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Canon Powershot A85 Cameras & Accessories

Cameras & Accessories Manufacturer: Canon
Canon Model: Powershot A85
Review Category: Cameras & Accessories

Purchase: Well into the Christmas Holidays, my wife and I took a decision to buy our first digital camera, on the off-chance that one or both of our hyper-driven teenage sons might drop out of warp, long enough to be imaged. With that mission statement in mind, we set off for Circuit City. We had seen any number of print ads for digital cameras, but frankly we felt overwhelmed by the shear number of features and variations of offerings within brands and makers, so we swallowed hard and trusted that we would find real help in the form of a yet unknown, anonymous salesperson. At first it was near impossible to even get near a salesman, as all the store employees were busy with other shoppers, all of whom were looking to buy digital cameras and seemed no better informed as to what to look for than us. It also seemed to me that the sales people preferred servicing younger customers and would avoid eye contact with middle-aged shoppers waiting for a word. Perhaps a bit of customer profiling in their training? When I finally did manage to block off an escape path and speak to an associate, I found him to be badly informed as to the pros and cons of the Canon and Sony cameras that I was interested in. Thatís very disappointing when you consider how expensive some of these cameras are and are pressed by time to take a decision. A salesperson should know his stock! I did have a bit of luck though because this 'kid' knew a kid who knew a kid that knew his stuff. He quickly put me right and showed me that though the Sony was smaller and weather proof, it did not nearly do as much, as well as the Canon. This young man set me up with a camera, bag, 512mb compact flash card (with a $10 rebate) and extended service/replacement plan Normally, I would not have gone for the service/replacement plan, but a few years ago I bought a pair of Palm PDA's for the wife and myself, with a replacement plan, and ended up using it for both of them. The only thing that sucks more than having a piece of nearly new electronic gear bite-the-dust, is knowing that you passed up the chance for piece-of-mind when it DOES bite-the-dust. All told, the camera cost 279.99, the service/replacement plan 49.99, the SanDisk compact 512mb flash card was another 49.99 but as I said, there is a $10 mail in rebate. The small Tamrac camera bag cost $11.69 and is just big enough to do what I need it to do; protect the camera, carry spare batteries and the small 32mb memory card that came with the Canon. Altogether it seems to be well-made, tough and carries well. Before taxes and rebate, $391.66

Things I like about the Canon Powershot A85: This is a fun little camera and if youíve never used a digital camera, buy one with a mind to playing with it A LOT. In that play, you will quickly learn the rope of bring it into action quickly and select the right mode of operation for whatever it is that you want to do. I've had a professional photographic background and have used Canon film cameras, along with many other first rate photographic bits of gear for a number of years. So I felt a bit of relief at discovering the natural layout of the controls and the straight forward line of thinking that makes using the Canon A85 a joy to use. The camera has the ability to work in many 'automatic' modes as well as 'manual' photography. It can record voice notes and in point-of-fact, record video files, up to 999 seconds with the 512mb card I am using. The flash is built-in and there are at least three ways to use it...or not. The lens on this camera is versatile, has both optical and digital zoom, and closes within the body with its own lens cover when turned off or left unused for whatever period of time you can choose from the menu. There is an ample 'screen' to view with and a simple viewfinder. I can use my rechargeable AA NiMH batteries in this unit and strongly recommend at least eight to anybody who does buy one of these camera, with 12 being a better investment to heavy users. DO buy the larger Compact flash card(s). Itís your 'film' and you don't want to have to delete 'pictures' because of a lack of storage 'in the field'. The software and manuals that come with the Canon are very complete, and uploading to the pc is a cinch. By-the-by, this is a 4 mega pixel camera, and while bigger can be better, 4 mega pixel is plenty for a lot of people.

What I don't like about the Canon Powershot A85: I think that this camera, bought at Circuit City was a bit on the pricy side. We could have waited for the after Christmas sales, or shopped on-line, but what-the-hey, we were in a hurry, and the price was not our prime consideration.

Powershot A85 quality: This Camera is well-built, with a light weight body and a easy to handle layout. It is easy to carry and can easily fit in a pocket for hunting and fishing outings.

Powershot A85 summary: For a first digital camera, I feel like we made a good choice. This camera should be able to handle snapshots with no worries, and using it with pc software, recordable disks and all the many ways that there are to print digital images, we should be able to do a lot we haven't even thought of yet!

Rating for this Canon product: 4

Author of this review on Canon Cameras & Accessories: Eli Griggs

Date: 2005-01-01

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