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4.5 out of 5 stars
Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-135mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm LensChange
Price:$1,567.64 - $1,999.95
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475 of 485 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2006
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm Lens
[Following is a reprint of my body only review. I placed a review of the lens at the end.]

The Nikon D80, destined to replace the popular D70 series, is a great camera for Nikon fans who wish to upgrade from their D50s, 70s or 100s. It's also attractive enough to maybe get a few people to jump ship!

Here's the highlights:

1) 10.2 megapixel. A substantial upgrade from the 6mp of the older cameras, performance should be very comparable to the highly regarded D200 camera;

2) 11-point AF system. Similar again to the D200 in performance (though not as easy to change);

3) Large viewfinder (.94x magnification). Again, taken from the D200, this is a clear improvement over the previous cameras. Spec wise, this is also better than all the competition, even though other, personal preference factors need to be taken into consideration (such as layout of LCDs and focusing points).;

4) 2.5" LCD. Not only is it larger, it can also be viewed at a much wider angle--particularly handy when locked to a tripod.

The camera is small for Nikon (about like the D50), but has a good, firm grip for those with medium to larger hands. Controls are well thought out--easy to get to and use. Dampening of mirror noise is better than its competition.

Nikon's use of the SDHC format should be commended. These small cards will have no real disadvantage to the older CF hards once the HC versions start hitting the shelves, and should relieve the danger of "bent pins".

Things you've liked about previous Nikons have been retained. The D80 uses inexpensive wireless & wired remotes, and it still allows the built-in flash to control other Nikon Speedlights remotely.

Compared to the competition, the Canon Rebel XTi & Sony Alpha 100, the Nikon starts a bit in the hole, considering it's the most expensive camera (by $200 & $100, respectively). The XTi offers a nice "anti-dust" hardware & software solution; while the Sony offers in camera stablization. Both use the rear LCD for info status. While many may prefer the traditional LCD on top (like the D80), the rear LCD does have the advantage of being considerably larger text for older eyes (and on the Alpha, rotates when you rotate the camera for verticals). Too bad the D80 doesn't give you this option as well.

The XTi is smaller and lighter, maybe too small for many people. The XTi also does not offer wireless capability with the built-in flash (like D80/A100). It's battery (hence capacity) is a bit smaller.

The Alpha 100 being Sony's first modern digital SLR means that getting lenses and accessories my be a bit more difficult (even though it uses a lot from the older Maxxum cameras). It's also a bit noiser in its operations.

The D80 adds more AF selections than either of the above cameras, has nice enhancements like grid lines and double exposures. It also comes with a protective cover for the rear LCD.

Lens wise, they greatly outnumber those offered by Sony, particularly in any considered "Pro" grade. While Canon can compete in "Pro" grade with Nikon (particularly in longer length lenses), Nikon has a bit of advantage in wider angles for digital. Nikon only offers one size digital sensor, where as Canon must offer two series (for 3 different chip sizes).

Is the D80 worth the money? For anyone with Nikon lenses, undoubtedly. My recommendation for anyone with Canon EF or Minolta Maxxum lenses: look at those cameras first...but be sure to look at the D80 before you buy.

Lens review: Tremendous! The Nikkor 18-135 gives everybody what they want, an affordable lens with above average quality.

First, the 18-135 range is excellent for a kit lens, equivalent of a 27-200 in 35mm photography. It looks great, zooms smoothly, and balances well. The Silent Wave focusing motor is quiet, quick and smooth, and allows immediate manual focus (no hunting for switches). The internal focus is great for anyone using polarizing filters, and allows for a more efficient tulip shaped lens hood (supplied).

Second, the image quality is very good. The aperture is of average size, so don't expect images to jump out like large aperture lenses, but quality is good throughout the range.

Third, Nikon always includes a better than average 5 year warranty in the US on their lenses.

The only negative is that I always prefer a metal lens mount to a plastic one, although the latter keeps both the weight and cost down.
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263 of 271 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: D80 Body Only
Obviously, I am enamored with the Nikon D80. As one who has extensively used the D100, D70s, and D200, I was curious as to how the D80 would "shake out" in comparison with these fine cameras. The answer is that it does very well indeed.

