CANON POWERSHOT A80 or CANON POWERSHOT S1 IS ?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by John F, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. John F

    John F Guest

    Would you all say that the S1 IS is the better camera?
    I've read the reviews on these cameras but curious about your actual user
    comparisons. I know the A80 has 4Megapixels as compared to the S1 IS having
    only 3.2Megapixels, but the S1 IS has 10X zoom & Image stabilization. Does
    one take clearly better pictures than the other? Or are they almost the
    same? I'll probably mostly use the manual controls, rarely using a flash.
     
    John F, Oct 26, 2004
    #1
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  2. John F

    Renee Guest

    Personally, I don't have the credentials to say which one is better. Also,
    never used an A80. I have the S1 IS and love it.

    But this summer my friend asked me for a camera recommendation. She didn't
    want to spend much, didn't need much of a zoom, didn't care about the
    quality of the video, basically wanted to be able to shoot with just
    automatic settings, didn't care about printing out large size photos.
    Although 3.2 MP would be fine, the S1 IS was clearly not what she needed nor
    within her budget. Also, if I recall A80 has a low light auto-assist lamp, a
    handy thing to have. And I think the S1 IS may be more prone to purple
    fringing under certain conditions (which can be minimized by manually
    adjusting the aperture).

    AA batteries, CF cards, and a swivel screen are my recommendation for her. I
    really liked the technical assistance I got from Canon's phone support, and
    the brand's got a good reputation, so I thought she ought to stick with
    Canon. I did some research and come up with A80 as my first choice for her.
    Although she doesn't want to fuss with manual settings, I think she'll at
    least need to learn about the white balance and different scene modes. She
    or her son can grow into the rest of camera functions.

    She wanted to buy the camera at a duty-free shop when our families went on a
    cruise this summer. I told her that there's the possibility of problems with
    a U.S. warranty (gray market or something like that). So she said she'd wait
    until Christmas.

    Now that Canon discontinued the A80, I decided to change my recommendation
    for her. After doing some reading, I think she ought to get an A95. The 5 MP
    are more than she needs, but having a little more MP shouldn't hurt.

    Internet prices start at $250 so I hope by Christmas she'll be able to get
    it locally for that price or lower. But that's my recommendation right now,
    subject to change depending on other people's experiences and personal
    reviews about it.

    Renee
     
    Renee, Oct 27, 2004
    #2
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  3. John F

    Renee Guest

    I just reread the A95 review at
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a95_pg2.html (it's been a while
    since I last looked at). One of the things that confirm that the S1 IS is
    better for *me* is the following that's said about the A95:

    "You can frame your pictures with the color LCD or to save precious battery
    power you can use the optical finder. This is a coupled viewfinder with
    approx. 80% to 85% coverage. It has no dioptric adjustment."

    I like an electric viewfinder better than optical. My S1 IS EVF offers
    almost 100% coverage and I can see the menus and functions through it
    outdoors. My old digicam had an optical viewfinder. I remember spending an
    inordinate amount of time one time trying to center the close-up of rose.
    Everytime I downloaded and checked the image on computer, the rose was off
    center and cut off a bit. The parallax was terrible. So I'm not sure how the
    A80 or A95 will do, and that might be a consideration for you. And I
    couldn't change settings in the outdoors because I couldn't see the LCD
    display.

    Another reason I light the S1 is that the dioptric adjustment very useful --
    my eyesight is far from perfect.
     
    Renee, Oct 27, 2004
    #3
  4. John F

    Renee Guest

    case in point:

    light = like

    : )
     
    Renee, Oct 27, 2004
    #4
  5. The IS is MARVELLOUS!

    The A95 (replacement for the A80) has sufficient pixels that you can use
    at least some of the digital zoom without jeopardising most photos, so
    its 3x zoom can be a close match for the 10x.

    The A series will slip into a pocket, with the best will, the S1 won't.

    The S1's viewfinder is easier to use in bright light.

    .....they are both damn fine cameras (I have an S1, my daughter has an
    A80) so ....sheesh....any chance of being able to wait for the S2 IS?
     
