Canon has today announced the PowerShot A85 a replacement to the entry-level PowerShot A70 which Canon are claiming was "one of the most successful cameras in Canon's seventy year history". The A85 is a four megapixel three times zoom but has been upgraded with several improvements we saw introduced in the PowerShot A75 including six new 'special scene modes', 9-point AiAF, VGA movie clips (10 fps, up to 30 secs) and a larger 1.8" LCD monitor. The A85 also features Canon's single-button Print/Share feature for immediate transfer to a USB connected PC or Printer.

Click here for PowerShot A85 sample images (Canon BeBit)

Press Release (Canon Europe):

Canon upgrades most popular camera ever

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 20 July, 2004. Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, today adds the 4.0 Megapixel PowerShot A85 to its popular PowerShot range. The camera replaces the PowerShot A70, one of the most successful cameras in Canon's seventy year history.

"The PowerShot A70 was successful because it found the perfect balance between point-and-shoot economy and pro-sumer control features," said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe at the camera's launch. "The PowerShot A85 builds on this success by adding new features that make it even easier to use, while at the same time giving the experienced user more options."

As well as improved ergonomics and refreshed styling, the camera includes a large 1.8" LCD, 13 shooting modes (including a special scene mode with 6 selectable pre-set scenes), VGA movie clips with sound, 9-point AiAF auto focus, and a Print/Share button plus extended print functionality. A wide selection of accessories includes wide and tele converters, close-up lens, and a waterproof case.

Advanced simplicity

The 13 shooting modes have been extended with 6 'special scene' presets, which help the user to get great looking results in sometimes tricky shooting conditions. They include presets for the beach, fireworks, underwater, foliage, snow, and indoor.

The focus system has been upgraded to 9-point AiAF, for consistently sharp auto-focus even with non-centred subjects. The 3x optical zoom extends to 11x when combined with the digital zoom and has a respectable f/2.8-4.8 aperture.

The purpose built DIGIC processor integrates all image processing algorithms onto a single chip to deliver fast processing and write times, minimal shutter lag, optimal image definition and consistently clean and natural colour reproduction. iSAPS, an in-built photographer's assistant, analyses composition factors such as zoom position and luminosity in order to predict the type of photo being taken. This results in faster auto-focusing, more accurate auto-exposure and precise auto white balance.

Movies now in VGA

The 3 minute movie mode with sound, full playback and in-camera editing has been extended to include the option of shooting in VGA mode for up to 30 seconds. A generously proportioned 1.8" LCD makes for easier and more enjoyable playback and review.

Simplified Printing and Uploading

The PowerShot A85 features Canon's Print/Share button for single step printing and file sharing. When the camera is connected via USB cable to any PictBridge or Direct Print compatible photo printer or Windows PC, a blue light on the Print/Share button comes on to indicate successful connection. Pushing the button when lit instigates a print of the currently displayed image (based on the connected printer's default settings) or an automatic transfer of images to the PC . The camera transfers all images, all images not yet transferred, or all images marked for transfer, depending on the user setting selected in the Camera's set up options.

Expanded direct printing functions

When connected to a Canon Compact Photo printer, ID photo and Movie Print functions are also supported. Movie Print mode divides a selected clip into equal parts and prints thumbnails of up to 63 equally spaced frames if using Postcard Size Paper (100 x 148 mm); ideal for freezing action sequences. The ID Photo Print function replaces visits to the photo booth by printing multiple durable passport style ID photos (selectable height and width) to a single sheet.

Personal online photo gallery

Free membership is included to Canon's online CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, with 100 Megabytes of free storage space for online album storing and sharing. Users can upload favourite images and now movies3 to the site, which can then be shared with friends and family as individually secure online 'albums'.

Accessories

A wide range of optional accessories extends the camera's versatility, increasing both the range of circumstances in which it can be used and the type of photographs it is capable of taking. Wide and tele converter lenses vastly increase framing options and extend the camera's effective focal length range from approximately 25mm to 250mm , while an optional close-up lens is available for macro photography. The 40m depth waterproof case is great for diving, surfing, skiing, snorkelling and general beach fun. The camera comes supplied with a 32MB Compact Flash card.

Software

Software supplied includes browsing and printing software ZoomBrowser EX (Windows) and ImageBrowser (Mac). Other software includes PhotoStitch, photo and movie manipulation software ArcSoft PhotoImpression and VideoImpression. Drivers include TWAIN (Windows 98/2000) and WIA (Windows Me). Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) support allows the camera to connect to any Windows XP and Mac OS X (v10.1/v10.2) system without the requirement for a driver installation.

Canon PowerShot A85 specifications

Sensor • 1/2.7" Type CCD
• 4.0 million effective pixels
Image processor Canon DIGIC with iSAPS
Image sizes • 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
File formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• AVI (Motion JPEG)
Quality Levels • Super fine
• Fine
• Normal
Movie clips • 640 x 480, 10 fps, max 30 sec
• 320 x 240, 15 fps, max 3 mins
• 160 x 120, 15 fps, max 3 mins
• With audio
Lens • 3x optical zoom
• 35 - 105 mm equiv.
• F2.8 - F4.8
Digital zoom Up to 3.6x
Auto focus • 9 point AiAF
• 1 point AF (center)
Manual focus Yes
AF assist beam Yes
Closest focus 5 cm
Shooting modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual exposure
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
Special Scene modes • Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Underwater
• Indoor
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
Sensitivity equiv. • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compen. • -2.0 to +2.0 EV
• 0.3 EV steps
Shutter speed • 15 - 1/2000 sec
• Noise reduction for shutter speeds slower than 1.3 sec
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Self-timer 2 or 10 sec
Flash • Built-in
• Modes: Auto, Manual On/Off, Slow Sync
• Red-Eye reduction: On/Off
• Range (wide): 0.5 - 4.2 m (Auto ISO)
• Range (tele): 0.5 - 2.5 m (Auto ISO)
Drive modes • Single
• Continuous (1.5 fps, max 8 images)
Direct print • Canon Compact Photo Printers and Bubble Jet Printers with direct print
• PictBridge compatible printers
Other features • Sound memo (up to 60 sec)
• Histogram
• Playback zoom 2x - 10x
Connectivity • USB 1.1 (mini-B)
• A/V out
Power • 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
Storage • Compact Flash Type I
• Supports cards over 2 GB
Dimensions 101 x 64 x 32 mm (4.0 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
Weight (no batt) 200 g (7.1 oz)