Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot A80 Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!|
|Outdoor Portrait: |
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the A80 produced good color, though contrast is quite high.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in rather bright highlights, although the shadows and midtones were darker than I'd have preferred. I chose the Auto white balance setting as the most accurate overall, though it produced nearly identical results to the Daylight setting. The Manual white balance produced good results as well, though with a slight warm cast.
The skin tones here are slightly more pink than in reality, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are a little dark. (This is a difficult blue for many digicams to get right. The A80 gets the color about right, although with just a bit more purple than in real life, and the tone is darker as well.) Still, color is bright and nearly accurate throughout the rest of the frame. Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible in the flower bouquet and in Marti's features. Shadow detail is pretty good as well, despite the high contrast, with low noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files A80OUTAP0.HTM through A80OUTAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Increased resolution and detail, but contrast is again high.
Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, with high contrast and slightly dark midtones. The camera's 3x optical zoom lens cuts down on any distortion of Marti's features, and captures sharp details. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which still results in very bright highlights. Detail is much stronger in Marti's face and hair, and is surprisingly good even in the dark shadows.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.7 EV, see files A80FACAP0.HTM through A80FACAP2.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
A bright flash with good intensity. Pretty good color, despite the orange cast.
The A80's built-in flash produced dim intensity at the default exposure setting, though results were much better with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment. The background incandescent lighting produced a strong orange cast across most of the image. (A common problem with this shot.) I also shot with the camera's Shutter Priority exposure mode, choosing a shutter speed of 1/30 second and a positive exposure boost of +1.0 EV. Lighting is more even in this shot, though the orange cast is somewhat stronger.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Excellent results from the Incandescent and Manual white balance setting, with accurate color and a good exposure as well.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The A80's Auto white balance had a lot of trouble here, and produced a strong, warm color cast. However, the Incandescent and Manual white balance settings produced more accurate results. It was a bit of a tossup, but I chose the Incandescent setting as the most accurate overall. The best exposure was obtained with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, about average for this shot. Overall color is really excellent here, with accurate skin tones and a pretty accurate blue in the flower bouquet. A great job with a really difficult light source!
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files A80INTP0.HTM through A80INTP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
A good job, with high resolution and accurate color.
Though just a hint cool, the A80's Manual white balance produced the best overall color here, with the most accurate white value on the house trim. The Auto and Daylight settings resulted in warmer color casts, though results were still good. Resolution is very high, judging from the level of detail visible in the tree limbs above the roof and in the front shrubbery. Details are also sharp throughout the frame, with only a hint of softness in the lower left corner.
Very good resolution and detail, but slightly limited dynamic range.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the A80 performed very well. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, with good definition in the leaf patterns. Details are just a little soft throughout the frame, but only slightly more so in the corners. The camera picks up little detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams, and detail is only slightly stronger in the shadow area above the front door, further evidence of the A80's slightly limited dynamic range. Overall color looks good however. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO and Color Effects series.
Lens Zoom Range
A typical 3x zoom range.
I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The A80's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.
Good color with the Daylight white balance, and high resolution.
This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. However, the A80's white balance system handled the challenge quite well. The Daylight setting produced the best overall results, as the Auto setting was slightly red and the Manual setting a bit cool. Though the Daylight setting is slightly warm, skin tones look good. The blue robe looks about right as well, with only faint purplish tints in the deep shadow areas. Resolution is excellent, as the embroidery of the blue robe and on the red vest show a lot of fine detail. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the A80 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)
A small macro area with very good detail, but the flash has trouble up close.
The A80 did very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.30 x 1.73 inches (59 x 44 millimeters). Resolution was very high, showing a lot of fine detail in the dollar bill. Although the coins and brooch are soft due to shallow depth of field at such a short shooting distance, detail is still pretty good in them, and it's very good in the details of the dollar bill. There's some softness in all four corners, but it isn't very strong. The A80's flash did have some throttling down for the macro area, however, overexposing the shot. (Plan on using external illumination for any really close work.)
"Davebox" Test Target
Good overall exposure, really excellent color.
The A80's Auto and Manual white balance settings produced nearly accurate color here (the Daylight setting was slightly warm). Because the manual white balance was just slightly cool to my eye, I chose the Auto setting for the main shot. Exposure is about right, although the contrast is a little higher than I personally like to see, and the A80 has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. The large color blocks are nearly accurate, with good saturation, although the bright red and blue blocks are on the verge of oversaturating. Detail is good in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes, with very low noise.
Excellent low-light shooting capabilities, with low noise and good color.
With full manual exposure control and a maximum exposure time of 15 seconds, the A80 performed very well in the low-light category. In my testing, the camera captured bright images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test at ISO settings of 100 and above, with good color at all four ISO settings and all light levels. Noise was low throughout most of the series, and even at ISO 400, I found the A80's noise to be quite acceptable. Since average city street lighting at night equates to a light level of about one foot-candle, the A80 ought to perform very well in even darker situations. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
Flash Range Test
A powerful flash, with only very slight falloff at the 14 foot limit of our test.
Canon estimates the A80's flash as powerful to about 16.5 feet, which agrees well with my findings. In my testing, the A80's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, without any significant decrease in intensity. Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.
High resolution, 1,150 lines of "strong detail." Less than average barrel distortion at wide angle, and practically no distortion at telephoto.
The A80 performed well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 650~700 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,150 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,450 lines.
Optical distortion on the A80 was slightly less than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 0.7 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured only half a pixel of barrel distortion, a level of about 0.03 percent. Chromatic aberration was low, showing about five pixels of very faint coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) Overall, a good-quality lens for a mid-range camera - not up to the level of the lenses on the G3/G5 series, but quite adequate for enlargements to 8x10 and even 11x14.
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Resolution Test, Telephoto
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
A tight optical viewfinder, but great accuracy with the LCD monitor.
The A80's optical viewfinder is a bit tight, showing only 80 percent of the final frame area at wide angle, and about 82 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing 98 percent accuracy at wide angle, and 99+ percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the A80's LCD monitor performed very well, but I'd like to see a bit more accurate optical viewfinder accompanying it. Flash distribution is fairly even at wide angle, with very slight falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is even more uniform.
A80 Test Images
A80 "Picky Details"
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