New Toy: Nikon D80

After a year+ of steady hinting, nudging (and I’ll admit it, flat out whining) I finally convinced my wife that it was a good idea for me to get a Digital SLR Camera – my 5 year old Sony Cybershot was starting to get a little long in the tooth.

I’ve been superficially watching the cameras (mostly just window shopping pictures etc.) but the decision had basically come down to the Canon 30D and the Nikon D80. After talking with a couple of camera stores, reading a bunch of reviews and even soliciting feedback via Facebook status messages I finally ended up on the Nikon D80.

Photo: Pedro Prats

In the end the decision came down to simple preference and previous experience. While a good chunk of the TorCampers seem to use Canon as their camera of choice, my father-in-law has had a D70 for a year or so now and I’ve done a fair amount of shooting with it up at our cottage. Price, feature and feel wise there wasn’t a clear winner for me – so I went with familiarity. Nikon also has that killer 18-200 lens that no one else does – the sales guy even said “This lens alone has sold more of these D80s than anything else”.

At ~$1000 for the 18-200, I’ll have to settle for the kit 18-135mm for now but the big one is on the list for next year ;)

Early Thoughts
Three days in and I’m loving it so far. The things that do annoy me a bit are stuff I already expected from the D70 and they’re all correctable/adjustable – it’s just a matter of finding the setting and getting it right. One is overexposure – the camera seems to err on the side of over exposure, but it’s correctable by adjusting a setting to underexpose everything.

The most annoying so far though is it’s flash happy as all get out – it seems so far it will pop up the flash even if there’s a bit of shade. Hopefully there’s a setting that allows you to adjust the sensitivity – in the meantime I’ve set the function button to override the flash. The button is placed perfectly so it lies right under the middle finger when you grip the camera, so you can push it down without having and awkward grip to activate the shutter.

It’s a lot like getting back on the bike for the first time in the spring, there’s that familiar feeling but you need to get that rhythm back.I’ve been essentially a point & shooter for 5+ years so getting f-stops & shutter speeds back in the mix (and remembering just how they work) is slowly coming back. Overall though it’s a lot of fun.

You can see the pictures I’m taking with the new camera on Flickr here. Also, stop by my photoblog as I’ll be posting new images daily (weekdays).