I have made absolutely no contribution to this website. I found it very useful
site. However, the website was down frequently due to the traffic limits
imposed by geocities.
So I decided to mirror it for my own use.
If you have any questions about A80 pl do not contact me. Contact the author directly, whose address is given below.
The mirror is accurate as of May 6th, 2004. I have no plans of updating the mirror in the near future.
Last updated: 2004/04/11
Number of people who have emailed me telling me they bought an A80 because of this website thus far: 105
The gray scale below, stolen Shamelessly from dpreview.
Please adjust your monitors so you can see all the grayscales below.
Disclaimer: A lot of you ask me questions like "What do you think of XXX camera?" Or "What do you think of A80 vs. XXX vs. YYY vs. ZZZ." First.. how do I say this without sounding rude.. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Do you own research before you ask me!! Questions like "Do you think I should get an A80 or a 10D?" Have absolutely no relevance whatsoever. That's like saying "Do you think I should get a Porsche or a Yugo?" Second, I'm ALWAYS going to recommend an A80. Why? Because I found it to be the best _FOR ME_. If I didn't, why would I buy it and why would I write a page about it!??!?! I don't know if it's the right camera for you, because... I'm not you!! Now if you narrowed down your options, and can give me a bit more clue like "I usually take indoor shots only." Or "I take mostly vacation pics." Or "I don't care for manual controls, I want the dumbest camera but still get good quality.." etc.. that will allow me to answer your questions better. Otherwise, you will probably get a response you didn't want to hear! And the response will probably be "A80". !! So I don't mind questions, but people, be smart and do your homework first before you ask silly questions that MAKES ME FEEL EMBARRASSED for you.. Thanks! And please read the FAQ (at the bottom) first before you email me! I answer about 25 questions a day that I've already answered in the FAQ in great detail!
"Let us begin at the beginning..." Socrates...
There are plenty of reviews on the internet about the camera resolution etc. That's not what this review is about (although I will talk about it) This review is about the practicality of a digital camera, and picking the right digital camera the right way. Many other things are glossed over in favor of Megapixels etc.. when most never print more than 3x5 or 4x6! If that's all you do, 3 Megapixels is plenty. But megapixels aren't the real story. There are HUGE advantages of digital over film, and none of them is what people generally think. Am I a photo expert? Depends who you compare me to. But I am a nerd who's spent a few years researching digital cameras before jumping in and buying one, and I can tell you, what I've discovered is nothing like what I thought in the beginning. Let me go through the advantages of a digital camera, and then specifically, the Canon A80. There are several advantages of digital vs film, and I'll list them here first.
Current digital cameras can't come close to film resolution. But it makes up for it in lack of grain.
1. Storage: I use to (and sometimes still do) lug around 20-30 rolls of film on a long trip. With digital, a few Compact flashes equal 200-300 pictures. I can take all I want, and not worry about the cost of "burning through film". On a trip, I usually take a few shots, without worrying about waste, and at night, delete the ones I didn't like to free up some memory. Carrying 2-3 CF's is a lot easier than 30 rolls of film. One caveat though is, now all your eggs are in one basket (or one CF card).
2. White Balance: This has GOT TO BE the best reason to get a digital camera. Now, no more yellowish pictures indoors. No more bluish shade pictures. The A80 has a manual white balance setting, and so if you carry a white piece of paper around, you can all but be sure you will always have perfect white balance, regardless of lighting (even in mixed lighting, as often happens indoors) You'd be a fool to trust the auto white balance though. It never is accurate, manual white balance is better. It's like having filters on the fly.
3. Convinence: If you have a compact digital camera, it can always be with you. One of the reasons I love my MjuII. It's with you everywhere you go, and you never have to consider whether you want to lug a big heavy camera around.
4. Smoothness: Digital yields an unnatural smoothness. That's great for food photography, and some people like it for portraits. I sometimes hate it, sometimes love it. It depends on the subject. The problem is that it looks fake to me. But then again, who says photography is about capturing reality??
5. ISO on the fly: This is another great thing; with film (unless you shoot with something like a medium format SLR) you are usually stuck with the same film until you finish that roll. With digital, you can change ISO on the fly, to suit the situation. This is a huge advantage over film. Aperture, Shutter, ISO. That gives you your EV. You use to be only able to change 2 out of the 3, now you can change all 3, a huge advantage.
6. Instant Review: This let's you know if you've got the shot or not. With digital, take a peek, if you didn't get the shot, take it again!! But one word of warning, getting it right the FIRST TIME is better than the hit and miss method. This let's you check your work, this is not a substitute for lack of thinking!! One of the reasons that most pictures I see now get worse and worse is because people "fire and forget", and think "if it's bad, I can erase it and take it again!" and so they take a picture haphazardly, without thought put into it. This is horrible! Digital gives you the chance to "redeem yourself" if you mess up, to make sure you got the shot, it is in no way suppose to substitute for knowing what you are doing, and thinking before pressing the shutter button.
7. Workflow speed: Instead of scanning your pictures, you can now just upload them, this makes for much faster workflow.
8. Sending pics to friends: You can email them right away, without scanning or developing. Instant gratification. This is great for clients and for samplings also. If you sell something on Yahoo or Ebay, this is a must.
9. Digital Stitching! One of the beautiful things about digital is digital stitching. That means taking a lot of pictures together and stitching them together to make an even larger picture. The Canon's have a stitch assist, and coupled with their stitching software, the results are impressive. Here's a sample. (Warning, about 1.4Megs) This of of the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. 3 pictures, taken on a (yes) very cloudy day. At 4 megapixels and 3 pictures - about 20% of waste and overlap, this is roughly a 9 megapixel picture. I don't have a wide angle lens on the A80 (very unfortunate) but I make up for it by doing pano's. The night scene is of Shanghai, taking from "The Bund". Digital stitching, or poor man's pano's.
Yes, there are other advantages, as well as disadvantages, but I've talked about the ones I thought were fairly important. Now let's get to the Canon A80.
Disclaimer: I hate Canon's. Especially the stupid Rebel's. The name is dumb, and I can't stand the Andrea Aggassi commercials. I told myself I'd never buy a Canon. BUT, unlike Leica bigots, I know that a camera is just a tool, and thus I pick the best tool, regardless of the badge on it. So if you think I'm biased towards Canon's, you are wrong, I am biased AGAINST them. But life is short, I pick the best value. I want to give Ken Rockwell some credit here, his review helped me solidify my choice.
First, forget the megapixels, they aren't that important to you, if you are looking at a point and shoot. What you care about are:
Read more about Everything You'll Ever Need to Know, about BATTERIES and BATTERY CHARGERS.
