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Online Photography Course
The Nikon D80 Camera

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: The Nikon D80 CameraLearn how to use the Nikon D80's various features and functions to best effect. This unique 4-week online course - taught by photographer and author Simon Stafford - is devoted to this exciting new SLR camera - successor to the hugely successful D70-series cameras.
Key Features

  1. File Formats, Metering, and Exposure
  2. Custom Settings & Control of Color
  3. Creative Control
  4. Accessories

  • Beginner to Serious Hobbyist.
  • Discover how to derive the most from your Nikon D80 camera.
  • Understand the features and functions of your camera to help you use it effectively. Learn about the settings and techniques you can use for creative photography with your D80 camera.

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Simon  Stafford Simon Stafford
Simon Stafford first became interested in photography while a university student. Completely self-taught, he talked his way into a job as the photographer for the university's weekly newspaper and has been shooting pictures ever since. His photographs have been used widely in newspapers, books, calendars, and magazines, and he has also enjoyed numerous successes in many photographic competitions.

Simon has built up a wealth of experience over the past thirty years in both film and digital photography. Throughout his photographic career he has used the Nikon system extensively, adopting digital photography at an early stage with the release of the Nikon D1 camera during 1999; he has being using digital cameras exclusively since 2004. He completed his first book, The Nikon Compendium, during 2003. With nearly 400 pages and Simon's own extensive photography of Nikon cameras, Nikkor lenses, and Nikon system accessories, it represents a comprehensive history of the Nikon system for the user and collector alike. He has also written over twenty books on the Nikon camera system for the Magic Lantern Guide series, published by Sterling Publishing.

He is involved in a wide variety of photographic projects, which include leading his own photographic workshops and, tutoring workshops for Tatra Photography, contributing illustrated articles to leading U.K. photography magazines, he is also Technical Editor to Nikon Owner magazine.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: File formats, Metering, and Exposure
Topics include:

  • A discussion on the principal attributes of Raw & JPEG files, and when to use them.
  • Learn how each metering mode (Matrix, centre-weighted, and spot metering) works, and when to apply them to ensure you achieve the best possible exposure.
  • Understand how adjusting the sensitivity (ISO equivalent) setting on your camera influences the metering system, and affects final image quality.
  • Learn how to take control of your camera, and have the confidence to ditch the ‘point and shoot’ program modes!
  • Learn how to override automatic exposure control, and appreciate how manual exposure can help you express your creative vision.
  • Understand how to interpret the histogram display.

Assignment: Demonstrate control of exposure by shooting a picture of a subject with very light tones, and another with very dark tones.

Lesson 2: Custom Settings & Control of Color
Topics include:

  • The custom setting menu allows you to configure your camera so it operates just as you want it to. Explore what these settings do and how to use them to best effect.
  • Understanding the concept of colour temperature, how it applies to the white balance control, and its use for technical and creative purposes.
  • An explanation of color mode, and how appropriate selection depends on the intended use of your pictures.

Assignment: Shoot a scene lit by daylight, and another lit by artificial light using automatic white balance, and a pre-set white balance value.

Lesson 3: Creative Command
Topics include:

  • Learn how to select shutter speed and lens aperture values for creative purposes (including a description of the panning technique).
  • A discussion on the effective supports you can use for your camera, including hand holding techniques, tripods, and others.
  • Understand when and how to use auto-focus (AF), including the various AF options, and identify those situations where manual focus may be preferable, or even necessary.

Assignment: Shoot a moving subject and a static subject to show creative use of shutter speed and lens aperture.

Lesson 4: Accessories
Topics include:

  • Lenses: choosing and using different focal lengths (fixed and ‘zoom’ types), vibration reduction (VR) lenses, and the advantages of wide aperture lenses.
  • Flash: a discussion on using an external Nikon Speedlight flash, why taking the taking the flash off camera is often a good idea, and how to apply the fill-flash technique.
  • General accessories: batteries, remote release, close-up lens, right-angle viewer, and memory cards.

