Two-year olds and technology just don’t mix: my daughter recently dropped my Kodak DX3600 and broke it. After hearing from Kodak that I could either send it in along with $125 to repair it, or trade it in for a discount on a newer Kodak digicam, I decided to shop around and get a new camera altogether. Magazine and peer reviews convinced me to get the Canon PowerShot A70. Smaller than my Kodak (but heavier due to 4 AA batteries), this little guy packs a 3.2 megapixed CCD, 3x optical zoom, 5-point auto-focus, and all of the other normal functions you’d expect to find on today’s modern digital camera. It has 12 (!!) different shooting modes, which cover just about everything. When I’m daring enough, I can switch into manual mode to play with f/stops, shutter speeds, white balances, etc. If I don’t want to mess with that, I just leave it on auto. It also records movies (with sound) in AVI format, with a maximum resolution of 640×480.
One thing I do miss about the Kodak is the EasyShare docking system. It was great to drop the camera into the dock, press the button, and have the pictures transferred onto my PC. The Canon, despite its USB connection, doesn’t show up as another storage device in Windows Explorer, and requires some fiddling with the included software to transfer pictures. It does have a TWAIN driver though, which allows me to import the pictures directly into Paint Shop Pro for editing. Another missing piece: built-in memory. The Canon requires a CF card (the Kodak took CF cards, but also had 8mb of internal memory in case my cards got full or I forgot them altogether). Now that I’ve got a 128mb CF card in the camera, though, space shouldn’t be an issue.