1a. BATTERIES!! This has got to be the SINGLE MOST IMPORANT CRITERION FOR A P&S DIGITAL CAMERA SELECTION. I will NEVER NEVER NEVER pick a digital camera that uses proprietary batteries!! There is no reason to! The lithium ion batteries are small and expensive. You need to replace them annually, and that's based on the assumption you can find them later when they've become obsolete. And good luck finding them when you run out of juice in the middle of Thailand or Africa. Contrast that with AA batteries. They are available everywhere in the world, and the capacities for them are still being improved upon. A few years ago, they were only 800mA. Now, they are up to (Sanyo) 2300mA and rising. They can be found anywhere in the world, and in a pinch, you can buy the cheap Alkaline ones for emergancies. I suggest rechargable NiMH. But this is the single most important selection criterion IMHO.
When you put that constrant, you have narrowed the entire field to all but a few. Nikons, Canon, a few Olympus models, and Ricoh.
1b. BATTERIES!! Another thing is battery life. For those who don't take a lot of pictures (if you think 1 roll of film is a lot..) you could care less. But if you are like me, who rack up rolls and rolls, shots and shots, then this is very important. The Canon A60 (thus the A70 and A80) use 4 AA batteries instead of 2. How is this significant? How's this; on my recent trip to Hong Kong, a set of NiMH 1800mA fully charged batteries lasted over 8 hours!! That's about 160 shots, about 2 hours of reviews. (added) On new years, I took 400+ pictures, and this baby went into the double digit as far as number of hours.. and it wasn't even sweating!! My friend (Who has the Canon S100) her battery died, and so no more pictures for her. Like I keep chanting.. it's about the batteries and battery life..
How I went 4 days and 800 images during Chinese New Years on only 1 set of batteries..
Taking this chart shamelessly from this page from Imaging Resource:
(@4.8 volts on the external power terminal)
(Four 1600 mAh NiMH cells)
|Capture Mode, w/LCD||
|Capture Mode, no LCD||
|Half-pressed shutter w/LCD||
|Half-pressed w/o LCD||
|Memory Write (transient)||
|Flash Recharge (transient)||
As you can see, the LCD sucks up juice, as does the flash.
What I do is
close the LCD, and use the optical viewfinder (Why I must have an optical viewfinder!!)
I set it to SNAP mode (read more about it below) and I can literally go about
20 hours of usage with. The viewfinder only shows about 85% or so of the
picture, and I have not been satisifed enough with the framing of it. Also,
I want to make sure of my settings, and the viewfinder doesn't allow me to do
that. Finally, if you turn of the LCD and /or flip-close the LCD, the manual
focus disappears!! Canon thinks you too stupid or never anticipated something
like the SNAP mode. So it reverts back to auto-focus. So.. I gave up, and went
back to using the SNAP mode with the LCD. Framing was just much easier. The
minimum you need to take a picture is: metering, and writing to memory. Everything
else, can be taken out. I try not to use flash if possible. If you use nothing
but snap mode, and avoid using flash for every shot; I am confident that you
can go 800+ shots without changing batteries. I did, and I use 1800mA batteries.
If you are using 2300mA batteries, that statement holds even better. I now usually
run out of memory card before batteries.
2. Memory Cards: There's a whole slew of them: Smart Media, MMC, SD, CF, CFII, Microdrive, xD etc.. First, the SM's and MMC's are dead. So don't pick those. Of the 3 remaining ones, the CF has the highest capacity and lowest cost. I wish Canon made them Type II instead of Type I, but that's about my only complaint. The proliferation of CF in many types of applications (not just digital cameras) ensures their life for years to come. Capacity keeps increasing, as well as speed. So it's a good bet. I love Olympus, but the xD's are only used by Olympus and Fuji, and aren't very open. So I'm weary of them. CF became my first choice, with SD being next. CF also has greater peripherals and accessories for it. So I went with CF. I have 2 Pretec cards. Based on the G-shock ratings (2000-G's allegedly) these things are fairly rugged and durable. That doesn't mean you throw them around, but they can take a beating. Put them in their plastic cases when not in use though, as otherwise, the contact holes (a lot of tiny ones) will get dirty and render your card useless.
Here's a picture of the 256Meg Pretec I own. (Actually, I own 2) They've been utterly reliable,through thousands of pictures.
One other recommendation: Get a CF card reader. If you have a laptop, get probably a Delkin Card reader. Read the review. It's suppose to be much faster than firewire and plain-Jane PCMCIA card adapters.
If you buy a USB card reader, buy one that's a 6 in 1 or a 7 in one. That way, your friends can come to your house and upload pictures to your computer as well. Get a USB 2.0 one instead of a USB 1.1 version. Also, just like most things computer related, the BIGGEST feature you should look for in a USB card reader is... THE SIZE OF THE USB CONNECTOR! Some use very tiny ones on the card reader end. If the cable were to break or get tweaked and stops working, you might not be able to find another wire! So buy a USB reader that uses the standard USB sized wires. You will thank me later, trust me. This is more important than anything else. For example, my CF card is 8Mb/sec to Flash card (write), and it says "up to" 20Mb/sec read. So any USB 2.0 compliant reader will do. In actuality, it transfers an entire card (256megs) in about 2 minutes. That's about 2Mb/sec. You really don't want to upload to your computer buy connecting it to your camera. Don't drain the batteries and don't lock up the usage of the camera just to read the card. Also, the camera based transfer is painfully slow. (About 400kb/s from my tests)
3. Cleaness of Images (Noise): Canon is doing something right. I hate them, but I've gotta give credit where credit is due. Their images are consistantly clean. Contrast that with Olympus, who's got good resolution and great color, but image noise leaves quite a bit to be desired. So I wanted something with a clean image. We'll get to why I picked the A80 over the A70.. The dark subtraction works well, see below if you want to see a shot of noiseless sky in night shots. (Someone working for Olympus needs to forward this webpage to the execs and engineers.)
4. ISO Range: There are cheap digital cameras who start at ISO 200, or don't have an ISO setting at all; or who have an Auto ISO only. This to me, defeats one of the biggest reasons for getting a digital camera. So you want something that will provide at least ISO 100-400. ISO 800 is too noisy for small sensors like those used in digital P&S's. It's basically a math problem. You want an ISO that provides noise free shooting, and you want to have at least 2 stop after that setting, so you can utilize 4 times the shutter speed so you don't get blurry shots. For the A80, ISO 50 is noise free. ISO 200 is still usable. That's great. ISO 400 isn't really usable. Emergancies, yes. But at that point, you need to brace yourself against something, brace the camera against something, or the best answer... TRIPOD it. Even a monopod is excellent.
5. Zoom Range: Ideally, 28mm-100mm will cover 99% of what you need. This was one of the convincing reasons I looked at the Ricoh G4Wide. It started at 28mm, and the only one that did in a decent price range. If you asked for 28mm and AA batteries, you are basically left with 2 cameras; the Ricoh G4Wide and the Minolta DiMAGE 7. The A80 has 38mm-114mm. I wish it had 28mm.
