Nikon COOLPIX P80The 10.1-megapixel Nikon COOLPIX P80 camera features an impressive f/2.8–4.5, 27–486mm focal length (35mm equivalent), 18x optical zoom lens that maintains sharpness with few aberrations throughout its focal length. Nikon bolsters the lens with Vibration Reduction technology, which compensates for operator movement and is especially useful for telephoto and macro shooting.

This digital camera is well designed and lightweight and will fit in a large coat pocket (too big for a shirt). It has a comfortable rubberized handgrip and easy access of the camera’s controls and menus. For viewing, you can toggle between the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and the 2.7″ LCD; both display identical pertinent shooting data. The EVF is small but necessary for composing in bright light because the LCD washes out. The P80 has an ISO range of 64–6400; however, noise becomes an issue above ISO 200. Metering options include matrix, center-weighted, and spot. The exposure modes include Manual, Aperture, and Shutter priority for advanced users and an Auto mode for beginners, plus a collection of 14 presets covering typical situations, such as landscapes, nightscapes, portraits, etc. The Sport mode allows continuous shooting up to 30 frames at 13 fps at a reduced resolution of 3 megapixels. The D-Lighting feature is an impressive bit of in-camera, postprocessing technology used when you view your files on the LCD. It lightens and restores color to midtones and shadows in high-contrast and backlit files, without affecting the highlights or destroying the original.

The maximum resolution of 3648×2736, combined with the sharp lens at ISO 200 (or lower), produced quality files that made beautiful 13×19″ prints. It’s too bad Nikon decided to use only JPEG format and not include a RAW option.—Steve Baczewski

PRICE: $399.95

HOT Quality lens
NOT No RAW format; 2–3 second delay between shots