The most obvious improvement in D80 over the D70s and D100 is the upgrade from 6.1 to 10.2 Megapixels--the same as its "Big Brother," the D200 This is not a major issue for many users, as a 6.1 MP image (uncropped) looks essentially exactly the same as a 10.2 MP image. However, if the user intends to crop images in post-processing, the larger amount of resolution becomes important--the more megapixels the more detail when images are cropped. Shooters of wildlife, for example, will appreciate the additional resolution of the D80, as it is often necessary to photograph wildlife at a distance and then crop the image to cause the subject to dominate the frame.

The other very obvious D80 improvements are the larger viewfinder and larger rear-LCD. These are very welcome improvements, also borrowed from the D200. The viewfinder is wide, bright, and a literal joy to use. Combined with the 11-point autofocus system (basically the same as that of the D200 although with some differences in options) the viewfinder makes the D80 a powerhouse camera for moving subjects, or for framing the subject in places other than the center of the image.

The autofocus is fast and sure. I literally never use manual focus with the D80--the autofocus is just too good not to use for almost every conceivable situation.

The 2.5 inch rear LCD is bright and vivid--a joy to use. This too, as mentioned above, is borrowed from the D200. The menu selections in the D80 closely track those of the D200 and are largely pretty intuitive for anyone who is somewhat familiar with the Nikon system.

A few nits. First of all, the D80 does not have a selection for focus-priority continuous focus mode. This is unfortunate, as such an option (present on the D200) allows fast action shots using continuous-focus with surety that the subject is, in fact, in focus. Happily, this absence (which I predict and hope Nikon will correct in a later firmware revision) is not a huge loss. I have shot hundreds of images of fast-flying birds using continuous focus with the D80 and the images are almost all perfectly focused. The user can trust the D80 in continuous focus mode, focus priority or no.

Nikon chose to equip the D80 with SD cards rather than CF cards. Why Nikon did this is a mystery to many of us as the D80 clearly is an upgrade to the wonderful D70s, which uses CF cards. Further, the D80 is a fantastic backup camera for D200 users, and the D200, of course, also uses CF cards rather than SD cards. CF cards would have been a more logical choice in my opinion for the D80. Fortunately, the cost of these media is dropping so fast that this is less of an issue than it would have been a few years ago.

The D80 sucks up power a lot faster than the D70s. That 2.5 inch LCD entails higher power use as a price. Most users will want to own a spare battery.

As to ergonomics, the D80 is terrific! I have just finished an 8 day stay on Maui, Hawaii, during which my D80 was literally always with me. The weight of the camera is low, and its bulk, reasonable. There is no digital SLR I would rather carry for an extended period than the compact D80. The placement of the various controls is excellent, and pretty intuitive. The quality of the D80 body construction is standard Nikon-Prosumer grade, which is to say, excellent albeit not as heavy-duty as the metal-body D200.

Overall, the D80 is destined to become one of the great Nikon cameras that will find a place with users all over the world.
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193 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2006
Style Name: D80 Body Only
Since this camera just hit the streets less than 2 weeks ago, I obviously haven't had this for a super long time, but I moved to the D80 as an upgrade from the terrific D50, and the D80 takes care of every single minor nitpick I had with the D50, and then takes it even beyond that. Moreover, since I moved from the D50 and not a D70-series, I was thrilled that the D80 uses Secure Digital (SD) flash cards, which I used for not only my D50, but for my Casio EX-Z750 point and shoot as well.

As with the D50, the D80 just feels terrific in my hand. I was concerned initially because the ergonomics of the grip have been ever so slightly modified (more like that of the D70s than the D50), and I really liked the feel of the D50. However, once I got the D80 and actually started using it and shooting with it, the concern evaporated quickly. The D80 is a complete success ergonomically... it feels solid and substantial without being excessively heavy. Nikon has really always excelled in this niche, which isn't something that shows up in most reviews or on any test charts. Moreover, the controls are very logically placed, easy to identify and use in real-world photography, and the menus are intuitive and highly functional.

This camera is FAST. It's senseless to really even try to quantify it because the numbers (less than 0.1 second to start up) just don't convey how instantaneous shooting with this camera is. There's no discernible shutter lag, and shot-to-shot time is as fast as you need it to be. The D80 can fire up to 3 frames per second, up to 100 JPGs deep. Amazing for a sub-$1,000 camera.

The things missing from the D50 that the D80 addresses? Backlit LCD, superimposable gridlines in the finder, depth of field preview, one-button bracketing, bright and large viewfinder, one-touch zooming on picture playback, ISO equivalency down to 100, and a snap-on clear plastic cover for the monitor.

