Canon PowerShot A75
The $299 PowerShot A75 is a neat little camera. With a bulge on the left side that makes it easy to grip, it comes with features you usually find on cameras costing hundreds more, such as aperture- and shutter-priority modes, manual focus, white-balance calibration, and optional wide and teleconverter adapter lenses. It has 12 scene modes to suit almost any situation, from the beach to the mountains--and even underwater with an optional enclosure.
The successor to the PowerShot A70, the A75 offers an LCD screen size that's a bit larger at 1.8 inches (up from 1.5 inches). Canon has fixed a number of our quibbles with the earlier model, such as not being able to adjust the power-saving settings. The A75 also adds Canon's new Print/Share button, which glows blue when you connect to a PC or to a PictBridge-compatible printer. You use menus on the camera's LCD screen to set options for transfer or printing, and then you press the Print/Share button when you are ready to go.
However, whereas the earlier A70 performed well in our image-quality tests, the PowerShot A75 came out near the bottom of the class, earning an overall output score of just Fair. This 3.2-megapixel camera was unable to render crisp images--a problem most apparent in our resolution and outdoor tests. Colors in our daylight-balanced still-life photo looked good, but the focus seemed a bit off. Using flash, the A75 reproduced our model with colors that were bright but also slightly off. We took the camera out for some informal shooting, and in most cases it produced agreeable colors. Focus, however, was just as unpredictable as in our formal tests. A close-up of flowers had fine detail, while some shots of backyard scenes looked soft.
Like the other Canon cameras we've reviewed, the A75 has a better than average software bundle--a selection of Canon imaging utilities and ArcSoft's Camera Suite--and a thorough, easy-to-read set of documentation.
Underwhelming image quality aside, the PowerShot A75 gives you a lot for your money. It's an easy-to-carry, go-everywhere kind of model.