We tested the color performance of the Canon A80 using Imatest Imaging Software and an industry standard GretagMacbeth color chart. The software allows us to measure how accurate the color reproduction of the A80 is. In the picture bellow, the outer squares are the colors produced by the Canon A80, the inner squares are a error corrected version by Imatest, and the small vertical rectangle in the center is the ideal color of the GretagMacbeth chart.
The below graph is a representation of the color reproduction of the Canon A80. The circles represent the colors produced by the A80, and the squares represent the ideal color of the chart, or what the camera should be reproducing. The greater distance between the circle and the square, the greater the error of the camera.
The mean saturation score on the Canon PowerShot A80 is 114.7%. This may seem high, but before you write this camera off you need to understand that almost all digital cameras, especially point-and-shoots, will over-saturate color to create a bolder, more lively image. Even the highly praised Canon Digital Rebel received a saturation number of 111%.
The Canon PowerShot A80 performed well in our color evaluation, keeping in line with Canon's good reputation for color accuracy. If you look at our graph the pink and red tone over-saturation (#'s 9 and 15) is no surprise, considering the appealing skin tones that these colors produce. This is common across the board with digital cameras. Aside from a few extremely accurate color tones (#5 and to some extent #3) the Canon PowerShot A80 produced consistent results, straying from the ideal slightly on each color, but not enough to cause alarm or reason to discount the camera as a good image producer. There has yet to be a camera with perfect results for each color tile.
Still Life Scene
The below tableau is our standard still life image which we photograph with every still camera:
Clicking on the above image will open a full resolution version in a new window (CAUTION: The linked image is very large)](../viewer.php?picture=Canon-A80_reallifebig.jpg)
Resolution / Sharpness*(2.73)*
While advertised pixels are a formal gage of the camera's performance, when tested in Imatest there tends to be a large discrepancy between the 'real' pixel count and the manufacturer’s reported pixels. When run through the Imatest software an examined, an image with a score of 70-80% of the suggested pixel count is considered a good scorer while 80-90% is very good and anything beyond 90% is excellent.
The Canon A80 received a real resolution score of 2.73 real pixels. While this appears to be a relatively small number of pixels, the actual recorded image at the highest resolution is 2272 x 1704, giving the A80 3.87 pixels recorded by the manufacturer at the camera's highest quality. Although the camera's marketing materials report the camera to be 4 megapixels of resolution, the 2.73 'real pixels' recorded by the A80 is actually a good score, containing 70.4% of the manufacturer stated pixel count.
**Noise - Auto ISO ***(5.68)
*For a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon A80 fortunately contains four manual ISO selections. While this is seen as a necessary feature for some, many users select the portable A80 for its compact frame and seamless automatic responses. For the point-and-shoot user, the camera’s ability to make rapid, accurate adjustments is vital. Automatic ISO adjustment is one of the functions that will factor into the image’s quality and illumination. The camera’s ISO rating will determine the exposure and clarity of the frame. The A80 handled automatic ISO adjustments decently, providing well exposed images with some degree of noise throughout. The images were not as clear as many users might expect from a Canon 4.0 megapixel camera and this proves to be a major deterrent in purchasing the $300 A80.
Noise - Manual ISO*(3.82)*
When manual control of ISO is available, we test each of the ISO ratings using Imatest software to get a numeric value for the visible noise in each image. We take these values and put them into a regression analysis to get an overall noise score. The graph below is a visual representation of the individual ISO settings and the resulting noise from the Canon A80. The horizontal X-axis is a plotting of the ISO ratings, while the vertical axis is the amount of noise.
From the graph, it is clear that the Canon A80 provides adequate resolution and clarity at ISO speeds of 100 or below. The problem is that 100 is an extremely slow ISO rating. This is acceptable for well lit scenes and exterior day shooting; however, once the clouds roll in or the camera is taken inside, an ISO speed of 100 will no longer do the trick. This will prove to be a problem with the Canon A80 when the ISO will have to be pushed to 200 or 400. While 400 is not an extremely high ISO rating, it is the highest option the A80 gives you. This is detrimental to the A80 user because the camera will need additional lighting to get a proper exposure in moderately lit situations, and its 400 ISO rating produces images fraught with noise and distortion.
