Cameras using AA batteries really cuts down on your choices. Most manufacturers, Canon included, rarely have cameras powered by AA's. When they do, it's usually only for the cheapest models.
Canon makes a lot of good cameras. If you want something better, I'd point to the G11 or its replacement the G12 ($500). If you want something better but smaller, look at the S90 or its replacement the S95 ($400). If either of those seem a bit expensive, have a look at the SD4000 IS ($300).
I am looking to replace my Canon PowerShot A85, finally. I love its heft because I'm clumsy, but wish there was less delay between shots.
I've been pretty happy with the A85's features (zoom on the front, ease of use, options) but do wish it took better pictures in low light and closely zoomed-in.
I enjoy the fredom of AA batteries because I can buy a bunch cheap and they actually seem to last a long time. Maybe I'd adjust to Li-ion batteries? I travel a lot so shlepping a charger seems like a hassle I'd rather avoid, but if there was a good trade off I'd adjust.
I don't take spohisticated pictures, but I do like to fiddle with the options occasionally. Lots of pics of my wiggly kid and nature. I also take the occasional video to show to grandma. Again, nothing "professional" but I like it to look good.
I prefer to stick with Canon because their customer service has been exceptional and this A85 has lasted me ~6 years already. Also, all the software's on my computer. That said, I'd be willing to switch brands if it was really worth my while.
I like the lightness and portability of a smaller, lighter camera. I just worry that with my big fingers and shakey hands I'll just make every shot blurry by jigging the thing as I push the clicker. Perhaps image stabilization would help with that?
I'd like to keep the cost low, which seems doable based on my limited research.
I'd really appreciate your recommendations.