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UK Diving
Tropical
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(on its way)

Canon Powershot A80 and WDC-900 case (2004-2005)

Why I chose this camera
Our A80 was bought as a stopgap whilst waiting for the Olympus C-5060 to appear. It had excellent reviews and answered a lot of the niggles I had with the Olympus C-40 – chiefly short battery life and limited storage, the A80 takes 4 AA batteries and compactflash cards.

How much?
The A80 was pretty new when I bought it with a list price over 300. I noticed Jessops would match Internet prices and after agreeing a price on the phone went in with proof and the deal was done for 250. I bought the case separately from The Digital Camera Company - www.digital-cameras.com who had the best price (135) and delivered next day.

Likes and dislikes
After using several Olympus cameras the Canon took a while to get used to. At first it seemed very slow and certainly its macro performance was poor in comparison with my C-40. Familiarity led us to discover the very easy to access manual macro mode. The case didn't look as tough as the Olympus ones but proved excellent, aside from the plain press button (non-lever) shutter release. The diffuser was good though bulky, and the flash recovery was excellent – the camera can effectively 'motor drive' continuously with flash at more than 1fps until you get bored. The sports mode is an excellent default mode which works well for general fish photography.
The worst aspect of the camera for underwater use is its small, pale display which is easily overpowered by ambient light. The optics aren't bad but autofocus is hopeless for macro closer than 6 inches. On a techy note Canon cameras don't act as disk drives when connected by USB to a PC and so you are better off packing a card reader than being forced to use the freebie software (XP does get round this).

Specifications
Resolution: 4Megapixels (2272x1704)
Depth rating: 40m
Weight: 720g all in – minimal air in case so close to neutral under water
Lens: 38-115mm (Equivalent on 35mm film camera)

Accessories/Auxiliary Lenses
The case has a standard " Whitworth tripod mount for mounting flashes and lights. The lens port is not threaded so extra lenses can't be fitted, unless you use a clever bracket from the tripod mount – some are available but they are pricey, around 50.

4-eyed lionfish in Sulawesi


It's nice when the fish queue up to be photographed


Normally shy John Dory were interested too


Macro shots can take patience, this blenny helped by choosing his best side


Breathtaking walls of Barracuda off Sipadan