Speed / Timing
Start-up to First Shot:*(6.7)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 start-up time was noticeably slow compared to other cameras of this class, taking approximately 3.3 seconds from start-up to first shot.
Shot to Shot Time:*(7.85)*
This camera tested better in its shot-to-shot timing. The Canon PowerShot A80 took approximately 2.15 seconds to register an image and take another one.
Shutter to Shot Time:*(6.74)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 did impressively well in shutter to shot time, which is the lag time in between pressing the shutter and taking a picture. When the camera was zoomed out it took 1.13 seconds and took a very impressive 0.6 seconds to take an image when in telephoto mode.
The front of the Canon PowerShot A80 is predominantly taken up by the lens, with the ring release button located near its bottom right. The lens of the Canon PowerShot A80 is interchangeable with three other Canon lenses capable of shooting wide angle, telephoto, and macro images beyond the regular capabilities of the camera. At the top center of the Canon PowerShot A80, located above the lens, the user will discover the optical viewfinder window, and directly to its right, the AF-assist beam, red-eye/self-timer lamp, and finally in the upper left corner, the flash bulb. Barely visible, the microphone for the Canon PowerShot A80 is represented as two small points nestled between the ring for the lens and the viewfinder window.
The back of the Canon PowerShot A80 features an LCD monitor, which consumes most of the left-hand side of the camera. The monitor can be flipped from its recessed position on the body of the camera on a 180-degree post, allowing for viewing by both subject and user of the Canon PowerShot A80. It is also possible to turn the monitor into the body of the Canon PowerShot A80 when not in use, saving the screen from scratching or other accidental damages that could potentially occur during transportation and storage.
Above the LCD monitor is the optical viewfinder, which is minuscule and hardly functional. It makes more sense to use the LCD monitor to frame the shot. To the viewfinder's right the user of the Canon PowerShot A80 will discover the mode switch, along with the combined flash/macro button which is combined with the right/left/up/down button options for in-menu choices. Located beneath these features are the function and display buttons. Beneath the LCD monitor are the slightly raised set and menu buttons. To the left of these buttons is the DC in port, which is covered by a flexible rubber tab.
There is not much to the left side of the Canon PowerShot A80. The LCD monitor hinge spills over from the back as well as part of the flexible rubber terminal cover masking the A/V out terminal and the digital terminal for the camera.
**Right Side ***(7.0)*
The right side of the Canon PowerShot A80 holds the compartment for the CF card, as well as the wrist strap attachment feature located at the top of the digital camera. The CF compartment is opened by a small grooved tab slightly raised from the plastic body of the camera, and it is at times difficult to open properly and comfortably due to its minimal height.
The shutter button and zoom lever ring are both located on the top right side of the Canon PowerShot A80, with the shooting mode dial resting directly behind and to the left of this feature. Further to the left of these options sits the recessed on/off button, and to the right of the shooting mode dial, the user will discover the self-contained speaker for the Canon PowerShot A80.
The optical viewfinder on the Canon PowerShot A80 is a glass piece recessed into the body of the camera. By centering the primary subject within the metering brackets of the viewfinder, the auto focus of the Canon PowerShot A80 will become engaged. The viewfinder can be a useful tool when trying to conserve power by turning off the LCD, but in most cases it is too small for comfortable use. The viewfinder can also pose a problem when trying to carefully compose an image. The actual picture taken by the camera is somewhat larger than what is seen through the viewfinder (which only shows about 75-90% of the image), so in cases where you care about details the LCD screen is the best device to use.
Canon’s PowerShot A80’s LCD screen is 1.5" x 1" with a very unimpressive 67,000 pixel resolution. The LCD monitor can be used in the following positions: opened right to left 180 degrees, tilted forward 180 degrees towards the lens, or backwards 90 degrees, and the LCD monitor can be viewed by extending to the left and turning 180 degrees, and returned to the body of the camera, screen facing outwards. The LCD monitor for the Canon PowerShot A80 can be automatically turned off when the screen clicks into the body facing towards the camera.
