Canon PowerShot S80 in Review

Canon’s S80 is an 8 megapixel digital camera that I think has pushed the resolution a bit too far.
The S80 is the latest in Canon’s S series. An 8MP camera, it has a lens
which covers the useful 28-100mm (35mm camera equivalent) focal length
range. It is a beautiful camera that drew comments when I was out
shooting with it at family events.

The S80 is a comfortable camera to hold and the sliding cover makes
switching it on and off both easy and definitive. The optical
viewfinder is not ideally placed, almost in the centre of the camera,
as one’s nose makes it hard to get close enough. The LCD is large,
bright and lovely, though. A mode control dial is on the far right of
the camera and whilst it is thus easy to operate with the thumb, tends
to get accidentally changed when handling the camera. The zoom control
is an up/down push button, which is functional rather than excellent. A
large number of buttons on the back mean you do not need to dive into
the menus often.

The display can be set to show grid lines, something I usually
recommend for getting horizons level, and a real time histogram display
of exposure. Very strangely, in a camera at this price, there is no RAW
mode, which I think is a major oversight. The camera does have an
intervalometer to shoot pictures at set times. This can be very useful
for certain applications.

The following images are 100% views of the images shot at varying ISo settings.





Image quality on this camera is not as good as I expected. It seems
mainly due to two things that work in concert. The first is noise. I
have noticed this with many 8MP cameras and sadly the S800 falls into
it too in having greater noise than the equivalent model at 5 or 6MP
because the sensor has not grown in size and inadequate other
improvements have been made to cut noise. The second is that the camera
seems to oversharpen the images, and of course this includes the noise.
Examination of many photos at different ISO settings confirms that this
camera is noisier than I would like and also suffers, even on the best
quality setting, from over sharpening and some issues with compression

So, what is the verdict? Well, I would not buy this camera at the price
it lists for. That is the first time I have had to say that about a
Canon digital in a long time. I would say this camera represents a
megapixel or two too far (if you’ll excuse a movie pun). The addition
of a RAW mode would have helped, because then you could minimize the
sharpening and there would be no compression artifacts. But it is not
there. Now for most amateurs they are never going to make prints or see
the pixels at 100%, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. But I actually think
that when you are buying a camera towards the top of a manufacturer’s
amateur range, that you should be able to use what you have paid for.
So give this one a miss or see if you can still find any of the S60 or
S70 models.




1/1.8 inch

Effective Number of Pixels:

Approx. 8.0 MP

Total Number of Pixels:

Approx. 8.3 MP

Filter Array:

Primary colour filter (Bayer type)

Image Processor:




Focal Length (optical):

5.8 (W) – 20.7 (T) mm

35mm film equivalent:

28 (W) – 100 (T) mm

Maximum Aperture:

f/2.8 (W) – f/5.3 (T)

f/number :

f/2.8 – f/8.0 (W)f/5.3 – f/8.0 (T)

Shutter Speed :

15 – 1/2000 sec

Sensitivity (Equivalent Film Speed):

Auto* , ISO 50/100/200/400 equivalent (* Camera automatically sets the optimum speed.)


8 elements in 7 groups (including 2 aspherical lenses including one UA lens)

Optical Zoom:

Approx. 3.6x

Digital Zoom:

Approx. 4.0x

Max Combined Zoom:

Approx. 14x

Focusing Method:

      TTL Autofocus

      9-point AiAF/1-point AF*

      * Two options for focusing frame: Flexizone moved as desired or centre-fixed.

      AF lock, Manual focus and AE/Focus Bracketing available

Focusing Range:


44 cm – infinity


4 – 44 cm (W)/30 – 44 cm (T)

Manual focus:

4 cm – infinity (W)/30 cm – infinity (T)


Light Metering Method:

Evaluative/Centre-weighted average/Spot (Selectable metering frame with Spot mode: Centre fixed/AF-point linked)

Exposure Control Method:

Program AE/Shutter speed-priority AE/Aperture-priority AE/Manual exposure/Auto Exposure Bracketing

Exposure Compensation:

± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments

White Balance Control:

TTL White Balance

White Balance Modes:

Auto, Pre-set (Daylight/Cloudy/Tungsten/Fluorescent/Fluorescent H/Flash/Underwater), Custom

LCD Monitor/Viewfinder:


Real-image optical zoom viewfinder

LCD Monitor:

2.5″ Low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT colour LCD


Flash Modes:

Auto */On */Off * Red-eye reduction is available.