As a bonus, some of the in-camera retouching options are fantastic. You can take a color shot, then convert it to B&W with a red filter (still preserving your original image). You can utilize red-eye reduction (in the uncommon instances when it occurs at all), and Nikon's D-lighting is the digital equivalent of dodging and burning, and I love it. There is even a color balance shift function which is fun to play with.

The autofocusing on the camera is staggeringly fast when coupled with the right lens. (I recommend the Nikon 18-70mm DX lens; I'm not a fan of the kit lenses offered with the D80. They're very good optically, but the build quality is lacking for my personal tastes.) Like other Nikon dSLRs, the D80 has an independent AF-assist light (some other cameras rely on the flash unit for this). For AF lenses utilizing the screw-driven focusing mechanism, there is a noticeable increase in focusing speed over the D50. You can also employ an 11-segment dynamic AF grid and select which segment will be used for the point of focus.

A word about the pop-up flash: It's brilliant. Rarely does a camera with a built-in flash get it right so often with such consistency. I took numerous flash photos in sometimes varying and difficult lighting situations, and the D80 nailed it every single time.

The LCD is the best I've seen to date on any camera. Plenty of cameras have 2.5" monitors now, but this one has 230,000 pixels and is gorgeously sharp and detailed. You can view it from any angle in a 170-degree arc. Similarly, the viewfinder is a major improvement over both the D50 and the D70 series. Rather than utilizing a cheaper pentamirror like some of the competition, Nikon elects to use a genuine pentaprism which allows the finder to be nice and bright. Additionally, the diopter control knob with detents for each setting is a welcome change from the slider on the D50.

Image quality is superb, as one would expect from a 10.2 MP dSLR. I like sharp, vivid pictures, and the D80 delivers. Different processing algorithms can be selected in the menu to yield different degrees of sharpness and saturation. I haven't had any of my photos from the D80 printed out yet; only viewed them on a 19" monitor, but they look terrific. The D80 can also shoot NEF (RAW) files simultaneously with JPGs in one of three compression modes. Very nice.

Battery life is exceptional. It's fantastic on the D50, even better on the D80. A six-segment display on the top LCD panel shows you how much life remains, or you can go to the menu and see how many shots have been fired since the battery was recharged, an exact percentage (to 1%) of life remaining, and the battery's "charge life" remaining (since any rechargeable battery has a finite number of charge cycles in it).

I bought the 2-lens package from Cameta Camera (available through Amazon, though you can call the camera store directly and get the same package for $40 less than Amazon charges). For my needs, the Tamron 28-80mm lens is, quite frankly, virtually worthless, so it immediately went on eBay, and I bought a new Nikon 18-70mm DX lens in its place (a vastly superior lens). However, the Tamron 70-300mm Di LD Macro lens that's included is a surprisingly good piece of glass. I've shot nature and architectural-type photos with the D80 and the Tamron 70-300mm and was very pleasantly surprised at the results. The lens seems to be quite clear and sharp, it focuses quickly with no "hunting," and the 1:2 macro ratio is terrific. The short end of the zoom range on the 70-300mm is excellent for portrait work; this is enhanced by the foreshortening effect of the long lens. Coupled with the excellent Nikon 18-70mm lens, I have essentially the entire range of useful focal lengths covered (although those 12-24mm super wides do make me drool a bit!). Like many Nikon users, I'd love to have the 18-200mm VR lens, but I'm unwilling to pay a $200-300 premium over its list price simply because it's hard to find anywhere in stock nearly a year after its release. I'll wait.

As for the D80, though, if you have any interest in owning a serious dSLR, buy this camera and don't even think twice about it. For 2006 and likely for 2007, it's the right choice. The D80 is highly recommended as the perfect camera for the advanced amateur or enthusiast photographer. It bridges the gap between the D50 and the D200 perfectly. Pair this camera up with a high-quality lens, and a good photographer will have a tool with which stunning images can be made.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2007
Style Name: D80 Body Only
To date, in my opinion this DSLR is by far the best Camera for the money. The image quality is outstanding. I upgrade to the D80 just last week, moving up from my D70s, and I can say that after 10 minuets of shooting, it was worth every penny, in face it should be worth more than its going for. It has the feel of my D70s but better, I always found the D70s to be a little bit too bulky. The D80 is a little smaller, and a lot easier on my hands (I have large hands too), I did however find it to be a little short from top to bottom.