The flash for the Canon PowerShot A80 is a built-in option located on the front of the camera, in the upper left-hand corner. The flash button is the lightning symbol in the upper quadrant of the four-way command button grouping located on the back of the Canon PowerShot A80. It is possible within the flash menu to choose between flash on, flash off, flash on with red-eye reduction, auto, and auto with red-eye reduction. According to Canon the PowerShot A80 has a flash range that extends from 1.5 ft. - 16.5 ft. at a wide angle and 1.5 ft. - 8.2 ft. at telephoto.
**Zoom Lens ***(6.0)*
Once the LCD monitor has been opened, the user of the Canon PowerShot A80 must depress the display button. Once engaged the macro element can be accessed by pressing the down quadrant of the four-way command button, symbolized by an opened tulip. When the shutter is partially depressed the yellow light beside the viewfinder will become lit, and shooting can proceed in the same fashion as the regular Auto format.
The 3X optical zoom on the Canon PowerShot A80 is maneuvered by a ring surrounding the shutter button located on the top of the digital camera. It is capable of adjusting from 38mm to 114mm settings equivalent to those on a 35mm camera. By sliding the lever to the left the wide angle option is possible; by sliding the lever to the right, the telephoto capability is used. This function, common in many Canon cameras, is a nice feature for zooming in quickly. With some digital cameras you’re forced to shift your grip and fumble before you can access the zoom. With the Canon PowerShot A80 you can slide your trigger finger a few millimeters and you’re ready to zoom. The delay on the LCD monitor between actual engagement of the zoom lever and the image on the LCD screen is a noticeable lag time, causing a prolonged period between adjustments and shooting an image.
To engage the digital zoom option within the Canon PowerShot A80, the user must first open the LCD monitor and then press the DISP button. The camera must be in the Rec menu to engage the manual zoom feature, and once these steps are completed, the digital zoom option must be highlighted and the menu button depressed to engage. I would not recommend even using the digital zoom option because it produces images that have a much lower resolution than the camera can produce otherwise.
Model Design / Appearance*(6.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 has a silver and gray toned body with a boxy design. It’s an impressive looking camera, but I would not classify it as sexy or hip as its design is much more functional than fashionable. The handgrip located on the right side protrudes from the camera body and is composed of a slightly darker gray plastic. This feature is nice for handling, but not for style. The Canon PowerShot A80 is quite a bit thicker than many cameras in its class (such as the Pentax Optio S4i and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC43), making it a bit more awkward looking than the other cameras. Canon definitely didn’t put much importance in creating a trendy camera with aerodynamic features, but not everyone is concerned with those details. When it comes down to logical features and smart design the Canon PowerShot A80 does a fine job holding its own in the market.
Size / Portability*(6.5)*
The Canon PowerShot A80’s dimensions are 4.1" x 2.5" x 1.4" (103.1 x 64.6 x 34.7 mm) with a total volume of 14.35 in³. Its size and reversible LCD screen allow it to be slid into a front pocket (with a fair amount of sagging) or nestled in the palm of the user’s hand. However, it’s not small enough to pass the jeans pocket test unless you wear the baggy kind. The PowerShot A80 is a pretty solid camera, weighing 8.8 oz without its four double AA batteries. This makes it slightly more awkward to carry for longer amounts of time. Most people will probably opt to buy a padded carrying case for this camera, making the camera less easy to tote around than some other point-and-shoot models.
**Handling Ability ***(7.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 has an adjustable LCD screen that flips out from the body of the digital camera and rotates for viewing whether you’re in front of or in back of the lens. It also cleanly snaps back into its original recessed position. The swivel component only works in certain directions, allowing for the possibility of damage during quick monitor adjustments. The size of the handgrip on the Canon PowerShot A80 limits the number of fingers capable of using this feature, especially if you have large fingers. However, this potential downfall is minimized due to small size of the entire digital camera, allowing for it to be comfortably cradled in the user’s hand.
The Canon PowerShot A80 feels solid enough to be safely held one-handed, although it is big enough to engage with two hands to steady it for a specific shot without covering the lens with one's hands. The tripod socket is located in the same position as it is in most manual cameras and could only become an issue if the user attempts to replace batteries while the Canon PowerShot A80 remains attached to a tripod. Otherwise, most on-camera options are logically placed for single-handed operation.
**Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size ***(6.0)*
The buttons on the Canon PowerShot A80 are for the most part clearly labeled with both symbols and text. Their placement is logical in regards to the functionality of the rest of the digital camera. With this in mind there are a few controls that might impede fast shooting ability. The power button is awkward to turn on; the user has to hold it down for a few seconds before the camera is visibly on. This is a pain when you’re in a crunch and need to quickly turn on your camera to take a shot. The smaller size of some of the buttons, such as the mode switch button, may complicate easy or quick handling possibilities as well. Other buttons such as the set and or menu button are located beneath the LCD screen, potentially making it difficult to shoot and adjust simultaneously.
The Canon PowerShot A80 menu options (in both shooting and playback modes) are accessible through the menu button and function button, both located on the back of the camera. When engaged in the menu button screen you can choose between three categories: record menu, set-up, and my camera. Depending on what shooting mode you’re in (options vary according to how much control you choose) the record menu lets you turn on and off the autofocus frame, red-eye, mulitfocus point zoom, AF assist beam, Digital Zoom, Review time, and Reverse Display.
In set-up mode you have the option of switching on and off the mute, auto rotate, and file number reset. You can also change the volume or power saving method; or customize the date and time, CF card format, distance units, language, and video system.
In the My Camera mode the Canon PowerShot A80 gives you a host of fun options to choose from, including a theme image, stage-up image, start-up sound, operation sound, self-timer sound, and shutter sound. This is a somewhat unique feature for those who like all the bells and whistles digital cameras can offer, but personally I wasn’t very interested and found them kind of distracting.
Ease of Use*(8.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80’s success in the market has a lot to do with its straightforward and overall solid design. Although the sheer number of options available is enough to overwhelm many users, Canon doesn’t make you weed through the menus to access the basics. In terms of handling the Canon PowerShot A80 is among the best. You can tell that Canon puts a lot of weight into having buttons and controls that are accessible for all shapes and sizes of fingers. This also applies to the size of the camera; although it’s not the smallest point-and-shoot digital camera on the market it doesn’t have all the space limitations that some of the ultra compact cameras create, such as small cramped buttons, limited space for fingers to rest, and awkward handling ability.
The auto mode of the Canon PowerShot A80 is accessed through the mode dial on the top of the camera. Characteristic of most point-and-shoot cameras, the Canon PowerShot A80 gives the user limited options for adjusting settings. The digital camera’s resolution, compression, and self-timer have multiple settings to fiddle with while the following functions can be turned off and on: flash, red-eye, AF assist beam, macro mode, digital zoom, and auto rotate. The auto mode of the Canon PowerShot A80 convinced me that a digital camera novice could use this camera without difficulty, which is a chief concern for many buyers.
The movie mode in the Canon PowerShot A80, accessed by the mode dial, can shoot movies at either 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 resolution. Once in movie mode you simply press the shutter button and the camera begins shooting and recording sound. Although this is a nice feature to have on a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon PowerShot A80 offers a mediocre 15 fps (frame-per-second) rate, which is pretty low compared to a lot of other cameras in this range that offer 30 fps.
Drive / Burst Mode*(6.5)*
The drive mode of the Canon PowerShot A80 offers two continuous shooting modes: standard and high speed. They are accessed through the function button. Standard mode captures approximately 1.6 frames per second and allows you to view the images as the camera shoots them. This feature obviously slows the rate down, so if you’re really worried about speed the high speed shooting mode is a better option. This doesn’t show you your images until after the burst is finished, but it captures at 2.4 frames per second.
In addition to the different continuous modes, the drive mode features two self-timer options that can be used in any shooting mode. I was a little disappointed that the Canon PowerShot A80 only offered 2 second and 10 second options. 10 seconds is a reasonable amount of time to run from the camera to the scene, but 2 seconds is practically useless. I would like to see more alternatives or possibly the option to assign the time yourself.