Flash Range :

55 cm – 4.2 m (W), 55 cm – 2.0 m (T)

Flash Exposure Compensation:

      ± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments

      FE Lock, Slow Synchro, Second Curtain Synchro, Manual Flash Output Setting 3 steps (full/medium/low)

Selectable Shooting Modes:

Shooting Modes:

Auto/Creative zone (Program/Shutter speed priority/Aperture
priority/Manual/Custom)/Image zone (Special Scene/My
colours/Portrait/Landscape/Night Scene
Foliage/Snow/Beach/Fireworks/Underwater/Stitch Assist/ Movie)

Photo Effects Mode:

Effect Off/Vivid/Neutral/Low sharpening/Sepia/Black & White/Custom

Interval shooting:

Increments of 1 – 60 min. up to 100 shots (depending on CF card capacity)

Image Recording Format:


Design rule for camera file system, DPOF (Version 1.1) compliant

Still image:

Exif 2.2 (JPEG compression method)

Color Space:



AVI Image data: Motion JPEG

Sound annotation/Audio Data:

WAVE (Monaural)

JPEG Compression Levels:


ording Pixels – Still Images:

Large :

3264 x 2448

Medium 1:

2592 x 1944

Medium 2:

2048 x 1536

Medium 3 :

1600 x 1200


640 x 480

Recording Pixels – Movie Images:

Large (VGA):

640 x 480 (30fps/15fps)

Medium (QVGA):

320 x 240 (30fps/15fps)

Compact (QQVGA):

160 x 120 (15fps)

High Resolution :

1024 x 768 (15fps)

  *Up to 1GB* per recording with high-speed SD memory card.
Depending on SD memory card capacity & data write speed. Low-level
format may be required. Recording may stop before 1 GB is reached

Other Operations:

Playback Operations:

Single / Index (9 thumbnail images) / Scrolling Display / Slide Show /
Movie / Magnify (2x – 10x) / auto vertical and horizontal image
orientation with Intelligent Orientation Sensor / still histogram
display / transition effects.

File Operations:

DPOF – Print order/Slide show/Image transfer, Movie Editing –
Unnecessary parts* (image + sound) can be erased. * Start point to mid
point, end point to mid point, Sound Memos – max. record/play time is
approx. 60 sec.

Direct Printing:




Print/Share Button:


Camera Settings:

Start-up image, Start-up sound, Shutter sound, Operation sound, and
Self-timer sound, (My Camera Contents can be created in the camera.)

Menu Languages:

22 languages (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian,
Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Portuguese,
Greek, Polish, Czech, Hugarian, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, Korean,
Thai and Japanese)


Approx. 2 sec. or 10 sec. delay, or custom*.


Computer I/F:

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed

Video Output:

NTSC or PAL selectable

Audio Output:


Memory Storage:

SD Menory Card / MutliMedia Card

Supplied Memory:

32MB SD Memory Card

Supported Operating Systems:


Windows 98 SE/Me/2000 SP4/XP (incl. SP1/SP2)


OS X (Version 10.2-10.4)



Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk

Power Source:


Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery NB-2LH

Standard Charger/AC Adaptor:

Battery Charger CB-2LWE

Optional Charger/AC Adaptor:

AC Adaptor Kit ACK -DC20 (contains: DR-700/DR-20 and CA-PS700)

Optional Car Battery Charger:

Car Battery Charger CBC-NB2

Shooting Capacity (full charge):

LCD Monitor On:

Approx. 200 shots

LCD Monitor Off :

Approx. 700 shots


Approx. 300 min.

Dimensions (W x D x H):

104.0 x 38.8 x 57.0 mm (ex. protrusions)


Approx. 225g (camera body only)

  *All data based on Canon’s Standard Test Method.:

  **Subject to change without notice.:

  ***Compatible printer required for Direct Printing. Compatible Windows computer required for direct download.:

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