Canon Powershot S80 Review

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Canon Powershot S80

Review posted 11/28/2005

Click to take a QTVR tour of the S80

Canon's new flagship PowerShot S80 has 8.0 megapixels of resolution and a 28mm wide angle lens in a sleek and durable package that and features a large 2.5-inch LCD screen for easy viewing, a high-quality XGA movie mode, high-speed USB 2.0 support for quick transfer and a new easy-to-use interface.

Picking up many popular features of its predecessor, the PowerShot S70, the PowerShot S80 retains Canon's powerful, high quality, wide angle UA (Ultra High Refractive Index Glass Aspherical) lens with a 3.6x wide-angle optical zoom (35mm film equivalent: 28-100mm). The camera allows users to capture a wider image area than most other compact digital cameras on the market, and with Canon's DIGIC II image processor plus 8.0 megapixels of resolution, the camera keeps image quality at its utmost.

The S80's improved autofocus reduces the time required for focusing by up to approximately 20% compared to its predecessor. In addition, the refined exposure control under low-light conditions results not only in better exposure accuracy but also in better focusing performance. Canon improved the exposure control by a full stop, which allows for easier focusing and produces better photos in dark conditions.

Thanks to its DIGIC II image processor, the S80 supports movie recording in XGA size (1024 x 768 pixels) at 15 frames per second for the first time in any digital camera . Compared to the previous maximum - VGA (640 x 480 pixels) - XGA recording has about 2.5 times more pixels, and the data amount is about twice as high. Continuous recording of XGA up to a file size of 1GB is available on the S80 model.

Following the PowerShot S2 IS, the PowerShot S80 provides a choice between single frame and sequence frame for Movie Prints. When Single is selected, any frame from a movie can be selected and printed on a single sheet. Print quality depends on the mode used during movie recording, with XGA producing the best quality. In Sequence mode, the camera can, when connected to a compatible Canon Compact Photo Printer, print a series of miniature thumbnail images that provides an overview of the movie's content.

Although it has a large feature set, the PowerShot S80 digital camera is amazingly compact. Simple yet impressive, the shape of the new camera fits snugly into the palm of the hand. Canon built the elegant design with a combination of aluminum magnesium alloy and high-gloss aluminum to create a sturdy and shiny body, which includes a soft-touch finger rest to improve holding stability. Silver banding on the camera highlights the predominantly black front piece. The S80 model also includes a creative rear panel design that offers convenient operation on the camera is possible through a new multi-control dial and omni selector.

The Canon PowerShot S80 offers users 21 different shooting modes, allowing the camera to effectively handle a variety of situations. As with the S70 model, there are five modes in the Creative Zone, plus 12 new Special Scene modes as well as the My Colors mode, Stitch Assist Mode and Movie Mode. The 12 new Special Scene modes include Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot and Digital Macro.

True to the PowerShot tradition, the PowerShot S80 model has many of the latest advances in Canon technology including the proprietary DIGIC II imaging processor. The processor enhances picture definition, vibrancy and quality, while helping increase the speed of the camera's startup, autofocus, shutter response, playback and image processing speed while reducing power consumption by 35% compared to the original DIGIC chip. Image transfer speed is accelerated thanks to the inclusion of a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port.

Like all PowerShot digital cameras, the PowerShot S80 works seamlessly with Canon's petite SELPHY Compact Photo Printers - an essential PowerShot accessory. Customers simply connect their PowerShot digital camera to a SELPHY printer - such as the new SELPHY CP510, CP710 and CP600 models - press the lighted Print/Share button, and within 58 seconds , images emerge. Presto! It's that simple. Canon's SELPHY Compact Photo Printers are PictBridge compatible.

Powershot S80 Features:

  • 8-megapixel CCD with RGB primary color filters
  • Exif 2.2 JPEG compressed
  • Canon 3.6x f/2.8-5.3 wide angle zoom (28-100mm in 35mm format)
  • Large 2.5-inch color LCD plus optical viewfinder
  • ISO settings of Auto, 50, 100, 200 or 400
  • Shutter speeds: 15 secs to 1/2000, Noise Reduction for 1.3 sec or longer
  • Continuous image capture at 2 frames per second
  • A total of 21 different shooting modes
  • Movie capture with sound; XGA (1024x768) at 15fps up to 1GB
  • Exposure Metering: Center-Weighted Average, Spot, and Evaluative
  • Manual focus with distance readout and the portion of the image covered by the active focusing point is enlarged while focusing.
  • 9-point AF with focus-assist illuminator
  • User-selectable exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, auto exposure bracketing and white balance
  • Playback histogram function with over-exposure warning
  • Secure Digital card slot, 32MB included
  • High capacity NB-2LH lithium rechargeable battery and charger
  • USB 2.0 connectivity and PictBridge direct-print
  • Optional Waterproof Housing WP-DC1 and High Power Flash HF-DC1
  • Optional wide-angle or telephoto supplementary lenses

The PowerShot S80 Kit will include a full set of Canon's powerful yet easy-to-use digital camera software, including the latest versions of ZoomBrowser EX, ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch and PhotoRecord, as well as ArcSoft PhotoStudio. The standard kit also includes: Interface Cable IFC-400PCU and AV cable AVC-DC300, a lithium-ion Battery Pack NB-2LH and Battery Charger CB-2LW, a 32MB SD memory card, instruction manuals and a Wrist Strap WS-300.

