D80 and D90

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by frank_philcox|1, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. I looked at a bunch od DSLRs last night. Pentax, Sony, Canon and Nikon. The nicest camera I held was the Nikon D90. It felt like a camera not a toy. I have not handled a D80, although I suspect the build quality is similar to the D90. I am looking for a camera that feels and handles like a real camera (heavy and well built), that is reliable and takes great pictures. I am not interested in gadgetry - just a solid well-built camera that takes great pictures. I don't get excited about megapixels either. I intend to get a simple 50 1.4 lens and call it a day. I don't care about brighter screens, movie making, etc. I just want a good camera. In this regard do I need to look at the D90 or will the D80 do the trick. If I can save a few bucks that would be great. I have seen some used D80s at KEH for a few hundred dollars less than the D90.
     
  2. The D90 has better image quality than the D80; it's a generation newer.
     
  3. The D80 is really a pretty decent camera and handles well. I've been using one for almost four years and don't feel any pressing need for an upgrade although when I do, money permitting, it will be to something like a D300. However, I think if I were considering buying my first DSLR I'd seriously consider the D90 over the D80 mainly due to better low light performance.
     
  4. I have a D70 and still have no real reason to replace it.
    Your only technical point was a 50/1.4, if that is the case you may be interested in looking at a full size sensor.
    Remember also the the camera body is the cheapest part of a camera system, it is the lenses that cost the money. So before you commit to a line, make sure that the lens optics in your camera line will do what you want.
    I also prefer a heavier body, as it seems more stable to 'me', but my wife like a lighter body.
     
  5. The D90 and D80 handle in very similar ways, although I found the D80 data displays in the viewfinder difficult to see in bright light. The D90 produces significantly better image quality, particularly in low light, which makes it a far better choice. However, for a heavy and better-built version, get a D300 or D300s.
     
  6. And as a side note: remember that a 50mm lens is, on an APS-C format camera like the D80/90, going to be a short telephoto. That means having to back off quite a bit for certain "normal" types of shots. You might look - before that 50/1.4 - at Nikon's 35/1.8, or Sigma's 30/1.4, if you're really set on a single prime. If you're used to 50mm on a traditional 35mm SLR, then 30mm or 35mm is going to feel a lot more right, when it comes to perspective/composition.
     
  7. pge

    pge

    Frank, it sounds like the camera for you is a d200. You will be very impressed with the build quality over the d80-90 line. Some will reply to my suggestion that it is a 4 year old camera so it is now basically worthless, which is of course as silly as it sounds. You can get one on the used market for $500-600 and it will more than meet your expectations.
     
  8. Why would somebody who already thinks a D90 feels good want a D200 instead? While not worthless, it's not very worthwhile unless the OP happens to have a bunch of AI lenses sitting around, and it's not much cheaper used than a D90.
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For whatever reason, people equate weight to quality, which is not necessarily true.
    A few years ago, a friend told me a story from Canada. The company he worked for over there produced traditional telephones. Those were made from plastic and were light. Customers complained that they were cheap and flimsy. So the company added some lead into the phones to increase the weight, and all of a sudden customers felt those same phones were well made.
    My suggestion is not to let perception drive you purchase. Today, the likes of Canon, Nikon, etc. use a lot of carbon fiber on the barrel of the 600mm/f4, 500mm/f4 lenses to reduce weight on those very heavy lenses. We use carbon fiber tripods, which are far more expensive than their aluminum counterparts because they are much easier to carry. The places you don't want to see plastic are the moving parts such as the lens mount.
    If you are buying a sub-$1000 camera, the difference among Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony is not that big. Olympus is a bit different since they use a smaller 4/3 sensor that has some inherent disadvantages. Hold the cameras in your hands and look thru their viewfinders; only you can tell which one you feel most comfortable with. Personally I would stick with either Canon or Nikon because they have the most complete systems and the largest market shares. That means it is much easier to trade used Canon EOS and Nikon items, and some third-party lenses are only available for Canon and Nikon, and sometimes Sony. Also check this recent thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00XEmj; unfortunately, the OP over there chose not to take our advice.
    Finally, the D90 was built from the D80 body. That is why the D90 continues to use the D80's vertical grip the MB-D80, and you should find the two cameras very similar in build. The D90 has newer technology such as a 12MP CMOS sensor that gives you better high-ISO results and a larger LCD on the back. To me, the larger LCD makes a big difference. The D90 also have video capture while the D90 doesn't, but I consider that feature on the D90 primitive.
    The D80 was introduced in August 2006 and the D90 in August 2008. Of course August 2010 has come and gone, but it seems to be very obvious that the D90 has reached the end of its production cycle. Given that the big Photokina show will begin in just over week (on September 21) and a lot of new cameras and lenses are being announced in the last 3, 4 weeks, it seems to be prudent to wait until all pre-Photokina announcements are out before you buy.
     
