Nikon Coolpix P80 Summary
Nikon Coolpix P80 Assessment
As the smallest digital camera with 18X optical zoom, the Nikon Coolpix P80 faces several other models having a similar range. However, by being the smallest, the P80 states its uniqueness clearly, although one always expects compromises to acheive such relatively compact dimensions. Nevertheless, the P80 presents itself as a full-features ultra-zoom with full-manual controls which include manual focus, custom white-balance and an ISO range from 64 to 2000 at full-resolution.
OK, so the P80 is the smallest with such a long zoom. It unfortunately shows poor image quality among a less than stellar performance. Noise levels are high and add color distortion while eating away details as early as ISO 400. Actually, even ISO 200 shows more image noise than expected. The displays on the P80 are problematic. The EVF is too dark and turns out to be nearly useless in most cases. The LCD shows the wrong exposure too. To top it off, neither display shows the correct coverage, something which most fixed-lens cameras do well.
In the end, it is the competition that matters. Among ultra-zooms, the P80 is trumped by several models showing better and more consistent image quality. Those include the Fuji Finepix S8000fd and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18. However, if size is no object, then the Fuji Finepix S100FS with its 14.3X mechanically-linked optical zoom is vastly superior.
|Better than average auto white-balance||Destructive noise starts at ISO 400 and up|
|Nicely saturated image colors at low ISO||Poor color acuracy at ISO 400, gets worse|
|Relatively good image sharpness||While balance takes time to settle|
|Generally responsive||Limited dynamic range|
|Low distortion away from wide-angle||High barrel distortion at wide-angle|
|Good LCD visibility in bright light||Only 97% frame coverage|
|Good AF in good light||Incorrect image preview|
|Excellent macro focus||Slow AF in low-light|
|Sharp but small EVF||EVF way too dark|
|Good ergonomics||Pathetic continuous drive|
|Multiple Auto-ISO modes||Slow startup|
|Relatively good build||Too few zoom steps|
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Nikon P80 Highlights
Sensor-Size: 6 x 5mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|10 Megapixels Ultra Zoom||ISO 64-2000|
|18X Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/2000-8s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls|
|0.24" Built-in EVF 230K Pixels||Custom white-balance|
|0.8 FPS Drive, 4 Images||Spot-Metering|
|640x480 @ 30 FPS Video Recording||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|2.7" LCD 230K Pixels||Secure Digital High Capacity|
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