In late December 2007, I upgraded from my Kodak Z740 5mp compact to my beloved Nikon D40 DSLR. The D40 is/was an entry level DSLR, but in my and many opinions, an entry level Nikon is still top flight in camera terms. It was with this, that I captured well over 25,000 images, including ten lucrative “Face In The Flame”.
I have covered parties, events, explored conceptual photography and taken many a beautiful vista with this now discontinued gem, but it was time to upgrade. Now, many would argue that a D80, a camera which is as obsolete as the D40, isn’t much of a wise upgrade. The latest cameras, such as the D3100, or D90 would be miles better, but I’m on a budget. And my view was simple: The D80 was my ideal choice when I got the D40 in the first place and it will do what I want it to now.
The first major improvement on the D40 is the auto focus pin on the lens mount. This allows the autofocus to be driven from the camera itself, rather than relying on AF lenses to do all the work, as with the D40, that camera’s most profound failing, one of only a few might I add. What’s the problem? Well, like I said, I’m on a budget and a couple of years ago, I added a 300mm Sigma lens to my kit, and the auto focus will not work with the D40, as the it relies on the camera to drive it.
Now, with the D80, that lens works just fine, opening up the lenses’ full potential. The resolution, which has increased from the D40’s 6mp to 10.1mp is great and essential for a semi-professional photographer. But the interface is what has won me over, with a more comprehensive, old fashioned system, relying on dials and function buttons rather than the on-screen menu system offered with the D40.
The D80 has does away with the on-screen menus as regards to the operation of the shutter and taking shots etc…, instead returning to the pro SLR’s small LCD on the top of the body. I love this, as the large screen often glared in my view-finding eye and I was forced at times to turn it off. But this is well out of the way and offers no light polution what so ever.
The major CON with this model comes from the battery. Basically, the Nikon battery and high end non-Nikon replacements, contain a chip to communicate with camera, to give a detailed readout of what the battery has being doing etc…, but cheaper replacements DO NOT, which results in a false dead battery reading. This means that the body won’t activate until you put a fully charged battery in, which you just have!
I bought this camera second hand and have been fobbed off with a cheap battery, which is now all but useless, but upon buying a more expensive replacement, it works just fine, so far anyway. Just something to bare in mind…
Simply put, this model feels much more professional, or at least a step in the right direction, than the D40 and though it offers many features absent from D40, it is in no way, vastly different, simply improving the interface for more precise and swift movement through the shot process. I am certainly looking forward to exploring this camera, that’s for sure.
For a more detailed review, I would recommend… DP Review
Also for the first images posted from this camera, take a look at Flickr