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Old Jun 24, 2004, 9:16 AM   #1
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Just this morning, Costco has dropped the price of their A80 package (including $40 value batteries, recharger, case) to $299.99. I've had one on trial for the last 3 weeks, wondering also about the S60 and DX 7440 and Sony W1. This drop (they've credited my account, since I originally spent $349.99) makes this unit a wonderful value, in my opinion. Further, Costco has a unique lifetime replace/refund warranty which makes that the best place to purchase, other things being equal (no, I don't work for them!)

Why I Like the A80 over the competition:

1. The swivel LCD - much more than a marketing gimmick. As primarily a viewfinder kind of person, I've found myself using it more and more for "sneaky" waist-level shots of my grandson, and others. Further, it's nicely protected when tucked in from pocket or purse damage, and you can take a viewfinder picture without using it at all! A wonderful tool.

2. Two Custom settings - Right on the top dial, you can switch to C1 or C2. I have one set up with a very fast "Snapshot Mode," and the other with available light ISO 200 mode.

3. Lens quality - I've carefully compared Steve's and others samples of the A80 and other DC's, with the A80 being typically just as clear and sharp as the others, with the exception, perhaps, of the S60. In a store, I shot some W1 samples, and compared to the A80, with the A80 winning most of the comparisons.

4. AA batteries - Very convenient, easy to get in a pinch.

5. Size and grip - fits nicely in my hand (partly due to 4 AA's in the grip), yet is small enough to be pocketable in my bermuda shorts. Overall ergonomics is outstanding, including placement of buttons, dials, etc.

6. Dial settings & exposure options - Right on the dial (without having to go into a menu with several steps), you can select fast and slow modes, portrait, landscape, night, etc - as well as two biggies - Aperture and Shutter priority modes, with all f stops selectable.

7. Menu accessibility - With both "function" and "menu" modes, it's very easy to get to exposure compensation, etc.

8. Full manual focus - not just set points, and with center focus assist.

9. Great macro mode - just see a lot of the shots others have taken with this fine feature, helped by that manual focus.

10. Up to 10x enlargement in playback of images, which helps a lot with initial thoughts on full sharpness of the image.

11. Cost of Compact Flash is the lowest of all media - $41.99 for a 256mb card at Costco, for example.

12. Direct PictBridge support - Kodak doesn't have this (DX 7440)

13. 2 seconds self-timer option - sounds strange, but is very useful with tripod and other low shutter speed pics to avoid camera movement with shutter button press;

14. Powerful flash - for its size. Illuminates a night-time living room very effectively, and is adjustable under Manual mode - 14 to 16 foot range. Much better than W1.

15. Software/Manual - Extremely good ZoomBrowser software included, together with full and helpful manuals for the camera and software. Much better than many other cameras include with their package.

16. Wonderful and extremely helpful user support from a terrific Yahoo group located here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Canon_A80/

What I wish it had, but doesn't (can't get everything with any under $400 camera!):

Larger LCD (only 1.5"); 640/480 movie mode (only 320); 5mp; Individually adjustable sharpness, colorand contrast modes; Auto braketing for exposure and focusing - all these are features of the S60, but it is $200 more, and not yet available, at least at Costco, so I finally had to decide!

Thanks for all the opinions and impressions you all have shared in this section, as well as Kodak and Sony portions. And special thanks to Steve for his fine and prompt analyses of cameras, together with pics that give great comparisons (cf. building with lots of bricks!) !


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Old Jun 24, 2004, 2:33 PM   #2
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yay! all the more reason to get the A80 for myself now. thx for the heads up!

costco = hot
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Old Jun 24, 2004, 11:06 PM   #3
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If you haven't bought it yet, Amazon.com has it for $277.00 USD plus about $11.00 USD standard shipping. I just ordered mine last night (the 23rd) with $21.00 shipping and it should be here by the 26th.
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