"D80 is good but it stays on the shelf in favor of the D40....read on to find out why..."2.5 starson by yesmate
Pros: Picture quality, lens options, less sensitive to light than D40
Cons: Over exposes, D40 is just as good and much less $$$$
Summary: I have been involved is DSLR photography for many years and shoot part time. Here is my take on why you shouldn't buy a D80:
I would assume that most people who are looking at the D80 are probably entry level shooters. I own a D80, but I recently used the bought the excellent D40 and would completely recommend the D40 over the D80.
Why would I recommend Nikons entry level DSLR over the D80?; a camera that would appear more advanced? Read on....
Firstly, the D40 uses exactly the same sensor as the D80. Same technology for almost half the price.
The D40 is much more sensitive to light because it defaults to ISO 200 unlike the D80 & D40x which default to ISO 100. This makes for sharper images. Even the overpriced D40x can't compete with the D40 because of it's sensitivity to light (the most important part of photography).
The D40 flash sync speed (ask any pro photographer how important this is) is 1/500 second whereas the D80 is 1/250 second (may not sound like much, but it makes huge difference when shooting with a flash)
Worried about 6 Megapixels versus higher? Don't be sold on the camera manufacturers claims that bigger is better when it comes to MP's. Large Megapixel sizes don't mean a thing. Megapixel size is targeted towards the average uninformed consumer and is a way for corporations to get people to upgrade to newer cameras. Unless you are shooting large poster size prints you don't need anything bigger than 6MP's. At 6 MP's you can makes great prints up to 12 x 18 inches. Personally I have never printed anything bigger than that.
The flash on the D40 is the same as the D80. If you want to create great indoor photo's, I recommend buying the SB400 speedlight for the bounce feature. Bounce flash is the holy grail of indoor flash photography because direct flash ruins photo's and washes out the colors.
The lens on the D40 (18 - 55mm) is a jewell of a lens. It is one of the best Nikon lenses I have used (I have some expensive lenses). It also weighs next to nothing so along with the camera, it makes for a very comfortable carrying experience. My D40 + lense weighs the same as my D80 body with no lens! Other DSLR's I have owned become tiresome because they are so big and heavy. The D40 is really a joy to use; hard to explain but one in your hands and you will understand. It just feels so comfortable in your hands!
The LCD on the D40 is so sharp and clear (same LCD as D80), only the D300 is better.
Some of the more technical aspects the D40 offers are full RGB histogram (through the well hidden Color Balance option), full auto ISO (it really works, you can even shoot at 3200!), 3 point Auto Focus (3 is enough, don't buy into the hype of needing more), battery life is excellent (I have gotten over 1,000 shots off one charge).
Most importantly, you can get fantastic colors using the saturation feature in the menu options. Colors are vibrant using this along with the Color III mode.
Bottom line, the D40 will take as good if not better quality photo's than the D80. I don't even use my D80 anymore since the D40 takes great photo's and is so light to carry around.
I would purchase a D40 vs a D80 (next step up is really the pro D300) any day of the week. The extra money you save can be spent on the excellent SB400 Speedlight flash and the excellent Nikor 18-200mm VR II zoom lens!
At the end of the day, remember having a more expensive camera will not make any better shots than a cheap camera (google photo's people have taken on camera phones if you don't believe it).
You can pick up the D40's now for about $479, lens included with shipping. Just make sure you visit www.resellerratings.com and research the company you are purchasing from. There are a lot of scam sites out there. I buy most of my camera equipment from buydig.com and beachcamera.com (no I don't work for them).
Hope that helps.