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Old Jan 5, 2008, 12:05 PM   #1
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I am trying to decide whether to to with the D80, and trade in my D50, which takes decent pictures. The 10 megapixels are enticing me, along with other bells and whistles, of course. I did read a review of the D80, not here, in which the writer stated that the meter of the D80 tends to overexpose the highlights. Perhaps on a bright sunny day,shooting this picture outdoors, with the matrix meter and no exposure compensation, the D80 would "nuke" the blue sky, turning it pure white. Quoting. To bypass this, he says you would need to underexpose it by a t least -2.3...maybe even one full stop. Does this sound like something you would have to do with the D80?? It makes me wonder about getting it. Maybe he was talking about using the camera in manual only. I get along right well in autofocus. Any comments would be helpful. thanks
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Old Jan 5, 2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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mcdaniel-
Blown highlights are best illustrated by the fact that you are getting white skies. Using exposure compensation will help eliminate blown highlights. In addition, under exposure can be recovered in photo editing, blown highlights are much more difficult. For that reason, most users would prefer to be ever so slightly underexposed, because the detail can be enhanced in photo editing. Blown highlights are almost a lost cause in terms of recapturing detail.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 5, 2008, 1:41 PM   #3
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The D80's meter certainly isn't perfect. It exposes for the shadows, so if you have a scene with a significant amount of dark areas interspersed with highlights, it will blow the highlights to bring up the shadows. Luckily, there's exposure compensation. After a while, you get a feel for how much compensation you will likely need, and you can dial this in before you shoot. Also, you can usually take test shots, look at your screen, and adjust. I have a D80, and while it's meter is not the best, I love the camera overall.
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Old Jan 5, 2008, 6:58 PM   #4
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I have both the D50 and D80. I haven't used the D50 since I bought the D80 if that tells you anything. I recently wrote a comparison review of the two under the D80 (body only) on Amazon. My reviewer rank on Amazon is around 7000 out of millions so people usually like my reviews, lol. Also, Ken Rockwell has a D80 guide that gives some advice about how to compensate for the over exposure and set the camera up to get the most out of it. There may be a D80x or D90 out very soon so you may want to wait. The new camera is speculated to have sensor dust off, larger rear lcd, and 5 fps, but that is all speculation. It will probably be about $200 more then the D80. Again, thats a guess. Subscribe to google alerts, key word Nikon and you will be able to keep up with new camera developments. Google alerts, btw, listed this question and that's how I got here.

Good luck with your decision.

Bill
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Old Jan 6, 2008, 8:37 AM   #5
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I'd wait, the D80 is getting on a bit now with the way camera development goes. I'd expect a replacement in 6 to 9 months. The D50 is a great camera and if you buy a D80 now and a 12Mp camera comes out next year are you going to be considering another upgrade and what about when the next one comes out 18 months after that?
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Old Jan 6, 2008, 9:10 AM   #6
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There will always be a new camera coming out, and you really don't have to upgrade everytime. That being said, the jump from the D50 to the D80 is pretty big in terms of control and features. Being able to use the cameras flash as a commander to control off camera Sb600 and 800's is probably the feature I've used most since switching. The dual command dials are also nice as is the extra ISO settings. The question you have to ask is how is the D50 limiting your photogaphy. I wouldn't upgrade simply based on MP.

In terms of the D80's meter. It has been a sore subject since the camera came out. I personally have never had any issue with it. Every camera I've ever used meters a bit differently, and you just have to get used to it. With practice, you'll understand its limitations and learn ways to work around them. I don't find myself consistently underexposing with the D80 to prevent blown highlights. I typically don't use matrix, and ususally use spot or centerwieghted metering.
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Old Jan 6, 2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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Hey. Thanks soo much for the comments! I think I will justwait for now and keep my D50. It does take great pictures, I'm used to it, my lenses work with it. I had just recently seen a picture that a friend took of my brother's cabin with a camera, 12mp, and that gave me the itch. As always, I can look to this forum for good honest help. Thanks again for great comments.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 11:34 AM   #8
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Nothing wrong with the D80 - and it should be getting cheaper...
it would be a usefull step up from the D50 - though the D50 is no slouch!

As for the Matrix - my experience makes me think it may be partly a Camera / Lens interface thing. I gave up with Matrix - not that it was bad all the time - but Yes I found I needed to under expose -0.3 or -0.7 a lot of the time - the thing that got me was it seemed to have a mind of it's own which made it unpredictable. I believe it may well be to do with me using non - Nikon lenses (Sigma) - I have heard that the lenses and cameras comunicate in a certain way...

SO - I don't use Matrix I use centre weighted and on the widest area - It's totally predictable and I don't have any worries any more.

Going back then to recomending the D80 - all the above has only been a minor complaint - and I really mean minor - most of last years shots taken with Matrix metering were OK. It's a great camera.
I would be very tempted NOT to go for a latest all singing model when an excellent model such as a D80 or D200 may be superceded and so would cost a lot less (hopefully)
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:31 PM   #9
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Hi Geoff. I'd like to hear you talk about your approach to D80 metering if you wound't mind. I've been working with mine for a couple of months and the only way I have found that works is to judge how much black or white is in the scene, where it is in the frame, and adjust from there, Of course there's always the try and see approach, but there's not always time for that. So, if you could tell me about the method you've found that emilinates guesswork all together, I'd appreciate it.
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Old Jan 28, 2008, 2:52 PM   #10
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There is nothing very technical or clever about how I view a scene. But I have been taking photos for a number of years - prior to my digital days I used Film SLRs starting out with a few all manual ones - so I guess I got a bit of a feel for it as much as anything else.

When the camera looks at a scene to meter it - it's looking for an average of light and dark areas that would equal around 18% grey ~ this is not as mysterious as youpmight think though as a lot of grey pavements/sidewalks are close to that - also Grass is quite good. In the old manual days if i had a tricky exposure - an overcast day is one - then I would take a reading off the grass - set the camera for that (manually) and then compose the shot and take it. That worked fairly well back then.

Nowadays 9 times out of 10 if I look at a scene I ask myself - is this generally a dark, neutral or bright scene. If neutral I leave the exposure value to the camera, personally I shoot in Apperture priority mostly - the camera automatically balances it with the correct shutter speed. If you are unsure and have something handy like grass around - point the camera at it and look at the shutter speed and or apperture - then compare that to the readings when you compose your photo. Some people carry an 18% grey card around with them for exposure and assistance.

Quick extreem examples: -

Black cat on a black rug - under expose - the camera will see lots of darkness and brighten it up.

White cat on a white sheet - brighten it - the camera will see too much light (more than 18%grey). Inbetween these extreems you will learn to judge for yourself.

Fortunately with digital you have the benfit of having another go when the exsposure is wrong - and most digital cameras also have a built in histogram so you can look at the scene values - & remember the screen is not always reliable > on a bright day it will look different to on a dull or shady day the reletive difference can be misleading - but that's another topic...

I hope this helps a little and is not to rambling or confusing

Geoff
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