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Sunday, February 13, 2005


Things are a little more normal in Wired Cola world headquarters again. All is, to a first order, back to normal.

So far, the "what to do in Vancouver" project is more trouble than joy, so send in more ideas. Okay?

In celebration of Sts. Cyril & Methodius' Day, Douglas College will be on strike again. Also, The Lovely One and I will be trying out Pon Dok on the Drive.

In the outside world, Canon A85s are now going for $320 at the local Costco. This isn't quite as cheap as you can get them from cheaper American retailers, but it's really cheap for a superb 4-megapixel camera, and Costco's ludicrously generous return policies work in their favour.

The reason I'm mentioning this is that my parents bought one of these things. It's a sweet machine.

They're appearing at Costco now because they have been discontinued, replaced by the spiffy new A520. That camera is too new to even have been reviewed yet, and its claim to fame is that it is smaller, lighter, has a slightly spiffier flash, and adds a 4x zoom (versus 3x zoom on the A85). That last one is a nice bonus, assuming Canon hasn't ruined what was one of the nicest lenses available on a compact camera. But as for making it smaller, most of the reduction seems to have come from changing to SD memory from a CF card (SD is smaller, but I already have some CF cards), and from reducing the number of AA batteries powering the camera from four to two. The A85 and A75 (and other A-cameras) were class leaders in terms of battery life, and I would be very surprised if halving the number of batteries doesn't change that somewhat. As for the size, an A85 is not that big. My parents, though not inordinately large-handed, found the A85 just barely big enough for easy handling. It must be said that compared to my more svelte Nikon 2500, the controls on the Canon are much more generously sized. On the other hand, the Canon looks like a small camera, and the Nikon looks like a big cell phone. The difference means that the smaller, more smoothly-shaped camera will fit in a big pants pocket, while the lumpier, more picture-riffic machine calls for a big jacket pocket or a purse.

The big feature of the A-series is full-manual controls and solid optics at consumer-grade prices. it's in the sweet spot, and I could see borrowing it from my family lots and lots when I want some higher-res pictures than the webtastic 2 megapixels of my (formerly Eric's) Nikon.

If you do buy one, don't forget to budget for some NiMH rechargeables and a charger (Canon will sell you an adapter that plugs into the camera, but clone chargers are available much more cheaply on eBay. Batteries not included), and while the included CF card is a semi-generous 32MB, you'll want more.

Gotta do my calisthenics now.

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