Nikon Coolpix P80 review: Nikon Coolpix P80

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.1
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Image quality: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Optically stabilized, wide-angle, long zoom lens; comfortable shooting design; voice annotation; time-lapse mode.

The Bad Poor noise handling above ISO 200; no raw support; relatively slow performance.

The Bottom Line One of the better 18x megazooms, nevertheless you should consider the Nikon Coolpix P80's sluggish performance before you commit to it.

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For megazoom shooters, the Nikon Coolpix P80's 18x zoom, 27-486mm-equivalent f/2.8-4.5 lens likely sits at the top of the list of the P80's attractions. The range provides a good combination of wide-angle and telephoto views at relatively wide maximum aperture values. Nikon supports the lens with an agreeable and functional design. Weighing almost 14 ounces, the P80 is no feather, but that is common for this class. It's relatively compact, with a comfortable rubberized grip and thumb rest.

A mode dial makes it easy to get to select shooting modes--manual, aperture- and shutter-priority, Program, and scene exposure, as well as movie capture.

My one pet peeve, which I've mentioned with regard to other cameras, is having to access the setup menu from the dial. I always find myself hitting the menu button to make it go away, ineffectively, of course. If you only had to go into the menu once during the initial setup, it wouldn't be so annoying. However, that's where Format resides, and you have to format regularly.

The navigation switch is large, with a clear, tactile delineation between the inner OK button and the outer navigation controls. The body, though made of textured black plastic, doesn't feel particularly cheap or fragile.

Like its competitors, you summon most of the frequently used shooting controls via a dedicated button, including exposure compensation, focus modes (macro, infinity, and manual), self-timer, and flash (including red-eye reduction, fill, slow sync, and rear curtain sync). You can also navigate via the back dial, which also controls your shutter, aperture, and exposure-compensation adjustments in the various shooting modes. The display and LCD/EVF toggle buttons feel oddly small given the size of the camera, though.

Other controls you access from the shooting menu. Most notable are an array of ISO sensitivity options. In addition to complete Auto and manual 64 through 6,400 (ISO 3,200 and ISO 6,400 are reduced resolution modes); it offers High ISO sensitivity Auto (64-1600) and Fixed-range auto, which lets you choose one of three ranges: ISO 64-100, 64-200 or 64-400. Given how aggressive the blurring gets at ISO 400, I suggest you stick with the 64-200 modes if you're going to use the automatic mode.

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Where to Buy

Nikon Coolpix P80

Part Number: 26114 Released: Apr 14, 2008

MSRP: $349.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Apr 14, 2008
  • Digital camera type Full body
  • Optical Zoom 18 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (image sensor shift mechanism)
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.33"