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Nikon unleashes the D80

updated 08:40 am EDT, Wed August 9, 2006

Nikon Unleashes the D80

A clock on Nikon's international sites had been counting down over the past few weeks, promising a very special new camera. The company would only hint that the camera had a 10.2 megapixel sensor and that it was a digital SLR. Yet it was enough for many people to make educated guesses, many of which were proven right today: Nikon today finally unveiled the D80, a successor to the now-classic D70. Besides the dramatically increased sensor resolution (up from 6), the D80 also has better image processing, a 2.5" LCD, and on-camera image editing for issues like red-eye. Prices are about the same as they were when the D70 was new: the body alone sells for $999, while the kit version sells for $1299. The kit lens is a substantially improved 18-135mm model, replacing the old but venerated 18-70. Full press release and photo of the back after the jump.

- 10.2 Megapixel D80 Offers Outstanding Performance, Ease Of Use, Versatile
Personal Control and Exciting In-Camera Editing Tools
- All New 7.5x 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF-ED DX Nikkor Lens Included with
the D80 Outfit Creates a Compelling Option for Photo Enthusiasts

MELVILLE, N.Y., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on the extraordinary
success of the D70 and D70s, Nikon(R) ( today
introduced the new D80(TM) digital SLR camera -- an impressively featured,
high performance camera that incorporates Nikon's latest digital and
photographic technologies, and offers advanced features as well as
automated operation to satisfy any photographer with the passion to create
beautiful photographs and preserve special moments. With a new 10.2
effective megapixel DX Format CCD image sensor and an exclusive
high-resolution color processing engine inherited from Nikon's latest
professional digital SLR cameras, the D80 can render images with incredible
resolution, sharp detail and vibrant color that is unmatched in this class
of cameras. And it can shoot these images fast - at speeds of up to 3
frames per second, for up to 100 consecutive shots (in JPEG Normal mode),
ensuring that the camera's always ready for the next fleeting moment.

The D80 works with the efficiency and grace of a fine-tuned instrument,
powering up in only 0.18 seconds and capturing a picture with an
imperceptible shutter lag time of just 80 milliseconds (0.08 seconds). A
new 11-area auto- focus system detects focus with superb precision and can
even track a moving subject across the frame, shifting focus instantly and
automatically to any of the 11 auto-focus points that detect the subject.
The D80's large, bright 0.94x viewfinder affords a remarkable view not
found in many digital SLRs, making critical composition easier and more
pleasing. The camera's rechargeable battery can last up to 2700 shots on a
single charge, while also providing a real-time Fuel Gauge of the
percentage of charge remaining in the battery at all times. And like all
Nikon digital SLR cameras, the D80 feels solid and substantial while being
both compact and comfortable. But more experienced photo enthusiasts will
admire the D80 most for its bevy of creative controls and features that
make photography with the camera so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Its
new Optimize image menu, for instance, offers complete control over the
look and feel of your pictures, allowing you to boost saturation and create
pictures with vivid color, or shoot black-and- white pictures with a choice
of four filtration effects, or even create your own custom look that
expresses personal style and creativity. Other creative tools include an
all-new image Retouch menu for in-camera image editing, built-in i-TTL
flash control with the ability to control up to two remote groups of
Speedlights, as well as over 32 Custom settings to customize several
attributes of the camera's performance.

"The Nikon D70 and D70s cameras proved to be extraordinarily successful
due to the excellent value they offered to passionate photo enthusiasts
when each was introduced. They offered an ideal balance of features,
performance, innovation and price, making them appealing to a very broad
range of photographers. With the introduction of the D80, Nikon is
significantly raising the bar for a camera in this class," said Edward
Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc.
"By bringing high- end features and technologies inherited from our
professional line of cameras to the passionate photo enthusiast, while
making the camera simpler and more enjoyable to use, we believe the D80
will represent the 'sweet spot' for anyone looking for a new level of
digital SLR camera performance and value. Paired with the new 7.5x 18-135mm
f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF-ED DX Zoom-Nikkor lens, the D80's performance and
versatility becomes even more compelling for consumers," he added.

