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I've owned this camera for about 7 years now, and I've grown to love it. I chose it as at the time it was the cheapest in the range to have an LCD top panel, which combined with dedicated buttons for ISO, shutter mode, focus and exposure modes makes changing settings rapidly a breeze.
In addition, there are two wheels for adjusting settings, so you can change shutter speed and aperture easily without even taking your eye away from the view finder.
The image quality is great, especially with the supplied 18-135 zoom lens, which although being slightly prone to barrel distortion is incredibly sharp. I did have an issue with a few stuck pixels, but since moving to Adobe Camera Raw / Lightroom, the software takes care of these.
There is no dust reduction or shake reduction feature as found on more modern cameras, there is no video and the high ISOs are a bit noisy, but for the price you can get it for now, its a bargain.
I'm not a professional photographer, but I love taking good quality pictures. Please bare in mind that this will be a review from someone that doesn't know a lot of professional camera terms. This review will be based on my experience with the camera.
This was the first SLR i've had the privilege of purchasing and I will never go back to a normal digital camera again. This was way more than I expected, being only used to standard digital cameras, all the buttons were quite a bit confusing at first. But even with all the button confusion the picture quality doesn't lie. This takes HIGH quality photos, they look professional if you get a good shot which you do most of the time with the shutter speed. The body is also incredibly lightweight compared to other slrs'. After reading the manual and playing around it was generally easy to learn the aperture, white balance and other features.
All in all the D80 is amazing and I can't fault it, however, I wouldn't recommend it for first time users or people that aren't really keen on learning and using all it has to offer. For the price you really are paying for all of its features to get the best quality picture possible for your needs. Taking this in mind if you want to start taking professional quality pictures this is the camera for you. It really does have it all.
I've had the Nikon D80 for four years now and, despite the temptation of newer models coming out, see no reason to change my camera. Four years ago I was an amateur photographer, now I use this SLR for professional work. It is not a top class pro camera, to be sure, but it is entirely adequate for someone starting on pro work and is a fantastic camera to learn on.
Controls are well laid out, with everything easily to hand while you are shooting, and the menu system for more in depth controls is intuitive. Most important to me was the feel of the camera in my hand. I wanted a camera that felt sturdy and well built, and compared with similar models in other brands, this was the only one that felt anything other than plasticky. I think this is proved at least in part by my camera having been put through some pretty tough treatment - not least from my kids - but it is still in perfect working order.
Battery life, as some other reviewers have pointed out, is fantastic. I have taken a two week holiday, with around 100 photos a day, and not needed my spare battery. To achieve the best battery performance, turn off the auto-screen review function (ie where it puts the photo you've taken on the review screen as soon as you've taken it).
With the second hand deals you can get on this camera just now, I wouldn't think twice about recommending it.
I am not a photography whizz but I do really enjoy doing photography when I get time. Now, bare with me photography experts if I say something that you don't agree with on this camera as I have never reviewed a Digital SLR before and am still getting to grips with my Nikon. I mainly use my Nikon D80 camera at work as we use the photos for our design work but I am still developing my photography knowledge every day with using this camera but have to say it has been great for me so far to use and I will share my thoughts with you all.
All Nikon Digital SLR cameras have a really sleek look to them I feel. I always carry mine round in its padded protective strap case but when taken out it is your standard black design with the lens on the front that can be changes and your pop up flash area. It has the Nikon logo displayed on the front and on the top it has your buttons to adjust settings for picture taking. On the reverse of this camera, you have your 2.5" LCD screen to view photos. The dimensions of this Nikon are 132 x 103 x 77mm and the camera with the battery in weighs 668g.
So, the first thing really is where do we start? Well I'll begin with setting it up and when I first bought it. It comes with a Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e battery which is easy enough to charge and when charged it should last a good while. You can check the percentage of battery power that you have left on this model and the number of shots taken since you last charged your battery. When I fully charge up my Nikon, I tend to find it should last me quite a worthwhile time but of course just always check the percentage if you need it to last you for a longer amount of time than normal.
This camera has a 10.2 megapixel amount on it which is of course very good and you can buy different lenses to suit what you're photographing. I purchased an 18-55mm lense for mine. Like most camera, this runs on an SD memory card and you can buy as big as you need, it is easy enough to take photos from the camera from the SD. You are pretty much set with a camera like this when it comes to taking photos in all different types of situations, especially with adjusting it to the light etc.
