I’m running low on film, so it’s time to check in on the D80. Flick the power switch. SD card, still plenty of shots left. Battery, nearly full. Nearly full charge? Really? When’s the last time I used this thing? Thinking, thinking, thinking. Sometime before Christmas, and I’m fairly certain that the battery hasn’t been charged since Thanksgiving.
That’s quite an improvement since the days of my 10D or even worse the KM 7D, both of which could drain their battery if you looked at them wrong. A battery that stays charged even when sitting goes a long way towards replicating the ever-readiness of the older manual fiml SLR’s. Not a bad thing.
But, why, might you ask, has that D80 been sitting on the shelf for a couple of months? Well, that’s complicated. Three points:
- The quirks of the D80’s metering combined with the somewhat limited dynamic range of it’s 10MP sensor, require constant attention and a good measure of manual control.
- As with nearly every post AF, multi-function control wheel sprouting, tehcno wonder camera of doom, the D80 provides tons of manual control but no physical feedback as to the settings. The wheels just spin and spin. See some of the recent comments on the K10D over at theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com for more on this.
- Although the VF is fairly large and fairly bright and not entirely useless for manual focussing, it’s got no eye relief. Yes, I know all the cool kids are wearing contacts or have got that fancy new lasiks surgery that can turn your field of vision upside down – no, really it can – but some of us still wear glasses. When wearing glasses, I can’t see all the metering info at the bottom of the vf unless I consciously look at it, in which case I lose about the top third of the frame.
Taken individually, none of these issue would be that bad. So the metering is hinky. No problem, I’ll work in manual. Oh wait, the controls give no feedback. No problem, I’ll check the meter readings in the VF. Uh, now I can’t see the picture. Damn, it’s gone. I should have bought a 30D.