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This is my second review of an older piece of kit and for a good reason. We have had this camera for about three years now and it hasn't let us down once. Also, if you check out ebay, you can pick these up for around the £30-£35 mark, often with a memory card too. If you compare this price with the rubbish that £30 or even £40 buys you in the digital camera market, you get a lot more for your money with the likes of the Canon.
When this was new it was our main digital camera. Things have moved on in technology, so we now have a higher resolution camera. The Canon A80 always gets used for ebay pictures though and quick snaps, due to its ease of use. With the A80 you can pick it up, switch it on very quickly and snap your photo. Even with just two button presses, you can turn off the flash and switch on macro. It seems to handle this setting very well and for ebay pictures the resulting photo always seems well lit. If you are photographing something shiny, then turning of the flash is essential to stop the bounceback.
It does have a tiny screen, but this is supplemented by an optical viewfinder. So you can take pictures either way. The zoom lens is quite short, only 3x but this is optical zoom. The lens is also very good, compared to these cheap 8 megapixel cameras with their awful plastic lenses and CMOS sensors (glorified webcams) you will get a lot better picture with the Canon.
If you do want to print the photos, they are still very good. We have printed regular 6x4 and 7x5 prints, right up to the occasional A4 and the results are brilliant. So in normal use, you really don't need more than the 4 megapixels that the A80 offers. You also get a really solid camera, well made and from a brand you can trust. It uses compact flash for memory, which is nice and cheap. Batteries are normal AA, so you can use rechargeables, but if you do get caught away without any charge, most shops will sell standard AA's that solves the problem.
I bought the Canon Powershot A80 to be a family camera, it has proved to be sturdy and very easy to 'point & shoot' and obtain sucessful results. The 4-megapixels, battery life and 3x zoom is a perfect spec for ordinary use, and all in all I have encounted no problems with this model having purchased it well over a year ago.
I only have two minor quibbles with this camera, firstly the weight (250g) which is slightly heavy compared to a lot of similar spec, cheaper cameras and the lack of indication of battery life. Although batteries usually seem to last a decent amount of time, I find that it is often worth buying the specialist camera batteries rather than using rechargables.
The swivel screen at the back I have found to be very useful which is not found on most higher priced models in the canon range.
4.0 Megapixel CCD
3x optical zoom (11x combined zoom)
12 shooting modes plus 2 custom settings
DIGIC processor with iSAPS technology
Complete accessory range
PictBridge and Canon Direct Print compatible
I have owned the Canon Powershot A80 (4.0 mega pixels) for just over a year now. I must admit that I am extremely happy with the quality of the pictures it takes in all weather conditions.
It is my first experience with digital cameras and I did a lot of painstaking research before I eventually decided on this model from our local branch of Jessops. I was going to go for a Fuji of around the same spec but slightly more expensive, but the salesman took me outside on a very wet and misty Saturday afternoon, took a shot of the street, and then did an example print-out from the A80 and the Fuji for me, the reproduction of the colours of the Canon far outshone the Fuji. So the Canon it was to be, and I pushed a bit of a hard deal and got a free carry case thrown in well worth it to barter! It can be fun and save you money!
Installing the batteries was very straightforward, but they lost all their power when I was fiddling about with the camera at home in no time at all. This was disappointing, so I decided it had to be rechargeable AA batteries, which I purchased eight of the very next day the camera takes 4 something that I was delighted with, because a friend of mine owns a Kodak digital camera and it only takes 2 batteries and they are giving up the ghost after just one or two pictures! However all is no well with the way the Canon deals with battery life
A niggle I have discovered is that there is no visible warning when the batteries are about to expire the camera just stops working. The other niggle is that if just one of the batteries is slightly below par (I purchased a battery tester), the camera will conk out and tell you that batteries need replacing so you have to make sure that all four batteries are fully charged.
I have found that the best batteries to use 1000aMah or higher. The ones I am using currently are Uniross rechargeable 2000mAh that I purchased from eBay along with a high-speed charger that can be used in the car or mains.
The camera uses a CF (compact flash) card and came with just a 32 meg capacity, which doesnt hold many pictures at the cameras highest setting. A quick visit to ebay though and I won myself a 256 meg. CF card for £25including postage, This card will store 123 pictures in the [4MP] highest resolution.
I found the controls to set up different shooting conditions a bit fiddly and even now I tend carry the user guide in my pocket. It is however, very comprehensive and easy to follow.
The camera also has a movie facility that I have not used because I already have camcorder.
I am not really a techy person when it comes to photography and I much prefer to just be able to point and shoot and the Canon suits me down to the ground in this respect. However, there are loads of functions that I have hardly used but for the sake of this review, the camera has presets that you can switch to Fast/slow shutter speeds, portrait/landscape modes. Low-light (nightshot) and you can capture short movies the length depends on the size of CF card you have fitted, but already owning a camcorder, this is something I never use. There is also a macro mode that allows you to shoot close-up shots I have used this and found it quite impressive.
Things that impressed me
The Powershot A80 has a 3X optical zoom lens with a digital zoom to take it up to 11X (in combination with the optical zoom). It has 14 shooting modes and I must say, Canons technology comes up trumps when it comes to true-to-life image reproduction.