The camera comes with a built in pop up flash, which should activate. You can set this camera to take on automatic mode, normal, softer, vivid, more vivid , portrait or black and white. You can also adjust the focus on automatic or manual, depending how advanced you are. The shutter speed on this model is 30 to 1/4000 seconds. The good thing with this camera is it has built in red eye options to tone it down and also comes with in camera editing. So you can retouch by using the LCD menu and you can do red eye, small picture, shadow/highlighting, image overlay, trimming, monochrome and filter effects.
I do find this quite useful but I don't always use them as I prefer to take my photos straight into Photoshop. The camera has custom auto ISO and to go back to the menus I will now tell you what they include. On the reverse you have a playback button to look at what you have just photographed and you also have a bin icon so that you can delete images and a zoom button to zoom in on the large viewfinder. The viewfinder comes with a removable protective cover which I like to use.
With the menu choices on the reverse you get world time, LCD brightness, video mode, languages, USB custom and retouch. It is an easy enough camera to operate the menus and find what you need to find. Now, that I am using this camera more and more at work though I do want to learn more about using manual settings to really get the best from this Nikon D80. There is so much to learn with photography but I want to read up on shutter speeds etc to get different image outcomes.
USING MY NIKON D80
Now, that I have covered the specifications of the camera, I now want to talk about what I feel about using this camera. When I am out, I don't have a tripod so I tend to just use my self as a stand and just try my best. I do find this camera to be really heavy when holding it around for a while. I have used this in darker interior shots as well as outdoor and it performs well in all occasions. An example is last week I was doing a brochure for a business and the lighting was terrible but setting the camera properly and taking different angles, I got an amazing outcome.
I find a lot of times you need to keep adjusting the focus to get it as sharp as possible but sometimes on the playback I think a photo looks good then I upload it and it is out of focus. Also it can look brighter on the LCD compared to my monitor so maybe I just need to adjust the LCD brightness to overcome this. It is easy enough to delete photos but always make sure your memory card is in when taking photos, I never have issues with battery power running out on me as it warns me.
The flash is ok on this camera as well and the shutter speed settings are easy enough to fix. I think when I upload photos from this camera, I do find the colour is really vibrant and it is sharp. I always think photos on this Nikon D80 come out fantastic and I think they have a higher feel of professionalism to them as they just appear a lot brighter as the lens lets in that bit more light than other cameras. I don't use this on holiday or all of the time but for certain images, this is the best choice.
To buy this camera you can get it from a number of online retailers. I bought mine online but I know that Photosolution.co.uk are selling this brand new for £539.00 plus £8 for postage but you can get used ones on Amazon for half the price.
If you want to find out more then the official Nikon website is http://www.europe-nikon.com/en_GB/
If you are familiar with my reviews you will be aware that a few weeks ago I discussed one of our two cameras, namely Fujifilm Finepix AV200, which perfectly meets our requirements for simple snap and shoot photography. The review briefly mentioned our main camera, the Nikon D80, which I can vividly remember purchasing brand new 5 years ago within days of its' launch, as I almost passed out when I entered those four digits for my debit card to authorise the £999.99 payment! I would point out that this price was inclusive of the 18 - 135 mm lens.
WHAT WERE OUR SPECIFICATIONS AND REASONS FOR PURCHASE?
Both my husband and I are keen photographers and whilst I would never consider myself to be technically minded, I have gained a wealth of valuable knowledge since meeting him. As we enjoy the great outdoors and regularly visit new places we required a high quality, durable and professional camera. During our travels we regularly witness a vast amount of wild life such as birds of prey, so we needed something that offered superb picture quality and in addition, give us the freedom of interchangeable lenses, which would offer a powerful zoom to capture close up images of our subjects.
We carried out considerable research to ascertain the most suitable brand that could provide us with a DSLR camera, which for the non-technical minded stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Our extensive research provided us with two choices, namely Olympus and Nikon with us jointly agreeing on the latter due to the brand being an innovative world leader in digital imaging. It was during our research that we learned that the Japanese brand was initially launched in 1917, so clearly they are experts in the field of photography and have gone from strength to strength. We were aware that the weight of the camera would have to be a consideration that we would need to forfeit, particularly as all DSLRs are fairly heavy, so our purchase of the Nikon D80 with its' 10 megapixels was made.
