Preliminary report on D80

Started Sep 7, 2006 | Discussions thread
OP Walter S Matthews Veteran Member • Posts: 3,311
Not so fast there young man...

Three weddings this weekend with me using the D80 often. Not exclusively as it ends up not as good as the S3 for shots in the sun, or with sunlight in the picture. As mentioned, when the light is low the camera will focus nicely, about as well as the D200 and the color at high iso, 1600, is excellent and although there is digital noise in the shadows it is not too much to live with. Overall I am pleased with the performance of the D80 in very low light conditions. Specifically conditions where the S3 and any other Nikon will struggle.

However, outside in the sun the horses change color too fast for the D80. It just doesn't handle the DR in the same league as the S3. My wife shot the S3 along side of me for the formals in two different weddings, outdoors, where I shot the D80. We were shooting identical ISO, identical shutter speed and we were both using the SB800 flash for fill. The bottom line is that in my shots with the D80 about 1/3 of the shots had the dress blown or at least so white that there was just not much detail left. This did not happen to my wife's shots. Yes, I know, you say she is a better photographer than I am,that may be true, but the fact remains, that she does what I suggest for exposure and I am trying to do the same thing with my D80 that she is doing with her S3 and it just won't hold the highlights. It is certainly bettert than the D2X but about the same as the D200 and clearly not adequate. Part of the problem is that I have learned to skate very close to the edge with the S3 because I can and with the D80 you just cannot get that close. Next time I will dial in at least a minus .7 ev which should cover the blown highlights but then again maybe not. I'll have to drag my dummy and white wedding dress out to the back yard to experiment some more.

Overall the D80 is a very nice camera, quick, responsive and with good color. However, it ain't no S3 and when you are in bright sunlight, you better reach for your S3.

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