The Canon PowerShot A80, like many point-and-shoot Canon digital cameras, has a separate button designated for clicking between shooting and playback modes. The playback mode allows you to display information about the image such as image size, camera settings, date, and a histogram. If you press the function/trash button you can erase images one by one. This is kind of a pain if you’re trying to erase a few images quickly, but if you want to erase the entire card you can select the erase all option in the playback mode menu.
In the Canon PowerShot A80 it’s possible to view multiple images simultaneously on the LCD monitor in playback mode. By pressing the zoom lever located on a ring surrounding the shutter, your images will appear on the LCD in a thumbnail form. The Canon PowerShot A80 allows nine images to be viewed simultaneously, and selection of an image is engaged by using the four-way button grouping. To cancel out of this option, the user merely presses the zoom ring to the far left. To jump nine images forward or back, the zoom lever must be pushed to the right once, and the SET button must be depressed. While holding the SET button, the user will see a jump bar at the bottom of the LCD monitor. To disengage this option, the user merely presses the zoom lever fully to the left; the jump bar disengages, and the original thumbnail options are reinstated.
Within the playback mode of the Canon PowerShot A80, it is possible to zoom into certain sections of a previously shot image, an option that some other point-and-shoot cameras lack and which I personally enjoy. It is possible to move the zoom symbol throughout the LCD screen by using the four-way command buttons located beside the monitor. Once a certain section of the image is within the zoom frame, the user moves the zoom lever to the left, represented symbolically by the magnifying glass. By doing this repeatedly it is possible to magnify 2.5, 5, and 10 times original image. To cancel the magnified image, the user merely slides the lever back to the extreme right, thus canceling out the previous command. Movie frames and index playback images are not capable of using this option at all.
**Custom Image Presets ***(8.5)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 has fourteen shooting modes to choose from, which is very impressive. Canon divides the modes into two zones: creative zone and imaging zone. Automatic mode is left out of these categories because it takes all control from the user. The creative zone, featuring program, shutter speed priority, aperture priority, manual, custom 1, and custom 2 modes, offers the user varying amounts of control and flexibility. The imaging zone assists in capturing specific scenes or accomplishing certain styles; it features portrait, landscape, high scene, fast shutter, slow shutter, stitch assist (panoramic), and movie mode.
The Canon PowerShot A80 has an impressive six effects to choose from, accessed by pressing the function button. The effects include vivid, neutral, low sharpening, sepia, B&W, and no effect. They can be reached in every mode except auto mode. These modes give the user a few fun and easy-to-use options to fit their own style and to make their images a bit more unique.
**Overall Manual Control
**The following sections are accessed through the function button on the Canon PowerShot A80. These manual control options give more flexibility and allow the user to explore a variety of environments and shooting conditions.
The Canon PowerShot A80 gives you the option of using the AiAF system (Artificial Intelligence Auto Focus). When the system is on the Canon PowerShot A80 automatically focuses according to the surrounding conditions based on nine AF frames, which calculate an overall focal range. Canon has a clever way of showing the focused area in green to give you the heads up on how the AiAF will perform. When the AF system is turned off the camera reverts to focusing on the center frame to ensure the center of the image is in focus. The AiAF system is used on most Canon cameras and the nine frame AiAF system on the Canon PowerShot A80 is comparable to Canon’s other point-and-shoot digital cameras on the market.
The manual focus feature of the Canon PowerShot A80 may be engaged by first pressing the DISP button, followed by the MF/down button located within the four-way command grouping on the back of the camera. Once this has been engaged, the MF appears. An approximate figure will be shown, but these numbers should only be used as a guideline rather than as absolute truth. By pressing the SET button within the TV, Av, or M modes of the Canon PowerShot A80, the user can switch quickly and efficiently between aperture, shutter, and MF options. This is a helpful function when you need to make quick setting adjustments.
The Canon PowerShot A80 offers three metering modes: evaluative, center-weighted averaging, and spot metering. Evaluative metering is a standard mode that is probably the most versatile. The camera takes into consideration the subject’s position, background brightness, and direct lighting to make an accurate exposure for the entire scene. Center-weighted averaging takes the exposure for the entire image and averages it, best for backlight situations. The spot metering option exposes the image for the area within the frame in the center of the image. This is probably the most particular mode of the three and will be useful for specific situations.
