Camera review: Canon A75
For my son’s birthday, we bought him a digital camera - the A75. It was almost cheap; and appeared to be of decent quality; and seemed to be functional for a 9 year old to use. After actually playing with it, I ended up buying a second one for myself, to complement the Digital Rebel SLR we own.
[Updated 12/15/05, see bottom]
Typically when we go places, I take the Rebel. I love the SLR - you have so much more control, speed, qaulity, etc than a typical point and shoot camera, and the optical options are tremendous. I can zoom in on a gnat’s ass at twenty paces with the zoom lense. But all that comes at a price - the rebel is hardly portable, and not as likely to always be at hand.
So, when I started to play with my son’s A75, I started to notice several things about this camera, that made it quite nice, especially for the price:
- Similiar interface to the Canon digital rebel - a plus when you’re trying to teach your family about some of the ins and outs of photography. Not having to go between two radically different interfaces, to me, is a plus.
- Quite operable by my 9 year old, who knows little about photography, and is happy as heck to just point and click. Or, in many cases, take video to blackmail his sister with.
- Manual controls for exposure, aperature, iso speed, focus all available - if you had to, they are accessible. Not nearly as handy as a SLR, but they are available, and do work. In particular, I think I may find focus the most handy.
- Video clip recording is not half bad! Output format is .avi. I’m a mac user; the avi produced played without problems with quicktime for me.
- White balance OK at automatic; but Canon is notorious at getting indoor whitebalance not quite right. Setting a custom white balance value is easy on this camera.
- Flash exposure is decent for being a P&S camera - especially for a Canon
- Focus assist for low light situations.
Now of course, not all is entirely perfect and blissful. The things that do stand out as negatives:
- The grip is big; a bit awkward to stick in your pocket. If this bugs you, look at the Elph. I simply didn’t want to pay the price for the Elph.
- Response times to focus and snap a picture are slightly slower than average, but not bad.
- Prefocus to click: approx .2 seconds (my mental estimate)
- Unfocused to click: approx 2-3 seconds in average indoor light
- The bundled memory (32 megs) is too small. Buy at least 512 megs. The estimate on the number of pictures I can take with a 1 gig memory card is 1100 at default resolution. If you are going to buy a digital camera, you want to be able to shoot pictures and not worry about space - and then later keep the best of the ones that came out well.
The lens busted. “error14” on bootup. I was out on a motorcycle ride on a recent weekend, when the batteries ran out. I swapped batteries, only to find I was negligent on keeping CHARGED batteries with me. Bottom line, the lens did not retract back into the camera body. Since I was on the motorcycle, I had nowhere safe to put it, but back into my motorcycle bag. The lense forcefully retracted inside my bag on the way home, and is now toast. I’m replacing the A75 with the Canon SD400 (Digital Elph), which should be easier to carry, but has the same risk.