Assignment: Shoot a picture to show either the creative use of a lens, or flash.

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 



  • Either a Nikon D80 camera, or a desire to learn about and/or own one.
  • A working knowledge of basic camera controls and some shooting experience.
  • Any image editing software that can open and process image files produced by the D80.



Can I take this class even if I don't own a Nikon D80 SLR camera?
Yes, although the course lessons and the assignments are geared toward assisting current owners, anyone with an interest in either camera model is welcome to sign up.  

Do I need any particular software program to take this course?
No, the course will concentrate on the camera, its features, functions and controls, together with accessories such as lenses, and flash units. You are free to use whatever image editing software you are familiar with to prepare pictures prior to posting them for critique. 

I already own a Nikon D80 camera and I am getting good results. Why should I take this course?
If you are 100-percent satisfied with the camera and the images you are producing, you may not need to take this course. However, if you wish to become more proficient in using your D80, have specific questions about its features and functions, or are experiencing problems with some aspects of its operation, this course can help.  

The D80 is a mid-range camera packed full of features; I do not want to be overwhelmed, so what skill level is required?
All you need is a basic working knowledge of camera controls and some shooting experience. If you do encounter a problem, you will have ample opportunity to discuss it with the instructor.

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

Still have questions about this course? Ask Us

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At a Glance
4-Week Short Course
Category: CameraCourses

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Read all 30 reviews

Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Julia B. Ardon
Julia B. Ardon
member since: 9/4/2010
This class was awesome! I really enjoyed the layout of the Lessons and they were very easy to follow. The instructor was wonderful at getting back to me with emailed questions, and the feedback on the photos I took was wonderful. He was he shared a lot of helpful knowledge and the critiques were always encouraging. I look forward to taking more classes through Thank you Simon for a very enjoyable experience.

- 1/26/2011 5:00:18 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Marian Peirce
member since: 6/28/2010
Living in rural Ontario, it was difficult for me to take courses and get the instruction I wanted - firstly, on how to use my Nikon D80 and secondly, how to improve my photographic ability. is the perfect solution. I thoroughly enjoyed the Nikon D80 course instructed by Simon Stafford. His comments about my assignment pictures were helpful and timely. Thank you very much. I will definately take more courses through

- 8/3/2010 4:03:14 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Sherrie A. Helms
member since: 3/2/2010
Simon's lessons are great, and he is always quick to throughly answer any questions that are asked. This was my first BetterPhoto class, and I was so pleased to see that Simon's critique of my pictures was very clear and helpful... Always offering tips on how to improve, as well as pointing out the positives aspects of each shot. Thanks Simon, and I look forward to taking another class with you soon.

- 4/5/2010 7:56:49 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
Russell York
member since: 4/18/2009
Very educational and many good tips and suggestions on how to optimize the use of your camera. Excellent critiques of your photos and lessons. I would recommend this course for all serious photographers.

- 6/22/2009 5:35:11 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Keyla O. Sanders
Keyla O. Sanders
member since: 9/21/2008
It was a good course I learned a lot.

- 1/29/2009 6:50:34 PM

Read all 30 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"I LOVED the course... Simon has been most helpful and very prompt and generous with his answers. I have learned about controls on my camera and techniques that I would have never known had I not taken this class... Thanks, Simon!" -Cindy Hensley, student in Simon Stafford's D70-series class 

"Simon is a wealth of knowledge but his instruction extends well beyond the mechanics of the D70 with every assignment designed to encourage artistry and suggest how that may be approached with the use of the weekly learnings. His critiques are insightful, clear and specific." - Robert Olsen, student in Simon Stafford's Nikon D70-series course 

"Simon's lessons are very well laid-out and extremely detailed, with lots of supporting photos for each topic. ... Not only did he explain the mechanics of the camera, but he gave detailed explanations on the features and when to use and when not to use them. There was a lot of information that one would not find in the manual. ... Simon was awesome, and gave very, very prompt replies and detailed explanations to any questions submitted. His critiques were always very thoughtful and insightful." -Beth Ross 

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