    Nigel Crompton, Oct 27, 2004
    #5
  6. John F

    Renee Guest


    Forgive me if my question seems so naive, Nigel or anyone else:

    Everything I read says that optical zoom is better than digital. If, as you
    suggest, enlarging and cropping high resolution photos, or using the
    digital+optical zoom on the 5 MP A95 is a near equivalent to the 10x optical
    zooom of the S1, why should anyone pay such a price difference for S1?
    Except for shorter movie length clips, the A95 seems to have almost as much
    features as the S1, is smaller and lighter if that's what he wants, and is a
    lot less expensive.

    I'm sure the answer is either going to be something a lot more technical
    than I'm ready for, or I'm overlooking something plain as day! : o

    Anyway, I don't disagree with you. They all look like nice cameras. My
    bottom line assessment based on the little information John gave is this:

    If the quality of the photos is the biggest criteria John is basing his
    purchasing decision on, he'll have to make the side-by-side comparison of
    photos of the A80, A95 and S1 IS shown at the camera review sites and judge
    for himself which one takes the *best* images. (Unless you're a Wal-Mart
    manager {ha ha- just kidding}) *best* is a very subjective word.

    If he doesn't go with the S1, unless he can purchase the A80 for well under
    $250, he's probably better off with the updated A95 model. At a glance,
    updated features on the A95 seem to higher resolution movie mode (although
    shorter length than S1 IS), and more megapixels. There's probably more, but
    I haven't delved too deep into this.

    I believe they all offer both automatic (P&S) and manual settings.

    At any rate, there's a lot of other criteria to consider before making that
    decision.
     
    Renee, Oct 27, 2004
    #6
  7. The difference between 5 MP and 3.2 MP allows you to use *a little*
    digital zoom, or a little cropping, before the S1 overtakes the A95.
    Basically, the A95 has 3X optical zoom, and if you add enough digital
    zoom to take you to 3.75X, you're using only the central 3.2 MP of the
    A95 sensor. But the S1 can magnify the image 2.7 times *more* than
    that, so it's clearly the better camera for long-range photos.
    (This is ignoring any difference in coverage at the wide-angle end of
    the range).

    The other thing is that even if you added an auxiliarly lens for longer
    telephoto on the A95, you'd absolutely have to use it on a tripod at
    most shutter speeds. The IS in the S1 makes hand-holding a long zoom
    much more practical.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Oct 28, 2004
    #7
  8. John F

    Renee Guest

    Thanks Dave, this is pretty much what I was hoping to hear. I wanted a
    camera that could take good shots with a long zoom. I was a little dismayed
    to think I could have gone the less expensive route with higher MPs and have
    gotten the same kind of zoomed image quality.

    Renee
     
    Renee, Oct 28, 2004
    #8
  9. Renee wrote:
    []
    You could also consider the 5MP Panasonic FZ20 which has a 432mm zoom
    capability, f/2.8 at full zoom, and with image stabilisation. Perhaps the
    best of both worlds?

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 28, 2004
    #9
  10. John F

    Renee Guest

    Yes! That sounds like a really nice camera, David! Although I don't print
    anything larger than 4 x 6, and rarely at that, I would love that
    combination. I probably would have considered it at the time I made my
    purchasing decision had it fallen into my budget.

    Oh yea . . . and had it taken CF cards, had taken AA batteries, had a swivel
    LCD, had a higher resolution video mode, and had been a manufacturer with a
    long-standing record of producing quality cameras instead of stereo
    equipment. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the Panasonic, but as
    a newbie photographic I didn't have much else to go on when choosing the
    brand at the time. Panasonic digital cameras will probably prove themselves
    in time, just didn't want it to be with me.

    My criteria for choosing a camera kept narrowing the choices for me. I'm
    happy with my decision though.
     
    Renee, Oct 28, 2004
    #10
  11. Renee wrote:
    []
    Today's cameras are a mixture of electronics, optics and software. What
    is to say that Canon do any better in software than Panasonic or Kodak?
    After all, the lens on the Panasonic is by Leica so they seem to have
    chosen a very renowned brand name there.

    Fortunately, in the image stabilised class of cameras there are only three
    or four brands to choose from, and only a few price points, so it's
    probably an easier decision than many.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 28, 2004
    #11
  12. Nigel,

    I would recommend to redo these mathematics. Perhaps you forgot
    that the number of pixels goes with the square of the dimension.

    Hans-Georg
     
    Hans-Georg Michna, Oct 29, 2004
    #12
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