Encouraged by fellow photo-blogger Dan James, I carried my Canon PowerShot S80 around with me everywhere for a few weeks. It was my primary camera for a couple years ending in 2010 when I got my PowerShot S95, the camera I’ve used more than any other ever.
The S80 is chunkier than the S95. It seemed giant in my pocket compared to the S95. Funny, because I’d call a film camera this small a marvel of miniaturization and brilliantly pocketable.
The S80 also lacks the S95’s ability to directly dial in common focal lengths like 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and so on. I didn’t realize how much I love that feature of my S95 until I didn’t have it on the S80. It led me to just shoot at the default 28mm most of the time. That leads to stretched proportions on deep subjects like my car.
The S80’s color that impressed me. Even on this dreary day it managed to make what color was present look good.
My poor S80 isn’t without troubles. Just look at all the fringing among the branches at the top of this photograph of the Maker’s Mark distillery. Beneath that sci-fi sky, the S80 captured great color and clarity.
Check the upper right of this image — it’s out of focus. I found this on many shots, and I suspect that the lens has become misaligned.
It also happened in this portrait shot of a Bardstown, KY, door. The entire top of the image is soft.
I tried the camera’s built-in black-and-white mode for this photo of construction near where I work. It’s okay.
Shooting some early spring blooms, I was reminded that the S80’s macro mode struggles to lock focus unless it is at minimum zoom, 28mm.
As with every camera, you just learn to live with its limitations. So when I want macro, I zoom all the way out.
The S80 shone brightest outdoors at middle distances. Its lens is plenty sharp and contrasty.
The S95 is a better camera and the one I’m going to keep reaching for. But even if I didn’t own the S95, my S80’s probable lens misalignment consigns this otherwise decent camera to the bin.
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