My most recent camera, the Nikon N80

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by james_kennedy|9, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. For some reason, I had the mistaken belief that the N80 and N90s were part of the pack of the cheaper 4-digit Nikon SLRs that were perhaps outsourced from Japan in the 90s. Then I did some homework, and saw that the N80 had received some very good reviews by Phil Greespun, Thom Hogan, and Ken R and that it had become part of Galen Rowell's kit. I went to a local store and held one and it did impress me as a kid brother to the F100. I like the rubbery texture on it and on Nikon's more recent cameras. I ended up ordering one from KEH that was listed as LN-, a fairly uncommon rating by KEH, where, as you know, even stuff rated Bargain tends to be in good shape.
    Yes, the camera is light and plasticky, although its rubber skin, hints that it is fairly robust. I understand that it not completely sealed against the elements, but neither am I. My two biggest complaints are that it does not meter with manual lenses, and that it does not have mirror lockup, but that may be asking too much of a camera whose target audience will be mostly amateurs, like me. I find it compacgt, light and fun to use with lighter lenses. It is a natural fit with the 50mm f/1.8, and I recently bought a used 75-240mm AF-D f/4.5-5.6D for the price of $39.50. It is light and plastic, and doesn't get great reviews, but in tests with my Nikon D300, it performed well enough for me.
    Last week we had a rare few days of clear blue skies, so I loaded the N80 with a roll of Fuji 160pro negative film. I went first to the Museum of Flight, a world class museum adjacent to Boeing Field, which is in Sout Seattle, but about 10 miles north of SEATAC. I took some outside shots which I will show here. And then I head for Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 which is one of two passes through the Cascades that are kept open in the winter. The elevation of the pass is about 3000 feet and it has several ski areas. I have been reading about the very cold weather east of the Rockies and all the snow in the midwest and east. Although Seattle is about the same latitude as Quebec City, we haven't seen much snow here this winter and out temps have been 40-50F for most of the past month. One of the reasons, I wanted to get some snow shots in addition to thier beauty, was that I wanted to see how the matrix metering handled snow, and whether the result would be a gray cast. The one lens I used was a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF (non-D). I took several other cameras along but that will be the subject of other threads.
    The first photo will be of a couple of Navy planes outside the Museum.
  2. Next, a Concorde across the street from the Museum. I worked across the street from the Museum for the last 11 years on the F-22 Stealth fighter.
  3. Now up to Snoqualmie Pass, about 40 miles east of my residence in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle on the east side of Lake Washington.
  4. One of many Ski areas at the pass. It gets more action at night and on weekends. This is not a region of posh resorts like Aspen, but more commute skiing. The slops are lighted at night.
    I should point out that the film was processed at Costco and placed on a CD. The only thing I did was resize the photos to a width of 700 pixels for posting here.
  5. Another mountain shot.
  6. And lastly, some kids playing in the snow. Strangers to me.
  7. And a shot of the camera and lens.
  8. I'm primarily a Canon guy, though I've had an F4 for a few years. Last summer I fished an N80 out of the 'bay for $25, in like-new condition. Light and not quite as robust as the F4, it still seems as capable a camera as anything I have. I've never held an F100, I'm guessing that's going to be my next target. Or perhaps an F6.
  9. I've never held an F100, I'm guessing that's going to be my next target. Or perhaps an F6.​
    If you hold an F100, you will want it, and their prices are very low right now. I would like an F6, but not for $2500.
  10. Nice pics and presentation, James. I've never shot with one but it sure looks like a competent, and lightweight, performer. Thanks!
  11. It's a fun camera. The F100 is sturdier and will do more, but is bulky and heavy by comparison. The N75 is wonderfully lightweight and small, but really on the small side for my hands and it has fewer features. The N80 seems to be at just the right spot for a lightweight autofocus film SLR for casual use.
  12. I've owned two N80's. They are excellent cameras. The last one I had I bought on ebay and used for a short time. It gave me some error a couple of times out of the blue so I sold it off and a couple years later bought an F100, which by that time had reached rock bottom price-wise. I'll keep the F100 until 35mm slide film is no longer available, which I hope will not happen in my lifetime (but suspect it may). I do like the small form factor of the N80 very much, and the lightweight compact body is great for travel.
  13. Thanks for the kind comments, Louis. I am not in your league as a photographer; I just like imagery, and keep the hope that even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn. My wife and daughter have minimal knowledge of the physics involved, but they have really good photographic eyes. I think you have to be born with it.
  14. Beautiful pictures, James, all of them; I especially like "Mountain Scenery". The N80/F80 is a really neat little camera. I currently have a chrome F80 with the MB-16 grip, and it makes a great supplement to my F100. I hope you post more pics from yours as these are very pleasing to my eyes.
  15. I have an N80, and like it a lot. The Nikon D100 and Fuji Finepix S2 are derived from the body.
    I agree that it may not be as robustly built as the F100, but it sure is easy to carry around. I have a 24-50 AFD lens on mine for most of my recent shooting, and that's a nice combination.
    The only drawback of the camera is that it won't meter with manual lenses.
  16. I've always thought the N80 was a great camera. Build wise it's not an F5 but it's still made as well as any D100-D90.
    One thing folks tend to forget is this is probably (maybe?) the quietest auto slr ever made. Perfect for street and the gentle mirror pretty much eliminates the need for MLU.
    Speed wise it can't compete with the F100 but I'm much more likely to take it with me because of the more compact size. Mine lives with a 24 2.8 or 50 1.8 attached. I might just get another. One for the 24 and Tmax 100 and for the 50 and Tri-x
  17. Very nice James, thanks for posting. I love the Concorde shot. I need to visit Seattle at some point, would love to go to that Museum.
  18. James, I have the European version, the F80, and love it. I recently purchased the Nikon 28-300 and find it to be the perfect combination.
  19. Rick, what do you think of the 28-300? I currently have the Nikkor 28-200 on my F80 (and often use it on my F100) which makes a very nice package due to the lens' very small size and light weight. It's pretty sharp but not being an AF-S lens, it makes a little noise in operation. I've considered the 28-300 to use as my 'standard' lens on the F100 but I'd like to know what it's like to use in the field.
  20. Andy, I really like it. I was carrying a 28-80 and a 70 - 300, along with a micro 105 and it was way too much. I was always switching lenes or wishing I had brought one or the other with me if I didn't bring my bag. Before the 28-300 came out, I had the 28-200 which was very nice but I missed the 300 focal length. The 28-300 is very sharp & focuses quickly although there is some lens creep without the lock on. For me, it's a perfect for my level of photography (obsessed amature).
  21. I bought my N80 new, and have never regretted buying it. It will do everything I need a camera to do.
    The sad thing is, I hardly take any pictures with my film cameras or my Nikon D40 anymore.

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