Another thing I found particularly good, was that at the touch of a button, I could remove an adapter ring around the lens to fit optional wide angle or telephoto lenses for even greater versatility.
This camera is also quite fast and has a continuous shooting facility, but this is another thing I tend not to use, but I imagine it would be useful for taking shots of babies or animals who tend not to want to pose if you took continuous shots for a few minutes, there is bound to be the right shot for the album amongst them.
I found the camera very light and comfortable to use even with the batteries installed and will fit easily into my pocket. It has a 1¼ inch LCD monitor that swivels to the left and right and through 180 degrees (which means you can take a picture of yourself with full view of your shot), and a conventional viewfinder for when the brightness of the sun shines into the monitor.
The prints I have from this camera have been really outstanding, right up to A4 size (which is the biggest my printer can produce) the quality was matching if not better, than my old 35mm prints. And that is on an old Epson Stylus 880 with cartridges refilled with cheap ink bought in Tesco! We have also used the Jessops printing service for special prints with really outstanding results.
Loading pictures on to my computer is simplicity itself. I run Windows XP and all I need to do is plug in the camera with the USB cable (provided) and a window pops up asking me what I would like to do with the pictures, (print/save them to disk/view etc). There is an installation disk to install the camera drivers to other versions of Windows which my wife has installed on her machine (which runs Windows Me) with no problems.
To use this camera, I would recommend that you carry plenty of charged AA batteries and switch it off when not taking shots. If used in this way, thered be no problems should it suddenly lose power. I have found that the camera happily took shots for a whole day on the same [large capacity] batteries. But I wish there was a better low-power warning system, but thats the only complaint I have.
If I had to make the choice again, I would definitely opt for the Canon.
Four years ago I received a 35mm camera as a gift on my birthday. From that day on I turned into a snap happy wannabe proffessional photographer. Unfortunately like always I got my pictures back from the developers and most were of peoples feet, or those phantom blurry ones you always get. So after a while I just gave up. For my last birthday my 'little bear' Chantelly bought me a digital camera; a Canon PowerShot A80 (what can I say she loves me) and trust me going from a camera that has had 1 shot button and a wind on wheel, to one thats got 14 different modes and 12 buttons in total is a little bit scary. I was absolutley amazed when I picked it up and turned the dial to automatic and took my first picture in seconds, without even touching the manual. Still to this day I haven't read it and yet I can still utilise about 99% of the cameras functions. The A series is aimed at the beginner but the A80 is right in the middle of beginners to pros range, with its advanced features and its user friendly controls combined with its high quality pictures. I must now have hundreds of pictures on my PC and could now get away with saying I'm a pro (well I've stopped shooting people's feet anyway!)
This product is a high performance 4.0m pixel digital camera with 3x optical zoom and 8x digital zoom with a 1inch by 1.25 inch LCD screen which has vari-angle viewing and "intelligent orientation sensor" meaning that you can take a photo upside down and the screen will display it the correct way up. AiAf technology (artifical intelligence autofocus) and red-reduction means your photos are always in focus and red-eye free.
This camera comes in a nice neat box, about the same size as a childs shoe box. On the lid there is a brief description of the camera and also a contents list on the back. The under side has a list of system requirments. It can run on Windows 98 / 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP and Macintosh based systems. The box is nice and colourful with a white and blue band running from front to back with a display of brightly coloured pictures merging with each other on the lid. The camera comes in a plastic bubble wrap bag for protection which sits nicely into a cardbord tray.
+ 1 Digital camera; PowerShot A80
+ A wrist strap which simply loops on to the top of the camera
+ 4 AA batteries, the 4 inclueded ones dont last evry long at all a bit on the cheap side, I use duracell in mine and the last a lot longer still might be worth buying a rechargable set
+ 1 AV cable for viewing your pictures and videos on your tv. Very simple to do one end of the cable has 2 jack plugs a yellow and white that plugs in to the tv, while at the other end is a jack (same as what you get on head phones) that plus in the side of the camera. This is very good for showing off my latest snaps of my little angel
+ An interface cable which plugs into the side of the camera then straight into the USB port on your PC
+ 2 very useful software CD-ROMs
+ A hard plastic case for your 32m compact flash memory card
+ A camrea user guide and software starter guide
From within the cameras menus there are 12 differant languages to select from.
The first thing that I noticed about this camera is that the LCD screen has to be flipped out to be viewed meaning the screen should never get damaged when not in use. A nice feature I think. There are 14 different modes to select - 7 are in the image zone and 6 are in the creative zone.
Image zone consists of 7 preset modes:
+ Night scene,
+ Fast shutter speed (for moving objects),
+ Slow shutter speed, (for making pictures look kind of blurry. This sounds strange but it does look nice on some photos).
+ Stitch assist mode, is so cool and easy to use, after taking one picture the camera previews a quarter of the picture you just took. You then need to over lay your next photo. After doing so the camera automatically matches them up to make it one panoramic picture. Cool Hey?
