As I mentioned in the X500 dedicated article I would like to say a few words about the only AF film camera I used and still use.
In fact I made my … of a SLR system about three ? yeas ago. The reason of my disappointment came because the luck of Pentax AF lenses and their price that sky rocketed. Although I liked much my K100D I needed a system where I can find easier lenses and at better prices. Because its ergonomy is closer to the Pentax’s finally a choose Nikon and not Canon. As what the model concerns I choose the F80 (N80 in the US). Together with the AF-D 50mm lens it costed me around 250 US dollars.
The first impression that the F80 brought is a quite good build quality. On par with my K100D but with the controls of a enthusiast level SLR camera like the presence of TWO control dials instead of just one. At about 520 grams, it weights just a little over a Pentax MX but it sports a “classic” like modern dSLR grip. It fits my hand perfectly and I can use it without any problem only with one hand. unlike Pentax, Nikon has is lens unlock button on the opposite side and requires a different technique while changing lenses. The viewfinder is I thing as the majority of its contemporaries. It covers only 92%. That would count as a minus. Further must mentioned that besides the two control dials, the F80 has also a top LCD and a direct AF mode lever, and a metering mode dial too. As a plus there is on the back the four way focus point control pad and the AE lock and/or AF lock button. Very handy.
I must mention that this camera has the most quieter shutter of all SLRs and dSLRs. It is silky smooth and with minimal vibrations. Only the film advance motor makes a little bit more noise.
What can be considered as a plus is that the F80 works perfectly with newer AF-S G lenses and with VR equipped lenses too. So you gain a better compatibility although not like with the F100 which has metering capabilities with older F-Nikon manual focus lenses.
In what regards the cons, I put in here the weaker AF system. Yes, it is older but also slower like the one in the F100. Two, it uses two CR123 batteries. It can be used to expose pretty many rolls of film but they are also more expensive like the ones usd by the F100 (four AAs). There is though a way around this. F80 has a battery grip that uses four AAs. Of course, this will add some bulk to the entire kit. Third, when you finish the film roll, the camera will wind the entire film back in the cartridge without leaving about 2 centimeters out of it (to be easier to roll the film on the reel for developing it).
Not many cons and not very important I would say. Until this day, in 2017, I didn’t encounter a camera (SLR or not, digital or film) which has a better design for my hands in what the grip, the controls, the weight, the dimensions concerns. So, to me, the F80 is the closest to perfection 😉