Sony S980

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 front
  • 12MP - 1/2.3" Sensor
  • 2.7" Fixed Screen
  • ISO 80 - 3200
  • 1280 x 720 video
  • 33-132mm (F3.3-5.2) lens
  • 167g - 93 x 56 x 24mm
  • Announced February 2009
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Sony S980 summary

Sony S980 is Sony's Small Sensor Compact digital camera initially announced on February of 2009. It uses a 12 MegaPixel, CCD 1/2.3" sized sensor and has a full resolution of 4000 x 3000.

The S980 is rated #226 out of 261 in Small Sensor Compact cameras & overall #1203 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our collection. Please try out our Advanced camera filter to get camera ratings based on your custom criteria.

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Here is a diagram of multiple factors used in the rating system.

Sony S980 history

The Sony S980 is part of a family of cameras. You can view the complete range below.

ModelVisualizeLensResolutionSensor SizeReleased
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-S2000 front thumbnailSony S2000
S980 vs S2000
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-S2100 front thumbnailSony S2100
S980 vs S2100
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Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-S980 front thumbnailSony S98033-132mm
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-S950 front thumbnailSony S950
S980 vs S950
Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-S930 front thumbnailSony S930
S980 vs S930

Sony S980 Pros and Cons

Below is a checklist of benefits and drawbacks of the Sony S980 based on criterias that are typically regarded as necessary in a digital camera.

above average minimum ISO (80)
built-in flash
built in lens has zoom (33-132mm 4.0 x zoom)
does have HDMI socket
has manual focus
can't use external flash
doesn't have headphone socket
doesn't have microphone socket
doesn't have Timelapse function
does not have a selfie friendly screen
does not have image stabilization
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
lack of aperture priority mode
low megapixels (12 megapixels)
manual exposure not possible
no moving screen
no phase detect autofocus
no RAW format
no shutter priority
screen has low resolution (230 thousand dots)
sensor is very small (1/2.3")
slow at full zoom (f5.2)
slow fps (1.0 fps)
slow maximum aperture (f3.3)
tiny screen (2.7")
video resolution low (1280 x 720 resolution)
wide angle not fantastic (33mm)
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Sony S980 Sensor details

The dimension of the sensor in the Sony S980 is 6.17mm x 4.55mm (1/2.3"). The 28 mm² sensor is able to capture 4000 x 3000 pixels and aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9.

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The CCD sensor has 12 megapixels and supports a standard ISO range of 80 - 3200. Sadly, RAW format is not saved so the user has less margin for error.

The picture below displays the S980's sensor dimensions in comparison to other popular sizes. The S980 sensor has a crop factor of 5.8 and is outlined in green.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 sensor size Apple Innovates by Creating Next-Level Optical Stabilization for iPhone

To get a sense of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the graphic below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Sony S980 dimensions

Sony S980 weighs in at 0.37 lb (167 grams / 5.89 ounces) & the volume of the camera is 93mm x 56mm x 24mm (3.7" x 2.2" x 0.9"). The weight of average Small Sensor Compact camera is 174 grams so the Sony S980 is similar when compared with various rivals.

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Listed below is a visual of the Sony S980 alongside a softdrink so you can get a sense of its scale.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 dimensions scale

The top view below will provide the button design on the S980.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 topview buttons dials

Sony S980 Lens specs

The S980 houses a built-in lens and it has a focal range of 33-132mm giving it a 4.0 x zoom which isn't ideal but it is going to be useful in some conditions.

At the widest 33mm, the lens has an aperture of f3.3 which is quite slow and not the best for low light conditions and you might struggle to get good bokeh. You will probably also need to raise the ISO which results in noisy photos. On the tele end, 132mm comes with f5.2 which is really slow and you would need to set slower shutter speeds.

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Sony S980 Connectivity

The S980 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • HDMI Yes

Digital cameras that have NFC and / or Bluetooth connectivity can be used wirelessly with smartphones. You will be able to copy files and usually adjust camera settings without the hassle of connecting straight to the camera.

A few applications even provide a Liveview and release the shutter whenever you are not near the camera. If the camera includes a HDMI port, it can be hooked up to an external monitor. Most cameras will allow you to recharge the battery pack with the USB port.

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Sony S980 Video specs

The highest possible video resolution in the Sony S980 is 1280 x 720 and you can shoot in Motion JPEG file format. 720p is awful for today's standards. You really should shoot for at least FUll HD resolution for good video. The camera does not offer a microphone and / or headphone socket so you have got little control over the sound. It is perhaps a better idea to take a look at an alternative camera in case you need good sound for your videos.

Photography Glossary

Sony S980 Weather Sealing

There is no environment sealing on the Sony S980 so you need to be careful in rainy or dusty situations.

Sony S980 Screen and Viewfinder

The Sony S980 houses a 2.7 inch fixed display supporting a resolution of 230 thousand dots.

Please note that the display screen has no touch support.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980 screen and viewfinder Body cameras now worn by bakery staff to deter stealing

The View Finder details for Sony S980 are the following:

  • ViewFinder None

Viewfinders can be pretty helpful during bright outdoor situations which might make the camera screen washed out and hard to see.

