Canon Powershot A80 Review

Steve's Digicams

Canon Powershot A80

Review posted 10/21/03

Click to take a QTVR tour of the A80

Canon's rugged four-megapixel PowerShot A80 Digital Camera combines brilliant image quality, crisp Canon optics, and advanced features including a 3X optical zoom and a Vari-Angle LCD Monitor in an affordable and easy-to-use package. The PowerShot A80 is the new flagship of the PowerShot A-series line-up, which also includes the A60, A70, and A300. The A80 is the first PowerShot "A" series camera to support PictBridge*, the new standard for high-quality direct printing.

Housed in a compact metal body, the PowerShot A80 digital camera is solidly built yet light weight at 8.8 ounces. The camera features a 1/1.8 inch, 4.0 megapixel CCD sensor that captures images up to 2272 x 1704 pixels with exceptional detail and color fidelity. Canon's exclusive DIGIC processor improves image quality and increases camera responsiveness and image processing speeds compared to general purpose CPUs found in other comparable digital cameras.

Canon's proprietary image processor, called DIGIC, was developed specifically for use with its line of digital cameras and combines the jobs of image processing and camera function control into one chip. It handles nearly every digital camera function including JPEG compression/expansion; memory card control; LCD/Video control and processing; gain control (control of CCD signal amplification); Auto Exposure; Auto Focus; Auto White Balance control and most other functions of the camera. The result is a camera that offers faster and more powerful AF, faster image processing, longer battery life, and the ability to record 3 minutes of 320x240 or 160x120 resolution full motion video with sound.

Over the past 68 years, Canon has accumulated a vast amount of photographic data and know-how and used it to create some of the most innovative camera products in the marketplace. Now, using that same data and know-how, Canon has developed an exclusive technology called iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) that can predict certain camera settings such as focusing distance, exposure and optimum white balance based on zoom focal length, overall light level and tonal distribution data. Canon refers to this collective data as "Photographic Space." By incorporating iSAPS technology into its PowerShot line, the cameras can analyze a scene just before the image is made and in doing so, increase the speed and precision of the camera's autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

Powershot A80 Features

  • 4.0 Megapixel CCD imager for up to 2272x1704 pixel images
  • 3x optical 38-114mm f/2.8-4.9 zoom, 3.6x digital zoom
  • 270° Vari-Angle 1.5" color LCD Monitor with 10x playback zoom
  • Compact, light weight and durable metal body
  • Advanced TTL AiAF nine-point autofocus system
  • Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority and Manual modes
  • Movie mode w/sound, 320x240 to 3 minutes
  • 2.2fps Continuous exposure mode
  • Evaluative metering on focus point, Center-weighted or Spot
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Photo Effects: Low Sharpening, Vivid Color, Neutral, Sepia and B&W
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2000 second
  • Selectable ISO settings from 50 to 400
  • Voice memo (up to 60 secs) can be attached to images
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Powered by four standard AA type batteries
  • CompactFlash Type I removable media
  • Direct print to Canon Bubblejet Direct and PictBridge compatible printers
  • USB connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Optional Waterproof Case

The PowerShot A80 is available now with an estimated street price of just $399.

Physical Views

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

Canon Powershot A80

The A80 compared to an average CD disc.

Canon Powershot A80

The Powershot A80 and the super-compact SD10 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot A80

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Powershot A80 Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 4 million
Image Sensor 1/1.8-inch CCD
(Total number of pixels: Approx. 4.1 million)

7.8 (W) - 23.4 (T) mm
(35mm film equivalent: 38 (W) - 114 (T) mm)
f/2.8 (W) - 4.9 (T)

Digital Zoom Approx. 3.6x
(Up to approx. 11x in combination with the optical zoom)
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 1.5-inch, amorphous silicon TFT color LCD,
approx. 67,000 pixels (Picture coverage approx. 100%)
AF System TTL autofocus
9-point AiAF/1-point AF (center)
Focus lock and Manual focus are available.
Shooting Distance (from the front of the lens)
Normal AF: 45 cm (1.5 ft.) - infinity
Macro AF: 5 - 45 cm (W)/25 - 45 cm (T)
(2.0 in. - 1.5 ft. (W)/9.8 in. - 1.5 ft. (T))
Manual focus: 5 cm - infinity (W)/25 cm - infinity (T)
(2.0 in. - infinity (W)/9.8 in. - infinity (T))
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds 15 - 1/2000 sec.
1.3 sec. or slower shutter speeds are available in Shutter-priority mode or Manual mode.
Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or slower operate with noise reduction.
Light Metering System Evaluative, Center-weighted average or Spot (center)
Exposure Control System Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE or Manual exposure control
Exposure Compensation ± 2.0 stops in 1/3-stop increments
Sensitivity Auto, ISO 50/100/200/400 equivalent
White Balance TTL auto white balance, pre-set white balance
(available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent or Fluorescent H) or custom white balance
Built-in Flash Auto*, on*, off
* Red-eye reduction is available.
Flash Range
Normal: 45 cm - 4.4 m (1.5 - 14.4 ft.) (W),
45 cm - 2.5 m (1.5 - 8.2 ft.) (T)
Macro: 25 cm - 45 cm (9.8 in. - 1.5 ft.) (W/T)
(When sensitivity is set to AUTO.)
Shooting Modes
Creative zone: Program, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Custom1 and Custom2
Image zone: Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Fast shutter, Slow shutter, Stitch assist and Movie
Continuous Shooting
High-speed: Approx. 2.4 shots/sec.
Normal: Approx. 1.6 shots/sec.
(Large/Fine mode with LCD monitor off)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 2-sec./approx. 10-sec. delay
PC-controlled Shooting Available (USB connection only. Exclusive software program is included in the camera kit.)
Recording Media CompactFlashTM (CF) card (Type I)
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF compliant
Image Recording Format
Still images: JPEG (Exif 2.2)*1
Movies: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural))
Compression Super fine, Fine, Normal
Number of Recording Pixels
Still images:
Large: 2272 x 1704 pixels
Medium 1: 1600 x 1200 pixels
Medium 2: 1024 x 768 pixels
Small: 640 x 480 pixels
320 x 240 pixels (approx. 3 min.)*
160 x 120 pixels (approx. 3 min.)*
Approx. 15 frames/second
* The data in parentheses refer to the maximum movie length per shooting.
Playback Modes Single (histogram displayable), Index (9 thumbnail images), Magnified (approx. 10x (max.) in LCD monitor), Sound memos (up to 60 sec.), Auto play or image output to direct print compatible CP-series (CP-300/CP-200/CP-100/CP-10) and Bubble Jet printers.
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 (mini-B, PTP [Picture Transfer Protocol]) Audio/Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Power Source
  1. Four AA alkaline batteries (included in the camera kit)
  2. Power Source Four AA rechargeable NiMH batteries (sold separately)
  3. AC Adapter Kit ACK600 (sold separately)
Operating Temperature 0 - 40 degrees C (32 - 104 degrees F)
Operating Humidity 10 - 90 %
Dimensions 103.1 x 64.6 x 34.7 mm (4.1 x 2.5 x 1.4 in.) (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 250 g (8.8 oz.) (camera body only)

Package Contents (U.S./N. America)

  • Digital Camera
  • Wrist Strap
  • 4-AA alkaline batteries
  • CompactFlash Card FC-16M
  • Case for CompactFlash Card
  • AV Cable AVC-DC100
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-300PCU
  • Digital Camera Solution Disk
  • ArcSoft Camera Suite Disk
  • User Guides

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