6. Manual Controls: One of the things that made me get the A80 over the Ricoh G4Wide was manual controls. Depending purely on the camera is just not the way to gain control of photography. You want P/A/T/M. It was critical to me. If you want to become a "photographer", sooner or later, you will need to have manual controls.
So we've narrowed our camera search now to the Olympus C5050Zoom, the Olympus C750, the Canon A70, the Canon A80. Based on my criterions. The Ricoh had to be thrown out, because of lack of Manual Controls (too bad, 28mm would have been very useful. The only thing I wish the A80 had. I would give up the telephoto end for a wider angle, i.e. 28-85mm would have been ok.)
The Olympus were excellent, but they cost almost 2x as much in price over the Canon. This might be justified if you are a professional photographer, but to me, the cost was too much compared to the benefits gained. The one arguement for the Olympus cameras were the ability to add an external flash, but other than that, not much else. The extra megapixel gained is not justified in the price. The C750 with its 10x optical zoom might have been justified, but I didn't gain anything on the wide angle end, and so in the end, I considered the Canon A70 and A80.
The A80 uses a much bigger sensor than the A70. Here's a comparison of the sensor size from the A70 and the A80 (sensors) as compared to regular 35mm film.
This is actual size. The 35mm film (36mm x 24mm) here in red, looks huge compared to the sensor for the A80 (green) and the A70 (blue). But size alone doesn't tell the whole story. But you can see why no 3 or 4 megapixel camera is going to catch up to the resolution of 35mm (regardless of what the lying salesman says).
Let's take a look at the sensor size of the A70 vs A80 (Magnified 500%)
As you can see, the 1/1.8" sensor is clearly bigger. How much bigger? Lucky for you, I've done the math for you below.
1/2.7" (5.27mm x 3.96mm)
1/1.8" (7.18mm x 5.32mm)
|Total Sensor Surface Area||
|Number of (Effective) Pixels||
3,871,488 pixels (23% Gain)
|Sensors / mm (pixel density)||
150,735 pixels / mm^2
101,354 pixels / mm^2
(33% less dense!)
2048 x 1536
2272 x 1704
When you look at the Megapixels of the A70 vs. the A80... it's not a big gain (only 23%). That's because that's not where the story is. The story is in the pixel density. The smaller the pixels, the worse the signal to noise (StN) is. With an 83% gain in surface area and only a marginal 23% gain in actual pixels, in theory, the A80 should yield MUCH cleaner images (in theory, 33% cleaner). Don't be fooled by the marketing and the hype!! See what's important!!
If you take a look at the night shots comparing the noise level of the A70 vs the A80 on www.dcresource.com, you will note that just as predicted, the A80 yields much cleaner images. If the sensor on the A80 is the same as the Canon S400, then you can go over to www.dpreview.com and take a look at the noise level of the S400 vs the A70. From Phil's graphs, it looks like at ISO400, the S400 shows a 4.8 on the Luminance noise graph vs the A70 showing a 6.9. That's roughly 30% cleaner, just as we predicted from sensor density. I see no noise when shot at ISO50. This is the way it should be!! So obviously the noise reduction works.
That alone would make me tip the scale towards the A80. But wait,
there's more!! The A80 has a feature that the Olympus C5050 has, that
has been loved by many, and I find a feature I can't live without now...
It is the C1 and C2 on the dial that I've got circled in red. This allows you to save custom settings just like the Olympus C5050. You can set anything from ISO to zoom range! I thought this feature was a must after I read this article. Later, I read about using the C5050 with presets like a off the hip Leica, and I was sold on this feature. Aside from the bigger sensor, this is probably the single biggest addition to the A80. My regular C1 and C2 are:
|- 1/3 EV (To prevent red channel clipping)||-|
|Auto White Balance||Auto White Balance|
|ISO 50||ISO 100|
|Continuous Drive Mode||Single Drive Mode|
|Evaluative Metering||Evaluative Metering|
|Superfine 2272 x 1704||Fine 2272 x 1704|
|AiAF off ~ Manually Focused @ 5 meters. Here's why.||AiAF off|
I use C1 for outdoors, and C2 for indoors, for close snaps or darker conditions, where the extra stop might give me a little bit more shutter speed to prevent blurriness. The fact that C1 and C2 are accessable without going into menus means I can change between them on the fly before I even turn on the camera, and that to me means speed and not missing the shot. If you are constantly adjusting the settings on your camera, the Mode Dial is a blessing. With my C1 set to "SNAP" mode, (read more about it below) this is just such a fast camera. Not quite as fast as my MjuII, but getting there.
One of the items found in the A80 but not in the A70 (That I really like) is the histogram. You can see the histogram, so you get an idea if things sit where you wanted them to be (in terms of level). This is a huge addition and a big help.
The one item that is bragged about for the A80 is the swiveling LCD screen. It's a blessing and a curse. I find myself messing with it all the time, and I find myself closing the screen when I put it away, and then having to flip it open again when I take it out. This all takes time, precious moments that you've lost. So now, I just leave it flipped open when I'm out, and only close it for long term storage. One thing I do like is the fact that with a swiveling screen, you can take pictures of things low and high, and still be able to accurately compose and take a shot. An example would be a large crowd. You can stick the camera up, tilt the screen down, and take a picture. Or something low, you can take a level picture of a dog without bending down. One other noted advantage, when the sun is big, you can tilt the screen to avoid glare. This also allows for self portraits handheld straight out. Even better is if you have it on a tripod, you can see the composition, and move youself accordingly. The screen size isn't that big of a problem. Remember, it's a screen for review of lighting and composition, not a substitute for good photo skills.
Here are some pictures I took with either my arms overhead, or the camera almost to the ground). The different perspectives I can get with the camera is all due to the swiveling LCD. I love it!
|Overhead shot with snap mode at the famous Liuho Nightmarket in Kaohsiung. Note the top of people's heads. I took this with my arms fully extended and the swivel screen tilted down for composition. Without the swivel screen, you can get the same shot, but your horizon probably won't be level. Note lack of noise in this night shot. Excellent.|
|Sleeping Dog. I got upclose and personal with this sleeping dog, trying not to wake it before the picture is taken. Note I'm about 5 cm from the ground (you can tell because the camera is actually BELOW the cart, same level as the wheels). I tilted the LCD upwards, and composed and shot. When I do low shots like this, I use the left hand to steady the camera, I'm looking down, and I actually depress the shutter with my RIGHT THUMB. It works better. You can't get this shot and still have decent composition without laying on your belly, unless you have a swiveling LCD.|
|Here's a unique method to make things appear larger than life. This was shot with snap mode, with my hand actually resting on the ground. This is the small train in HoToa here in Taiwan, it is very famous. It's a tiny train, but looks huge because of the perspective. Also, the train has really only 4 sections total, you can see that in the picture, but again, from the ground perspective, it looks huge. Not really possible of a shot without swiveling LCD.|
|Here's a shot of the railroads. Note the camera is resting in my hand and my hand is resting on the railroad tracks itself. The depth of field provided is excellent, again, snap mode. The people are actually only standing about 20 feet away, and the entire width of the rails are about 2 feet or so wide, but again, this perspective distorts everything making it larger than life. This is a difficult shot with anything but a swiveling LCD.|
The swiveling LCD allows perspectives that are difficult to get
without the swiveling LCD or would be difficult to keep your horizon
level or to actually compose the shot instead of guestimating the
composition. Excellent feature.
