The Nikon Coolpix P80 is a 10 megapixel camera with an 18x optical zoom lens. This is one of the longest lenses you will find on a compact digital camera.
Why Buy The Nikon Coolpix P80
The long zoom lens makes this camera a good choice for photographers who are interested in sports and wildlife photography. The manual exposure controls make this camera a good choice for anyone who sees photography as a hobby or potential hobby. The Coolpix P80 is also relatively compact for a camera with such a long zoom lens.
79 x 110 x 78mm
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light
Looking at my first photo the most striking point is the brightness of the shot. The colours are also just right for me too. The Coolpix P80 does a fair job of capturing detail from the lightest and darkest areas in the shot. A small amount of detail is lost where the sun is shining on the boats.
Here you can see the impact of the wide angle lens. I am impressed by the sharpness of this photo. It is above average for a camera with a wide angle lens.
With the lens fully zoomed in the shot loses some of its sharpness. Purple fringing is evident when the photo is blown up to a large size, but this common problem is handled better by the Coolpix P80 than most super zoom cameras manage.
The images produced by the Coolpix P80 are sharp, but perhaps not quite as pin sharp as I had hoped for. Nikon lenses are usually of high quality and I had been expecting the Coolpix P80 to be that bit better than it is in terms of sharpness for more distant shots.
The skin tones are a bit pink in places, but the level of detail is very impressive. The skin tones were boosted by using a while balance setting of cloudy, so you can reduce the amount of colour by leaving white balance set to automatic.
This is quite a bright photo. Noise does begin to show up in the shot despite the good lighting levels. As with the majority of consumer level digital cameras it is not easy to get noise free lower light photos without resorting to flash.
There is plenty of detail in this shot. The light from the flash unit is quite harsh though and you can see where the lighting hits the forehead and cheeks.
Macro, Colours and Noise
The specification states that the Coolpix P80 can focus from 1cm away from the subject. I found difficulty in getting a sharp focus from any distance closer than 5cm. At that distance I found the camera was capable of taking a good quality macro shot.
As mentioned above I really like the combination of colour and brightness produced by the Coolpix P80. Aside from the most basic Nikon digital cameras this is one of the strengths of the range.
At ISO 400 noise shows in darker areas of the shot. So if you are planning to use a higher ISO to freeze motion you will need plenty of light for the photo. As ISO 1600 there are very high noise levels. I also ran a test for the highest ISO setting of 6400, but I am mystified as to why anyone would want to use this setting when I look at the picture quality it provides. I ran the ISO tests again with the Noise Reduction setting turned on, but it made little difference to the final result.
The Coolpix P80 does a good job overall. The camera is capable of taking bright, colourful photos. As long as you are not looking to make massive prints of distant subjects sharpness should be fine as well.
For a super zoom camera with an 18x zoom lens the Coolpix is quite compact. I like the design and the camera feels right in the hand.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Ease of Use
With the extra manual controls it will take time to fully get to grips with the camera. It is as straightforward as in can be apart from maybe one or two of the menu options appearing as extra buttons on the body.
Points I Like
Style - controls - length of lens
Where it Could Improve
Shutter lag times should be faster
The Nikon Coolpix P80 does the job it sets out to do well. Despite the extra controls it comes across as an unfussy camera and is a good choice for someone looking for as much zoom as possible.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Panasonic DMC FZ48 Rating 87/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ48 is very hard to beat. It is up against some stiff competition, but the combination of features, image quality and pricing makes it the outstanding model in its category. When it comes to picture quality it has few weaknesses and its length of lens means it can cope with more or less any photo opportunity.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review
Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100
The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.
Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review
Nikon Coolpix L810 Rating 79/100
The Nikon Coolpix L810 offers something different as it gives you the power of an extra long lens, but with the simplicity of a point and shoot digital camera. This helps to make it somewhat cheaper than the more fully featured models with similar zoom power. Picture quality does not match up to the more expensive models in this category, but it is only if you are planning to make extra large prints that you are likely to see much difference between photos taken with this camera and those that give you that bit of extra quality. This camera is a good choice if you are looking for simple operation and a powerful lens.
Read Review: Nikon Coolpix L810 Review