Sight set firm

It zooms out to cover a wide range, but doesn’t lose focus. That makes for some cool photos, writes Nikhil Singh.

| Updated on: Mar 17 2009, 13:48 IST

Canon, Fujifilm and Kodak have had new additions to their series of superzooms in the recent past. Nikon has joined the race too with its Nikon Coolpix P80. Let's see how it fares.

With the dimensions of 110 x 79 x 78 mm, the P80 is neither too small, nor too big — it's sized to fit your hand comfortably. The 405 g weight of the camera is evenly distributed so it doesn't feel lopsided. The body comprises a hard plastic shell, with a textured rubber grip on the well contoured grip side of the camera.

What I absolutely loved was the little additional triangular rubber grip that's placed on the upper-right corner of the facing side of the camera, that protrudes out to allow your right thumb to rest comfortably on it. All this factors into making the Nikon Coolpix P80 amazingly ergonomical.

The button placement is spot on too. The trigger's placed conveniently towards the front of the top side of the camera, with a pretty large plastic ring around it that allows you to zoom in and out with ease. The power button and dial for switching between modes are placed behind it.

The upper right hand corner of the camera is coated with a small piece of grey plastic that adds aesthetically to an otherwise black frame. It has a small navigation dial placed conveniently on it. The four way navigation pad is placed below the dial, alongside the preview, menu and delete buttons. There is a a 2.7", 230,000 pixel screen beside these buttons.

The P80 comes equipped with a whopping 18x optical zoom lens, which can be used at full zoom even without a tripod thanks to the camera's brilliant image stabilisation. It allows for shots of up to 10 megapixel, which is great since it captures minute details really well even at full resolution.

The P80 supports Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Scene and Manual modes, along side the new Sports-Continuous mode that allows you to take up to 30 continuous shots at a maximum speed of up to 13 frames per second. It's auto white balance and colour reproduction are spot on.

Its macro performance is brilliant, as it allows you to focus on objects closer than an inch and it doesn't lose any of the details in the process. The camera supports the following ISO settings 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 2000 at 10 MP, and 3200, 6400 at 3MP. Its ISO performance wasn't too good, and image quality started suffering at ISO 400. Its night mode performance was acceptable, but nothing to write home about.

The camera boasts of a really well designed, easy-to-use interface. This, coupled with the intuitively placed controls, makes the P80 incredibly user-friendly and a delightful companion to have around.

With a pricetag of 20,000 (street price), amazing build quality, and a strong backbone where features are concerned, the Nikon Coolpix P80 is undoubtedly worth a look for all those looking for a great consumer superzoom. The only deterring factor is that the camera suffers a bit in low light conditions. If you can live with that, the P80 is worth it.

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First Published Date: 17 Mar, 13:46 IST