It was time to finally retire the Canon A520 digital camera I've been taking with me on all of my mountain bike trips for the past 2 summers. The camera, despite being just 4 mega-pixels, did a fantastic job of capturing the action and the scenery from Costa Rica to the North Cascades and beyond. It had taken its share of drops, bumps, and dings and held up quite admirably for almost two years.
I'm a Canon guy. I've always been a Canon guy. When it comes to cameras, you're either a Canon or a Nikon guy and neither is really better than the either, as it seems to come down to a preference for the control scheme. When the decision was made to replace the A520, there was no doubt that I was going to buy another in the PowerShot A-series of cameras by Canon. Price and the ability to shoot manual (or at least shutter or aperture priority) would dictate which camera I bought.
After a quick rundown through the reviews and spec-lists at Digital Photo Review, I settled on the A630, the successor to the A620, which is one of the highest rated compact digital cameras ever. I opted to save the $100 and forego splurging on the A640, as I didn't really need 10 mega-pixels and it seems that everything else was equal between the two cameras. The A630 is an 8.0 mega-pixel compact digital with, I'm happy to say, many of the features of my bulkier Canon 20D SLR. I'm sure it doesn't have as wonderful an auto-exposure meter as the 20D, but as long as the picture quality is as good as the A520 (everyone says it's better), doesn't take as long to save a photo between shots (it can't possibly be any slower... this was one my complaint with the A520), and doesn't drain the batteries as quickly (the A630 takes 4 AA instead of just 2 like the A520) then I'm sure it will be a good purchase. As an aside, am I the only one who finds it hard to believe we can now get 8.0 mega-pixel cameras of this quality for $200?
I'll be bringing it with me tonight when I head out to Ephrata to pre-ride the sagebrush trails of the Beezley Burn race and, naturally, next week down to Utah. I'm sure I'll have a good idea of how it does before long.