Nikon D80 vs Nikon D90

  • APS-C
  • 10 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 38
    Overall
  • 10
    Imaging
  • 18
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 1
    Price
  • APS-C
  • 12 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 40
    Overall
  • 13
    Imaging
  • 30
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D80 vs Nikon D90: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models from Semi-Pro DSLR category, introduced by Nikon. We are going to take a closer look at the technical and physical characteristics, features, and performance. The models we are going to assess and compare in this review are D80 and D90. The models we are going to compare in our review have different sensors. Nikon D80 features a CCD sensor that has a resolution of 10.0 MP. Nikon D90, on the contrary, has a different CMOS sensor with 10.0 MP resolution.

Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90.

Nikon D80 Key Features:

  • 10.0 MP APS-C CCD sensor
  • ISO 100 - 1600 (Expands to 3200)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 3.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 132 x 103 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 668 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Nikon D70. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D90. Compare

Nikon D90 Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 3200 (Expands to 6400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 4.5 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 132 x 103 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 703 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D80. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D7000. Compare

Since Nikon D80 has been around for some time, it was substituted by Nikon D90.

Being a newer model, Nikon D80 substituted Nikon D70. Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Nikon D80 vs. D70
Nikon D70 vs. Nikon D90

Why is Nikon D80 a better choice than Nikon D90

Weight 668 g vs 703 g 35 g lighter

What are the key reasons to pick Nikon D90 over Nikon D80

Wireless Connectivity Eye-Fi Connected vs No Better connectivity
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP vs 10.0 MP 16.7% more pixels
Continuous Shooting 4.5 fps vs 3 fps 1.5 fps faster
Flash Range 17 vs 13 4 better flash range
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3″ vs 2.5″ 0.5" larger screen
Screen Resolution 920k dots vs 230k dots 75% higher resolution screen
Dxo Color Depth 22.7 vs 22.1 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 12.5 vs 11.2 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 977 vs 524 Better High ISO performance

Key PROs of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90

Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Built-In Flash Yes | Yes External flash available
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Resolution 230k dots | 920k dots Small screen resolution
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Sensor Resolution 10.0 MP | 12.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Timelapse Recording No | No No timelapse recording
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps | 4.5 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization
Environmental Sealing No | No No environmental sealing

Nikon D80 vs Nikon D90: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 from the front view.

Nikon D80
Nikon D90
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D80
Nikon D90
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D80 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 35g less than the Nikon D90. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D80 — 77 mm
Nikon D90 — 77 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D80 — 668 g
Nikon D90 — 703 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D80 features a 10.0 MP APS-C sized CCD sensor . Nikon D90, in its turn, comes with a 12.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D80
Nikon D90
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Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D80 Nikon D90
Portrait Photography
40%
66%
Street Photography
66%
75%
Sports Photography
73%
70%
Daily Photography
88%
56%
Landscape Photography
71%
85%

Nikon D80 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D90 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D80 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D90 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (850 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Nikon D80 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (3.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (524)

Nikon D90 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (4.5 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)
  • Small battery life (850 shots)

Nikon D80 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (668 g)
  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • Video is not available

Nikon D90 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (703 g)
  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Nikon D80 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (11.2)
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (10 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (524)

Nikon D90 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.5)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)

Comparison of Nikon D80 vs Nikon D90: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D80 or Nikon D90, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D80 and Nikon D90 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D90 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D80. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D80 vs Nikon D90 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D80 Nikon D90
General
Brand Nikon Nikon
Model D80 D90
Announced Sep 23, 2006 Oct 13, 2008
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CCD CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C APS-C
Sensor Dimensions 23.6 x 15.8 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 372.88 mm2
Sensor Resolution 10.0 MP 12.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 4288 x 2848
Max Native ISO 1,600 3,200
Max Boosted ISO 3,200 6,400
Min Native ISO 100 200
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Nikon F
Number of Lenses 287 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1.5x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No No
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No No
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View No Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points n/a 11
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 2.5″ 3″
Screen Resolution 230k dots 920k dots
Live View No Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 95% 96%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.64 0.64
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/4000 s
Continuous Shooting 3.0 fps 4.5 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash Yes Yes
Flash Range 13 17
Flash Modes Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Wireless Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment No Yes
Average Yes No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 61 73
DxO Color Depth 22.1 22.7
DxO Dynamic Range 11.2 12.5
DxO Low Light ISO 524 977
Video Features
Video Resolutions n/a 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720
Video Formats n/a Motion JPEG
Microphone Port No No
Headphone Port No No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI No Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No No
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 668 g 703 g
Physical Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm 132 x 103 x 77 mm
Battery Life n/a 850 shots
Battery Type n/a Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL3e EN-EL3e
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No No
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC
Storage Slots 1 1

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