Canon PowerShot S80 Review
The S80 continues the evolution of the 'S' series (which goes back to late 2001), retaining the familiar oblong shape and sliding lens cover. There's been some fairly significant changes since the S70 - the body is about 10mm shorter, the screen is a lot larger (2.5-inches versus 1.8-inches) and there's been a major re-think of the external control layout, with a new mode dial and rotating control dial, a very welcome button for setting ISO and yet another new design of zoom control. From a design point of view the S80 eschews the S70's matt-black all-over finish for a mixture of textured silver and high gloss (almost piano-style) black, with a couple of leather-finish rubber accents. Like its predecessors the all-metal body is beautifully constructed and the whole thing exudes an air of luxury. In a sea of 'lookalike' plastic cameras the S80 is a real treat, and - as I discovered when using it out and about - something of a head-turner in it's own understated way.
Although at first glance the S80 seems to be suffering from a serious plague of buttons, which can make it a slightly daunting camera to begin with. Spend some time with the S80 however, and you soon start to appreciate the level of control on offer - and how rarely you need to use menus in everyday photography.
In your hand
The S80 sits very comfortably in the hand, with the subtle finger grip on the front of the body offering just enough 'hold' for single-handed operation. That said, the new thumb-operated zoom control is a little fiddly, almost impossible if you're trying to shoot with one hand, and if you don't support the camera with your left hand it's a little too easy to accidentally press one of the many buttons that sit under your thumb. As with most cameras of this type you'll find it a lot easier to use - and a lot more stable - if you use both hands to support it.
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