  10. pge

    pge

    Andrew
    The d200 is much better built than a d90 and the OP obviously cares about that, so do I. If he thinks the d90 feels good he will love the d200. Given his desire for a camera that "feels and handles like a real camera (heavy and well built)" and his budgetary issues I think its a great compromise.
    It is a funny issue of our time that something introduced 4 years ago is considered an antique.
    Shun even considers the d90 to old to buy and its a current camera.
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun even considers the d90 to old to buy and its a current camera.​
    Well Phil, I never said that and it is certainly not what I meant.
    The likes of the D70 (2004 and there was a D70S from 2005), D80 (2006), and D90 (2008) are on roughly two-year production cycles. There is little doubt that the D90 is near the end. When a new model is announced, any remaining old version will go on fire sale and their value in the used market plummet. You may still buy a D90 regardless, but you are better off getting it after the big price drop has taken place.
    I have been advising people since the beginning of 2010 that both the D90 and D700 are near the end of their production cycles. I own a D700 and its high-ISO capability and the lack of video feature are both surpassed by newer cameras. I do find the D700 hindering my photography (and especially videography) and will definitely upgrade when an improved model is available. Whether you like it or not, that is the way things are in this digital era.
     
  12. pge

    pge

    I do find the D700 hindering my photography​
    Wow, quite a statement.
     
  13. Between the two, definitely go for the D90, if you want it heavier, add the grip.
     
  14. I have a D80. When I handled the D90 in a store everything just felt faster and more responsive. Not to the degree that I would upgrade because my used digital cameras have little trade-in value and I don't want to wind up with a closet full of used cameras. I'll wait until one breaks before replacing it. Go for the newer model or maybe wait until the D90 replacement comes out. What's a few hundred bucks in the long run?
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Phil, it is not a good idea to quote people out of context. I would appreciate that you don't make it a habit. This was what I wrote:
    I do find the D700 hindering my photography (and especially videography)​
    Remember the following thread you started a few days ago, and Lex moved it from the Nikon Forum to Casual Photo Conversations: http://www.photo.net/casual-conversations-forum/00XBn2
    We explained to you on that thread why video is now important for all digital cameras, including DSLRs and cell phone cameras. Unfortunately, the D700 doesn't even have video capability.
    However, Frank the OP on this thread does not care about video. He may or may not change his mind in the future, but currently he doesn't care.
     
  16. The D80 is a fine camera and you can pick one up used for about half of a new D90. If you're stuck on the D90, wait until the end of the month after Photokina is over to see if Nikon announces anything new. So far Nikon has announced four lenses, three point and shoots, and their entry level DSLR (D3100).
    Speaking of which, you may want to consider the D3100 - at about the same price as a used D80 w/ lens, it really looks like a better buy in a lot of ways - as long as you don't mind only being able to use AF-S lenses (older lenses (AF-D, AF) won't autofocus on the D3100) and having a smallish viewfinder. But with the D3100, you do get a much larger ISO range, more pixels, and a warranty. Not to mention live view and movies if you want to use those features later.
    D3100 / D90 / D80
    • Megapixels: 14 / 12 / 10
    • Frames Per Second: 3 / 4.5 / 3
    • ISO range: 100-12800 / 100-6400 / 100-3200
    • Autofocus: 11 point / 11 point / 11 point
    • Viewfinder: 95% 0.80x / 96% 0.94x / 95% 0.94x
    • LCD Screen: 3" 230k pixels / 3" 920k pixels / 3" 230k pixels
    • Sensor Cleaning: Yes / Yes / No
    • Live View: Yes / Yes / No
    • Movies: Yes / Yes / No
     
  17. Get the D90. It's energy-efficient. One battery will last you 600 shots or more if you don't chimp. The D-lighting feature alone obsoletes anything that came before it. Plus, it's a small body.
     
  18. I would go with the D90 over the D80 or D200 because of its better low light performance. I would wait until the end of the month because by then we should know if the D90 is being replaced. If it's replaced the price should come down. You may also be interested in the replacement.
    If price is important and low light performance is not, the D80 is still a good camera at a very good price. If the D90 comes down in price, the used D80's should come down also.
     