USING THE CAMERA AND ITS' FEATURES
The camera, which is manufactured from a robust black plastic is considerably appealing to the eye and is fairly heavy with its' weight of 585g excluding the lens and battery, hence our further purchase of the Fujifilm, as carrying the D80 on a regular basis proves somewhat of a challenge, particularly when laden with the two interchangeable lenses that we own. I would describe it as an average size for a DSLR with its' measurements of 13 cm in length, 6½ cm in depth (without a lens) and 10 cm at its' highest point. I will be totally honest and admit that when I first looked at the camera I thought we had made a huge mistake, as I was of the opinion that I would never be able to understand how to use it. Whilst I cannot deny that this isn't a complicated camera, it is extremely well made and very durable and five years after purchase its' condition is as good as it was back then. The camera was accompanied by a 148 page booklet where my initial reaction was that I might as well sit down and read the dictionary, as I never believed I would master this high technical piece of equipment.
However, as with everything, patience and dedication is needed and through time I learned the majority of what I needed to know, although I will admit there is much more for me to grasp. Whilst I normally disregard user manuals and jump straight in, it is imperative that I learned how to use this camera prior to my initial use. It would be virtually impossible for me to discuss each and every one of the controls contained on the camera body, as my review would well exceed 10,000 words, so my aim is to concentrate on the basics. I will begin by discussing the EN-EL3e rechargeable Li-ion battery, which accompanied the camera together with its' easy to use MH-18a quick charger, which takes approximately 2¼ hours to charge for an exhausted battery and will provide up to 2,700 images per battery charge. The appropriate cable was also supplied and we are informed that batteries not displaying the Nikon holographic seal could possibly damage the camera, so we also ensure we use the correct batteries. We made a purchase of an additional battery to enable us to have one in the camera and carry the spare one at all times.
Contained within the camera box was an extremely comfortable and adjustable camera strap, which is easily fitted onto the upper sections of the camera by way of metal rings. The section of strap that fits around the neck is significantly wider and of a softer material, so it does not chaff the skin. Whilst my husband chooses to take photographs by simply holding the camera I prefer to place the strap around my neck, as I am fearful of dropping it, particularly when we're taking photographs from the edge of a hill or cliff. A clear sturdy plastic cover is provided to protect the 5½ cm in length and 4 cm in width colour monitor and tightly clips into place by way of a long lip on both the upper and lower sections. This is easily removed by simply holding the camera firmly and pulling the bottom cover gently, but it is very rare that we will remove it, as it does not obscure the monitor. We were required to fit the viewfinder eyepiece cap, which is made from a fairly soft rubber material that is very comfortable when it makes contact with the eye. On initial inspection the Set Up Menu appears to be extremely mind boggling, as it displays so many features; many of which we have yet to use. However, the first step is to set the time, date and language using the fairly large multi selector button, which is located to the right hand side of the monitor.
At this point in time the language that I would like to have chosen was not an option on the camera if you get my meaning! It is this button that will enable you to navigate the various camera menus where you can move the cursor up and down to specific options, return to the previous menu and display the sub-menu. An extremely useful feature is if a question mark is displayed on the monitor there is a help option available, which is a feature I have used many times! Whilst I could discuss many of the set up menu features I do not wish to make this review too technical and prefer it to be in language that I can easily understand. However, I will talk about the key features and it is in the set up menu that you are able to adjust the brightness, image quality and size together with features such as the style of Jpeg image you wish to create and a variety of exposures. As we were fortunate enough to purchase the camera with a lens our first task was to fit it to the camera body, which should be switched off.
