Canon Powershot S80


Mu-43 All-Pro
Apr 22, 2013
New Jersey
Real Name
The Bassman
Bored. So I looked at the shelf in my office and noticed the Canon Powershot S80, circa late 2005. It replaced my S50 (which replaced an S20), which I gave to a friend, and was itself replaced by an S90, which my sister dropped and broke. It still had the battery inside, although it was dead, and also a 1GB Eye-Fi card. The card had four images from 2011 on it. Surprisingly, I was able to find the charger in the box with old chargers I keep, as well as the mini-B USB cable.

Charged it up and went for a neighborhood walk.

When I used this camera (LR says I have 1,688 images, mostly from 2006), I was really just a P&S guy, and pretty unaware of anything I was doing. Here are a few of the key specs and features:

- 8MP on a 1/1.8" CCD sensor (fairly big for it's time), 4264x2448 pixels
- 5.8-20.7mm, 28-100mm equivalent field of view, f/2.8-5.3
- Optical viewfinder only with zoom - image coverage pretty poor at 80%
- 2.5" TFT LCD, 115k pixels
- Apparently there are 9 focus points; you can choose the center one, or all.
- ISO 50/100/200/400 "equivalent" - whatever that means
- Continuous shooting at 1.8 shots/sec in the medium jpeg compression mode
- Movies up to 1024x768 at 15fps; you can shoot up to 3 minutes at 160x120/15fps and 1GB file size
- USB 2.0 - still being put in new cameras 15 years later!

It feels quite sturdy and weighs about 9 oz. with the battery. It's pretty fiddly to operate, although I haven't used it in 14 years. After spending as little time with the manual as possible, I set it for ISO 200, aperture priority, and single focus point, Large/Superfine image recording and set out.

- The focusing is sluggish.
- Changing the aperture or EC results in several second lag before the LCD reflects the change.
- After taking a shot, it takes about two seconds before you can shoot again. Calling up an image for review also takes about 2 seconds.
- The optical viewfinder is tiny and dim.
- The LCD is also pretty poor - no surprise at 115k pixels. You can only tell if a shot was out of focus if it's really bad; guessing about exposure is similarly risky. You can turn the LCD on or off with a button.
- The mode dial has detents which are more useful to announce the stops when you change the setting, but not to prevent it from being moved accidentally. I took a few shots in Manual mode, which is adjacent to Av (aperture priority).

The pictures are decent. Here's an uncroped image from the walk. The only PP is Clarity +26 and Dehaze +41; you can see the low sun coming in from the right side.
ISO 200, 1/1250s, f/5.0, 17.5mm (~80mm equiv).

20050301 Canon S80 IMG_0182.jpg
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I have a picture taken with this camera in my daughter's wedding album, and framed in our living room. It looked as good as the shots the hired pro's took with their Canon 5D and Nikon D2. But the light was great - sunny day, blue sky, etc. The ISO is lost in time, as the image was originally stored in Apple iPhoto. But probably more like 50.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Nov 7, 2010
northeast US
My recollection is that the Sxx series was Canon's "high end" super-compact offering, and pretty darn good for their time. I started with the S90, which iirc battled the Panny LX3 for category dominance. I always thought the S90 was the best tiny camera out there. Comfy to carry slid in to a shirt pocket.
Oct 29, 2018
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
The S series was pretty good, I had the S120 and took some photos with it that I still really like. I used it a lot for macro images with a homemade adaptor and some achromats. As you say, in the right conditions, small P&S cameras take nice photos...

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