• Price: 595

  • Company: Nikon

  • Pros: Well-made, compact body with versatile 11-point AF system, large bright LCD and excellent viewfinder. High picture quality,

  • Cons: No built-in dust-reduction or image-stabilization system. Advanced RAW processing software is an optional extra.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

The Nikon D80 digital SLR is the successor to the company’s highly regarded D70 and D70s models. It features a 10.2-megapixel CCD, large 2.5-inch screen, and an improved 11-point autofocus system.

The Sony-made sensor is a derivative of that used by the recently introduced 10.2-megapixel D200, a semi-professional model offering picture quality that’s close to the company’s top professional digital SLR, the D2Xs.

 border=0 />The D80 also features the same wide view screen featured in both models, but boasts an improved menu layout with clearer font and bolder icons. It’s the most legible and user-friendly menu yet seen in any digital SLR at any price. 
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Adopting rock-solid engineering plastics, the D80’s body design is smaller still than the model it replaces yet remains just as comfortable to hold and operate. 
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Based on the 11-point AF system of the D200, the D80’s AF system covers a wider area and is more accurate in low light <BR>
than similarly priced rivals. Particularly handy for sports or action, it builds on the company’s previous design by adding a useful option to alter the size of the central AF point. Nikon has added a feature that automatically switches between single and continuous focusing. 
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Images are saved to SD or SDHC cards and the D80 now allows JPGs to vary in size depending on the detail in the scene. Alternatively, users can select to maintain file size if memory capacity is limited, albeit at the cost of quality. 
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And simultaneous RAW and JPG capture has been expanded to include all the various JPG quality options.
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The D80 can’t match the pricier D200 in continuous shooting, though. From our tests, the D80 will buffer just six RAW files, at slightly above the claimed 3fps. Shooting best quality JPGs, the D80 achieved 22 consecutive images at the same framing rate but thereafter slowed to just over 2fps using a high-speed 2GB card from Kingston.
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