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pineywoodsman Oct 28, 2005 6:55 PM

So, now that the A610 has been out for a new months, is it actually any better than the A95? As an A75 user for the past several years or so (and a very pleased one) if I felt the need to print larger photos the A95 would have been my upgrade choice. I've printed occasionally up to 8x10 and the photos from my A75 look pretty sharp and well saturated to me.

Anyway the A95 took CF cards, had a 3x zoom as well as the flip out LCD. I was pretty pleased with the sample photos I've seen from it, perhaps a bit more CA than the A75 but not much. Had all the features of the A75 and then some. Then Canon replaces it with the A610. Like the newer generations, it takes SD instead and has a 4x zoom. I haven't been caring as much for the sample photos I've seen so far. Seems to be an annoying "vignetting" problem at wide-angle. I've tested them out in the store, the lens is very noisy. Unlike the A510 and 520, it takes 4 AA instead of two, which means it shouldn't have the lagging problems.

The main criticism of Canon I've had of the changes they've made in their newer generation cameras is the use of SD cards. For those of us like me who have invested in quite a few CF cards, it makes that eventual upgrade more costly. If I did desire an upgrade, I think I'd try to find an A95 instead, even a company refurb.

I also don't trust SD. I do alot of hiking and those little cards seem fragile and exposed, and if they get wet I'm worried. I prefer CF. That's what most pros use anyway in DSLRs. It seems the latest generation of A series Canons want to gear more toward non-pros or young women, with the smaller sizes and dainty SD cards etc.

I want to stick with CF. Perhaps I'm just better off eventually getting a DSLR. I eventually want to get one anyway and prefer having the use of all my memory cards instead of having to use different ones for different cameras. I'm pretty happy with the A75 though, 3.2 is enough for mostly on screen viewing, 4x6s, and the occasional 8x10 (which still looks great). Hopefully it'll keep working. It's under an extended warranty, if it malfunctions the store replaces it witha credit for the purchase price. But then I'll have to shell out more for SD if I want another Canon A series.:evil:

So what are all your thoughts on the new Canons, esp the A610 in particular. Is it better or worse than the A95? I've seen other reviews but prefer the reviews here on this site the most.

sbddude Nov 2, 2005 2:01 PM

Highlights of 610 advantages: (in my opinion)

4X zooom
Vari-angle LCD
Improved movie mode
My Colors mode

As for the SD vs CF issue. I don't see much of the big deal. SanDisk Extreme cards have been known to survive washing machines and other rough handling without issue. Using a smaller card allows canon to make the camera smaller. For me, I sold an A70 with the CF cards i had for it and it was not a big deal.

pineywoodsman Nov 2, 2005 10:24 PM

I'm concerned about the vignetting issue some have raised. I'd really like to see a review on this site posted for the 610 soon. This site and imaging resource are usually the sites I trust for reviews, as they offer a good variety of "sample photos" to compare.

pineywoodsman Nov 4, 2005 5:55 PM

Reviews are posted and I see vignetting in the sample photos. I have to disagree with the conclusion. I don't think the images are as clear as the A95. Now that the review is out I know that I'm better off with an A95. I'm sure there will be refurbs and used ones out for awhile. Yup, I'd rather have a USED A95 than a new A610. No one should have to tolerate vignetting on a new camera. At least the A510/520 don't have that problem.

Heck, I like the images from my 3.2mp A75 than the A610. Proof that new & more MP isn't always better.

tripleh Nov 5, 2005 6:01 AM

I have a Canon A610 I see none of the issiues you mention in mine I love it great camera for the price,first pic I took with it right out of the box auto setting lowest quality

pineywoodsman Nov 5, 2005 9:16 PM

Perhaps there needs to be "test" for the vignetting. I know I'm not the only one that mentioned vignetting on the A610.

mjs818 Nov 6, 2005 5:16 AM

I own an A610 and this was just about my first shot from the camera in P mode... The A95 is/was a great camera, but it is slower and a lot of purple fringing.

pineywoodsman Nov 8, 2005 1:09 PM

That's a nice photo. I agree about the PF. The A95 had alot more PF, whereas I haven't seen as much PF in the A610. For some reason the A95 had much more PF than the A75.

