot metering

1) Beep 

• On
• Off

17) Illumination

 • Off
 • On

2) AF area mode

 • Single area
 • Dynamic area
 • Auto-area AF

18) AE-L/AF-L

 • AE/AF lock
 • AE lock only
 • AF lock
 • AE lock hold
 • AF-ON
 • FV lock
 • Focus area selection
 • AE-L/AF-L/AF area
 • AE-L/AF area
 • AF-L/AF area
 • AF on/AF area

3) Center AF area

 • Normal zone
 • Wide zone

19) AE lock

 • Off
 • On

4) AF-assist

 • On
 • Off

20) Focus area

 • No wrap
 • Wrap

5) No memory card?

 • Release locked
 • Enable release

21) AF area illumination

 • Auto
 • Off
 • On

6) Image review

 • On
 • Off

22) Built-in flash

 • TTL
 • Manual
 • Repeating flash
 • Commander mode

7) ISO auto

 • Off
 • On
 • Max. sensitivity
 • Min. shutter speed

23) Flash warning

 • On
 • Off

8) Grid display

 • Off
 • On

24) Flash shutter speed

 • 1/60 s
 • 1/30 s
 • 1/15 s
 • 1/8 s
 • 1/4 s
 • 1/2 s
 • 1 s
 • 2 s
 • 4 s
 • 8 s
 • 15 s
 • 30 s

9) Viewfinder warning

 • On
 • Off

25) Auto FP 

 • Off
 • On

10) EV step

 • 1/3 step
 • 1/2 step

26) Modeling flash

 • Off
 • On

11) Exposure comp.

 • Off
 • On

27) Monitor-off

 • 5 s
 • 10 s
 • 20 s
 • 1 min
 • 5 min
 • 10 min

12) Center-weighted

 • 6 mm
 • 8 mm
 • 10 mm

28) Auto meter-off

13) Auto BKT set

 • AE & flash
 • AE only
 • Flash only
 • WB bracketing

29) Self-timer

 • 2 s
 • 5 s
 • 10 s
 • 20 s

14) Auto BKT order

 • Default order
 • Under > MTR > Over

30) Remote on duration

 • 1 min
 • 5 min
 • 10 min
 • 15 min

15) Command dials

 • Default
 • Reversed

31) Exp. delay mode

 • Off
 • On

32) MB-D80 batteries

 • LR6 (AA alkaline)
 • HR6 (AA Ni-MH)
 • FR6 (AA lithium)
 • ZR6 (AA Ni-Mn)

  • Nikon D80 Supplied Accessories:
    Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, Audio Video Cable EG-D2, USB Cable UC-E4, Strap, Body cap, Eyepiece Cap DK-5, Rubber Eyecup DK-21, LCD monitor cover BM-7, Accessory shoe cover, PictureProject CD-ROM

    PictureProject software features an intuitive user interface that provides easy access to tools for organizing, editing and sharing images. Auto Enhance and other creative functions are readily available, as are Mail, Slideshow and CD/DVD burning functions. Pictures can be organized using simple drag 'n' drop operation, and can be quickly located by name, keyword, or date. Design templates make it easy to produce prints, tailor images to e-mail, or layout several images on a page to produce creative album layouts.
Nikon D80 Optional Accessories:
Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D80, Magnifying Eyepiece DK-21M, AC Adapter EH-5, Wireless Remote Control ML-L3, Remote Cord MC-DC1, Speedlight SB-800/SB-600/SB-R200, Capture NX, Camera Control Pro

Nikon Capture NX is Nikon's simple new photo editing solution designed to help photographers tap the full potential of NEF (RAW) images. Featuring an innovative user interface that provides easier access to visually intuitive enhancement tools, Capture NX's photo image processing and editing tools can also be applied to JPEG and TIFF files.

Update: Aug 19th. We have now added a number of Nikon D80 image samples taken with the Nikon AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED zoom lens and the Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D prime lens.


Nikon D80 Digital SLR Specifications

Effective Pixels

10.2 million

Image Sensor

RGB CCD, 23.6 x 15.8mm; total pixels: 10.75 million

Image Size (pixels)

3,872 x 2,592 [L], 2,896 x 1,944 [M], 1,936 x 1,296 [S]

ISO Sensitivity

100 to 1600 (ISO equivalent); H0.3, H0.7 and H1 available

Storage Media

SD memory card

Storage System

Compressed NEF (RAW): 12-bit compression, JPEG: JPEG baseline-compliant

File System

Exif 2.21, Compliant DCF 2.0 and DPOF

White Balance

Auto (TTL white balance with 420-pixel RGB sensor), six manual modes with fine-tuning, color temperature setting (in Kelvin), or preset white balance, white balance bracketing

LCD Monitor

2.5-in., 230,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment available, allows up to 170-degree viewing angle

Playback Function

1) Full frame 2) Thumbnail (4 or 9 segments) 3) Zoom 4) Slideshow 5) RGB histogram indication 6) Shooting data 7) Highlight point display 8) Auto image rotation

