The Nikon P80 is a compact camera flirting with DSLR capabilities. In addition to the whopping zoom lens, the Coolpix P80 has enough features to captivate a wide-range of photographers.
Photographers are given the option to shoot in four different modes:
Programmed Auto (P): This is the all-inclusive option, designed for the beginner photographer, lazy photographer or for people who just like to get it right the first time. When this mode is selected, the Coolpix P80 will take out all the guesswork of proper exposure, automatically selecting the appropriate shutter speed and aperture for the conditions in which the photographer is shooting.
Shutter-Priority Auto (S): This mode allows the photographer to choose their own shutter speed, while the Coolpix P80 decides on the correct aperture.
Aperture-Priority Auto (A): If you’d like to play around with the depth of field (DOP) of your photos but not have to worry about shutter speed, this is the mode you should use.
Manual (M): Manual allows for full exposure control. In this mode, the photographer can select their own shutter speed and aperture settings, just as you would with a D-SLR.
Nikon’s Coolpix P80 sports a built-in pop up flash system with 6 options to choose from: off, auto, red-eye reduction, fill flash, slow sync and rear curtain sync.
I’ve Scene It All
Nikon’s Coolpix P80 has several scene modes, these are:
Portrait, landscape, night portrait, party/indoor, beach/snow, sunset, dusk/dawn, night landscape, close up, museum, fireworks show, copy, backlight, panorama assist and voice recording.
I won’t go into detail on every one of these modes (as they’re fairly self-explanatory), but one does earn an honourable mention:
Panorama Assist – I had fun playing with this feature. First, you select which direction your panorama photo will be stitched together (more on that in a moment) and then take your first photo. The LCD screen will display a portion of the photo in the first third of the screen. For your second shot, compose your image to overlap the first photo and take the picture. Continue until you have the amount of photos you need for your panorama photo. Upload your photos to your computer. Nikon provides you with the software needed to stitch together photos to create panoramas.
Voice Memos – Carl Weaver’s article on Slating describes different methods to documenting your photos. With the Coolpix P80, there is no need to follow Carl’s advice (Sorry, Carl!). When viewing your photos on the LCD screen, simply press and hold OK to record up to 20 seconds. I really liked this feature.