lgcharlot Nov 11, 2005 3:38 PM

I have an A-620, which is pretty much the same as the A-610 except for the sensor, 7 mp instead of 5mp. The really big difference in the A-610/620 vs A-85/95 is the processor upgrade to DIGIC II. This makes the A-610/620 a LOT faster than the older A-series models in terms of power-up and shot-to-shot times. The A-610/620 shoots amazing movie clips (for a still camera), with image quality almost as good as a "real" video cam, although the sound quality isn't too good compared to the sound you get on even "cheap" $300 viseo cameras. My A-620 seems to have really good auto focus capability, somewhat faster then the A-85/95, and WAY faster than my Minolta 7I - and with many fewer focus errors. The bottom line is "value for money", and the A-610/620 gives you more bang-for-the-buck than any other compact out there at the moment. The A-620 is available (mail order) for as little as $330 this week, and the A-610 for about $80 less than that. Considering all the advanced capabilities of the A-610/620, especially the full manual controls and availability of resonably priced accessory lenses and U/W housing, it's a heck of a deal. This A-620 cost me half the price I paid for my Minolta 7I (30 months ago), and is a much better camera overall. If you don't need the high-ISO speed, cutting-edge image quality, and lens interchangeability of a D-SLR, it's hard to pick out an under-$400 digicam that can beat these new Canon's for pure value for your dollar. There are only fa few things I found on the A-620 that are "negative" in any way:
1. Significant barrel distortion at full wide angle, and the "wide angle" itself is only 35 mm (film cam equivalent). 28 mm wide angle would have been nice, although you can get this with the optional 0.75x conversion lens. To be fair, few compact digicams offer 28 mm, and none in this price range that I know of.
2. I wish Canon had stuck with CF for the A-series, since I already owned several CF cards. At least the SD cards are about the same price and are available in 2GB (which you will want if you plan to shoot movie clips). A 1 minute movie clip at best quality will consume nearly 90 megs, so the 32 meg card that comes with the camera is certainly no good for movie shots.
3. No RAW or TIFF mode. I guess Canon uses the lack of RAW mode to separate the A-series from the SD-series compacts. On the plus side, the A-series is powered by "AA" instead of a proprietary LI-ion pack. And if you leave the LCD off and use just the non-electronic viewfinder, the A-610/620 are claimed to be capable of shooting somewhere between 1000 and 1500 images on a set of 2300 mah batteries. Pretty amazing considering that the best I ever get out of my Minolta 7I is maybe 250 shots using just the viewfinder and no flash. Thank DIGIC II for this as it is much more power-efficient than earlier digicam processors.
4. No flash shoe. The Olympus SP-350, a near-competitor to the A-620 has both RAW mode and a flash shoe, and costs only a few dollars more, but it uses XD card only, and these are still more expensive than SD and only available up to 1 gb (that will probably change soon and a 2 gb size will become available).
5. The little soft plastic door that covers the I/O and aux power ports on the A-610/A-620 feels pretty flimsy, and I expect that it will probably break off within a year or two.

Anyway, I bought my A-620 specifically for U/W use on dive trips, since Canon supports it with a reasonably priced OEM housing, and for that purpose, the A-620 is a great value. There aren't many U/W camera systems available with the A-620's level of features and image quality for less than 3 or 4 times the cost. I paid $350 for the camera and $164 for the housing. By comparison, the typical D-SLR (say a Canon 350XT) with an Ikelite housing would cost at least $2500 - way more than I wanted to spend. And if the housing springs a leak and floods on a dive, better to have lost a $350 compact than $1800 worth of D-SLR and lens.

The housing is a new Canon WP-DC90, and I will be taking it to Cozumel in 4 weeks, and will post a review when I get back. The A-620 camera is a perfect fit inside the housing, and every camera control can be accessed by one or another of the buttons or levers on the housing.

pineywoodsman Nov 11, 2005 9:20 PM

I got a chance to tes out another A610 in the store today. You're right about the speed, it is MUCH faster than the A75/85/95. It also focuses quicker and more accurately. I didn't see the barrel distortion you mentioned, or any vignetting while reviewing the pics in the camera (they were kind enough to have an SD card in there so we can review the test pics). The main downside for me would be the SD cards, since I have used mainly CF for years and have quite a few. However, one can get a 512mb SD card for less than $50 on sale, so it aint that bad of a setback. I know I have to accept the fact that SD is becoming more popular now. the lens is noisy when it extends, but it sounds like they put a more powerful motor in there, which would make me less fearful of a stuck lens or dreaded E18. So maybe the 610 is better than A95. I still don't care for the A510 or 520. They are slower than my A75 when focusing and slower shot to shot time. Those 2 batteries vs 4 is probably the problem. And they use digic I, vs the digic II in the 610/620. Hopefully when Canon does the redesign on the 510/520 they'll use digic II and go back to 4 batteries.

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