Unrivaled Image Quality

At the heart of any digital camera lies its image processing engine - a
sophisticated processor that determines, among other things, the overall
color rendering and image quality of pictures taken with the camera. One of
the key advances developed for the D80 is Nikon's own high-resolution image
processing engine that inherits best-of-breed technologies from Nikon's
latest professional digital SLR cameras, including color independent analog
pre- conditioning and high-precision 12-bit digital image processing
algorithms, which combine to produce natural-looking images that benefit
from faithful color and tone reproduction. A new dedicated high-performance
processing chip greatly accelerates performance on all levels, while also
achieving lower power consumption, assuring more pictures per battery

The D80 also benefits from Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering
II, to ensure accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting
conditions. Evaluating, rather than merely measuring or averaging the true
content of each scene, input from the system's frame-wide 420-pixel sensor
is automatically referenced against an onboard database of over 30,000
scenes from actual photography to calculate final exposure value. Variable
Center- Weighted metering and Spot metering centered on the active focus
area are also available, as are exposure compensation and auto exposure
bracketing. Sophisticated exposure automation combined with options for
complete user control help to make the D80 an ideal high-performance
digital SLR for passionate photography enthusiasts.

Speed to Burn

One of the hallmarks of Nikon's digital SLR cameras is how fast they
operate, not only when capturing images, but also when processing them. The
D80 proudly carries this tradition forward. Not only is the camera powered
up and ready to shoot in only 0.18 seconds, it also reacts at blazing
speeds when the shutter button is pressed. With a minimal shutter lag time
of just 80 milliseconds (0.08 seconds), and the ability to shoot 3 frames
per second up to 100 consecutive shots (in JPEG Normal mode), the camera is
ready to shoot whenever that priceless expression or special moment
presents itself. Images shot are processed instantly and recorded rapidly
to the inserted SD memory card. Preview images are also displayed near

The D80's new 11-area auto-focus system also fulfills its role in the
overall speed of the camera, delivering fast and precise focus under
varying shooting conditions. Adopting a refined version of Nikon's advanced
Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor Module, this new 11-area AF system with center
area wide-frame operation adds effective new focusing options that will
instill greater confidence in getting the desired shot. An all-new
Auto-Area AF mode measures all eleven focus areas and automatically
determines which of them are on the primary subject.

Creativity Comes Standard

The Nikon D80 is designed to inspire creativity at every level. For
this reason, the camera includes a wide assortment of features and tools to
empower all kinds of users, ranging from the novice to the seasoned pro, to
pursue their creative vision, instantly and right from within the camera.

D80 photographers will enjoy the camera's built-in Multiple Exposure
mode for unique composite image effects, or the Optimize menu options that
closely tailor results to the scene at hand or the intended use of an image
or to a custom preference of the photographer. Optimization of sharpening,
tone (contrast), color, saturation and hue is controlled by the
user-selected choice of Normal, Softer, Vivid, More Vivid, Portrait, Custom
and Black-and- White. The black-and-white mode can be customized using red,
green, yellow and orange filter effects as well as image sharpening and
tone compensation.

The D80 also features an all-new image Retouch menu, with exclusive in-
camera editing functions that will certainly keep D80 users engaged when
they're not busy shooting. Options within the Retouch menu include:

* D-Lighting: Automatically balances underexposed portions of an image to
enhance detail in these areas, without affecting the highlights of the

* In-camera Red-eye Correction: Automatically removes the annoying red-eye
effect sometimes caused by flash.

* Trim: Images can be trimmed within the camera to produce smaller files
with reduced display sizes for easy sharing or greater efficiency for
specific end purposes.

* Image Overlay: Merges a pair of selected RAW files taken with the D80 to
create a composite image within the camera as a RAW or JPEG file. This
feature is especially useful when trying to create a soft-focus effect
with two similar images.

* Monochrome settings: Monochrome settings can be applied to any color
image in the camera, to convert it to a pleasing monochromatic picture,
either in black-and-white, sepia or cyanotype.

* Filter Effects: Can be used to emulate and apply the effects of a
Skylight filter or a Warming filter to any image stored on the inserted
SD card. A Customized Color menu within filter effects can also be used
to make subtle shifts in color to any image in the camera.

For anyone just beginning to enjoy the added performance and
versatility of digital SLR photography, creative shooting is as simple as
rotating the Digital Vari-Program mode dial on the camera. The D80 has
seven preconfigured program modes to optimize the camera for specific
shooting conditions and greatly increase the chances of taking a great
photograph. In "Portrait" Mode, for example, the camera automatically
optimizes the color, hue, and saturation levels to capture the most
flattering skin tones, softens the focus of the background images to
emphasize the face and applies a milder form of in-camera sharpening. Users
can choose from Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close- Up, Sports, Night
Landscape or Night Portrait.

