Two and a half years ago Nikon announced the six megapixel D70, their first affordable enthusiasts digital SLR, it proved to be a very popular camera and strong competitor to the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel). Just fifteen months later Nikon revealed the D70s which was essentially the same camera with a some subtle tweaks (improved AF, wider flash coverage, higher capacity battery, larger LCD monitor). And so just over fifteen months on from the D70s Nikon present the latest incarnation of their 'enthusiasts' digital SLR line, the ten megapixel D80.
The D80 slots nicely between the entry-level D50 and the semi-professional / professional D200, clearly based on the D70 design but also different enough to be seen as a completely new model. It features a ten megapixel DX format CCD (the same we presume as used by Sony in the DSLR-A100), the metering sensor from the D50 and numerous other items taken or modified from the D200.
UPDATE 18/Dec/06: In our original review a mistake was made in the measurement of the ISO sensitivity of the Canon EOS 400D as used for comparison, this has now been corrected and the releveant pages of this review updated.
* 10.2 megapixel DX format CCD (1.5x FOV crop)
* Image processing engine (similar to D200 / D2X)
* 3D Color Matrix Metering II, 420 pixel sensor (same as D50)
* 11-area AF system (new version of Multi-CAM 1000, similar to D200)
* Custom Auto ISO (selectable maximum ISO, minimum shutter speed)
* Configurable high ISO and long exposure noise reduction
* Mechanical only shutter (maximum 1/4000 sec, flash sync to 1/200 sec)
* Quoted 80 ms shutter lag (short viewfinder blackout; 160 ms)
* Larger, brighter pentaprism viewfinder (x0.94 magnification)
* Support for SD-HC (SD cards over 2 GB in capacity)
* In-camera retouching
o D-Lighting (shadow / highlight enhancement)
o Red-eye reduction
o Filter effects
o Small picture
o Image overlay
* Compact body (smaller, lighter than D70/D70s)
* Improved menu user interface (same as D200)
* Higher capacity EN-EL3e battery (provides detailed information, same as D200)
* Wireless flash integration (same as D200)