Photograghy News,Reviews

Friday, December 02, 2005

Canon PowerShot S80

CNET Review

Canon's latest PowerShot S-series flagship, the 8-megapixel PowerShot S80, stands out just about every way you look at it. It's a fun little camera that packs a wallop in terms of features, performance, and photo quality. Its automatic-exposure modes and intelligent processing will impress casual shooters who want good images without a lot of fuss. Its manual controls and advanced features will provide enjoyment for fiddling amateurs. And its big 2.5-inch LCD, elegant good looks, and excellent build quality will please any shooter.


This camera is packed with useful photographic features, and it looks great, too. The Canon PowerShot S80 is attractive and sturdy, covered in glossy-black aluminum with a matte-silver trim and textured black-rubber accents that not only look classy but help improve your grip. The panels and the doors fit snugly, and the camera's density just screams quality. The S80 isn't as small as the ultrathin models out there, but it will easily fit in a jacket or a loose pants pocket. Simultaneously justifying and belying the camera's size are a big 2.5-inch LCD plus an optical viewfinder, which is a rare combination these days. While the ultrathins tend to have those big LCDs, they're usually too small to accommodate viewfinders as well.

The camera's controls are fairly easy to understand, though some icons may send you to the instruction manual. Useful touches include a four-way switch that also doubles as a scrollwheel, à la the iPod, and a shortcut button that you can program to control image size, white balance, colour mode, metering mode, or autoexposure lock, among other settings. For a photographer trying to work in a quickly changing situation, this button can help keep that once-in-a-lifetime shot from getting away. Other quick-access settings are drive mode, ISO sensitivity, autofocus point, flash mode, macro mode, and manual-focus mode. Unfortunately, switching the control wheel from aperture adjustment to shutter-speed adjustment in manual-exposure mode requires an extra button push. When you do need to invoke menus, Canon has made it as clear a process as possible. Captions accompany cryptic icons, and the LCD's large size makes reading the menus easier.


Like its predecessors, the Canon PowerShot S80 is packed with features for both casual shooters and more advanced amateurs. It incorporates the same f/2.8-to-f/5.3, 28mm-to-100mm (35mm equivalent) lens as the PowerShot S70. The lens is on the slow side and doesn't offer a very high zoom range, but it provides a relatively wide-angle focal length.

We miss uncompressed image formats such as TIFF and raw, which would take advantage of the camera's 8-megapixel sensor. Other features, however, work to compensate. Three exposure modes include a spot mode for more precise control and a well-designed evaluative mode that handles backlighting and mixed lighting very well. A noise-reduction algorithm automatically kicks in for exposures longer than 1.3 seconds, but unfortunately the effect is subtle. It also doubles processing time, and you can't disable it.

For tinkerers, the Canon PowerShot S80 offers some interesting colour tools. Though not entirely practical they are fun without being too cheesy, and are certainly better than the hokey frames and the preset captions many other cameras offer. In Colour Accent mode, every colour in the frame except one the user selects is converted to black and white, for that hand-painted look. Colour Swap mode replaces one selected colour with another -- turn that green apple red or that red light green (not to endorse insurance fraud!). Users can also customise the camera's colour palette by adjusting the individual red, green, and blue channels or a special Skin Tone channel.

Those interested in shooting short movies with the Canon PowerShot S80 will appreciate the full-motion VGA mode, at 640x480 pixels and 30 frames per second (fps), and the less common 1,024x768-pixel mode, at 15fps.

The S80 caters to underwater photographers with a special white-balance setting and an optional waterproof housing. For creative enthusiasts, it also has an optional wireless external flash and optional wide and telephoto add-on lenses.


Thanks to its Digic II processor and some savvy programming, the Canon PowerShot S80 is a snappy performer in the right places, beating many competitors and higher-end models in several speed tests. The S80 takes only 2.8 seconds to snap your first shot after start-up, and while its shutter lag of 0.7 second in good light isn't notable, its ability to maintain that speed under low-contrast lighting is quite impressive. Its upgraded autofocus sensor is probably responsible for its good low-contrast performance. Canon claims the S80 is one stop more sensitive than its predecessor, the S70. Despite a sluggish continuous-shooting rate (between 1fps and 1.3fps), the S80 has a whip-fast shot-to-shot time, firing off two frames in 0.7 second -- 1.4 seconds with flash.

