Canon’s PowerShot range never seems to us to be quite as appealing as the Ixus range, yet Canon is committed to it, having updated the old A70 with this newer model, the A75.
The first thing of note, if you’ve ever used an Ixus, is that this PowerShot A75 is large and heavy. Both facts come in part from this camera’s reliance on AA cells – four of them – to provide the power the camera needs. AAs are not the most power-conserving choice nor are they the least expensive. If we were going to stick with this camera we’d invest in a set of rechargeables immediately.
The 3.2 megapixels on offer are enough for the general ‘happy snapper’, and Canon has gone overboard in providing ease of use features. There are no fewer than 13 built-in shooting modes, selected by rotating a wheel on the upper edge of the casing. Modes include portrait (of a person), landscape, night scene, fast shutter speed, and postcard print mode (preset so you can get a postcard-sized print).
One of the 13 shooting modes, the one called ‘special scene’, offers further choices called ‘fireworks’, ‘foliage’, ‘beach’, ‘snow’, ‘underwater’ and ‘indoor’, designed for taking pictures in these particular situations (there is an optional case that’s waterproof up to 40 metres, which you’ll need before attempting underwater photography!).
You can configure custom settings too, but between them Canon expects the pre-sets should mean most eventualities can be handled by the first-time user without requiring a lot of manual-reading. The bundled 32MB CF card should also help the first-time user along.
The 3x optical zoom is augmented by a further 3x digital zoom. We tend to ignore digital zoom and disable it immediately in any camera we use as it reduces image quality, but the optical setting is perfectly on a par with the competition.
Image sizes range from 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (good for A4 prints) down to 640 x 480 (good for e-mail attachments), with various in-between resolutions and compression ratios. At the highest resolution and highest quality you’ll get in the region of 18 images onto the supplied Compact Flash card.
As is usual it is possible to capture video and add sound to it, and the usual flash and self-timer are here and easy to set up. More interestingly, perhaps, the PowerShot A75 includes Canon’s DGIC processor, among whose treats is the ability to rotate an image so that it is the right way up when played back on the built-in LCD. There’s also support for Direct Printing which (as you can probably guess) allows printing direct from the camera or automatic transfer of images to a PC.
Canon provides an array of desktop software to help you manipulate and store images, including ArcSoft’s PhotoImpression 5 for managing, editing and printing photos, and the same company’s VideoImpression 2. It is a pity about the lack of a printed introduction to this software, particularly in view of the suitability of the camera itself to digital imaging newcomers.
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