I am not going to go into great detail here, but changing lenses is an easy task by simply placing them into the camera's bayonet mount and rotating until it clicks into place. There is no internal memory fitted in this camera, as it operates solely from SD memory cards, which are easily inserted and removed in the area located on the lower right hand side of the camera where the slot cover firmly closes. We are all ready to go with our camera and I was surprised that I found it so easy to operate, particularly with its' automatic focus. I initially found it a little strange having to rotate the diopter adjustment control; something of which I was totally unaware of prior to owning this camera. I learned that this was to enable the user to obtain the correct focus dependent upon the individual's eyesight. Another area I found strange was having to adjust the lens to zoom into my subject as opposed to pressing a simple button, which I was used to with my previous Sony Cybershot, which was taken by my first husband during our divorce. The camera offers a fabulous feature, particularly for people like me who were initially totally oblivious to the vast range of technical features this model has to offer.
The camera can be set on an automatic point and shoot mode, which basically means that when the camera is pointed at a subject the shutter release button only requires to be partly pressed to enable the camera to focus into its' subject and then needs to be pressed down fully to subsequently capture the image. During this set up the built in flash will automatically pop up if the subject is too dark, but needs to be manually lifted when not in automatic mode. A very usual feature is that there is a setting to assist with camera shake, which I find extremely beneficial, particularly when using a powerful zoom lens. The camera has the ability to allow the user to be creative with their photography, such as night landscapes, night portrait, moving subjects and whilst my husband is expert in this field, as he is completely technically minded, this is an area that I have yet to learn. After taking your photograph the image is displayed on the monitor for approximately four seconds after which it is saved onto the memory card. All of the photographs can be viewed by simply selecting the main command dial where you are also able to delete any unwanted images.
We have purchased many accessories for our D80, which allows us to obtain maximum benefit from the camera's features, such as a tripod to enable us to use the self-timer mode, a remote control where we can capture images using either a delayed or quick response. Up to this point in my review I was able to use my wealth of valuable knowledge to inform you of our camera's capabilities, but I got a little stuck on the ISO sensitivity, so it has been necessary to make reference to a small section in the easy to follow user guide. I learned that the higher the ISO sensitivity the less light is needed to create an exposure, which subsequently allows higher shutter speeds or smaller apertures. The camera has a top shutter speed of 1/4,000 second and flash sync speeds up to 1/200 second.
Back to me now where I would advise that the ISO button, which is located on the left hand side of the monitor needs to be pressed and the main command dial rotated until the required setting is displayed in the control panel. In our five years of experience with this fantastic camera we have been able to capture some outstanding images; many of which are of wildlife on the move and my husband has uploaded dozens of our photographs onto his Flickr account. The picture quality is out of this world where images are colourful, sharp, clear and crisp and due to the option to reduce red eye our images do not resemble that of somebody who has spent the afternoon propping up the bar at the local boozer! I hope I have covered all of the key features that this fantastic camera has to offer, but as I am sure you will appreciate, it would be an impossibility to discuss each and every one. As this is such an expensive piece of equipment it is essential that it is regularly cleaned where we use a slightly damp cloth for the body work and our camera is well protected in a case, which was an additional purchase.
Whilst the topic of this review is for the basic camera I would like to briefly mention the two interchangeable lenses that we own, namely the 18 - 135 mm one that was included in our initial purchase price of £999.99 and a further more powerful AF 70 - 300 mm lens belonging to Tamron that we purchased for approximately £100 a few years ago. There are dozens and dozens of lenses from which to choose and in time, we will probably make further purchases to meet our ever growing needs.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Nikon D80 is readily available where it is mainly second hand, particularly as this 2006 model has since been superseded by various others. At the time of writing (12 August 2011) they are selling on Amazon and are listed as "like new" from £250 plus £5.10 postage and packing. However, I would point out the obvious and that is to check the various sellers' feedback prior to purchase.
This camera has met each and every one of our requirements and has served both my husband and I well over the five years in which we have owned it where we have never experienced any faults or failures in capturing our precious images. Consequently, it receives my full recommendation together with 5 stars.
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
This review will appear on both Dooyoo and Ciao under the same user name.
I brought this camera body as a second camera when starting up a wedding photography business (since closed).
Much like Nikon's other camera bodies, this one is easy to use whether you are an avid Nikon fan or a Canon lover like I was. Unlike the very latest Nikon camera bodies though, it won't allow you to use the screen on the back to take the photograph. In a rather archaic way you need to look through the viewfinder to line up your shot thus increasing your eye wrinkles and lines!!