The S80 performs quickly and responsively when you're navigating and changing menu settings, reviewing shots, or formatting memory cards. It doesn't just sprint, either. It's also great over the long haul, with its proprietary lithium-ion battery providing excellent battery life. We took more than 1,000 top-resolution shots on a full charge, half of them with flash, with about 100 full zooms and 10 power-downs in between -- the battery-level indicator didn't even change.

The big 2.5-inch LCD could be brighter, but it refreshes quickly and renders colours accurately. The tiny optical viewfinder lacks diopter adjustment for people who need eyesight correction, but optical viewfinders are rare on big-LCD digital cameras anyway. Manual focus is difficult: the S80 automatically magnifies the view in manual-focus mode, but the LCD image is too grainy for the task.

LetsGoDgital Review

Canon Powershot S80 digital camera introduction : Canon releases the 8.0 Megapixel Canon S80, the new flagship to its S-Series PowerShot range. The Canon Powershot S80's rich feature set includes a wide-angle 28-100 mm f/2.8-5.3 (3.6x) optical zoom lens incorporating Canon’s UA lens technology, the same DIGIC II processor found in Canon’s professional series digital SLRs and an oversize 2.5-inch LCD. A striking, contemporary finish complements the compact body of the camera, which is considerably smaller than its predecessor, the S70. For the first time in a digital compact, an EOS-style Multi Control Dial is introduced to allow quick setting of menu and shooting functions, as well as rapid scroll through images during playback.

Canon S80 digital camera

Advanced features include real-time histogram display, FlexiZone AF/AE with a freely movable focus point and manual focus override, 21 shooting modes, XGA quality video clips up to 1 GB in size and a new and improved user interface with a newly designed and positioned mode dial. "The Canon S80 digital camera provides those serious about photography with uncompromising specifications,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. “Its futuristic and compact design symbolises Canon’s commitment to pushing the limits of what is possible in this important segment.”

Canon Powershot S80 - Quality build and Optics

The sleek-looking Canon S80 has been redesigned to give it a solid, high quality build and a more ergonomic, compact body that is over 8% smaller than its predecessor, despite the camera’s improved performance. Its 28 - 100mm f/2.8-5.3 (3.6x) optical zoom lens features Canon’s advanced UA (Ultra High Refractive Index Aspherical) lens technology, which allows for true wide-angle capability without increasing camera size. The focal length range expands to approximately 22.4 - 200mm with the new optional wide and tele-converter lenses.

Canon S80 camera - 8 Megapixels and DIGIC II

With a sensor that includes a massive 8.0 Megapixels, the Powershot S80 camera produces images for detailed A3+ size prints, and gives photographers more freedom to crop images. Canon’s advanced image processor, DIGIC II, has been incorporated to increase the camera’s speed and responsiveness, while also improving image quality. Auto focus speeds are now up to 20% faster, and focusing performance in low light has improved by around 1 stop, offering better control in dim conditions. DIGIC II drives a 1.8 frames per second continuous shooting speed, and supports 9-point AiAF for fast, accurate focusing even when subjects are not centred. FlexiZone AF/AE allows free scrolling anywhere within the frame's auto focus area to select the desired subject, for which exposure is weighted accordingly. Manual focus selection is also possible. Hi-Speed USB 2.0 compatibility offers faster communication with computers, speeding up file transfers.

Canon Powershot digital camera - High level control and easy

The camera’s smaller size has not compromised ease of use. A new large 2.5-inch LCD is adjustable to one of 15 brightness levels and has a Quick-bright function to facilitate shooting in sunny conditions. A real-time histogram, which appears on the LCD monitor, has been incorporated to allow the user to evaluate exposure easily when composing. The selectable grid line display helps with composition and leveling horizons. With a newly designed user interface, the Canon S80 offers faster and more intuitive operation. The Multi Control Dial allows quick setting of menu and shooting functions, as well as rapid scroll through images during playback. Conveniently, the mode dial is now positioned so it can be better viewed when composing shots. The camera’s Shortcut function increases flexibility by allowing the Print/Share button to be assigned to any one of a wide range of still image or movie shooting setting functions. For enhanced image review, the jump to folder button now allows jumping to the first image of specified folders. Folders can be defined to be created automatically as specified by the user, for example on a weekly basis, and now has a capacity of up to 2000 images per folder.


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker