Why I bought Nikon D80 ?

I've been looking around for a new digital camera for past few days as my original camera died. Initially I was looking for a compact digital camera (with second thoughts on digital SLR) and narrowed down my search to Nikon Coolpix S10 (impressive 10x optical zoom) and Canon SD 800. They both are great cameras but I did not like Coolpix S10 mainly because of the swivel design of lens (it has advantages but I'd rather have one less mechanical moving part) and non-uniform thickness of the camera. Canon SD 800 is a one of the finest in compact segment but has very limited manual controls, specially manual focus. 

So I prepared a list of features that I need:

  1. Faster operation: Instant startup (less than a second), focuses and takes photo quickly
  2. Capture fast moving action + continuous shooting (aka rapid fire shooting or burst shooting)
  3. Fully automatic + complete manual control in case I need to exploit
  4. Good resolution: at least 6-8 MP, more is ok
  5. Reuse the zoom lens (Sigma 100-300mm F4.5-6.7 UC) and filters bought for Nikon N70

#1 - #3 features are must, #4 is very common these days and #5 restricted my choice to Nikon. And after all Nikon is a well established name in cameras and offers wide variety in digital cameras so I consider it a safe bet (another personal reason listed below). After preparing the feature list, it was evident that features #1, #2 and #3 are not supported by digital compact cameras. Prosumer digital compact cameras (PROfessional features + conSUMER body) offer burst shooting but it's tend to give blurry pictures because of the slow focusing ability. So I decided to purchase a digital SLR which can serve the required functionality.

Nikon D200 is a great camera targeted at professionals but is slightly on the expensive side (approx $2000). D40 is released last month, cheap but can only Auto Focus with lenses that have built-in focus motors (my existing lenses are not motorized). Nikon D70s is now replaced with D80. The Nikon 18-135 mm lens offers outstanding performance and, according to a local camera store, often far better than the cheaper lenses shipped in other kits. D70s is a discontinued model and D80 is a great upgrade for D50. My brother (who is an advanced photographer) also has a D80 (this is the personal reason) and very happy with the results. So the combined effect is that I narrowed down my choice to D80. The internet prices range from $1180 - $1300 but I finally bought it yesterday from CircuitCity.com for $1214 (not a huge price difference from internet and the store is 5 minutes drive from my home). Christmas arrived a few days early for me this year :)

dpreview.com has an in-depth review of the camera (make sure to select different options from the list box). Here is another excellent review from a user and provides comparison with D50/D70 and D200. A non-technical review by a user, although concise, is helpful. D80 Users Group (spanning 140 countries with approx 40,000 photographers visiting daily) has interesting discussions related to the camera. The digital cameras can be compared side-by-side if you are interested in matching the feature sets.

This camera has everything I need:

  1. 0.18 sec start-up, 80ms shutter speed and sophisticated AF system better suited for fast action photos
  2. 3 frames per second and up to 100 consecutive JPEG images
  3. Fully automatic, including different modes, and complete manual control (more than what I need and so is extensible) 
  4. 10.1 MP
  5. Supports Nikon F Mount for my existing lens

Watch and learn Digitutor (look for the button on the page) is an excellent interactive tutorial to learn about D80 features. I'll play with the camera over next few days and, in the process, also revise my photography skills.

Technorati: nikon d80 digital photography dslr nikon shopping

Comments:

Small sensor => no depth of field.
Aperture setting is almost useless, plus it's difficult to find a wide angle lens.

I hope you' ll enjoy your D80, but I' m waiting for a full frame Nikon at the same price an compatible with my "old" AI-S lenses.

Posted by Stephane on December 23, 2006 at 09:37 AM PST #

Stephane, Hope you find the camera of your choice. I've started playing with D80 in past couple of days only and so far have found it much more powerful than my Canon S45 :)

Posted by Arun on December 23, 2006 at 04:07 PM PST #

Thank you so much for the info regarding this product. I'll share this to my friends so that they could get some infos. With this also, i would like to share great ideas where dmc lumix lx2 panasonic is related to and lots of great products. Thanks again!

Posted by Hon T. on February 08, 2007 at 06:30 PM PST #

Hi I am also planning to buy D80, Ever since it is out on market i have a eye on it. But there is slight dilemma over canon vs nikon. Your comments were useful.

Posted by Hari on April 29, 2007 at 03:25 AM PDT #

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.


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