The display is plenty large enough at 2.5 inches and it has a 170 degree viewing angle. An additional product well worth the money though is a cover and flap for the screen as on many occasion out in the bright sunshine it is hard to see when the light reflects off it. A hand cupped to shade the screen will also work but not as well.
It has consistently provided me with clear images thanks in part to it's 10.2 million effective pixels although that said I can also get a quality image from my little Panasonic Lumix compact camera and that wasn't quite as expensive!
It weighs a comfortable 585 g (1.3 lb) without it's battery and 668 g (1.5 lb) with. The battery is worth having a spare of, though I only ever had to recharge my new battery at the end of the day but then I was using it regularly. If left to sit a while the battery will loose some of it's charge even though it hasn't been doing anything.
Tips for the amature, always remember to press down the shutter button to take the photo, (once to focus and then again to take the shot) and also remember to move the highlighted bracket (seen through the viewfinder) to the part of your image that you wish to be the sharpest. That way you should achieve a sharper shot!
I bought this camera just over a year ago now and it is fantastic! Before buying this camera i had never owned a DSLR camera before, so this was a first for me. It's easy enough for an amateur to use but it still produces top quality and professional outcomes. Comparing this with a D200, it's a lot Lighter and easier to carry and obviously cheaper too. Personally i find that the battery lasts for a very long period of time so it's great if you're planning to take quite a lot of images during the day. Because it's a DSLR, you have to expect that it might be a bit bulky carrying around, but for a DSLR, it's very light and compact. I haven't had any problems with this since i've purchased it; it's a great, beginners/semi-professional DSLR camera and i would recommend it to anyone who's thinking of taking up photography.
When released this was probably the best camera Nikon have ever produced, value for money.
I used this camera over a period of 2 years in a professional capacity at well over 30,000 frames. Compared to the latest releases this camera does lack in a few features, however if you get to know this camera and it's functions you can produce photographs well beyond what would normally be expected.
The camera does have a few limitations to be aware of. The noise at high resolutions can be prohibitive and render photographs unusable, however at low resolutions it is fine. The frame rate of the camera isn't very fast but if you're looking for a sports camera this is an unlikely choice anyway. Definitely capable of sideline shooting at a small sports match though.
Camera accepts very cheap SD memory cards which is a bonus and produces 12-bit RAW files at around 10-12 Megabytes each. Providing the photographs are technically good you should have no problem printing the files at A3 or more.
Additional features such as Speedlight control through the on-board flash are a big bonus and the function button is also very handy. Screen may be seen as slightly small compared to others but should be sufficient for most photographers and the camera can easily be connected to a laptop for tethered shooting.
One area which lets the camera down is the lack of quick access to some of the features. Having to scroll through the menu system can take a while and disrupt a shoot when trying to change ISO for example. Otherwise a great camera with lots of potential and easy to use. Never let me down.
The nikon D80 is a few years old now and has been replaced by a newer model (the D90). As such it is possible to get a D80 for a very competitive price whilst still maintaining the image quality you desire and expect from a dslr.
While the D80 is not a 'top of the range' dslr, and was never designed to be, it is none the less excellent at what it does - the image quality is, generally speaking, very good although in low light conditions images are noisier than may be desired when upping the ISO to avoid the use of flash.
The D80 also provides the ability to shoot in a number of jpeg quality settings as well as NEF (nikons version of RAW) or NEF+ jpeg fine, which gives the user great versatility.
The D80 comes with a built in flash - while not the most powerful of flashes it does have its uses and is something that higher end models are not equipped with.
The grip is of a decent size to those with larger hands and the menus are easy to navigate - there is also a handy feature to add comments to individual photos, in camera, which can prove a useful way to make notes in the field.
I've had this camera for around 2 and a half years now and never experienced a single issue with reliability - the shutter is still going strong after a substancial number of clicks and despite being dropped several times it has never broken - excellent durability.
The D80 is a decent weight and even manages to feel a little heavy when carried around for long periods of time. That said it is much lighter than, for example, the D300 and the D3 and as such may prove a better choice for those who wish to take a camera 'out and about' but want enhanced user controls that point and shoots don't have, or dont want to lug heavy higher end equipment everywhere.
The viewing screen is a decent size and allows the user to see information such as the photos histogram which can be very useful for checking whether the highlights have blown etc.