I also purchased the MB-D80 Battery Grip, this fixed my fitment issue. Not only does this allow you to add another battery (Or 6AA which is great for a pinch with two dead Li-ions), vertical shutter release, Aperture, shutter setting scroll knob,and AE-l AF-L Lock button. It also makes the whole camera more steady and a little bit more heavy, which is a good thing, this means less lens blur especially for zoom lens (like the 18-135). Look at the $4,000 Nikon D2X and the D80 with MB-D80 Battery grip side by side, this gives you an idea of the professionalism, simply in the camera size and layout.

Getting back to the D80, This is basically a D200 mini, if you will. Other than the smaller body, and the slightly different auto exposure metering system, you are holding a D200 for $700 less. In short, if you are looking to upgrade from a D50, D70(s) Cannon Rebel Xt, or would like a worthy back up, or even your first DSLR. This is it, a professional grade camera, with easy to use features, and even better all around quality.Its great for anyone really.

Nikkor lens are amazing quality as well, I have always preferred them to Cannon's. If you are thinking about getting the 18-135mm with the D80, I would recommend it. Overall, the lens is sharp and clear, with a great range that does not sacrifice too much considering the range. I would however recommend getting the Nikkor 18-200mm VR over this lens if you can afford the extra money. I have used both(and own the 18-135) and they are both great lenses, but if you are Serious the 18-200 VR will be the only lens you would ever need in that range, the Vibration Reduction (VR) will remove blur for up to four stops higher than what you would normally be able to shoot at.This is great for low light, and considering how great the D80 performs in low light anyways with its built in Noise Reduction and wonderful ISO quality, even at 1600. Its a perfect combination for anyone who is half way serious about pictures. I am a Photography Student, and even my professor is astonished with the resolution and quality.

I hope this helps a little bit!
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 1, 2007
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm Lens
I resisted "going digital" until now, but my wife got me a D80 for Christmas. I've worked in photography but for many years it has been a hobby (which I prefer), and I've owned Nikon F2, F3HP, Bronica 6x6, and various 4x5 view cameras. One thing I've always struggled with in using the highly convenient 35mm SLR format is enlargement capability with such small format images. Once you've used 4x5 it's hard to settle for the graininess and low resolution of most 35mm films (Kodachrome excepted). But the 10 megapixel D80 may finally solve this for me.

The D80 + 18-135mm ED lens is an amazing package, and I salute Nikon for offering the new digital SLR this way. The capabilities of the D80 with this lens are impressive--and far beyond my rudimentary digital knowledge at this point. But learning how it all works is going to be a whole heck of a lot of fun.

Most of my reluctance over "going digital" evaporated the first time I plugged the D80's USB cord into my computer and watched the images I'd just taken load automatically into Adobe Photoshop Elements. Literally a few moments later I watched a beautiful slide show of my images--with music to boot--play across the computer screen with incredible clarity and resolution. Wistful memories of Kodachrome? Well yes, but I think I'll get over them with this camera.

One worry I had as an eyeglass wearer was whether the D80's viewfinder and eyepiece would allow me to see the entire image plus the exposure info while shooting---other digital SLRs I've tried were problematic in this. But I find the view through the D80 eyepiece is nearly as good as my F3 High Eyepoint body. This is significant and telling to me, since the D80 is decidedly an amateur camera while the F3 was Nikon's flagship pro SLR in its day.

Criticisms: not many at this point. The camera feels too light to me, but I'm used to the F3/MD3 motor drive combo, which most photographers today would think a punishment to carry and use. I'm inclined to say that the array of options in programming, exposure adjustment, autofocus, etc. is dizzying to me, and I'm not sure how much of it is really necessary. But, again, I think it will be fun playing with all the obscure settings.

An amazing machine, highly recommended--even for old guys like me.
Update: After using the D80 for a month I just purchased the MB-D80 battery pack for it, and my reaction to using this combination is that the basic camera doesn't feel complete to me without the vertical grip and the extension of the standard grip that the battery pack provides. Granted the MB-D80 adds quite a bit of bulk to the camera, but being used to motor driven F3s and F2s it still feels quite trim and light to me. It also makes the D80 more like my F3/MD3 in that I can use AA batteries in an emergency. Great accessory for a very nice camera.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2007
Style Name: D80 Body Only
With 93 D80 reviews already posted, the world needs another one like it needs higher oil prices. In any event, we all have our opinions so I'll impose mine upon you now.

