"Terrific feature set; all-around winner"4.5 starson by chadley25
Pros: 10.2MP CCD, gorgeous LCD, incorporates a lot of D200 features for $700 less
Cons: Honestly haven't found any yet
Summary: 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.
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.
This camera is blindingly 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 JPEGs 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, 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.
The autofocusing on the camera is staggeringly fast when coupled with the right lens. 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. 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 so 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 suberb, as one would expect from a 10.2 MP dSLR. I like sharp, vivid pictures, and the D80 delivers. 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 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.Updated
I've had the D80 for three months now and have used it for wildlife, nature, portrait, architectural, and travel photography, and can only reinforce what I wrote earlier: This camera is very, very good. I have discovered new features and flexibility with each month, and the prints I've gotten from this camera are really just stunning. I use Costco for printing -- they have a wet-based photo printing system and use Fuji premium archival paper -- and the results are truly impressive. The largest prints I've had made are 12x18" and they are literally indistinguishable from prints I've had made from 35mm slides (I used to shoot exclusively on Fujichrome Velvia for my scenic shots). I've literally traveled to the other side of the world with the D80 and it performs admirably in almost every circumstance. One minor problem is that occasionally the meter has a hard time with scenes containing a lot of contrast, but that's not atypical of most any camera. I noted some slight chromatic aberration (purple fringing) in the "demarcation line" between foreground and background when the background was super-bright or overexposed. Still, though, I'm very pleased with the D80 and would highly recommend it.