The D80 uses SD cards which are easily available from a great variety of sources.
In conclusion - this was a great camera when I bought it and a couple of years on it still performs well so at the reduced prices the D80 is often now available for, it is still a competitive option over the D90 and would also make an excellent back up camera.
*I have posted this review before on ciao*
I have always been a keen photographer, although I do not profess to be an expert but have had my eye on the Nikon D80 for a while now. Having moved on from a compact digital camera of only 4 mega pixels I found this camera fantastic. It was so easy to use and whether you set all the functions at automatic, or decide to have a play around yourself you will find that this camera has exactly what you need and delivers a quality far beyond general expectations. It is very stylish and although it is designed to use Nikon accessories, other makes of Lens and Filters fit extremely well. I had have a lot of attention when using this DSLR and family members in particular were so impressed that they decided to get the same one. I was extremely flattered by this and soon realised that this could work to my advantage as they could buy the accessories that I really wanted and we could interchange then! I love this camera and would never go back to a compact camera.
My brother-in-law suggested I go for this when I first mentioned to him that I was after a new Digital SLR, and for this, I am eternally grateful to him.
I originally bought this for me as I'm the one into photography but it is so good, and easy to use, that my husband now uses it even more than me!
I would recommend this to both serious photographers and complete amateurs alike. It has all the features that a professional photographer may require but is so easy to use that anyone can take fantastic pictures even with no prior formal photographic training.
There are only two downsides that I feel I have to point out in order to give an honest review. Firstly, that this is definately not the lightest camera in it's class. Secondly, the cost. The body itself is pretty pricey, and any additional NIKON accessories or lens will also set you back. That said, having owned one for almost 2 years, I would definately buy this again knowing what I know about it.
Pros - Fantastic quality photos, lots of good settings and AWESOME battery life.
Cons - Heavy, expensive and confusing if you aren't used to cameras.
What a sexy piece of equipment! I have to admit I had my doubts when I at first saw the price tag on this. But after my partner talked me into it, I went ahead and took the plunge. I had a Nikon F60 before but this one really made my old faithful seem ancient and outdated. I loved the way it was easy to work out, and I didn't even need to go through the manual, just a little trial and error as well as common sense and we were ready to rumble. I use a a 28-105mm lens and its great for the basic photo, but looking into a wide angle lens in order to get a fuller shot.
You can get these cheaper now then when I got mine, so it is better value for your money, and I would recommend this product to any friend.
Having owned two Nikon SLR's in the past, an F301 and an F90x, the F90 I had to sell to help pay 'Mr Tax Man', I was ready for a DSLR. I'd been using a digital compact for a couple of years but when I saw the D80 on the cover of a magazine, I knew I had to have it!!
The D80 has that classic 'Nikon look and feel' to it. Nice and chunky and a good balance in your hands but not too heavy. You feel that if you were to drop it it'd be fine.
On first using the D80, I set it to its 'Auto' setting, just to get used to it. The auto setting does everything for you...anyone buying a camera like this won't be using auto though....you only use auto if your drunk or give it to someone else to use.
I then fired some off on the other modes. I found the images 'lacking in contrast' and a bit dull. They didn't have that 'omphh' out of the box that I was expecting. This was easily sorted out though by tweeking the settings in the menu. You need to go to 'optimise image' then select 'vivid'. You have to do this if you want 'punchy' images out of the camrea and don't want to be spending ages post processing on Photoshop. These settings will only apply to the manual modes though..'P' 'A' 'S' & 'M'.
I only have one lens that I use and thats the 50mm F1.8 lens that I got of ebay for about £40. Best lens you could have! Its compact, brilliant images and fast! which is good as the built in flash is not that good...it has a tendancy to under expose a lot.
You can use the older Nikon lenses with this Camera which is another advantage. With the D60, you can only use the new Nikon lenses I believe.
Its a very impressive piece of kit...your friends will be impressed but I'd not really recommend it to someone just starting out...a D60 would be a better bet i feel.
I have updated this review, now there are a couple of new cameras in the Nikon line-up. The D90 is the replacement for the D80, but the D80 is still available and at a reduced price, it is still a great camera and better value than ever. The D700 has also bee added between the D300 and the D3.