I was pretty impressed with the accuracy of the metering for all three modes. The camera adjusts itself well and lets you see on the LCD screen how the metering will appear when the image is shot. For hard-to-meter shots this allows you to fiddle a little bit to get it just right.
For situations in which the metering on the Canon PowerShot A80 is not accurate the user has the option of adjusting the exposure of the image. The menu bar activated by the function button allows the user to increase or decrease the image exposure in 1/3 increments ranging from -2 to +2.
White Balance* (8.0)
*The White Balance options for the Canon PowerShot A80 may be discovered within the same Function menu as the ISO feature. Located second from the top upon the LCD monitor, the user is allowed to choose among a list of seven white balance potentialities: auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, and custom. This is a pretty comprehensive list for a camera of this caliber. I was pleased to see that the Canon PowerShot A80 included custom white balance, an option that I feel all cameras with a white balance selection should include.
*The ISO option on the Canon PowerShot A80 is used primarily to reduce camera movement, when increasing a shutter speed, or when turning the flash off in dark conditions. To access the ISO option the user of the Canon PowerShot A80 must press the function button located below the four-way command button located on the back of the camera. Using the up/down options upon the four-way command button, the user can select the ISO speed option. Choices are auto, 50, 100, 200, and 400. This is okay for a point-and-shoot camera but won’t be too helpful in low light situations. If you’re going to be in a dark space you should resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to have to use a flash. If you’re flash happy, all the better, but if you’re a fan of ambient light I might suggest a higher-end camera.
The Canon PowerShot A80 offers a competitive shutter speed range of 15 seconds to 1/2000 of a second, allowing the user to take both long exposure shots in low light situations and capture fast moving objects such as people in sports events. This is a pleasing feature that is not as comprehensive in many other point-and-shoot cameras. Shutter speed can be adjusted in manual mode and shutter priority mode (Tv), both accessed through the shooting mode dial. The shutter speed can be chosen through the onscreen menu by pressing the left/right buttons of the four-way command button.
The aperture ranges from f/2.8 - f/8.0 at a wide angle to f/4.9 — f/8.0 at telephoto. Other than through manual mode, the aperture for the Canon PowerShot A80 may be set within aperture priority mode (Av). The aperture value will appear upon the LCD screen when this option is selected, and the value can be chosen by using the right/left buttons of the four-way command grouping located on the back of the Canon PowerShot A80.
Picture Quality / Size Options*(7.5)*
The picture quality options on board the Canon PowerShot A80 are superfine, fine, and normal. They are reached through the function button. The resolution option has the following options: large (2272 x 1704 pixels), medium 1 (1600 x 1200 pixels), medium 2 (1024 x 768), and small(640 x 480 pixels), which is pretty standard for a 4 megapixel camera.
Movies can be shot in two formats: 320 x 240 or 160 x 120. This is not too impressive, but for a camera like this you could hardly expect more. If movies are your thing, don’t buy a 4 megapixel point-and-shoot.
Pictures Effects Mode*(7.5)*
Most point-and-shoot cameras give users the option to play with their images to give them a little bit of edge. This is nice for users who want something a bit different without having to tweak the image too much. The Canon PowerShot A80 gives the user the option of choosing from vivid color, neutral color, low sharpening, sepia, and black-and-white. Many compact cameras on the market only offer sepia and black-and-white options; Canon goes above and beyond in this category.
*The Canon PowerShot A80 camera is packaged with two image and movie viewing software CDs. Canon’s own Digital Camera Solution Version 14.0, compatible for both Macintosh and Windows computers, offers ImageBrowser/ZoomBrowser, PhotoRecord, and PhotoStitch. This software is great for image and video viewing, general image editing, and panoramic stitching. ArcSoft Camera Suite 1.2 (also for Macs and PCs) offers PhotoImpression 4.0 and VideoImpression 1.7, good for organization and simple editing. Canon obviously made an attempt to provide users with a variety of editing options without increasing the price of the package too much by including a much pricier software like Adobe Photoshop (which is included in some more advanced Canon packages such as the Canon EOS Digital Rebel).