A feature that is also bragged about is the AiAF. Here's the problem with it. It takes a while to hunt for it, and if you don't use the LCD, then you have no clue where it's focused! So for my C1, I have it turned off, so I can use the optical viewfinder. I find the center focus, depress shutter half way, lock focus, recompose, snap, to be the best way, and the only way if you are using the optical viewfinder. (Note, set in my manually made "SNAP" mode, I don't even have to do that! I just frame and shoot.) The A70 has a 5-point AiAF, the A80 has a 9-point AiAF. All marketing, not of big value. (Note: It has annoyed me to get the wrong object in focus to the point it is now turned off for everything I do. Utterly useless except to make you miss the shot, and it takes a while to focus and I'm sure it sucks up battery as well.)
The A80 is pretty fast, it turns on quickly, and even if the screen is slow to display, the camera is actually ready for the next shot right away. Kudos to Canon for the speed. The lens extention and retraction speed is never a problem, so the camera is always ready for a quick snapshot. Comparing this to the Olympus C5050, the A80 takes only half the time.
One of the things that I worried about was, with the quantity of pictures I take, how long will a 256Meg CF card last me?? Well, the average size of a Superfine 2272 x 1704 setting comes in at just under 2 megs, and a little bit over 2 megs for complex senery like with bushes and grass. This is great. That means I can get about 140 images at this resolution and quality per CF card. 2 cards yields almost 300 pictures. In Fine 2272 x 1704, the images are just about at 1 meg each. averaging from 700K-1.3 Megs. So at this resolution and quality, I can yield about 500 pictures on 2 CF cards. Excellent. One of the things I do like about this camera is that the file size varies according to the complexity of the picture; as it should be. So a less complex picture takes up less room. The counter that displays how many shots left is just a guestimate at best. But it gives you a fairly good idea. Also, unlike the Olympus's fairly confusing system, Canon did it right. One for resolution, one for quality.
This camera only saves in jpg. There's no TIFF or RAW. I complained about this at first, but the images are clean and noisefree, and so it's not that big of an issue. Exif 2.2 compliant, which means I can see what I did (setting-wize) to get the shot, and if it's too dark or too light. Excellent. One of those things that will help you a lot.
I have no idea why, but everything is grouped according to 100 images. I would have figured grouping them by date would have made sense, 1 folder per day. It seems arbitrary, but I've not had a problem with it. I generally dump all the images in one place, and sort by date. Also, I use one of the best tools on earth, and I'm more than happy to give it some free advertising. Jim Willsher's Bulk Rename Utility. If you don't have it, GET IT!! Renaming files under any which way you want to, easy and painless, a must have if you want to increase your workflow.
One of the things I like about the A80 (and thus the A70 and A60 as well) is that since it swallows 4 AA batteries, where the battery lives makes it into a little grip area. This gives you a nice solid hold on the camera, and yields a much more stable shot. The plastic is a little bit slippery with sweaty hands, and so always slide your hand through the camera strap loop first, so you don't drop the camera. I might add some tactile tape to the front of the grip one of these days, or foam tape.
One of the things I found to be so lovely with the A80 is the fact that in Manual Mode, you can adjust everything, including the flash!! I put the camera on a tripod, I stand in front of the camera, and with the swivel screen, tilt it so I can take a self portrait and move myself accordingly, and if I want to fake a good night sync flash shot, I will use a longer shutter speed. Usually, using the night mode, you come out too bright, and the background too dark because you've got bombed on by the flash, but with flash output adjustment, I can change this accordingly.
The first thing I did when I bought the camera was test whether the CA problem is really that bad. You read about CA complaints, and so I wanted to see for myself. So of course, I took pics of aluminum foil. But also, I have some standard outdoor shots to show CA.
|Specifications||The shot||Detailed View of the shot (from the green highlight box)|
38mm F2.8 1/15th ISO50 Tripod
Slight CA, but not that bad.
38mm F8.0 0.5sec ISO50 Tripod
At F8, no CA visible. Excellent.
114mm F4.9 1/4th ISO50 Tripod
Again, some CA, but not too bad.
114mm F8.0 0.6sec ISO50 Tripod
At F8, only a hairline of CA visible.
|38mm F2.8 1/125th ISO 50 Handheld (Day Shot) (Almost dead center) There is some CA, and around the bus sign as well, but not that bad.|
38mm F2.8 1/8th ISO100 Handheld (Night Shot) (Bottom right corner)
Quite a bit of CA.
As you can see from the pictures, there is CA at F2.8, but not that bad. By F8, everything is gone. So if you don't want CA, shoot from a tripod at F8 and you will be good. The aluminum foil torture test wasn't bad at all. There's CA, but not so much that I can't live with it. Also, note that the camera had a hard time locking in focus on the foil. It also doesn't seem to handle sodium lights well at night. I notice CA on compact sodium lights. It's not that big of a deal, really. I want to add a word of caution as far as lens tests. Nobody's lens tests matter (including mine) EXCEPT with YOUR CAMERA. See, the lack of guarantee of quality invariance in manufacturing and production (especially when it comes to something that's as quality intensive as optics) means that I might have a good one and you might have a dud, or visa versa. So make sure YOUR camera is good. That's it. What everybody else has, does not effect your picture quality in the slightest.
One of the CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP (piss me of Canon on an otherwise great product) items is the plastic around the screen. It scratches easily, and is not the silvery non-scratchable plastic like the rest of the camera. SHAME ON CANON.
I've highlighted the area I'm talking about in red. This area scratches easily, and the paint will chip. It was one of the reasons I kept flipping the screen back whenever it's not in use, but at the end, I gave up. Just be aware that this region is of different plastic and the paint scrapes off. SHAME ON CANON. SHAME ON CANON. SHAME ON CANON.
The CF Card Door feels cheap, like it's going to fall off.
There's only a limited shutter speed you can go up to in P mode, before you have to switch to M or Tv. This is annoying. P mode should pick the correct shutter speed for me, instead of blink at me when the shutter speed is higher than 1 second.
I would have loved to have the control over things such as contrast, sharpness etc.. like the C5050, but again, it's half the price, and I don't know if I'm really missing all that much. I do like the vivid option, which I use most of the time with my outdoor shots and my food shots.
