Compared to... Panasonic Lumix LX1

Perhaps the nearest thing to a direct competitor is the Panasonic LX1 - it too has 8MP (though using a different aspect ratio), 28mm wide zoom and manual controls. We have included samples for the lowest and highest ISO settings for each camera 50 and 400 for the S80, 80 and 400 for the LX1). Note that the 8MP PowerShot S80 files are around 13% larger (vertically) than the LX1 (which in turn are around 17% bigger horizontally).

Studio scene comparison (Canon S80 @ ISO 50, Panasonic LX1 @ ISO 80)

  • Canon PowerShot S80 : Aperture Priority mode, ISO 50, Default Image Parameters, Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
  • Panasonic DMC-LX1: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +1.0 EV compensation
  • Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI.
Canon PowerShot S80
Panasonic DMC-LX1
ISO 50, 1/60 sec, F5
ISO 80, 1/80 sec, F4.9
3,217 KB JPEG
2,684 KB JPEG

Although there's not a lot in it - in terms of detail or sharpness - it's obvious from the 100% crops that the Canon is producing a cleaner, smoother image with visibly less noise. In fact the more you look at the results from the S80 the more impressed you are - they're clean and detailed, they don't look too 'processed' and - thankfully - they've not been subjected to excessive in-camera sharpening (though the colors have a typical 'Canon' vividness and the contrast is a little high). The only camera that has come this close to offering 'DLSR'-like results at low ISO settings is the Fujifilm FinePix F10. Very impressive, and - amazingly - an improvement, albeit a small one, on the 7MP PowerShot S70.