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Nikon D80, 10 mp, previewed

Aug 9, 2006 at 06:05 GMT

Nikon has today put the end to the speculation and announced the new ten megapixel D80 digital SLR. This new camera is the natural successor to the D70/D70s with a refreshed design, user interface and a wide range of new features. Headline improvements are; 10.2 mp CCD, new image processing engine, 3D Color Matrix Metering II, 11-area AF system, configurable Auto ISO, configurable high ISO NR, a larger and brighter viewfinder, in-camera retouching (including D-Lighting), built-in wireless flash commander, SD card storage (with SD-HC support) and the D200's higher capacity battery. The D80 will go on sale in September with a body only price of $999 in the US, £699 in the UK or $1299 in the US, £949 in the UK as a kit with the new 18-135 mm DX lens. We have had a D80 for a few days to produce our detailed hands-on preview which is available now.

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D80
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)

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Press Release (Nikon UK):

Nikon announces the D80 Digital SLR camera

Nikon D80

Nikon UK is pleased to announce the introduction of the D80, a high performance digital SLR camera incorporating Nikon’s latest digital and photographic technologies.

This outstanding interchangeable-lens digital SLR boasts automated operation and advanced features, designed to satisfy photographers with the passion to create beautiful photographs. The D80 features a 10.2 effective megapixel DX Format CCD image sensor, providing a new level of high resolution and sharp detail. With this, however, also comes the freedom to crop creatively and print impressive enlargements. Nikon’s DX Format sensor and F bayonet lens mount design assures compatibility across the comprehensive range of AF and DX Nikkor lenses.

Featuring Nikon’s own high-resolution image processing engine and a new dedicated high-performance processing chip, the camera is a must have for photography enthusiasts. The processing chip has been introduced to significantly accelerate performance on all levels, while achieving lower power consumption and assuring more pictures per battery charge.

The new model inherits many advantageous qualities from Nikon's latest professional digital SLR cameras, including colour independent analog pre-conditioning and high-precision 12-bit digital image processing algorithms. These combine to produce natural-looking images built on faithful colour and tone reproduction.

Nikon's exclusive 3D Colour Matrix Metering II ensures accurate automatic exposure control, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. The system offers the added advantage of evaluating, rather than simply measuring the true content of each scene. Variable centre-weighted metering and spot metering are also available, as are exposure compensation and auto exposure bracketing.

Advanced Auto White Balance (AWB) produces natural colouration by measuring the entire frame of each scene and matching white balance to the light source. For those who wish greater personal control, there is a choice of six specific manual settings: Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, and Shade.

The Refined 11-area AF System is based on Nikon's advanced Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor Module to ensure consistently fast and precise focus lock in various shooting conditions. This new 11-area AF system offers effective new focusing options that will instill greater confidence for capturing the desired shot.

With a start up time of just 0.18 seconds and a shutter minimal release lag time of approx. 80 milliseconds, the D80 delivers instant response. Continuous shooting at a rapid 3 frames per second, in bursts of up to 100 JPEG 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 controls are designed for maximum ease of use. A large, bright viewfinder with large 0.94x magnification ensures the clearest view possible and a built-in diopter adjustment control knob allows the photographer to alter the view to suit eyesight. An integrated grid display can also be activated 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. Images can be previewed easily thanks to a new dedicated zoom button which helps assess sharpness up to 25 times magnification. A new RGB histogram display also assists when evaluating exposures with greater precision. The D80 boasts built-in Standard or Advanced Pictmotion slideshow options, including style selections that control transitions and background music.

A new user-friendly menu interface makes for easier operation and menus can be customized using the "My Menu" setting. Exclusive in-camera image editing features, such as D-Lighting and Red-eye correction, in the new Retouch menu ensure consistently satisfying results and greater creative freedom without the use of a computer. A new Multiple Exposure option creates a single image from up to 3 consecutive exposures to offer a similar effect of that produced with film.

The powerful built-in flash employs Nikon's highly robust i-TTL flash control for greater precision in flash exposure evaluation. Full support for the Advanced Wireless Lighting System allows the built-in flash function to operate as a two-group remote commander providing direct control over wireless SB-800 or SB-600 Speedlights.

Convenient and practical Total Imaging System add-ons include the new MB-D80 Multi-Power Battery Pack, offering extended shooting potential. The Wireless ML-L3 (IR) Remote Control and MC-DC1 Remote Cord options provide necessary camera stability when using long exposures for landscape and macro photography. The D80 comes complete with PictureProject software, enabling easy image importing, editing, organisation and sharing. Design templates make it easy to produce prints, tailor images to e-mail, or layout several images on a page.

Capture NX (available for purchase separately) is Nikon’s highly versatile, yet simple new photo editing solution. It is designed for those who desire more creative control over post-processing and helps achieve the full potential of NEF (RAW) images. Its innovative user interface provides easier access to powerful and visually intuitive enhancement tools.

The Nikon D80 beautifully combines the latest advances in digital technology to ensure every aspiring photographer will enjoy the Nikon digital SLR experience as much as the superb pictures produced with the D80.

RRP: Nikon D80 Body only     £699.99
Nikon D80 + 18-70mm         £899.99
Nikon D80 +18-135mm        £949.99
Sales release date: September 2006

Major features

Exceptional imaging quality

Optimized and Predictable Results

Immediate response and fast performance

* Average frame rate with continuous-servo AF, manual or shutter-priority auto exposure, a shutter speed of 1/250 seconds or faster, and remaining buffer memory.

In-camera image editing and effects

Ergonomics for efficient handling and further versatility

* Achieved under the following test conditions: Fully charged EN-EL3e battery; temperature of 20°C/68°F; Zoom-Nikkor AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED lens; continuous shooting mode: continuous-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG BASIC; image size set to Medium; shutter speed 1/250 second; shutter release pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times with each shot; monitor turned on for five seconds after six shots and then turned off; cycle repeated once exposure meters turned off.

Seamless integration with Nikon’s Total Imaging System

* Compatible AA-size batteries comprise alkaline, Ni-MH, lithium and nickel-manganese batteries.

Nikon D80

Click here for our detailed hands-on preview of the Nikon D80
(full specifications and detailed camera preview)