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Nikon D80

A nice 10 megapixel d-SLR that was introduced in Aug 2006 as the successor to the D70 I had wanted 2 years earlier. A natural D50 upgrade model (which I owned at the time), I instantly wanted it, but couldn't begin to justify it--it went for close to $1000, amounting to a $500 or so "upgrade penalty" vs my D50 which, along with my D40 later on, gave great images even at the 13x19 size as it was. So I responsibly socked our money away in savings instead.

However, on 3-10-2008 18 months later I found one for only $450 (about 13,000 shutter firings), only about a $125 "upgrade penalty" once I sold my D50 (vs $500 "penalty" before, or about $300 at that point). So I made the move, and after a lot of back & forth "sell D50, upgrade" or "keep the D50, it's plenty," I moved up to the D80 once & for all.

It has a nice large viewfinder with gridlines and 11 autofocus points, large 2" LCD, fancy flash abilities, 2 command dials, lots of hard buttons, ability to set JPEG size/quality in RAW (Nef) mode, and much more. It is a real upgrade features/body-style wise vs my D50, even though image quality-wise the D50 (and the D40 I still have) is just fine. It is one my bigger deals.

Note: most of the time I shoot in RAW mode, if within the file's name you see "dj_b" that means I shot in RAW but converted the file to Adobe DNG Raw format and used that "Raw" file, if you see "rj_b" it means I probably used Nikon View NX to edit the original RAW file directly.