The D80 also offers creative ways to share pictures, with its built-in
Pictmotion slideshow feature, which includes style selections that control
transitions and background music. Shows can be enjoyed on the 2.5-inch LCD,
or complete with audio on a television when connected via the supplied AV

Creature Comfort

The D80 features refined ergonomics and design, borne from Nikon's
extensive experience designing successful SLR cameras for over 50 years. As
a result, the camera is incredibly comfortable to use and handle, and
incorporates several new features that enhance its usability. The D80
features a large and bright viewfinder with large 0.94x magnification to
ensure the clearest view possible for precise composition. Included is a
built-in diopter adjustment control knob that also makes it easier to fine-
tune the view to match eyesight. The viewfinder's integrated grid display
can also be turned on to assist with composition.

A large new 2.5-inch 230,000-dot high-resolution LCD provides an ultra-
wide 170-degree viewing angle from all directions. Navigating the spacious
preview of your images is easy with a new dedicated Zoom button, magnifying
images on screen up to 25 times their original size. A new RGB histogram
display aids in evaluating exposures with greater precision. Other playback
options include single frame, 4 or 9-image thumbnail display, an improved
histogram display and highlight point display. A new menu interface
featuring refinements to the carefully chosen color scheme and increased
font size makes navigation easier on the eye, easier to understand and
easier to use. Menus can be customized to display only selected items using
the new "My Menu" set.

The D80 is slimmer and more compact than its predecessors, and remains
true to Nikon's commitment to intuitive operation. The size, layout and
operation of all buttons and controls are designed for maximum ease of use.

System Strength

With the D80, users also have complete and seamless compatibility with
Nikon's extensive Total Digital Imaging System, and the camera is designed
to take advantage of many of the technologies built into Nikon accessories.
The D80's powerful built-in Speedlight is compatible with Nikon's Creative
Lighting System, and can wirelessly control up to two groups of Speedlights
in full TTL mode, taking the guesswork out of multiple flash photography.
Compatible Speedlights within the Creative Lighting System include the
SB-800, SB-600 and Nikon's Wireless Close-up Speedlight Systems, featuring
the SB- R200.

The D80 also offers unprecedented compatibility with Nikon's extensive
selection of AF Nikkor lenses as well as new DX Nikkor lenses, which are
designed exclusively for use with Nikon DX format digital SLR cameras.
Nikkor lenses, famous for optical superiority, add to the D80's ability to
deliver outstanding images.

The D80 will also have an optional MB-D80 battery pack available,
extending the shooting capability in an ergonomic design that adds shooting
stability. Able to run on either one or two EN-EL3e rechargeable batteries
or six AA-size batteries, the pack also features an additional command dial
and alternative buttons for shutter release and AE-Lock/AF-Lock that make
vertical shooting more comfortable.

The D80 is also fully compatible with Capture NX software (available
for purchase separately), Nikon's highly versatile and elegantly simple new
photo editing solution designed to help photographers tap the full
potential of NEF (RAW) images. Featuring an innovative user interface that
provides easier access to powerful and visually intuitive enhancement
tools, Capture NX's powerful photo image processing and editing tools can
also be applied to JPEG and TIFF files to satisfy a broader range of
photofinishing needs and applications.

The D80 will be available beginning September 2006 for an estimated
selling price of $999.95** for body only and $1299.95** for body and lens
outfit, including the new 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S IF-ED DX Nikkor Lens.
For more information, please visit

About Nikon

Nikon, At the Heart of the Image(TM). Nikon Inc. is the world leader in
digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is
globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and
performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic
equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes the Nikon Total Imaging System of
consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, Nikkor optics, Speedlights
and System Accessories; Nikon COOLPIX(R) compact digital cameras;
COOLSCAN(R) digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software
products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. At the heart of every
Nikon camera is Nikon's Exclusive Feature System, making it easy for anyone
to take amazing digital pictures. Through the Nikon Spirit Initiative(TM),
the company, plays an active role in supporting aspiring and advanced
photographers through a variety of philanthropic organizations, educational
programs, events and workshops. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US
or visit, which links all levels of photographers to the
web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.

** Estimated selling prices listed are only an estimate. Actual prices
are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

by MacNN Staff




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