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Viewfinder

The D80's viewfinder is an immediately noticeable improvement over the D70/D70s. According to Nikon it's based on the unit in the D200 and the specs (0.94x magnification, 95% frame coverage) support that. It's bright, with no noticeable distortion and considering the DX (1.5x) crop still manages to fill your view. On the right side is a dioptre adjustment dial. The viewfinder also features the larger DK-21 eyepiece cup.

The image below represents an example viewfinder view (apart from the status bar which has all information displayed for descriptive purposes). Here you can see we are using the normal zone 11 area focus mode with the center area taking the AF lock (as indicated by the brackets). Also shown are the grid lines and three status overlay items; B/W mode, battery low and no SD card inserted.

1 Focus indicator 8 Exposure compensation indicator
2 Flash value (FV) Lock 9 Exposures remaining / buffer / exp. value
3 Auto exposure lock 10 Flash-ready indicator
4 Shutter speed 11 Auto ISO sensitivity indicator
5 Aperture (f-number) 12 Battery indicator
6 Electronic analog exp. / compen. 13 Bracketing indicator
7 Flash compensation indicator 14 "K" indicates thousands remaining

Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D80 user manual.

Battery and Charger

The D80 uses the updated EN-EL3e battery used on the D200. This new battery has a specified capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4 V (11.1 Wh). Just like the D200 the D80 is not compatible with older EN-EL3 or EN-EL3a batteries. The EN-EL3e battery is charged on the supplied MH-18a quick charger. The battery simply slides onto the charger and an indicator light will blink until the battery is fully charged.

Battery information available on the camera:

  • Top control panel has a five segment battery life indicator
  • Camera Menu: Set Up -> Battery Info provides:
    • Battery meter (as a percentage)
    • Picture meter (number of shots taken since last charge)
    • Charging Life (a scale indicating if the battery has come to the end of its useful life)

Battery Compartment

No surprises, the battery compartment is located in the base of the hand grip. The compartment door is opened by pulling on a small lever, inside the battery holds itself part of the way in without dropping and without the use of a catch.

Battery pack / Vertical grip (optional)

With the introduction of the D80 we also see the introduction of a new battery pack / vertical grip. The MB-D80 fits into the camera via its battery compartment (the door can be unclipped and removed) and screwed in place via the tripod mount. The MB-D80 has an additional main and sub command dial as well as alternative buttons for shutter release and AF start. The battery compartment can support two EN-EL3e batteries or six AA's (via the provided cartridge).

 

Secure Digital Compartment

Leaving Compact Flash for the professional cameras Nikon has clearly adopted Secure Digital (SD) for its enthusiast and entry level digital SLR's. The card compartment door is located on the rear right edge of the hand grip and opens cleanly revealing a standard SD slot (push to insert, push to remove). The camera does not power down if you open the SD compartment. As well as standard SD (up to 2 GB), the D80 also supports the new SD-HC standard which provides for capacities of 4 GB and greater.

Connections

All of the connectors are located on the left side of the body (from the rear) protected by rubber covers. At the top we have USB 2.0 (now Hi-Speed), DC-IN connector and A/V out. At the bottom behind a separate cover is the MC-DC1 remote cord connector.

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