Jacks, ports, plugs*(6.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 has an audio/video terminal for easy connection to a television using the supplied AVC-DC100 A/V cable. It also has a DIGITAL terminal for connection to a computer (with the supplied USB interface cable IFC-300PCU) or to a direct print compatible printer (available for purchase separately).
Direct Print Options*(6.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 is compatible with PictBridge, Exif Print, DPOF, Direct Print, and Bubble Jet Direct printing systems, an array of options for at-home digital printing. Canon has an impressive line of digital printers that are very affordable and easy to use. Within the playback mode of the camera you can designate the image you want to print, the number of prints, type of print (standard, index, or both), and whether or not the file number or date should appear on the print.
The Canon PowerShot A80 uses a CompactFlash memory card (Type 1), which is among the more common storage units used by digital cameras. The widespread use of the CF makes it easy to swap among people and other cameras, and it’s good to know that it’s a trusted media type. It is also quite large compared to some of the tiny media types and is less likely to get lost by falling through cracks or holes in pockets.
**Other Features ***(6.0)*
The Canon PowerShot A80 is set apart from many point-and-shoot digital cameras because of its ability to support lens converters. Using a separately sold conversion lens adapter (LC-DC52D), the Canon PowerShot A80 can support the Wide Converter WC-DC5A, Tele-converter TC-DC52, and Close-up Lens 250D for increased lens capability.
The Canon PowerShot A80 is pretty comparable to others in its genre, but I don’t feel that there are any major qualities that set it above and beyond the rest. That said, there are an impressive amount of things that can be done with digital cameras of this class and $299 is a great price for what you are getting.
***Canon PowerShot A75 *--The Canon PowerShot A80 is one step up in the PowerShot line from the previous Canon PowerShot A75 released earlier in 2004. Although the two cameras are very similar in design, style, and appearance, there are some notable difference between the two. One of the most common things to compare right away when looking at digital camera models is megapixel count. The Canon PowerShot A80 provides more image possibilities with its 4.1 megapixels (highest resolution 2272 x 1704 pixels) to the A75’s 3.2 megapixels (highest resolution 2048 x 1536). Another significant difference is the LCD screen. The Canon PowerShot A75’s 1.8" stationary LCD screen is replaced by a not-so-impressive 1.5" screen on the PowerShot A80; however, the catch is that the A80’s LCD screen can pull out and rotate. The Canon PowerShot A75 is also slightly smaller and lighter, but if you’re looking for a small camera I would look at a different style all together. When it comes down to it, if you’re deciding between the Canon PowerShot A75 or Canon PowerShot A80 I would suggest an upgrade in megapixel count. It gives you better image quality, and that’s what it ultimately comes down to for most users.
*Olympus Stylus 410 --*The Canon PowerShot A80 is in the lower middle range of point-and-shoot cameras at $299. In the Olympus line the Stylus 410 is similar to the Canon PowerShot A80 with a comparable 4.0 megapixel count. Measuring at 3.9 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches (11.15 in³) and weighing 7.1 oz, the Olympus Stylus 410 is significantly smaller and lighter than the Canon PowerShot A80 and slightly more attractive with a sleeker exterior. The all-weather splash proof design combined with a smaller size makes the Olympus Stylus 410 perfect for portability, but it comes with a slightly higher price tag of around $349. If its portability you’re worried about go for a smaller model than the Canon PowerShot A80. However, the LCD screen is a perk that some people will want to spring for.
*Kodak EasyShare DX6440 --*Another 4.0 megapixel digital camera comparable to the Canon PowerShot A80 is the Kodak EasyShare DX6440, selling for around $309. This point-and-shoot camera has a slightly larger body than the Canon PowerShot A80, measuring 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in. (16.77 in³), but weighs the same 9.5 oz. While it is not what I would call a fun jeans-pocket camera, the Kodak EasyShare DX6440 has some winning qualities that might be of interest. For example, the LCD screen on all Kodak products is visible both in and out of doors, eliminating the annoying solarizing effect that digital cameras often have. The LCD screen on the Kodak EasyShare DX6440 is also a much more impressive 1.8 inches at 134,000 pixels as opposed to the Canon PowerShot A80’s 67,000! Although the features on this camera are generally similar to the Canon PowerShot A80, Kodak also sets itself apart by featuring a professional-quality Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon lens with a 4x optical zoom. This is pretty impressive for a camera in this price range. If you’re okay spending a few extra bucks and carrying around a little more bulk, the Kodak EasyShare DX6440 offers some impressive features that aren’t available in the Canon PowerShot A80.
*Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC43-- *Another similar camera in this range is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC43, running for around $259.99. Panasonic released this camera with speed and image quality in mind and it has been able to compete well in both categories. Using the Venus Engine LSI processor, the continuous shooting mode of the Lumix DMC-LC43 captures an impressive 4 fps (frames per second), putting the Canon PowerShot A80’s mere 2.4 fps to shame! It has a total volume of 12.84 in³ while measuring 3.8 x 2.6 x 1.3 in. and weighing 7.6 oz. It also boasts a Leica DC Vario-ELMARIT lens designed for superb image quality. Speed is definitely not a quality the Canon PowerShot A80 was blessed with so if you’re planning on taking shots that require a quick eye and an even quicker camera, I would check out the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC43.
[Pentax Optio S4*](../specs/Pentax/Optio%20S4i.htm) --*Pentax also offers a similar 4 megapixel digital camera, selling for approximately $275, called the Pentax Optio S4. This camera gained most of its notoriety for its most popular feature — size. The Pentax Optio S4 is the camera that is praised for its ability to fit cleanly in an Altoids mint box. It boasts a volume of 5.28 in³, measuring 3.3 x 2 x 0.8 in, and weighing a mere 4.1 oz. One would think that such a small camera can’t compete with the quality and number of options offered by other cameras of its class, but the Pentax Optio S4 does pretty well. That said, there are a few areas where the Pentax Optio S4 could improve on. For example, the highest ISO speed is only 200! That is uncomfortably low if you plan to take any shots without a flash, unless you’re in the sun. The LCD screen on the Pentax Optio S4 is 1.6" at 84,000 pixels, which is not impressive, but it’s larger than the Canon PowerShot A80 which is twice its size. If it’s size you’re worried about this is the camera for you, hands-down.
Who it's For
*Point-and-Shooters --*The Canon PowerShot A80 is definitely a good choice for point-and-shooters. Its fun features, small and sturdy size, and easy navigation make it appealing to a large crowd. If you’re looking for a great camera for your general shooting needs, this one is sure not to disappoint.
*Budget Consumers --*Canon definitely had the budget consumer in mind when they came out with the PowerShot A80. This solid compact camera gives consumers a lot of features to play with without breaking their bank balance. Canon has a great reputation for keeping prices low, from their SLRs all the way down to the low-end cameras, and the Canon PowerShot A80 backs it up.
*Gadget Freaks --*Although the Canon PowerShot A80 has a good number of features, it can’t compete with some of the other more advanced models with more bells and whistles. The A80 is on the lower end of gadget world and probably won’t be appealing to the techy geek crowd.
Manual Control Freaks — The same scenario goes for the manual setting buffs; a camera designed with the point-and-shooter in mind is bound to be a bore for those looking for more control and flexibility. Canon’s PowerShot A80 has manual settings available, but not enough to dazzle a real camera fanatic.
*Pros / Serious hobbyists --*Although a serious hobbyist might like to pick up a Canon PowerShot A80 for family snaps, they’re not going to go near it for their serious work. It’s just too limited compared to the high-end models that give you professional options and quality.
The Canon PowerShot A80 is a solid and reliable digital camera that will satisfy consumers across the board. The unique movable LCD screen is a really fun feature that allows the user to take photos at any angle! The sturdy body of the Canon PowerShot A80 is going to withstand more damage than many other digital cameras on the market today, but this security comes at a price - decreased portability. It won’t be the first thing you slip in your pocket when you leave the house, unless you want a very large lump protruding from your body. This said, the Canon PowerShot A80’s functional design combined with reputable image quality makes it a smart choice that you won’t regret.
Meet the tester
Elena Rue is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
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