  19. Shun, I was a little surprised at your comment regarding the D700. I have a D200 that I feel is soft and have been looking at suitable upgrades and could find nothing but praise for the D700. I understand that is 12mp and FX but picture quality seems to be excellent none-the-less. The D200 blows highlights out so easily that it is frustrating at times, especially with S Florida wildlife like great egrets. Could you be more specific on what about the D700 is limiting your photography besides the video limitation? Thanks,
    Tom Best
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Tom, this is Frank's thread on buying something like a D80 and D90. So I would rather not suddenly take it over on a camera he clearly is not interested in. But I'll give you a brief answer. For any further discussion on the D700, please send me e-mail or we can start another thread:
    • The D700 lacks video. I have said it a few times that 1080p HD video is a must on my next DSLR. That topic was thoroughly discussed in the thread Phil Evans started on August 31, linked to above.
    • We haven't had a chance to test the D3100 yet, but its highest rated ISO 6400 is now the same as that on the D700. I have tested the D3S earlier this year and its ISO 12800 is quite useable. Clearly high-ISO capability has broken new grounds since the D3 was introduced 3 years ago in 2007, and the D700 uses that same electronics as the D3. 3 years is an eternity in terms of electronics advancements.
    • The Multi-CAM 3500 is excellent for sports photography but its AF points are too concentrated in the center of the FX frame for portraits. That was an issue I noticed when I first tested the D3.
    • I wouldn't mind having a 100% viewfinder and more pixels in some occasions, but those are not critical factors, especially if the additional pixels compromises high-ISO results.
    • Dual memory card slots. The D700 only has 1 CF slot.
     
  21. pge

    pge

    Tom, like Shun I do not want to hijack this threat, but I also found my d200 soft. Once I set it to +1 sharpening I was happy. I tried more sharpening but didn't like it. I have my d700 set the same way.
     
  22. I don't think sharpness of camera file output is a very good metric to compare these cameras on, when changing the settings fixes it - it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the cameras, it just means that the default setting are different.
     
  23. I suggest avoiding the D80 over the D90. Aside from some of the advantages already listed, the D90 has much, much more accurate/reliable metering and a really good monitor. I liked the D80 body but hated its unpredictable metering. There are numerous threads/posts on Photo.net regarding this. I suggest you do a search.
     
  24. I liked my D80, and to me the metering never was a big issue, but yes, many people did feel it metered a bit overly happy at times. Anyway, if the budget allows, I'd get a D90 at this very moment. It will keep you happier longer, in my view.
    More important, I think, is the point raised on getting a 50mm. It's a bit odd focal length on APS-C cameras, so check carefully if this is really the lens you want. In my view, 50mm on DX is too long for most use and too short for most other use. A 30~35 mm is much more useful.
     
  25. Frank, if you want a Nikon SLR that's big, heavy, well built (the best of them all), and takes superb images with the right lenses, then the F4 one to look at.........did I mention cheap!
     
  26. Shun, I didn't mean to hijack Frank's post but I do appreciate the reply. As long as we're not totally confusing Frank, all this is good information and helps to make an educated buy. A lot of factors are being covered and suggested like build quality, features, megapixels, focus speed, sensor type, etc. All important to a certain degree but we all know that having the latest camera does not automatically equate to great pictures. Joe McNally could get great shots with a point and shoot. From what I have seen, the CMOS sensors handle low light better than the CCDs do (all things being equal otherwise) and if I had to choose between a D80 and D90 I would go with D90. I bought my D200 used from B&H when the D300 came out thinking I would save money... and I did. But I regret the decision and wished I had spent the few extra dollars on the D300.
    Frank, have you indicated what type of photography you intend to do with the camera? Will it be used casually or do you intend to shoot wildlife, sports, macro,...? That might help narrow the field. What is your price range?
     
  27. I think D90 can last at least for a couple of years in your hand. You can get used to its ins and outs eventually, so you will be ready for a next upgrade to either FX or DX line with confidence in Nikon body in general.
    D80 has unreliable metering system. I do own it, and constantly adjust my Aperture not to blow up the high-lights. Do you want such a headache?
    If you feel comfortable with D80 and D90 in your hand, then I'd advise you not to get D200. I used to have it as my first DLSR from film SLRs. Yes, it's solid and fast also reliable, yet a bit heavy. So I'd like to stick with either D80 or D90 for that matter.
     
  28. re: build quality. This is my favorite thread about build quality.
    http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00LE7S
    read a bit down to the guy jumping out of airplanes. if you think you need better than that, by all means buy a camera that's too heavy.
     
  29. You want a durability test? Check out the Canon vs Nikon durability test at digitalrev tv. Scroll down for the test - a very entertaining site.
     
  30. Hi Frank, the D90 is a great camera and the battery life is great as well, i sold my D80 because the metering was so unpredictable kept overexposing and blowing highlights, the D200 sucks batteries like crazy,unless you use the extra grip,i couldn't get more than 250 shots out of the batteries,and two of my friends have the same problem. Bob Krist, who shoots travel photography for numerous magazines uses the D90 all the time. Check out his website. Also here in Canada the D90 just dropped $ 100 this week.
     
