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Nikon Coolpix P80
Nikon's latest model in the P-series is the P80. The range is aimed at the enthusiast looking for an alternative to a DSLR so comes equipped with a host of manual and digital features for image controi, while maintaining a traditional handling experience.
This model offers 10.1 million effective pixels on a 1/2.33-inch CCD, with a total population of 10.7 million pixels. The camera's most significant feature though is its 18x optical zoom, covering a range of 27-486mm in 35mm terms. The camera also has built in vibration reduction (VR) to avoid camera shake, especially useful at the long end of the zoom. Unlike Nikon's optical VR used in some of its SLR lenses, the P80 uses sensor-shift VR, so the CCD is moved to counteract any camera shake.
As befits its enthusiast status the camera has a full complement of exposure modes, including shutter and aperture priority AE, Manual and Program modes. For the less experienced or habitually lazy, there is also a simple auto mode and a collection of scene modes. These range from Portrait, Landscape and Action to Fireworks, Museum and Party modes, and a few others thrown in for good measure. Nikon has made sure the camera is equipped for all lighting conditions, with a decent sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 6400
Metering options include matrix metering as default, with centre weighted and spot metering also available. There's also an option to link the spot metering to the AF area. The autofocus system includes face recognition, almost a prerequisite these days, as well as the default auto mode. There's a manual AF-point selection mode that allows you to select the AF point from a choice of 99 positions. Nikon has also thrown in a manual focusing mode and macro shooting down to 1cm, for good measure.
Processing is courtesy of Nikon Expeed, the same as that in it's DSLR range and also includes post processing options, notably D-Lighting, which lightens shadows and mid-tones in backlit or high contrast scenes. When applied, the camera produces a new image leaving the original untouched. Disappointingly the P80 only shoots in JPEG format, with no RAW option.