After 30+ years of shooting with Nikon film cameras, I decided to stick with the brand when switching to digital. It was a tossup between the D80 and D200, as either of them would fit my needs.

Since my eyesight now requires auto focus, the fact that my manual focus Nikkors will not meter with the D80 but will with the D200 didn't make a difference. That being the case, I saved a few hundred dollars and bought a D80.

Cutting to the chase, I am amazed by the image quality. It took a few hundred shots to "zero in" on the settings that I prefer, but now it turns out very consistent results.

If I'm so satisfied with the D80, how come I only gave it 4 stars? I'm glad that you asked. After 4 months of ownership, I think that I've found some weaknesses that I hope Nikon will address with the D80's replacement.

1- Matrix metering, as configured in the D80, is too sensitive to very light or dark areas in the center of the frame. With a dark central area, it's far too easy to blow out the highlights. When they're gone, they're gone. No amount of magic can put back what isn't there to begin with. Sure, you can dial in some exposure compensation, but why should you have to?

2- Dear Nikon, Please, Please, Please put a stiffer detent on the door for the SD card. I'm really tired of finding it open in the middle of a shoot. It's only a matter of time until I find that it's snapped off.

3- Speaking of detents. An interlock is needed to keep the mode dial where it's placed. It's far too easy to wind up in some idiot mode instead of remaining in aperture priority. Nothing is worse than having the flash pop up and fire because the dial slipped.

4- While not exclusive to the D80, Nikon is the only manufacturer that does not include a fully-featured RAW converter in its software package. What's up with that? RAW is all that many advanced amateurs and pros shoot, so why isn't a converter included? It wasn't a deal breaker for me, but I felt like my pocket was being picked.

Anyway, it's all about the images and those that come out of the D80 are as good as I've ever seen from a camera in this class. When I look at the 16X20 prints on my walls I'm almost ready to give Nikon that extra star. Almost, but not quite.

Enough with reading reviews.....go to your local camera store (if you still have one) and wrap your hands around the cameras you're considering. Trust me, you could be out there shooting instead of wasting so much time reading reviews. :-)
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm Lens
I finally did it. I have made the transition from film to digital photography.

I LOVE this camera! Definitely a great addition to the venerable Nikon line of SLRs. It is right-sized, easy to handle, fast and quiet. There is a good deal of automation built for those times when you are more need to get a shot NOW, yet the fine control to enhance your creativity.

Since this is my first digital camera of any type, I cannot compare it to other digital models; I can only compare it to film cameras.

D-80 and Digital Advantages


Low processing costs. Only pay for the "keepers" you print.

"Throw away" and test shots no longer carry a penalty of any kind.

Huge picture capacity with large SD cards. No more changing film rolls at the most inopportune moment.

Instant feedback.

The D80 has a high enough resolution to make good sized prints.

All the digital processing advantages, (white balance, cropping, converting to black-and-white or sepia tone, etc.)

Auto ISO and the ability to change ISO for any given shot.

The many exposure modes give you flexibility and fine control. The modes vary from point-and-shoot, to manual. There are also vari-program modes that automate many common shooting or difficult situations like night portraits where you want to flash the foreground but also want a long exposure to get the darker background. Or high-speed modes where you may need the AF system to track a moving object as it passes across the field of view.

Compatible with the full range of 35mm lenses, speedlights and accessories. So if you are like me and have a significant investment in 35mm Nikon gear, this is the way to go. Do not get rid of that 35mm body! (Using DX-type lenses on a 35mm body is not recommended!)

Smaller focus area (compared to 35mm) means less shutter travel. That translates into much faster flash sync speeds and less vibration.

The D80, when combined with Silent-Wave Motor lenses has a very fast focus which is nearly noiseless.

The Auto-focus system is one of the most intelligent I have ever used, yet you have extremely fine control over it. Very flexible.

Setting the built-in flash to Commander Mode permits you to control several off-camera CLS compatible speedlights *wirelessly* (SB-800, SB-600 and SB-200). You can also turn off the built-in flash so that it will not fire during exposure (avoiding the harsh face-on light). It will still generate the monitor pre-flashes to fire the other speedlights. You can also use a shoe-mounted speedlight to be the commander as well. There are a couple of channels and groups so that you can avoid stepping on another photographer in competitive shooting situations.

I love the rear-curtain flash sync! I will not buy a body or flash that will not support it!

There are so many other options and capabilities with the flash, such as multiple flashes during a single exposure, that really give you tremendous creative control.

