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Nikon Coolpix P80 Review Summary

10 Megapixels10 MegapixelsUltra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Ultra-Zoom: At least 10X optical zoom.Electronic View FinderElectronic View FinderStabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.VGA Video: 640 x 480 or more but less than 1280 x 720.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringAccepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) and SD memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

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.

Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review Read the full Nikon P80 full review here.

PROS CONS
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
ExcellentExcellent Average

Nikon P80 Facts


Large digital camera

Sensor-Size: 6 x 5mm

1/2.3" Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

10 Megapixels Ultra ZoomISO 64-2000
18X Wide Optical ZoomShutter 1/2000-8s
Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls
0.24" Built-in EVF 230K PixelsCustom white-balance
0.8 FPS Drive, 4 ImagesSpot-Metering
640x480 @ 30 FPS Video RecordingLithium-Ion Battery
2.7" LCD 230K PixelsSecure Digital High Capacity
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