+ Movie mode, allows you to capture video clips; this has two different resolution settings. The allowed length of the clip is determind by how much free space is on the memory card. The format of the video clips are NTSC or PAL.All movie clip are acomponied bye high qulity sound and also had the opstion to add voice menos to your clips and photos
Auto mode makes it easy to get the best results with minimal effort as the camera automatically selects the settings needed for your shots.
Creative zone is for the more advanced photo settings.
+ Program AE: this lets the camera select the aperture value and shutter speed to get the right brightness.
+ TV shutter-prioity AE, this is a cool setting as it allows you to take a high quality picture of a moving object or take a picture in the dark without the flash.
+ AV aperture-priority AE, I love this mode it enables you to blur the background or foreground for that perfect picture, and it is as easy to do as it sounds.
+ M manual exposure, this mode is just in case the auto modes cannot find the shutter speed and aperture you need for a particular shot. You can adjust both settings to suit your needs.
+ C1 and C2 modes are available to customise with your own preferences, once done so you can save your settings for future use.
There are a lot more settings but like I said this is just the main modes and functions which are most useful.
Macro mode is a fun and easy way of taking close up photos from 5cm-45cm away from an object. Macro is activated when a button which has a picture of a flower on is pressed, macro mode automatically adjusts settings so again minimun effort is required for quailty pictures (picture featured below)
Timer. This setting allows you to have a time delay from when the shoot button is pressed to when the photo is taken so no more family photos with one person always missing. There are two time delay settings; a 10 and a 2 second delay whilest on this setting a red light flashes on the front of the camera and a beeping sound which gets faster as the time counts down.
Continuous shooting. Now this is a cool fuction, this allows you to take a stream of continuous pictures. On the low setting a photo is captured at the rate of 1.6 frames (photos) per second and on high its 2.4 frames (photos) per second, with this you know you are going to get the picture you want.
Photo effects. Before taking a picture you can select from 6 differant effect modes which are-
+Vivid- this brings out the colours and contrasts in the picture.
+Neutral- lowers the colour and contrast.
+Low sharping- softens all the edges in the photo.
+Sepia- changes photo to sepia tones (light browny orangey tones)
+Black and white- I think we all know what happens with this one
I have only ever use the sepia and b/w effects and the result were amazing!
Viewfinder- You can close up the LCD display and use just the viewfinder to take your snaps whilst doing so you are still able at use the 3x optical zoom by pivoting the zoom toggle, you can actually see the image you are looking at through the viewfinder coming closer to you.
Size and qulity-
Size Resolution(pixels) Print size
Small 640x480 e-mail (small file)
Medium 2 1024x768 3.4x2.1inc / 86x54mm
Medium 1 1600x1200 4.7x3.5inc / 119x89mm
Large 2272x1704 8.5x11inc / 216x279mm (A4 size)
Compression = quality of the photos, there are three differant compression settings to choose from, normal, fine and super fine. Selecting normal allows you to take more photos as they take up less room on your memory card. eg, if you had the resolution set at medium 2 and the compression set to fine you are able to fit 94 photos on your 32m memory card, where as if you had both settings up high you could only fit 14 photos on.
I would say that a few people still think you need a PC to be able to print your photos, well this is not true. You are able to edit your photos and videos to a certain extent directly from this camera and your memory card can be taken out and put in a printing machine which can be found at your local chemist or super market. Just about everywhere has them these days, although I have heard that this can be quite expensive. Alternativley you could purchase a good quality PictBridge enabled printer for around £100 and connect the camera directly to that.
From the my camera menu you can customise the look and sounds of your camera.
I received two disks with this purchase. The first is Camera Suite 1.2, it contains PhotoImpression and VideoImpression for editing viedo clips and manipulating pictures. The second disk is named Canon Digital Camera Solutions Disk v14.1. This is a great piece of software called Canon Utilties which consists of three programs in total. Zoombrowser; this is where all the magic happens allowing me to download and upload pictures and videos to and from my camera when conected via the USB lead. It has the added bouns of remote capture, this is when the camera is linked to the PC by USB and the cameras view is displayed on my monitor allowing me to get the perfect mug shot! The second program is called PhotoRecord 2.0 this feature automatically carries out an image correction test ensuring high qulity prints. Thirdly there is PhotoStitch 3.1 this alows a 360 degree picture to be made by stitching several pictures together. This can be quite tricky but the end result can be very good.
Both were very easy to install on my PC.
Chantelle bought this from Argos last July for £199, but should have been £349. I think that this is exceptionally good value for money.
My only moan is that it is a bit heavy (250g) but I'm not all that bothered.
Also available to buy is 3 click on lenses-
Wide converter WC-DC52 (52mm)
Tele-converter TC-DC52A (52mm)
Close-up lens 250D (52mm)
All lenses require a conversion lens adapter LA-DC52D (52mm), these lens and adapter are quite expensive to buy but I've seen them selling on EBAY for around £70 for all 4 which isn't that bad.
Small power house - Advantages: many shooting modes to choose from, Quality of prints , Easy to use - Disadvantages: Optical view finder sucks, Flash too weak, Flat battery comes to quick to warn you
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