Digital and D80 Cons


Not too many cons, but they can be show-stoppers for some.

Film has a much higher resolution, so if you want to make poster-sized prints, you will still need that film body.

Limited ISO range. The slowest ISO for the D80 is 100, common in other DSLRs too. I often shoot ISO 25, 50 or 64 for the express purpose of getting very slow shutter speeds to blend motion, such as running water. Even with these, I would often use neutral density filters to get exposures of several seconds. Now I need to use more ND filters to stop down.

The battery does not last as long as a 35mm battery, more than 1,000 shot w/o flash, but it recharges quickly and you can always carry a spare. If you are used to camera batteries lasting for weeks or months, you will not get that here, but then.

While the D80 has a very solid feel, it have a feeling that it is somehow more prone to shock and vibration damage than 35mm counterparts. Note! This is speculation on my part!

Other Points


Remember that there is approximately a 1.5x effective focal length ratio when compared to a digital camera. So that 18-135mm DX lens actually equates to a 27-202mm lens on a 35mm. a 24-120 lens would be 36-180. If you like wide angle, you may need to pick up another lens. If you like telephoto, you are in luck.

Recommended Accessories


I recommend the SanDisk Extreme III SanDisk 2 GB Extreme III SD Memory Card ( SDSDX3-2048-901 ) line of SD cards, the bigger the better. These are very fast and can *exceed* the Nikon product claim of 100 continuous shots, at 3 per second, when not using RAW mode, even when image size is Large! It also comes with special "undelete" software to recover deleted images. I am happy with the Ultra II line but they cannot quite keep up with lots of continuous shooting and they do not have the undelete utility.

The optional MB-D80 Nikon MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera battery pack uses two batteries (discharging them one at a time!) to power the camera. You can also use AA batteries in it to drive your camera in a pinch. While it adds weight, it makes vertical shooting easier as it has a shutter release (which can be disabled) and command and sub-command dials. I recommend this accessory.

Do you travel? Consider the Adorama QP-104 Rapid Battery Charger. Adorama QP-104 Rapid Li-ion Battery Charger for Nikon EN-EL3 Battery, 110-220V, 12V Car Cord Adapter Included It has a car adapter so you can recharge your camera battery while you are on the road. The A/C adapter is compatible with both North American and European power standards (you still need the plug converters, however).

Consider the getting the D80 body separately and the Nikon 12-24mm f/4G ED IF Autofocus DX Nikkor Zoom Lens zoom and the 18-200 VR DX Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lenszoom instead of the 18-135mm kit. But only if you are a fan of zoom lenses. I have yet to use a zoom that came anywhere near the quality of a prime focus lens. Not to mention zooms are almost always a stop or two slower.

I really like to SB-800 Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight for Nikon D50, D70s, D80, and D200 Digital SLR Cameras speedlight. High guide number 38/125, auto-zoom 24-105mm and, of course, the amazing Nikon wireless CLS are great! Get a couple or three if you do any indoor work! Do not forget about sync cords Nikon SC 29 - Flash synchro cable - flash terminal if you want to use a pistol grip.

The ML-L3 wireless remote is useful only if you standing in front of the camera. If you need a remote release, get the MC-DC1 cables release. If you need to back away from the camera, consider the after-market Satechi MA-G (118 inch cable) MA-G (118 inch) Camera Remote Control for Nikon MA series D80 D70s remote release.

Consider the Domke Domke F-2 Original Bag (Sand)line of camera bags, as most models are large enough to hold the camera with the the MB-D80 battery back attached.

Do not forget filters for the lenses.

One Last Point


Why only 4 stars?

About 3 months after getting this camera, it inexplicably died, displaying "err" and underexposing each picture. With the dozens of pieces of Nikon gear I have purchased over the years, this was the very first failure I ever had. I contacted Nikon support, which was easy and fast (the never put me on hold). I sent the camera to the service center and got it back 10 days later. I was pleased with the the service and repair, but disappointed the the camera broke to begin with. Still, I am considering getting another D80 so I can have a second body.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm Lens
Nikon has muddied the waters about, and now offers no less than three digital SLR cameras that use the same basic imager -- the D200, D80, and D40x. Which should you buy?

This D80 is smack in the middle, and packaged with a useful lens that's also middle-of-the road in its applications. Appropriately, the D80 may be the best choice for those who have graduated from the point-and-shoot/snapshooting phase, but aren't ready for a more semi-pro camera.

