Canon PowerShot S80 Review
Timing & Performance
Where the S70 could feel sluggish, overall impressions of the S80 are much better - it feels very 'snappy' in everyday use, rarely - if ever - keeping you waiting. Focus speed isn't the best in its class, but it isn't far off, and is a lot better than most previous 'S' models. Importantly, it seems noticeably (and measurably) faster than the S70, and it rarely struggles even in low light. Continuous shooting performance is perfectly acceptable for a camera of this class, and there are none of the buffer-related limitations seen on so many competitor models.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 'Super Fine' JPEG image (approx. 2,950 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||1.5|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.6|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||2.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||~0.3|
|Record Review||Image displayed||0.5|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.5|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.6|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||~0.8|
|Play: Image to Image||To display each saved image (with transitions)||~0.4|
|Play: Image to Image||To display each saved image (no transitions)||~0.3|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||~0.4|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||~0.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||~0.6|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||~0.1|
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||Viewfinder||<0.1|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle, High Speed mode||~0.6|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||2.0|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.9|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red eye reduction off) *1||~2.7|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red eye reduction on) *1||~2.7|
|*1||Flash recycle time (average) - this is longer if the subject distance is great or the battery is running low. Note that the S80 doesn't use pre-flashes for red-eye reduction (the AF illuminator lamp simply stays lit), so there is no difference in shot-to-shot times.|
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The S80 has a single continuous 'drive' mode, which averages just under 2.0 frames per second with a fast card at most image sizes. The S80 can shoot indefinitely (duration of burst is limited only by the remaining space on the card). There is no live preview when shooting bursts, but there is a brief review image for each frame captured.
Frames in a burst *1
Time to store
after last frame *2
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Super Fine||1.95 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||1.95 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal||1.95 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Super Fine||1.6 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine||1.6 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super Fine||1.95 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||1.95 fps||Unlimited||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release) until the buffer is full.|
Not bad at all - and actually better than the 1.8 fps quoted in Canon's promotional materials. As we've seen with other Canons the frame rate inexplicably drops slightly if you move down one file size (to 5MP), then picks up again at lower resolutions. It's nice to see Canon has got rid of the buffering issues suffered by S70 users, allowing you to all intents and purposes to keep shooting at the maximum rate indefinitely.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
Time to store
Time to display
File size *1
Images on a *2
1.0 GB Card
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Super Fine||~0.5||0.3||2950 KB||286|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Fine||<0.5||0.3||1610 KB||476|
|3264 x 2448 JPEG Normal||<0.5||0.3||650 KB||983|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Super Fine||<0.5||0.3||1820 KB||391|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine||<0.5||0.3||1050 KB||695|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super Fine||<0.5||0.3||1280 KB||607|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||<0.5||0.3||715 KB||1080|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
Taking only around half a second to process and save a 2.9MB file, the S80 is pretty fast (just under 6MB/s), and certainly on a par with the best cameras in this class.
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