I would have liked for it to support CF Type II, but oh well, you can't win them all. CF Type II is a tad bigger, and so they won't fit into a Type I card slot, but a Type I will fit into a Type II without problems. The biggest advantage of Type II is something like Microdrives and larger capacity sizes. Also, as the capacities of CF cards improve, it is now a near non-issue. (Pretec now has 2Gb CF Type I cards.) So size is a non-issue. Above 2Gigs, you will run into a 16bit FAT table vs 32bit FAT table problem. I am not sure if the A80 is 32bit but I doubt it. I had listed here that I thought Microdrives were more fragile than solid-state memory CF cards. But after careful research, both are rated at 2000G maximium, with 15G peak to peak vibration rating. So specifications-wise, they are rated the same. That means, they should both be fairly durable. I stand corrected.
One of the things I have seen is that when something overly saturates the red channel, it turns orange. The color is "clipped". I can't find any shots in my collection to show this, but it's there. Rare, but there. Strangely enough, this never happens when I have "vivid" turned on. I have set my C1 to "-1/3 EV" to stop the red channel from clipping so early. This also prevents highlight blowouts (thanks again Ken).
I had missed this, until I had to take some pictures off a tripod today. Canon, give me a metal mount!!! Goodness.. You want to encourage people to shoot from tripod to get good pictures, not discourage them! This is seriously important. Canon dropped the ball on this one; and the extra cost shouldn't be an so expensive as to for-go it for the cheap piece of plastic that pretends to be a tripod mount.
The movie mode is better in the A70 than the A80. I don't actually care! I never use it and never will.. I would gladly trade a cheaper movie mode for a metal tripod mount.
The Zoom Switch
My Zoom Switch has started to seriously brass. The coat of paint on it has worn off and the copper is showing quite a bit. Also, because the zoom is in distinct steps and not stepless, it makes for a little bit of an annoyance when you need to zoom, because it goes too much or too little, and so you can't really depend on the zoom to frame things reliably. But the brassing really bothers me. It goes to show it isn't a Leica.. then again, I didn't pay Leica prices...
A lot of you have preconceived bias that digital is the way of the future. That's fine, don't bother reading this section. This section is about MATH. A lot of you who grew up with only a government education, are afraid of math. I understand. So you can feel free to skip this section if you wish. A lot of you only have a digital camera, and would like to believe that it can substitution, replace, and do better than a film camera. That's fine, free country, you can believe whatever you'd like... But PLEASE, don't confuse the biases and digital marketing hype with the math!!
The problem with (well, technology will keep improving and soon we will have a 300MP digital camera the size of a credit card..) type of thinking is that they don't understand physics. At some point in time, the sensor is (or would need to be) so small the signal to noise ratio would be reversed... Currently, there are some with 2.5 Ám pitch. Ok, let's examine that.
That means given a pixel, (space), pixel, the smallest we are able to pack it right now is a whopping 400 (things) per millimeter! But now we have a problem, to actually SEE a difference, every other item must be a space of some sort so we can differentiate things (where one pixel starts and ends, and where the second one starts). So, we divide by 2. Now we are at 200 (visible things) per millimeter! Sweet!! So what's the problem here? Well.. if you have a Canon (or Nikon, or anything non-Foveon) then the pixel of information is actually made up of 4 pixels. GRGB (or ERGB in the case of the new Sony's) So we take our 200 (visible things) and divide it by 4. We are now at... 50pixels/mm visible density. Ouch. We cannot keep decreasing the pixel size and pitch, that leads to noise. We can increase the sensor size, or a new line of thinking, like the Foveon, which is stacked instead of in a Bayer pattern. So the question I'm gonna get flooded with is; how come digital pics LOOK SO SHARP on my computer monitor?? Easy... A computer monitor is 72 pixels/sq-inch. A print is AT LEAST 300 lines/sq-inch. That said, that means everything everything will look 4.16x sharper on screen than on paper. Or 4.16x blurrier on paper than onscreen. And then there's the concept (as in the automotive world) that you can turbo all you want, but at some point in time, nothing can substitute DISPLACEMENT. Or in our case, the raw size of the sensor or film area.
Image Circle Radius
We insert my handy-dandy chart, and we see, that if you have an A80 and you expect it to catch up to 35mm film.. forget about it! Yes, I know, I've read luminous-landscape's article comparing a fullsized 1D vs his 6x7 Bronica. Simple math tells you that there is a lot more information that is not being extracted out of the 6x7 negative. Why am I convinced so?? Well, let's take a look at the math.
Let's assume the canon lens is as sharp as it needs to be for that test. Let's assume the same for the Bronica. a 6x7 has an image area of 3864sq-mm. The 35mm has an image area of 864sq-mm. That's 4.47x the size of the 35mm. Ok, let's assume we are working with Fuji velvia, wonderful lens, heavy tripod, perfect focus. Let's not even give Velvia the benefit of the doubt, and let's just say that it's only resolving 75ln/mm. So we do a little math, for the 35mm full frame sensor to equal that of the 6x7, we are looking at 75ln/mm * 4.47x the size = 335.25 lines per mm. That's what the Canon 1D would have to be resolving to get the same results. Do you REALLY think it is? And if the sensor can (which mathematically, I showed you above, it can't really break 50ln/mm or so) do you really think the Canon lens is resolving 335ln/mm??
To quote http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/filmwins.html which compares film to digital,
If you have 20+ times as many color sensors (film grains) in the same square area as a digital sensor, you would expect to have circa 4.5 times the number of linear sensors (as square root of 20 is 4.47..). So you would expect to have a potential resolution advantage of 4.5 times greater for the smaller film grains in color film emulsions. Some other factors like the distribution of film grain sizes impact this issue (in favor of film), but we will ignore them here. So you would expect that for the same area, film would be capable of resolving more detail. In the same area, color film will have 20+ times as many film grains as a 36 micron square silicon sensor.
In fact, you can calculate the maximum resolution of today's digital camera sensors based on the sensor size. When you do, you get a value of circa 55 lpmm as the maximum resolution of most sensors. Simply realize that a lpmm has to have a line of black dots and a line of white dots to tell it is a distinct line. Color sensors (with support and control lines) are typically spaced 9 microns apart, so two lines of sensors take 18 microns to make a line of black and white dots. From the math, 1/18 microns is 0.0555 lines per micron, times 1,000 microns per millimeter, yielding 55.5 lpmm. So the best case resolution of current day consumer digital camera sensors is typically around 55 lpmm.
In the real world, you need to consider sampling issues, as image data will practically never align with the sensor array in the theoretically maximum resolution best case. Generally, you only get about half the maximum value, or under 30 lpmm in our example. This resolution limit would be easily achieved with 800 ASA print film in the $8.95 disposable Kodak Max HQ cameras with two element plastic lenses (rated at over 30 lpmm in Popular Photography tests).
