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Canon PowerShot A80

By dpreview staff on Aug 20, 2003 at 18:01 GMT

Canon has today announced the four megapixel PowerShot A80. As with all Canon's 'A' series digital cameras this one is aimed at the beginner, having said that it's far more feature rich than most entry level digital cameras with a flip-out and twist LCD monitor and a wide range of manual controls. Unlike the A60 and A70 which use the 1/2.7" type CCD (5.3 x 4.0 mm) the A80 has a 1/1.8" type CCD (7.2 x 5.3 mm) which actually gives it larger pixel size than its predecessors. The A80 maintains a three times optical zoom lens, AA battery power and Compact Flash storage.

Press Release (Canon Europe):

Canon's 4.0 Megapixel PowerShot A80: Creativity unleashed

Amstelveen, 20 August, 2003 - Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, today launches the 4.0 Megapixel PowerShot A80; the new flagship of the PowerShot A-series range. Packed with features to put creativity back into the hands of the photographer, the PowerShot A80 brings together a newly designed 3x optical zoom with fast f/2.8 aperture, Vari-angle LCD monitor and 9-point AiAF (Artificial intelligence Automatic Focus). A 32 MB CompactFlash card is included as standard, giving the camera the capacity to hold between 14 and over 300 images.

Canon's engineers have built a camera with the features of the EISA European Digital Camera of the Year 2002 award winning PowerShot G2, but in a smaller, more stylish body and with all the advantages of today's technologies. Canon's purpose-built, high performance DIGIC processor drives 2.4 fps continuous shooting, up to 3 minutes movie clips with full sound and Canon's patented iSAPS (intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) technology which acts like a photographer's assistant, presetting the camera for faster focusing and more pleasing brightness and white balance settings. This is the first digital still camera from Canon to support the new industry standard for direct printing - PictBridge - allowing PC-less printing via direct camera-to-printer connection to any PictBridge compliant photo printer, regardless of brand.

"Our customers are really starting to benefit from Canon's long term, large scale R&D investment into optics and digital technology" explains Hiroshi Komatsuzaki, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "This camera sets new standards for image quality, photo flexibility and value, outperforming other models on the market.

More pixels, larger CCD sensor

The 4.0 Megapixel CCD sensor is the same as that found in Canon's highly reviewed Digital IXUS 400 and PowerShot S45 models. Each of the individual pixels is almost 50% larger than in the PowerShot A70 enabling the camera to provide superb image quality that is suited to photo prints up to A3 in size.

14 shooting modes

A choice of 14 shooting modes allows users to take complete control of any shooting situation, dictating precisely the type and level of automation required. Along with all the fully manual, Program and Aperture/Shutter speed priority modes expected in an advanced digital, the PowerShot A80 includes two custom modes for storing preferred camera settings. Portrait and Landscape modes minimise/maximise depth of field appropriately, and a Night Scene mode, providing slow sync speed for realistic shots, balance exposure to maintain both background and foreground detail. Stitch Assist mode enables precise alignment of multiple images for panorama and poster shots that can be merged with Canon's PhotoStitch software. Movie clips up to 3 minutes are also possible with sound recording, playback and even editing all in the camera. Photo effects include vivid colour, neutral and low sharpening, sepia, black and white.

New display, improved optics

When not in use, the Vari-angle LCD monitor completely reverses and swivels into its housing in the rear of the body and is completely protected. The screen can swing open a full 180o and be rotated to virtually any angle, allowing for shooting with the camera close to the floor or high in the air. A lateral reversal or 'mirror image' function is available for easy self-portraits.

Introduction of the Vari-angle LCD monitor meant less room for the lens, requiring a fundamental redesign of the camera's optics allowing the camera to maintain the compact dimensions when not in use. Even though the CCD is larger than previous PowerShot A-series models, Canon has managed to design an f/2.8 3x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 38 - 114mm) with a shorter retraction length. To keep focus crisp throughout the image including its edges with such a compact lens, 2 aspherical elements were introduced. Employing a rear-focus technique, moving only one element in the 3rd group, the new lens delivers pin-sharp focus more quickly than previous models. The fast f/2.8 aperture is perfect in low light conditions and for achieving narrow depth of field. A digital zoom extends the effective zoom range to 11x combined optical and digital.