The PowerShot S80 will be available in October for an estimated street price of $549.99 USD.

Physical Views

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

Canon Powershot S80

The Powershot S80 compared in size to a CD.

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Canon Powershot S80 Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 8.0 million
Image Sensor 1/1.8-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx 8.3 million)

5.8 (W) - 20.7 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 28 - 100 mm)
f/2.8 (W) - f/5.3 (T)

Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x (Up to approx. 14x in combination with the optical zoom)
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder, picture coverage approx. 80%
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch type, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD (115,000 pixels, picture coverage 100%)
AF System TTL autofocus
Focus lock and Manual focus are available
9-point (AiAF)/1-point (AF)
1-point AF: 1-point/frame can be moved manually (FlexiZone AF)
Shooting Distance
(from front of lens)
Normal AF: 44 cm (1.4 ft.) - infinity (W/T)
Macro: 4 cm - 44 cm (1.6 in. - 1.4 ft.) (W)
30 cm - 44 cm (11.8 in. - 1.4 ft.) (T)
Manual focus: 4 cm (1.6 in.) - infinity (W)
30 cm (11.8 in.) - infinity (T)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds
15 - 1/2000 sec.
* The shutter speed range varies according to the shooting mode.
* Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or slower operate with noise reduction.
Metering System Evaluative, Center-weighted average or Spot (Center or AF-point)
Exposure Compensation 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
Auto exposure bracketing (AEB) and Safety Shift is available.
ISO Speed Auto*, ISO 50/100/200/400 equivalent
* Camera automatically sets the optimal speed.
White Balance Auto, pre-set (available settings: Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash or Underwater) or custom
Built-in Flash Auto*, on*, off, FE lock, Slow synchro and 1st-curtain/2nd-curtain flash are available.
* Red-eye reduction is available.
Flash Range

55 cm to 4.2 m (1.8 ft. to 13.8 ft.) (W),
55 cm to 2.0 m (1.8 ft. to 6.6 ft.) (T)
(When speed is set to ISO AUTO.)

Flash Exposure Compensation 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments.
Shooting Modes
Creative zone: Program, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Custom
Image zone: Special Scene*1, My Colors, Stitch Assist, Movie*2
*1 Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Digital Macro
*2 Standard, High Resolution, Compact, My Colors
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.8 shots/sec. (Large/Fine mode)
Intervalometer Shooting interval: approx. 1 - 60 min. (1-min. increments)
Number of shots: 2 - 100 shots (Maximum number of shots varies according to memory card capacity.)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10-sec./approx. 2-sec. delay, Custom Timer
PC-controlled Shooting Available (USB connection only. Exclusive software program is included in the camera kit.)
Recording Media SD Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF compliant
Data Type
Still images: Exif 2.2(JPEG)*1
Movies: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG;
Audio data: WAVE (monaural))
Compression Superfine, Fine, Normal
Number of Recording Pixels (Still Images)
Large: 3264 x 2448 pixels
Medium 1: 2592 x 1944 pixels
Medium 2: 2048 x 1536 pixels
Medium 3: 1600 x 1200 pixels
Small: 640 x 480 pixels
Number of recording pixels/Frame Rate (Movies)
1024 x 768 pixels (15 frames/sec.)
640 x 480 pixels (30 frames/sec.)
640 x 480 pixels (15 frames/sec.)
320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.)
320 x 240 pixels (15 frames/sec.)
160 x 120 pixels (15 frames/sec.)
Continuous recording possible until memory card is full (up to 3 mins. at 160 x 120 pixels 15 frames/sec.) (Maximum Size: 1 GB/movie)
Playback Modes Single (histogram displayable, effect possible),
Index (9 thumbnail images),
Triple Image Scrolling Display
Magnified (approx. 10x max. in LCD monitor, forward or reverse selection through magnified images possible),
Image search (Jumps over 10 or 100 images, to a movie folders, or to the next shooting date, or nine images at a time during Index playback)
Slide Show (effect possible)
Sound memos (recording/playback up to 60 sec.)
Movie (slow-motion playback possible)
Direct Print PictBridge compliant, and Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible
My Camera Settings The start-up image, start-up sound, shutter sound, operation sound and self-timer sound can be customized using the following methods:
1. Using the images and sounds recorded on the camera.
2. Using downloaded data from your computer using the supplied software.
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B), PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol)
Audio/Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable)
Power Source
1. Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery NB-2LH (included in the camera kit)/NB-2L (sold separately)
2. AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC20 (sold separately)
3. Car Battery Charger Kit CBC-NB2 (sold separately)
Operating Temperature 0 - 40 °C (32 - 104 °F)
Operating Humidity 10 - 90 %
Dimensions 104.0 x 57.0 x 38.8 mm (4.1 x 2.2 x 1.5 in.)
(excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 225 g (7.9 oz.) (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

The Canon Powershot S80 kit includes:

  • Powershot S80 camera
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC1
  • Battery Pack NB-2LH (with Terminal Cover)
  • Battery Charger CB-2LW
  • Secure Digital Card SDC-32M (32MB)
  • AV Cable AVC-DC300
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk (CD-ROM)
  • User Guides

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