  31. the d90 is a way better camera than the d80 (i have both). if you only shoot at base ISO, a d200 or d80 is ok. above 800 iso, they get dicey, plus the d80 has some metering issues. shun has good advice--he's saying wait til you see what's coming downt he pike before you commit.
     
  32. Frank,
    I understand where you're coming from. You want a solidly made camera and you really don't need all the fancy bells and whistles. You just want a good picture taking machine you can rely on. I'm with ya' .
    I bought an F4 , a few years ago to fill that same bill , with film. It was the F4s model with an extra battery pack. I didn't consider it heavy, just nice an solid. Others , here , will tell you it's a BRINK or a TANK and way too heavy. I later got the standard battery pack, which makes it just an F4, and it is lighter. I got it, so I could fit the camera in a larger selection of camera bags. Finding one to fit the F4s was tough, if I didn't want a big over the shoulder or back pack style.
    While I was still in F4s mode, I picked up a D90 with lens at a Ritz Camera. It felt like a toy, to me. Many folks here will tell you it feels solid. Not from my perspective ,at that time. So, the point is, what is the right feel depends on what YOU are used to. That makes it more important to try and get some of these cameras in your hands.
    As far as the annoying extra features you don't want or need, you'll have to live with them being there, just turned off or unused. The trend seems to be MORE stuff crammed in the camera, rather than making the camera a better picture taker and let the prices creep down, like all other consumer electronics.
     
  33. I don't see a problem with D80, and match it with a 35mm f/1.8 is better for DX.
     
  34. It's true, the D90 battery life is great. I took mine on a long trip and brought 3 batteries. Shot nearly 2000 frames. Never needed the third battery, or the charger - the second battery stayed in the camera and got me through the first couple of innings of a baseball game this week.
     
  35. I had the D80 for a two week buyer's remorse period and returned it. I hated it.
    Get the D90. It is light years ahead of the D80. I did not even rate the D80 as a worthy upgrade to my D70.
     
  36. Let's not get too carried away. The D80 justifiably received outstanding reviews when released and is, based on personal experience and results, a very good camera. My D300 is better. And the D90 is better. But for this poster's needs, the D80 may be just fine. The cost differences mean different things to different people and only the OP knows what the D90 improvements are worth to him. I don't see why lugging around the heavier D200 would add much for this poster. The biggest difference seems that the D200 is weather sealed, but frankly I used my D80 in horrid Alaskan weather, in Hawaii under volcanic and humid conditions, and it did just fine (although I admittedly take good care of my stuff).
     
  37. Hi Frank,
    Either of these cameras will work fine, though I'd defo suggest the D90 - if you can afford it get newer stuff, not older.I'm still using my 2005 era d200 it still kicks ass, for an "outdated" piece of equipment.
    I actually have a question for you, why 50mm on a crop camera as you main/only lens?
    If that's how you envision the world, go for it. I used to do that (50/1.7 + Dynax 5) in the film days, but 50mm is way to long for me on a crop camera to be a single lens. My walkaround prime is a 24/2.8, which gives me a fov roughly equivalent to 35mm on film. If you do want to keep the same fov of the 50mm on film on digital, you may need to look at getting either a fx camera or a wider lens.
    I do own a 50/1.8 Nikkor but it's specifically for low light portraiture (in clubs etc together with the 24/2.8) or shooting furballs at night. Else I'd rather pull out something longer in better light :)
    Also, the kit lenses that come with the D80/90 are no slouches. If you only want a single lens camera, maybe consider a Panasonic GF1 + 20/1.7 - I have a two friends using that combo with no other lenses, works very well for 'em.
    Alvin
     
  38. Thanks all.
     
  39. Frank, I have the D80 and had the D90 until it was stolen a few weeks ago. Here is where I found the D90 better than the D80: Color accuracy, metering, and above all, better high ISO performance. But I still like the D80 and am back to using it again. But like the others have said, you have even more choices open to you right now.
     
  40. Just for the record, the D80 (and I assume the D90 as well) seem to be very well constructed, better than their competition and better than what I would expect for their price. I have a D80 that's been dropped three times and the thing just refuses to die.
    The last time it hit the ground (concrete) and the battery got stuck in the battery compartment, I had to use a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to get it out once it got discharged. The camera felt sideways and got a bit scratched but it's still working like always. Not so my 50 1.8 which no longer can autofocus unless the subject is more than 6 ft away.
    I hope to have that D80 soon replaced with a D90.
     

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