I have been using Nikons for many years and the D80 camera is quite light and compact compared to some earlier Nikon film cameras although not as small as the less expensive D40, D50 and D60 models. It fits nicely in the hand despite being small (I actually prefer cameras to be bigger than this, but I am probably quite old fashioned and in a minority) and all of the important functions are easily accessible even while looking through the view-finder. In fact the main functions are in exactly the same place they have always been on F series film cameras for the last few decades. The D80 is very well made when you consider the price and the lens-mount feels solid and robust when changing lenses. It also seems to be nicely sealed from the elements with rubber seals covering the important connectors etc.
My only complaint is that is doesn't allow me to use the aperture ring on my old lenses. It's not a big problem as the aperture is now set using a very useful finger-wheel which seems to have become the new standard for all SLRs. The old lenses work very well with the D80 body. I just need to remember to lock the aperture ring to minimum aperture setting. Also of course the sensor is smaller than a 35mm slide, so wide angle lenses are a bit less wide-angle than they would have been on a film camera and telephoto lenses a bit more telephoto, but that too appears to be the new standard except for very expensive professional cameras such as the Nikon D3 and now the new D700 "prosumer" model, which both have a full-frame sensor.
As for the photographic results, I certainly can't complain. The metering and focusing are excellent and colours appear very vibrant and images very sharp.
Overall this is a very good mid-priced DSLR sitting between the inexpensive new D60 and the more expensive "prosumer" D300, in terms of price, functionality and robustness. It is a widely available product and very popular. The built-in auto-focus motor allows it to be used with a very wide variety of lenses from Nikor/Nikon and several other manufacturers (The D40, D50 and D60 do not have an auto-focus motor and can only be used with the latest lenses with internal motors)
Have had an eye on a digital SLR for some years, but never got around to taking the plunge until this chap came along.
I'd been using two Sony cameras, which were very good for general family shots. However, as my sons got older and started playing rugby and football, they just couldn't keep up. DSLRs don't suffer from a delay from pressing the shutter to taking the picture, and so the moment isn't lost. Also, it has a three frames a second speed, which is brilliant for sports shots. I use with a 4Gb card, which will take over a 1000 shots, even at max resolution. Don't think I've ever used more than 500, but it's nice to know there's still plenty of room!! It will take the newer SDHC cards, but not all computers can read them directly [most come with an adaptor].
Obviously a bit heavier that compacts, but there's no comparision in quality.
If you're considering buying on of these, I assume you'e already read about DSLRs in general, and I guess you'll be looking at this, probably a Canon EOS and possibly a Sony. I chose the Nikon because, although it's heavier, it is a better build quality [unless you move up to the EOS 30D, which is much pricier]. Realistically, they will all give very good results, and unless you're a serious pro, you might not see the difference (I'm sure I wouldn't!)]. At the end of the day, you need to pick them up and see how they feel for you.
Battery life is excellent, will easily shoot 500 shots outside [I don't use the flash much, so can't comment on that]. I took it on hols for two weeks, and didn't need to re-charge when I was away.
You can buy the camera as a body only, or with an 18-70mm zoom, or a 18-135 zoom. The 135mm version is only £10 more at Jessops and, since it will enlarge almost twice that of the smaller zoom, I can't really see the point of the smaller one.
You can then buy extra lenses, either Nikon branded ones, or from third parties - you can pay anything from £100 to thousands. That's why I went for the 135mm, as it will delay the need for a new one.
Remember, an expensive camera doesn't guarantee great pictures, but this will certainly give you a fighting chance of getting pictures which you might not get with a pocket camera.
[This is an updated version of some comments I've written before]
One of the key advances developed for the D80 is its high-resolution image-processing engine. At its heart is a dedicated high-performance processing chip that greatly accelerates performance on all levels, while also consuming less power than its predecessors. It also inherits advantages developed exclusively for Nikon's latest professional digital SLR cameras, combining color independent analog pre-conditioning with improved 12-bit digital image processing algorithms. The result is natural-looking images that benefit from faithful color and tone reproduction. The level of performance attained allows the engine to rapidly and efficiently process the 10.2-megapixel resolution images captured by the DX Format CCD image sensor.