Sony S980 Shutter specs

Sony S980 continuous shooting speed is 1.0 fps. The highest shutter speed is 1/1600s.

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Sony S980 Flash and Hot shoe specs

Sony S980 has only in-built flash lacking external flash support.

Sony S980 Autofocus specs

Sony S980 has just Contrast Based Autofocus & doesn't have Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is more faster & exact in comparison with Contrast Based focusing.

The Sensor boasts 9 focus points to choose from. Sony S980 features manual focusing when needed during low light scenarios or you need more exact control on focusing.

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Sony S980 Battery life

The average Small Sensor Compact camera battery life is 241. Fujifilm X30 has the best (470) battery life within this type of cameras.

Here is a listing of Small Sensor Compact cameras having the highest battery life:

Sony S980 for specific categories of photography

The following diagram provides a summary of the Sony S980 for specific categories of photography. To look at more, check out the specific section below.

Sony S980 Portrait photography factors

The Sony S980 receives a points tally of 27 which is horrible, meaning that it is simply not good to use for portraits. Photographing portraits leans heavily to sensor resolution, RAW support plus the potential to work with off-camera lighting.

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focusing manually
no manual control
external flash not possible
resolution not great (12 megapixels)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
does not have RAW format

Sony S980 Street photography details

Coming in at a average score of 47, the Sony S980 is fairly suitable for street photography. A very good street photography camera has a fine balance of image quality plus portability.

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fixed screen
does not have image stabilization
sensor size is very small (1/2.3")
lacks RAW files

Sony S980 Sports photography details

A horrible sports photography score of 17 suggests the Sony S980 is simply not good for shooting sports. A camera needs fantastic autofocus and fast continuous shooting for sports photography.

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low frames per second (1.0 frames/s)
no shutter priority mode
does not have image stabilization
low MP (12MP)
tiny sensor size (1/2.3")
lack of phase detect AF

Sony S980 Travel photography details

Size is really important in buying a travel camera. All things considered, the Sony S980 gets a average 51 for a travel camera which makes it somewhat appropriate to purchase for your journeys.

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built-in flash
no Time Lapse mode
low resolution (12 megapixels)
display is not selfie friendly
wide angle not the best (33mm)
slow maximum aperture (f3.3)

Landscape photography with Sony S980

In case you're planning to choose a camera for landscape pictures, the most important aspect is going to be image quality. The Sony S980 at it's horrible rating of 27 for a landscape camera is simply not good among it's rivals.

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manual focus
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
wide angle not fantastic (33mm)
slow maximum aperture (f3.3)
small screen (2.7 inch)
lack of manual mode
no image stabilization
megapixel count low (12 megapixels)
small sensor size (1/2.3")
has no RAW files
does not have Timelapse recording

Vlogging with Sony S980

A vlogging camera should have a moving screen, mic port and if possible IBIS. Taking everything into account, the Sony S980 is simply not good as a vlog camera as it receives a horrible rating of 22.

Photography Glossary
wide angle not the best (33mm)
sluggish max aperture (f3.3)
does not feature selfie friendly screen
lack of image stabilization
low quality video (1280 x 720 pxls)
doesn't have mic port

Sony S980 Alternatives

If you need replacements to the S980, here is a collection of the top placed cameras that fall into the class of Small Sensor Compact.

The line graph followed below will give you a bird's eye view of the S980 compared to it's highest ranking competitors listed above.

There are more cameras you may see as alternatives. To go through a detailed comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Model type
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S980
Small Sensor Compact
Physical type
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
6.17 x 4.55mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
12 megapixel
Anti alias filter
Aspect ratio
4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Max resolution
4000 x 3000
RAW data
Max native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Manual focusing
Touch to focus
Autofocus continuous
Autofocus single
Tracking autofocus
Selective autofocus
Center weighted autofocus
Multi area autofocus
Autofocus live view
Face detection focus
Contract detection focus
Phase detection focus
Total focus points
Lens mount type
fixed lens
Lens zoom range
33-132mm (4.0x)
Highest aperture
Macro focusing distance
Crop factor
Screen type
Fixed Type
Screen sizing
Resolution of screen
230 thousand dots
Selfie friendly
Touch functionality
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
DXO scores
DXO Overall rating
not tested
DXO Color Depth rating
not tested
DXO Dynamic range rating
not tested
DXO Low light rating
not tested
Minimum shutter speed
2 secs
Fastest shutter speed
1/1600 secs
Continuous shutter rate
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual mode
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash distance
3.50 m
Flash settings
Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync
External flash
WB bracketing
Multisegment metering
Average metering
Spot metering
Partial metering
AF area metering
Center weighted metering
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max video resolution
Video data format
Motion JPEG
Microphone port
Headphone port
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment sealing
Water proofing
Dust proofing
Shock proofing
Crush proofing
Freeze proofing
167 gr (0.37 lb)
93 x 56 x 24mm (3.7" x 2.2" x 0.9")
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Storage type
Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, Internal
Card slots
Price at release