D40x -- Uses the same 10.2MP sensor, but is smaller than the D80. It produces similar image quality, but has the limitation of providing autofocus only with AF-S and AF-I lenses (or other lenses from third-party vendors that have autofocus motors built-in.) If you own an existing complement of lenses that aren't compatible, you'll want to pass on this camera.

D200 -- Larger than the D80, it has more water-resistent sealing, and uses a four-channel readout from the sensor, so it's capable of 5 fps bursts in continuous shooting mode. The D200 is much more customizable, has shooting banks to store sets of settings, and will provide metering in both M and Aperture-priority modes with older, non-"cpu"-equipped manual focus lenses. This camera might be your choice if you're shooting a lot of sports, have older lenses, and want to be able to customize your settings. The D200 uses Compact Flash cards rather than the SD cards used by the D80 and D40x.

D80 -- This camera has many of the features of the D200 in a smaller package, but with a slower 3 fps burst rate. It's a camera you won't easily grow out of, is simple to use, and provides excellent image quality. It makes an excellent "first" D-SLR.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2007
Style Name: D80 Body Only
OK. One year passed since I've bought this camera so I can get into a review of my personal experience with it.
First of all, if you consider into buying this model, you should know that this is not a dSLR that you can use on auto settings and get fabulous results. Get a point and shoot for that or a D40/ D40x. D80 seems to be tuned to provide best results with manual modes or semi-auto modes (fixed-aperture or fixed-shutter). I spent almost 1,000 shots until I got used with the behaviour of D80 in different light conditions and with different camera settings. The learning curve may vary, but definitely won't be a steep one.

EXPOSURE: the matrix metering mode is thought to overexpose but, IMO, those that said that use this mode in the wrong situations: high-contrast, high-dynamic scenes which require careful analysis of the zones (with spot metering and/ or center-weighted) and exposure settings should be chosen accordingly. Matrix is fabulous for shooting scenes with the sun to your back, overcast or uniform lighting: exposure is perfect. For all other situation I would highly recommend spot metering.

FOCUS: focus is always dependent on the lens you use. If you invest in this DX body, get a good (pro) lens to suit your needs. The 17-55DX (Click here: Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens) from Nikon is a fast-focus, super-sharp lens that allows you to take shots using all capabilities of the D80 AF system. However, there are some cheaper lens I would recommend, one of them is the 50mm f/1.8 prime (Click here: Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras), super cheap bargain for the quality you get. The new 55-200VR (Click here: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Zoom Nikkor Lens + Hoya 52mm UV Haze Protector Glass Filter + CapKeeper Lens Cap Strap + 6-Piece Cleaning Kit - for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras including Nikon D40, D40x, D50, D70, D70s, D80, D100, D200 & D300) is also a bargain but don't expect to get similar sharpness as from the 17-55DX. Overall focus is very fast WITH a fast-focusing lens but will require some learning from you especially if you'll use single point focus so some recomposing technique should also be learned.

COLORS: You'll be ABSOLUTELY AMAZED by the colors this camera will provide you considering that you nailed the exposure and set correct camera settings. Skin tones are natural, vivid and well balanced, blues are deep, reds are explosive, greens are smoothly rendered. But please take tests on all three color modes (two sRGB modes, I and III and one Adobe RGB mode, II) and see which suites you best. If you intend RAW, go for Adobe RGB; for JPEGS use I or III sRGB modes. You should be aware, though, that deep reds tend to overexpose on I and, especially mode III, so either compensate exposure, either go for RAW and mode II. Overall, colors are marvelous and you'll get amazing results once you'll learn how to master the camera.

Please get yourself two rechargeable batts. One is not enough if you intend to shoot all day. Another option would be to buy the grip, the MB-D80 (Click here: Nikon MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D80 Digital SLR Camera), that allows you to stick 6 AA batteries or two EN-EL (Click here: Nikon EN-EL3e Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery for D200 Digital SLR Camera) rechargeable. With 2 nikon rechargeable batteries the autonomy is VASTLY improved.

HIGH ISO: From my experience, the limit of all-around ISO setting is 1250 for best-detailed photos. However, as you'll learn to better expose ISO 1600 is perfectly usable and ISO 3200 for Black and White or small-sized photos (4x6"). Please remember that higher you get with the ISO, more important is to nail the exposure in order to minimize the noise. In-camera high-ISO noise reduction does marvels IF you'll shoot JPEGs, but please don't use it if you go RAW: you'll loose details.

