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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot A80

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon PowerShot A80 Review

Review Date: Nov 1, 2003

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Canon PowerShot A80

Handling & Feel

The Canon PowerShot A80 is a compact digital camera with dimensions of 103.1W x 64.6H x 34.7D mm (4.1W x 2.5H x 1.4D in.) and weighs 250g (8.8 oz.) without the battery and recording media card. It is constructed from a mixture of plastic and aluminum and feels very solid. The two tone color and handgrip are distinctive design elements of the camera and, besides giving it an attractive and stylish look, the handgrip also provides a good and comfortable grip.

When holding the camera, the forefinger and thumb naturally falls on the shutter release button and Shooting Mode Dial, respectively. The Shooting Mode Dial is almost flushed on top but projects out just enough at the back for the thumb to rotate it. Each selection clicks in place securely.

I personally like the Zoom lever around the shutter release button, finding it easier and more natural to control the zoom this way than using a thumb lever at the back. Canon has listened to consumers' concern about the slight jiggle of the A70's Zoom lever: the Zoom lever of the A80 does not jiggle.

Battery door is at the bottom of the camera, and the CompactFlash I memory card goes through a door in the grip. The rubber terminal cover housing the USB, AV and DC connectors now wraps around the bottom left of the camera. [I have stopped worrying about the rubber terminal covers breaking off any digital cameras: I have yet to hear of a case.]

The PowerShot A80 feels well balanced with the 4 AA batteries providing the weight. Included in the box are 4 AA Alkaline batteries, which you throw away once they run out of juice. This means that if you wish to use rechargeable NiMH batteries, you will have to purchase the optional battery recharger. I recommend you factor the extra cost of 2 sets of rechargeable NiMH batteries (4 inside the camera, and 4 recharging), a battery recharger, and an A/C adapter when you purchase your A80. The A/C adapter is convenient when you're transfering your images to your PC; you don't want to run out of battery power in the middle of a transfer.

The A80's 1.5 in. LCD is 67,000 pixels resolution, which is slightly less than the A70's 78,000 pixels -- but it does not show. The one major advantage is that the LCD now swivels, a very convenient feature usually available only on more expensive cameras. And, the reflective strip around the LCD on the A70 is gone in the A80, hurrah!

Baby Pumpkins: 1/250 sec., F3.2 and ISO 50
Baby Pumpkins
11.4mm, Program AE, Evaluative, 1/250 sec., F3.2 and ISO 50

The Mode Switch (with Shooting and Playback modes) which was circular in the A70 has morphed to a sliding switch in the A80. I like that the mode switch is separate from the Shooting Mode Dial (too many digital cameras have these two modes on the same control dial) because I review my picture after each shot and do not have to keep rotating the Shooting Mode Switch back to Program AE (my default shooting mode).

The PowerShot A80, though not ultra compact in size, still fits in a large pants pocket. I would not recommend you carry it in a tight jeans pocket, for you may end up inadvertently turning the Shooting Mode Dial. If you close the LCD before putting it away, there is never the danger of scratching it. Carrying the PowerShot A80 in a coat pocket or in a case hung on the belt is the recommended way to go. A soft pouch is recommended.

Overall, the PowerShot A80 is superbly designed, looking and feeling like an expensive camera. The handling is improved over the A70. The control dials and menu system are intuitive to use.

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