So, their conclusions match that of mine... Does this mean I think you should throw away your digital camera?? Absolutely not! But that also means I don't think you should throw away your film camera either!! My Olympus MjuII point and shoot film camera, will kick the cr*p out of any digital camera currently being made under $2000. And I paid $10 for it used!! So remember, digital and film are different beasts!! They are compliments of each other, not substitutes!! I will probably not take any emails on this topic however, as it seems like a Ford vs. Chevy, 1911 vs Glock, 9mm vs .45ACP type of debate, where there are no winners. I presented the advantages of digital, but I thought I'd be fair and present some of the realities of digital as well.
The entire concept of "forever archived" as far as digital is a lie as well. I've filled up 4 Harddrives worth of pics already.. I'm running out of space. It's difficult to manage that many files. You want to save them in large files to preserve the quality, but then they eat up a lot of diskspace. I can burn CD's!! Yes!! and let the CD fungus eat my CD's so all my pics are lost!! I can put it on a windows box!!! So all the viruses will eat my jpgs!! With film, no matter what, I can hold it up against the sun or any light and see what the pic was, and probably no matter what happens, I will still be able to draw an image off a negative (or a slide). Contrast that with a file.. What's on it? What's it look like? Is it possible it's corrupted? What's on the CD? You can't just look at the CD and know... Yes, it is a problem. I just want you to be fully aware if you were thinking of throwing away your 35mm camera now that you have the brand new digital wonderbrick...
Adjust the white balance manually. The Auto white balance is utterly useless. It comes with a custom white balance, invaluable. Just point it at something white in the same light, and presto!
Use a tripod if you can. This is the secret. No shakey hands!! If you set your camera to F8, 2 second self-timer, and shot from a sturdy tripod, I will guarantee you good shots 95% of the time. Also, tripods slow you down, so you think before you compose, and adjust your composition etc as needed. Tripods aren't for sissies, they are for those who want good quality pictures. This _IS_ the difference between a good shot and a cruddy one. Read below about how to enhance your tripod experience with the A80.
Don't fret over someone having more Megapixels than you. The camera is just a tool, I've seen horrible pics from a Leica, and I've seen great pics from a Lomo. It's not the camera, it's the photographer. Have fun, shoot often! That's how you improve. Remember, a good picture is 85% Photographer, 5% lens. 10% luck.
I went to the raising of the flag here in Taiwan on new years day. While sitting at McDonalds afterwards, I started to play with my camera. Ideas gleamed from the C5050 sites, and also this very useful website helped me to determine the Hyperfocal Length of my A80. At 7.8mm focal length (38mm equiv), and at F2.8, according to the website, my hyperfocal length is 3.59 meters. That means, set at 3.59meters, and using F2.8, everything from 1/2 the focal point, (1.89m ~ infinity) will be sharp, or acceptably sharp according to the circle of confusion. I got this idea from my girlfriend's camera, the Ricoh 1v. It has a "SNAP mode" which basically prefocuses at the hyperfocal length, so you don't get the auto-focus lag, and possibly miss the shot. This allows for shooting "from the hip" and also, this cuts about 1 second (at least) off the shooting time, because the camera doesn't need to focus. This would make the A80 the perfect street camera. Set it at manual focus at about a little before the 5m on the camera, and you are good to go. I picked F2.8 because that's what the camera picks most of the time, and I wanted to be safe. The lack of focus required allowed me to shoot continuously, and that also meant, while I'm driving or walking, I don't need to stop (much) to let the AF acquire it's subject. I just pull it out, frame it, and snap. YES, it really is that simple. If you wonder how I rack up 400 pics in a day, this is how. The camera is always ready, no AF lag, and it's probably less of a power drain, as I'm sure AF takes a lot of juice. One of the advantages of the smaller sensor size compared to 35mm is greater DOF. Perfect for street work. This also means you can keep the screen turned off and shoot with only the optical viewfinder and not worry about incorrect focus lock. Give me feedback about how you like it!
The picture above is a (cropped) shot I got that I couldn't have gotten any other way but with snap mode. This was inside the MRT station in Taipei; it was too dark to focus correctly, but with SNAP, you take the focusing out and put the speed in. It's candid shots like this that make for great pictures; and snap mode helps you do that. Also, the smaller sensor allows for greater depth of field, and snap mode helps you maximize that advantage.
Some of you (to the tune of something like 10 emails a day) ask me specifically for instructions on how to set the SNAP mode. I will give step by step DETAILED instructions below, if you cannot follow them... sorry but at that point in time, I'd have to recommend you sell the A80 and use that money to go back to school... so, without further ado...
OVERLY DETAILED instructions on how to setup SNAP mode:
Your life is now much better than it was before. I guarantee it.
Blur and shake is horrible. So when the light is low, some people crank up the ISO. That is ok, but you get more noise. What you really should do is put it on a tripod. What if there are no tripods available?? What can you do to reduce the blur and shake? Here's what I do. I go ahead and on the "Func" menu, under the drive mode, I select "2 second self timer". The reason I do this is, I find the button on the A80 to be nowhere near the responsiveness of my Olympus OM1n. So most of the time, the blur I get is from depressing the shutter button. Using this method, you can press the shutter button, and concentrate on holding the camera steady, and not worry about pressing the shutter button. One of the other things you might see me do, is if the shot is slow and I'm on the street, I press the camera against whatever is close, be it a building, or a stop sign. Stop signs and traffic light posts are fairly sturdy, and so I get very good lowlight shots without having to resort to putting the camera on a tripod. I do a lot of pictures off of car tops and car hoods. If the car hood is curved, and it's effecting your horizon in your picture, shove your pinky or thumb underneath the lower side. Remember, it doesn't matter because you are using the 2 second timer so you can reach over and press the button (or of you want to, use the 10 second timer!!) and then steady the horizon and not have to worry about depressing the shutter button. Again, car hoods are excellent.
For the 5 days I was in Shanghai, I found out that I cannot live without the swiveling LCD... On a shorter tripod, you'd have to squat to see the LCD in the back (and you can forget the viewfinder if you are shooting from tripod). You will end up with a bad back if you don't have a swiveling LCD. You can view the picture and compose the shot, looking down at the picture like a TLR. Excellent! The picture on the left shows how I use my LCD screen when the camera is mounted on a tripod. I have it tilted at about 45-65 degrees. This allows me to compose the shot looking down, (this also means I can bring a smaller tripod as I don't need it to be eye-level!!) One of the additional benefits is if I'm taking a panoramic shot in the daytime, I can tilt the LCD to avoid glare. By the way, use the 2sec timer mode if you are using a tripod. That way, you don't get any camera shake due to depressing the shutter button! This is something I recommend you do for slow shutter speeds anyways.
One of the things that I am in pursuit of, is candid pictures. There are times when you lift a camera up, and people either run, hide their face, or break the naturality that you were trying to capture. I think this is why the Rolleiflexes were so successful. You look down (candidly), and take a picture. Because you don't bring the camera up to your eye, your subject probably doesn't notice you are taking a picture. Couple that with a fast shutter finger, and you got yourself a nice candid shot. If your camera is on your persons at the waist level, that's ok! It's perfect for this situation!! Turn on your A80, put it to SNAP mode, and go ahead and flip out the LCD. Point the LCD upwards, and compose your picture while looking down as you would a TLR.