Delete Function

Card format, All photographs delete, Selected photographs delete

Video Output

Can be selected from NTSC and PAL


USB 2.0 (Hi-speed) (mini-B connector); SD card slot: supports firmware updates via SD cards

Text Input

Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header

Compatible Lenses

Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)

Picture Angle

Equivalent in 35mm [135] format is approx. 1.5 times lens focal length


Fixed eye-level pentaprism; built-in diopter adjustment (-2.0 to +1.0m-1)


19.5mm (-1.0m-1)

Focusing Screen

Type-B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark II with superimposed focus brackets and On-Demand grid lines

Viewfinder Frame Coverage

Approx. 95% (vertical & horizontal)

Viewfinder Magnification

Approx. 0.94x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0m-1

Viewfinder Information

Focus indications, Metering system, AE/FV lock indicator, Flash sync indicator, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure/Exposure compensation indicator, ISO sensitivity, Exposure mode, Flash output level compensation, Exposure compensation, Number of remaining exposures


TTL phase detection by Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus module with AF-assist illuminator (approx. 0.5m to 3.0m) Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature: 20C/68F)

Lens Servo

Instant single-servo AF (S); continuous-servo AF (C); Camera chooses from single or continuous-servo autofocus with Auto-servo AF (A); manual (M); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in continuous-servo AF

Focus Area

Normal: 11 areas; single area or group can be selected; Wide: focus area can be switched to center wide-frame focus area

AF Area Mode

1) Single Area AF 2) Dynamic Area AF 3) Group Dynamic AF 4) Dynamic area AF with closest subject priority

Focus Lock

Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button

Exposure Metering System

Three-mode through-the-lens (TTL) exposure metering

1) 3D Color Matrix Metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering available with non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data; metering performed by 420-segment RGB sensor

2) Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 6, 8, or 10mm dia. circle in center of frame

3) Spot: Meters 3.5mm dia. circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on active focus area (on center focus area when non-CPU lens is used)

Exposure Metering Range
(ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, 20C/68F)

1) EV 0 to 20 (3D Color Matrix or center-weighted metering)

2) EV 2 to 20 (spot metering)

Exposure Meter Coupling

Combined CPU and AI

Exposure Modes

Digital Vari-Program (Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Macro Close up, Sports, Night landscape, Night portrait), Programmed Auto [P] with flexible program; Shutter-Priority Auto [S]; Aperture Priority Auto [A]; Manual [M]

Exposure Compensation

5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV

Auto Exposure Lock

Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button

Auto Exposure Bracketing

2 to 3 exposures in increments of 1, 2, or 3

Shooting Modes

1) Single frame shooting mode

2) Continuous shooting mode: approx. 3 frames per second

3) Self-timer 4) Delayed remote mode 5) Quick-response remote mode


Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter; 30 to 1/4000 sec. in steps of 1/3, 1/2 , bulb

Sync Contact

X-contact only; flash synchronization at up to 1/200 sec.

Built-in Flash

(Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Macro Close up, Sports, Night landscape, Night portrait) auto flash with auto pop-up

Manual pop-up with button release

Guide number (ISO 100, m): approx. 13/42

Flash Control

1) TTL: TTL flash control by 420-pixel RGB sensor

Built-in Speedlight: i-TTL balanced fill-flash or standard i-TTL flash (spot metering or mode dial set to [M]) SB-800 or 600: i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR

2) Auto aperture: Available with SB-800 with CPU lens

3) Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27, and 22s

4) Range-priority manual; available w/ SB-800

Flash Sync Mode

1) Auto

2) Red-eye Reduction

3) Red-eye Reduction with Slow Sync

4) Slow Sync

5) Rear-curtain Sync

Flash Compensation

-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 EV

Accessory Shoe

Standard ISO 1222 hot-shoe contact with safety lock provided


Electronically controlled timer with 2 to 20 seconds duration (2,5,10, and 20 second selectable)

Depth of Field Preview

When CPU lens is attached, lens aperture can be stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or value selected by camera (P and S modes)

Remote Control

Via Remote Cord MC-DC1 (optional) or Wireless Remote Control ML-L3 (optional)

Power Source

One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, MB-D80 battery pack (optional) with one or two rechargeable Nikon EN-EL3e Li-ion batteries or six AA alkaline (LR6), NiMH (HR6), lithium (FR6) batteries, or ZR6 nickel-manganese AA batteries, AC Adapter EH-5 (optional)

Tripod Socket

1/4 in. (ISO)

Dimensions (W x H x D)

Approx. 132 x 103 x 76.2mm


Approx. 585g without battery, memory card, body cap, or monitor cover

Supplied Accessories*

EN-EL3e Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, MH-18a Quick Charger, EG-D2Audio Video Cable, UC-E4 USB Cable, Strap, Body cap, DK-5 Eyepiece Cap, DK-21 Rubber Eyecup, BM-7 LCD monitor cover, Accessory shoe cover, PictureProject CD-ROM

Optional Accessories

EN-EL3e Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack, DK-21M Magnifying Eyepiece, EH-5 AC Adapter, ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control, MC-DC1 Remote Cord, SB-800, SB-600, R200 Speedlights, Capture NX, Camera Control Pro

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