The D80 features a new 10.2 effective megapixel DX Format CCD image sensor, bringing a new level of high resolution and sharp detail to the class while also providing plenty of freedom to crop creatively and print impressive enlargements. Nikon's DX Format sensor and Nikon F bayonet lens mount design assure unprecedented compatibility across the comprehensive assortment of AF Nikkor lenses and DX Nikkor lenses designed exclusively for Nikon digital SLR cameras.
One of the key advances developed for the D80 is Nikon's own high-resolution image processing engine. Advantages inherited from Nikon's latest professional digital SLR cameras include color independent analog pre-conditioning and high-precision 12-bit digital image processing algorithms, which combine to produce natural-looking images that benefit from faithful color and tone reproduction. A new dedicated high-performance processing chip greatly accelerates performance on all levels, while also achieving lower power consumption, assuring more pictures per battery charge.
Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II ensures accurate automatic exposure control for ideal exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Evaluating, rather than merely measuring or averaging the true content of each scene, input from the system's frame-wide 420-pixel sensor is automatically referenced against an onboard database of over 30,000 scenes from actual photography to calculate final exposure value. Variable center-weighted metering and spot metering centered on the active focus area are also available, as are exposure compensation and auto exposure bracketing. Sophisticated exposure automation combined with options for complete user control help to make the D80 an ideal high-performance digital SLR for passionate photography enthusiasts.
Advanced Auto White Balance (AWB) produces natural coloration by measuring the entire frame of each scene and matching white balance to the light source. For those who wish greater personal control, the flexible options include a choice of six specific manual settings, (Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, and Shade), as well as a preset option for using a gray or white object as a reference.
Ensuring consistently fast and precise focus lock under varying shooting conditions is the D80's refined 11-area AF system. Adopting a refined version of Nikon's advanced Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor Module, this new 11-area AF system adds effective new focusing options that will instill greater confidence in getting the desired shot. For example, while the system is able to use each of its 11 focus areas individually, the center sensor can also be switched to wide-frame operation for broader coverage. New Auto-area AF mode measures all 11 focus areas, automatically determines which of them are on the primary subject, and activates only those areas.
Ready to shoot whenever that priceless expression or special moment presents itself, the D80 takes only 0.18 seconds to power up. And, the shutter's minimal release lag time of approx. 80 milliseconds delivers instant response while shooting, as does the fast and precise focus of the refined 11-area AF system with AF-assist illuminator. Images are processed instantly and recorded quickly to the inserted SD memory card. Preview images are also displayed near instantly.
Continuous shooting at a rapid 3 frames per second in bursts of up to 100 JPEG (FINE M-size or smaller) images makes action photography a reality.
Packing high performance and high resolution into a slimmer, more compact body, the D80 also remains true to Nikon's commitment to intuitive operation. The size, layout and operation of all buttons and controls are designed for maximum ease of use.
The D80 features a large and bright viewfinder with large 0.94x magnification to ensure the clearest view possible for precise composition. Included is a built-in diopter adjustment control knob also makes it easier to fine-tune the view to match eyesight. The viewfinder's integrated grid display can also be turned on to assist composition.
A large new 2.5-inch 230,000-dot high-resolution LCD provides an ultra-wide 170-degree viewing angle from all directions. A new dedicated Zoom button makes it easy to preview images and assess sharpness at up to 25 times magnification. A new RGB histogram display aids in evaluating exposures with greater precision. Other playback options include single frame, 4 or 9-image thumbnail display, an improved histogram display and highlight point display.
The D80 also adds built-in Standard or Advanced Pictmotion slideshow options, which includes style selections that control transitions and background music. Shows can be enjoyed on the 2.5-inch LCD, or complete with audio on a television when connected via the supplied AV cable.
A new menu interface featuring refinements to the carefully chosen color scheme and increased font size makes navigation easier on the eye, easier to understand and easier to use. Menus can be customized to display only selected items using the new "My Menu" set.
Exclusive in-camera image editing features under the new Retouch menu help ensure consistently satisfying results and greater creative freedom without the use of a computer.
D-Lighting automatically brings out detail to enhance results and add creative flair, all while optimizing overall exposure balance. Red-eye correction automatically detects and compensates for the annoying red-eye effect sometimes caused by flash. Trim can be used to produce smaller files for easy sharing or greater efficiency. Image Overlay merges a pair of selected RAW (NEF) files taken with the D80 to create a new composite image. Other options include Monochrome settings (Black-and-white, Sepia, Cyanotype) and Filter Effects (Skylight, Warm filter, Color balance).