HOW TO HOLD THE CAMERA: You want to hold the camera with your right hand, your right thumb covering the shutter button. You can manipulate the LCD then with your Left hand. This allows you to rotate the LCD to reduce glare and get a good picture sight. Once you have the picture composed, go ahead and depress the shutter with the right thumb. Don't bother attempting to do so with your right index finger. You won't succeed. Use the right thumb. One of the interesting aspects of doing this is, there might be quite a few people around you, but they won't think you are taking a picture because you don't have the camera up to your eye. Here's an example of a picture I took of a bathroom at a reststop. Now I'm sure someone would have been pretty sensitive to a picture being taken in a bathroom, and so I used this method. Also, you get an interesting perspective because most pictures are not taken waist high. I personally feel that if this shot was not taken waist high, it would have lost some of the effect that I was trying for. Now, a lot of people can say you can do this with any digital camera, you don't need a swiveling LCD to do it. True, but then you are basically guessing at the composition, and that's horrid.
If your sky is always blue, that's great.. But if everything in the picture is always blue, that's horrible. What I have personally noticed is that the A80 does a great job with AWB as far as sunny days, and some indoor lighting (But very easy to trick). I usually set the white balance then to "cloudy" and leave it at that, and save it as my setting for the day. Remember, no settings are permanent, and so you should change it to fit your need. Remember, white balance is one of the biggest benefits of digital, so go ahead and use it!
The same thing here. White balance when you are indoors. The AWB is utterly useless indoors. I like to use a napkin or a plate if there is mixed lighting, that way I can get a correct white for my pictures. Take a look at the picture (FAQ #13) to see what I mean by good white balancing.
One of the annoying things I find is that pictures have CA (Chromatic Aberrations), and so what you can do is, go to the Ta mode. Select F5.6 or higher, and then save that against one of your custom modes. Remember though, that means you seriously give up some handholdability, because the shutter speed will be slower than at F2.8, but that also means you get more DOF, which means you can compensate accordingly on your SNAP mode if you wish to. I have not really seen much CA after F5.6, and pretty much none at F8, and so when I go to the mountains and take pictures of trees etc.. against a very brightly lit background, that is what I do, to kill the CA.
This question has come up so often I almost copy and paste the answer..
FIRST, use a tripod!! This isn't a choice, this is a must. If you don't have a tripod, try a brickwall, etc.. anything that doesn't move! The sturdier the better! (THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY A CAMERA WITHOUT A TRIPOD MOUNT, THOSE OF YOU WHO'VE ASKED ME ABOUT THE SONY CYBERSHOTS T1's etc..)
SECOND, since you are on a sturdy tripod now (right??) length of time isn't a problem anymore.. So, crank it to ISO 50.
THIRD, go to the M mode, and crank the F-stop to F8. This will prevent CA in your pictures.
FOURTH, select 10 second timer as your drive mode. I like the 10 second mode better than the 2 second sometimes because it gives me a chance to "shoo" people away from my tripod before the picture begins. If there are a lot of people around though, use the 2 second timer.
FIFTH, hold and press firmly on the tripod! Most people use the cheezy tripods for digital cameras. They are flimsy, and aren't that sturdy, and so you have to suppliment them by hold them down!
SIXTH, make sure your camera is sitting firm on the tripod. It should be screwed on tight.
SEVENTH, make sure you understand what is going on with night shots. If there is a lot of fog, the fog will glow bright, and so evaluative metering will get lied to. What you want to do then is go ahead and add +1 to the EV to compensate.
If you did all that, you should get great nightshots like I do. If you don't, you screwed up, not the camera.
Because most flowers are not square, the distortion that is present in the macroness of the A80 is not really noticed. If it really bothers you though, shoot at the telephoto end and you will not have that problem anymore. But always shoot off a tripod if possible. Also, I'd probably use the manual mode, and set it to F8 to get the maximum DOF I can. The other thing you want to do is also use the 2 second timer drive mode, so you don't blur the picture with the shutter depression. The other thing I do is I find out which direction the wind is blowing, and I stand there and try to block the wind so the flower stays still. So it works like this: I set it to manual mode, I set the shutter to F8, I compose the shot, I adjust the white balance, the drive mode to 2 seconds, depress the shutter, run and block the wind, and it takes a perfect picture for me. Easy huh?
As you can see, Canon made a near perfect camera. Sans the paint and P mode issue for pictures longer than a second, I've got little to complain about, especially for the price. The battery life is wonderful, and I can't imagine using another camera with only 1-2 hours battery life. The CF doors can be done better as can the tripod mount as well, but otherwise, a near perfect camera. Now if they can make it a 28mm to 100mm zoom, it'd be PERFECT.
Questions I get asked about 20 times a day so I decided to put it on
Question #1) What
about the A80 vs the S400?
Answer #1) Here's the little story I tell about the S400. I have a friend that has one. We went out together, me with my A80, she with her S400. She brought 2 batteries. So did I. We took pictures all day long, me averaging about 4 times as many pictures as she did. At night, we went to the night market (which is what Taiwan is famous for). When we were all eating and we decided to take pictures... the S400 RAN OUT OF BATTERIES (That's both sets). Being that it doesn't use AA batteries, she had no choice but to start borrowing my A80 for pictures. Is the S400 smaller? Yep. Cuter? Yep. Easier to carry? Yep. Will it become a paper weight with absolutely no alternatives when the batteries die? Yep. Will you be able to find batteries for it in Thailand in a pinch? Nope.
I would recommend a Ricoh G4Wide instead of an S400. It is vastly superior; it uses AA batteries (or you can use their proprietary batteries, which goes for 4300+ shots!), has a 256 point evaulative metering system, fastest shutter speed on the market, 1cm macro!!! And it has SNAP mode built in!
Question #2) What about
the A80 vs the S45?
Answer #2) The S45 offers absolutely no benefit(s) (that I can see) compared to the A80. It uses proprietary batteries. It has a larger screen, that's about it. Yes, I would pick a Ricoh G4Wide over the S45, because most pick an S45 without every needing the manual control functions. The S400 has at least the "it's cute and very compact and light" arguement going for it, the S45 is bulky, heavy, too big to fit into the pocket, and doesn't have a single function that the A80 doesn't have.
Question #3) What
about the A80 vs the (G3/G5)?
Answer #3) There is only 1 reason I can think of to pick a G3/G5 over the A80. If you need an external flash. BUT, if that is the case, I would pick an Olympus C5050 over the G5. Why? All the features, more controls over the final image, can use 3 different types of cards, will take an external flash, and by now you realize of course, the C5050 also takes ....(wait for it)... AA batteries. The C5060 SUCKS because it doesn't take AA batteries, shame on Olympus, I don't own an Olympus digital camera because of that. I waited and waited for the C5060 and when I read it didn't use AA batteries, I bought the A80 the following week. So unless you REALLY need the external flash, the A80 will do everything the G5 can for half the price.