The camera body is made for middle-sized hands. For bigger hands, the D200 body is more suitable. Most important, for example, is the distance to the buttons than can be reached with the right thumb (the AE/AF-L and the multiple selector). But the controls operate smoothly and you can do a lot of customizing to fit your needs.

Overall, this is an excellent camera and don't get fooled by reviews that point to poor image quality. Almost all cases of poor image quality come from improper use and not enough testing of this camera capabilities. My first results were awful, but after a couple of weeks of continuous learning I started to get amazing results. I'm suggesting 5 topics you SHOULD learn/ cover before or simultaneous with using this camera:

1. Basic controls: aperture, shutter speed, ISO and how they interact;
2. Relationship between aperture and depth of field;
3. Ansel Adams zone theory; very educative
4. Color temperature and color temperature correction
5. RAW files processing

About #5 above, please get yourself good RAW processing software. I use, for my workflow, Nikon's Capture NX (Click here: Nikon Capture NX Software for Windows and Mac) and Adobe Photoshop (Click here: Adobe Photoshop CS2): I squeeze most of image from Capture NX, save it as TIFF and make final adjustments in Photoshop.

Good luck, D80 is worth each penny I spent on it.
And no, I'm not on Nikon's payroll. ;)

Update: October 29, 2007: 17-55DX on a D80

I have just purchased a Nikkor 17-55DX lens and there are some things I would like to share with this D80 review.
First of all, the lens is awesome ! It is extremely sharp even down to f2.8 but what amazes me it is its ability to deliver microcontrast which give images a very natural look. Details are better rendered than with any other regular lenses I own. However, there are some things you should be aware of when using this lens with the D80:
1. First of all, this is a VERY contrast lens. Whenever you'll shoot in harsh lighting conditions (as directly under mid-day sun), the images tend to loose details in the extremes (highlights and shadows); you'll manage to control that using lower tone settings in the image menu of the D80, maybe -1 or, better, -2. This is VERY important if you shoot jpeg, and advisable for NEFs.
2. For me it seems that the lens is balanced for neutral light, kind you'll get in a studio with controlled lighting. Under direct sun on my D80 it has a slight magenta cast in shadows, easily correctable with postprocessing (pp); overall, images you take with this lens and a D80 are very well controlled and don't require pp.
3. the lens IS heavy, my D80 + MBD80 (grip) + 17-55DX is quite a boulder so you probably take that into consideration when looking for the 17-55DX;

That's all for now
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2006
Style Name: D80 Body with 18-135mm Lens
I've been looking at Digital SLRs ever since Canon came out with its 10D. Since then, there have been so many by so many companies. I've always been a Canon user. I have had 2 EOS bodies-the Elan IIE and the 7E. And also the Canon IX, its APS camera which I still have (its small viewfinder was a major disappointment).

Anyhow the 30D came along, and its viewfinder was small too. The camera was still too large for me, and I just wasn't sold. Now the Nikon D80. It is narrower than the Canon 30D, and what is breathtaking is the panoramically big viewfinder. Such a delight to use. The 2.5" LCD seems to fit perfectly in the back: nothing bigger or smaller would be right.

The pictures are fabulous. I bought a 2 GB Sandisk Ultra II card, which I thought would be fast. It takes about a half second for the picture to come on the LCD, but I'm not complaining. 2 GB is a big card. It can hold 500 photos using the Normal JPEG, large image. I'm sure the 1 GB would be faster. On the Canons, the onboard flashes never would use the advanced metering that the external flashes provided, but with the Nikon D80, I see such perfectly illuminated photos with the onboard flash.

The 18-135 lens is something I jumped for. 28-200 in 35 mm size is quite a huge range, and yet the lens is not massive. I thought hard about the Image stablization you could get with the Canon 18-85 IS lens, but naaah, the 30D just does not measure up so I dropped that idea. There are always such things called tripods!! The entire camera, lens and battery feel just right, and not too heavy. The lens is excellent. The kit fits nicely into a relatively small Lowepro bag.

This truly has been a camera worth waiting years for. 12 or 14 MP models are sure to come along in a couple of years, but I doubt that they can make the bodies any more compact; the file size is large enough as it is with 10 mega-pixel. The D80 is so perfect in shape I doubt Nikon can do much better. This is one fantastic digital SLR.

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