D80: Moving On?

2010.11.05 in photography

It's hard to believe, but almost half of the entire lifespan of the consumer DSLR has taken place since the release of my camera. While it has taken many an awesome picture in its day, the improvements in convenience, image quality, and features in the market overall have slowly been making the thought of a replacement more and more interesting in my head.

For a while, I was thinking about stepping up to the full-frame lines (to whatever the successor of the D700 is next summer), both because of their awesome low-light noise properties and because of their various other features, but... they're very expensive. And then Nikon went ahead and announced the D7000 — the successor to the D90, which is the successor to my D80. Somehow, they picked up every single feature I was looking for from the super-high-end cameras and plopped them down in the same family I'm already accustomed to: much better low-light performance (not as good as a full frame camera, but still much better), a much nicer display, a much faster continuous mode, video recording (with AF!), but, most importantly of all, for me: the ability to use the autoexposure meter with non-CPU lenses.

You see, more than half of my lenses are non-CPU — old lenses without any sort of electronics on them. The D80 (and D90) can't tell the maximum aperture, as they don't have an AI "feeler", so they aren't capable of metering with most of my lenses. The D300 and above lines have always had this feature; even my 70s-era Nikkormat does (though it depended on it, of course)... and the D7000 finally brings this to the cheaper lines! This is a efficiency and reliability boost of epic proportions when doing walk-about photography...

Also, video. The thought of taking video with my macro lens (especially with the extension tube) of really small things is really exciting; as is... having a decent video camera, ever. Certainly worlds better than any of the crap we got to use in Video, and that's somewhat sad considering the comparative prices. Anyway, I think that given the opportunity I'd do a lot more video work, and this would be the most awesome way to get that opportunity!

To top it all off, it (finally) has a built-in intervalometer, invalidating one of my primary complaints about Nikon and also making irrelevant (except experience-wise) a lot of (unfinished) work I did two years ago to make my own...

I made a long list of changes that I find interesting or exciting, to convince myself. It's in rough order of how much I'm excited about things.

So, here's the deal:

I'm only going to make the jump if I can sell my D80 to offset some of the cost. I'd most enjoy selling it to someone who I know and can deliver it to personally (as well as provide bits of advice and support, as I've used it incessantly for the last two years). It's in really good shape (and still takes awesome pictures) considering how heavily it's been used; I take care of my stuff as best I can, but it has been used, and that's something to keep in mind. I'm thinking (based on perusing eBay) something in the 350-400$ range for the body (and two batteries, a 2GB SD card, and the charger, as well as various other bits of plastic), or 500$ for the body plus the kit 18-135mm lens (a very-adequate 7.5x zoom lens with a very reasonable range for walking around and taking pictures), but I'm certainly willing to talk about it. You're certainly welcome to take it for a test drive, too, if you're nearby...

I would post pictures, but my phone camera really doesn't seem up to the task. (ed.: here are some really blurry pictures anyway: 1, 2, 3)

If nobody here wants it, I'll try eBay (that shouldn't be a problem, it's just more work and less awesome)...

EDIT: Second best crop camera currently on the market, and tenth best DSLR in total

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