Question #4) What
about the A80 vs (brand X / camera Y)?
Answer #4) Let me make life simple for ya:
If I don't need manual controls --> Ricoh G4Wide is the camera of choice.
If I need manual controls but don't need external flash --> A80 is the camera of choice.
If I need manual controls AND external flash --> Olympus C5050 is the camera of choice.
If I need manual controls AND external flash AND 10x OPTICAL zoom (digital zoom is for suckers) --> Olympus C750 is the camera of choice. (But you do give up some resolution as a tradeoff for the 10x optical zoom, and hand holding might not be an option at the tele-end, just understand that.)
If you go on LONG trips and need serious camera life --> A60, A70, A80 are the camera(s) of choice.
There.. I have simplified your life drastically, to the point that you now don't know what to do with the other 40 hours you had planned to spend on deciding what digital camera to buy.
Question #5) How well does the flash
work on the A80?
Answer #5) Here's a pic of Taipei Mayor Ma at the Shilin Night Market, you tell me.
Question #6) How well does the macro
function work on the A80?
Answer #6) Here's a pic of a flower I took in macro mode (hand held!). You tell me.
Question #7) How is the DOF for macro
Answer#7) This is a math question, look at the flower above. But here's another picture I took of a squirrel. You tell me.
Question #8) How's the noise level of
the A80 for night shots?
Answer #8) Here's a pic of the "Love River" in Kaohsiung taken @ 4 seconds handheld!! (braced against a rail). You tell me.
Does the 3 Megapixel vs. 4 Megapixel vs 5 Megapixel make a difference?
Answer #9) Yes and No. Ask yourself, "What is the largest picture I print?" if you don't make prints larger than 4x6, then 3 Megapixel is plenty. 4 Megapixels for 5x7's, and 6 megapixels for 8x10's.
How do I get a shallower DOF (Depth of Field)?
Answer #10) You buy a 4x5 camera, or a 120! Depth of Field is mostly dependent on 3 things:
Question #11) I can't afford a 120 camera, any
"other" way to get shallower DOF?
Answer #11) Yes! Focus closer! Closer focus has shallower DOF.
Question #12) What about the Canon S1-IS? Should
I buy it instead?
Answer #12) It depends on you... While it has a swiveling LCD as well and uses AA batteries (kudos Canon), I can't recommend it over the A80, here's why:
Image stabilization technology is closely associated with autofocus lens and camera use, so it is worth discussing here.
Current image stabilization technology is mainly a boon to hand-held long lens users. These telephoto image stabilized lenses are almost frighteningly expensive, but they do improve your handheld shots significantly. I can't afford them, so I usually use a monopod instead.
Just don't try to use most of these image stabilized long telephoto lenses on a tripod. The current image stabilizing system only works if there is an unstable image. If there isn't, as when the camera is on a tripod, then your IS lens creates instability in trying to find and counteract its own jitter.
You can probably guess that a tripod shot with an older, non-AF long telephoto will handily beat any handheld long telephoto, even with image stabilization. In fact, most longer lenses can only be used on tripods or monopods, as they are too long to handhold even with IS technology.
If you have a mirror lockup feature to further reduce and dampen vibration during exposure, that non-AF camera sharpness is still better than what most autofocus cameras on the same tripod can deliver without an MLU.
In late summer 1999, Canon has announced a new series of image stabilized lenses that can figure out that they are on a tripod, and smart enough to not add their own jitter to your images. Finally!
But image stabilization acts by injecting additional optical elements (and moving ones at that) into the optics of your IS lens. Other OEM lens makers have claimed that the resulting degradation and impact on lens performance from image stabilization optics is so bad that they refuse to come out with such an IS lens until the defects can be remedied. Hmmm?
So would I buy it instead of an A80? Nope. Unless I know I'm going somewhere that I REALLY need 10x zoom. But if you are buying a compact digi-cam, you are more than likely not one of those people..
Question #13) My indoor shots are always blurry..
Answer #13) You can use a tripod or a flash. You can crank up the ISO to say 200. But what the problem probably is; is the camera's inability to focus in dark environments. (Why I'm not a true believer of Autofocus) and so what do you do in this case?? Take the AF out!! Use the SNAP mode and crank the ISO to 200. Set the drive mode to 2 seconds. Depress the shutter, and then use both hands to steady the camera. My favorite method is "both elbows on the table". I then extend my thumbs out so they press against my face. This allows me to see the LCD, but at the same time, I've simulated a tripod with my head and two hands. Does this method work?? Check out this picture, very sharp, no blur, (and of course, I use the manual white balance against the plate on the table) and so it's correctly white balanced. When was the last time you saw indoor pics like this without a flash or tripod from a digital camera?? I didn't think so!! (And yes, she is cute, and yes, that is her boyfriend in the picture, so don't bother asking!!)
Question #14) What about the A75?
Answer #14) What about it? Is it better than the A80? First off, Canon straight out tells you it's not. If it were, it would be called an "A85" wouldn't it? But it's not better because it lacks a swiveling LCD. Look at the pics on this page.. Half aren't possible without the swiveling LCD.
Question #15) What about adapters and converters?
Answer #15) I get asked this at least once a day. Adapters are bulky and they SUCK in quality. If you need a 28mm perspective, then buy a Ricoh. If you need more telephoto, then buy a 10x zoom. Otherwise, don't bother with the adapter lenses.
Questions? ask me. Please put "A80" somewhere in the subject line. Otherwise, my SPAM filter might throw your email out. (Note, I don't answer emails from AOL. Not because I don't want to, but because they won't accept emails from my domain simply because I lack a few thousand dollars to have extra servers that do nothing but RDNS.. So you want a reply.. DROP AOHELL.. Get a real ISP.)
While we are on the subject of mail servers... I reply to EVERY SINGLE EMAIL I get. That's a personal rule of mine. If you did not get a reply from me, it meant your email server rejected my email, or required me to register, or some other silly non-sense. So if you didn't get an email reply from me, I REPLIED. I guarantee it. Your mail server just will not allow me to reply to you. If it's been longer then a week, definitely I replied and you can't receive email from me. You can (again) thank AOHELL and MSN and HOTMAIL for all that. as mail system administrators block huge chunks of email addresses. I am in taiwan and so is my IP address, and quite a few of you guys cannot receive email with an taiwanese IP address. TALK TO YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTATOR ABOUT IT. I have a static IP so if they so choose to, they can whitelist me. If you had questions you wanted answered but didn't get an answer, it wasn't me, I REPLIED.. I average about 300 emails a day, about 40 about cameras, and I reply to every single one of them.... To date, I have answered about 8000+ emails about the A80..