What happened to Canon's A-series?

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What happened to Canon's A-series?

Postposted on Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:24 pm

My A95 finally bit the bullet. After six years and roughly 80,000 pictures, the sensor failed a couple weeks ago. This means I need a new point and shoot. I like Canon's point and shoots, and I am underwhelmed by the interfaces and image outputs of other companies' point and shoot models.

I need some help deciding which Canon model to buy. The A series is completely different from the last time I looked. Figures I leave P&S's for a bit and when I come back, nothing is the same. Has anyone followed the Canon A series and can fill me in on what's good? I don't see any analogs to the A640, which is the last A95-like camera I remember there being in the lineup.
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Re: What happened to Canon's A-series?

Postposted on Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:23 pm

Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What happened to Canon's A-series?

Postposted on Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:25 pm

I'd probably consider the Canon Powershot S90 to be the successor to the A series. It's canon's response to the enthusiast-friendly Panasonic Lumix LX3 and Ricoh GX200. Lots of manual controls (including a front-mounted control ring), a fast wide lens (28mm equiv and f/2 at wide), a 1/1.7in sensor and a 3.8x zoom in a pocketable compact.

If you don't need/want the manual controls, you should consider the IXUS range for portability.

If you want even more manual control, consider the Powershot G11, which is bulkier and heavier (but also a lot tougher).

I'm not even going to bother recommending things like the Sigma DP2, Lumix GF1 etc., since if you wanted them, you'd already know.
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Re: What happened to Canon's A-series?

Postposted on Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:45 pm

Voldenuit wrote:I'd probably consider the Canon Powershot S90 to be the successor to the A series. It's canon's response to the enthusiast-friendly Panasonic Lumix LX3 and Ricoh GX200. Lots of manual controls (including a front-mounted control ring), a fast wide lens (28mm equiv and f/2 at wide), a 1/1.7in sensor and a 3.8x zoom in a pocketable compact.

If you don't need/want the manual controls, you should consider the IXUS range for portability.

If you want even more manual control, consider the Powershot G11, which is bulkier and heavier (but also a lot tougher).

I'm not even going to bother recommending things like the Sigma DP2, Lumix GF1 etc., since if you wanted them, you'd already know.



The S90 looks great, but it's quite expensive. I was hoping to find a compromise for a bit cheaper.

The Elph/IXUS range is decent, but uses Li-Ion batteries and I'm not sure how the image quality is. My impression is that IQ is a bit soft.

Th G11 competes with the S90, IMO, but it's probably a better deal all around in terms of build quality and IQ. Still too expensive for what I want, unfortunately.

Sigma and Panasonic's offerings that you mentioned are interesting, but fail in one or more categories. What attracted me to the Canon A series originally was that it did some things (manual controls, IQ) excellently, and did everything else at least acceptably.

@ JAE: The A1100 is close, but I'm not sure I'm willing to give up manual controls just yet.

None of the usual suspects have in-depth reviews on any of these cameras that make comparison easy. I am interested in hearing personal impresions of these new cameras, if anyone here owns one of 'em.
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Re: What happened to Canon's A-series?

Postposted on Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:06 am

Most of the compacts with manual controls that I know of are in the ~$400 range.

Although to be brutally honest, with their small sensors, there's not really all that much to be gained from manual controls. Even with f/2 lenses, the circle of confusion is so large that it is impossible to get shallow DOF on portrait shots. You can get bokeh on some of them with macro photography, but then you have the problem of focus controls (or lack thereof).

Getting good pictures out of compacts is more about good composition, lighting and (this is very important but the bit most people can't be bothered to do) post-processing. A friend of mine who's a very avid photographer gets some amazing pictures from his generic canon P&S (not sure of the model, but it's got no distinguishing features in optics or controls) when he can't be bothered to carry his DSLR (which is most of the time these days).

If you still hanker for manual controls, the Panasonic LX3 and Ricoh GX200 can be found for a little cheaper than the S90. The problem is that they are hard to find. I have a GX100 and I can report that the usability on the camera is fantastic. Ricoh has been catering to the compact enthusiast market for years, and the pedigree shows in their SLR/rangefinder-like control scheme. I'm not so fond of the Panasonics. Both the GF1 and the LX3 were unintuitive, klunky and quite frustrating to use for me when I tested them in-store (admittedly not for very long). The S90 is very nice to use, if you can stretch for it, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I actually prefer the S90 to the G11 because the latter is too bulky to carry around with you all the time. The extra 30mm-equivalent of zoom is not worth it for my style (I like taking wide angle street, landscape and candids), but your mileage might vary. Also, if you can find a second hand G9 (skip the G10, it's rubbish), that is a great camera for the price*.

*Sadly, it has no wide angle, that's a sacrifice you have to be aware of.

EDIT: PS, the G11 uses the same sensor as the S90, so apart from the optics (which aren't *too* different - the G11 has a slightly smaller aperture and slightly longer tele), their quality is closer than you might think.
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