High-end processing, high-end performance

The complex algorithms required to accurately process functions such as white balance and color rendition have all been integrated into Canon's unique high speed DIGIC processor. This allows the PowerShot A80 to deliver stunning quality images with no trade-off in camera responsiveness. The DIGIC processor is so fast it runs only for very short times thereby reducing power consumption. The PowerShot A80 will take up to 250* shots or provide up to 280 minutes playback from a single set of batteries. The camera takes every-day Alkaline or NiMH rechargeable AA batteries, providing greater flexibility for travel and other occasions.

9-point AiAF

The AiAF (Artificial intelligence Automatic Focus) has been extended to 9 zones, the first time such a powerful system has been deployed on a PowerShot A-series camera. Focusing is now more precise regardless of subject position. An Intelligent Orientation Sensor allows the AF frame to be weighted differently for horizontal and vertical shooting, further increasing the accuracy of exposure, and saving time when managing photos on a computer or slideshows on TV. Standard single centre-point AF is selectable and can be combined with a magnified display of the centre zone to enable highly accurate manual focusing.

Waterproof Case and lenses

For those with an interest in water sports or diving, an optional waterproof case - submersible to 40m - is available, complete with anti-fog double glass and flash light diffusion plate. To increase the range of the lens, a bayonet mount adapter fits easily over the lens to accommodate both a Wide Converter and Tele Converter, extending the possible zoom range to 26.6-200mm (35mm film equivalent), even a close-up lens for extreme macro shooting is available.

Printing without PC

A PC is not even required in order to produce lab-quality prints at home. The PowerShot A80 can be connected via USB cable directly into any PictBridge compliant photo printer, regardless of brand. The camera is also backward compatible with Canon's Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct standards. When printing direct to a Canon printer, the camera automatically the selects optimum communication protocol to maximise print speed and quality.

Canon PowerShot A80 Specifications

Sensor • 1/1.8" CCD
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 4.1 million pixels total
Effective pixel count 4.0 million
Image sizes • 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips * • 320 x 240, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
• 160 x 120, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
File formats • Still: JPEG EXIF 2.2 (Super-Fine, Fine, Normal)
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG + Wave audio)
Lens • 3x optical zoom
• 38 - 114 mm equiv.
• F2.8 - F4.9
Digital zoom Up to 3.2x
Focus • 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF
• Manual focus
• AF assist beam (on/off)
Metering • Evaluative
• Center weighted average
• Spot
AE Lock No
AE Bracketing No
Exposure compen. +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Shutter • 15 - 1/2000 sec
• 1.3 sec or slower only Manual and Shutter priority modes
• Auto noise reduction slower than 1.3 sec
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.5" TFT LCD
• Flip-out and twist
Flash • Built-In
• Modes: Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Manual
• Red-Eye Reduction: On, Off
• Manual power selection: 3 levels
• Range (Auto ISO, Wide): 0.45 - 4.4 m (1.5 - 14.4 ft)
• Range (Auto ISO, Tele): 0.45 - 2.5 m (1.5 - 8.2 ft)
Shooting modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual
• Custom 1
• Custom 2
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Asssist
• Movie (with sound)
Photo effects • Vivid
• Neutral
• Low Sharpening
• Sepia
• Black & White
Drive modes • Single
• Continuous (1.6 fps, up to 8 frames)
• Continuous High (2.4 fps, up to 5 frames)
Direct printing • Canon Card Photo Printers
• Canon Bubble Jet Printers with direct print function
Other features • My Camera
• iSAPS technology
• Movie editting
• Sound memo (up to 60 secs)
• Magnify Zoom (2 - 10x)
• Auto play
• DPOF / Transfer Order
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 sec
Connectivity • USB 1.1 (inc PTP)
• A/V out
Storage • Compact Flash Type I
• FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
• 16 MB CF card supplied
Power • 4 x AA batteries (NiMH rechargable recommended)
• Optional AC adapter
Dimensions 103 x 65 x 35 mm (4.1 x 2.6 x 1.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 250 g (8.8 oz)
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