Canon added a megapixel to the popular PowerShot A75 to create the 4-megapixel PowerShot A85. The two cameras are virtually identical, except for their resolution and some minor color differences in the finish on their plastic bodies.
Upside: Like the PowerShot A75, this camera offers a lot of versatility for an affordably priced model, including fully manual exposure, a good selection of automatic settings, and a broad range of adjustable controls. You can add a lens converter to the A85's 3X zoom lens to get a wider or longer view, and Canon also makes a compatible underwater housing for the camera.
Downside: If you're looking for an ultracompact pocket camera, the Canon PowerShot A85 isn't it. You'll need to purchase four rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride cells and a charger to get decent battery life, since only alkalines come with the camera. More-advanced photographers might not be satisfied with the A85's JPEG-only image file option.
Outlook: The PowerShot A75 has been very popular, for both its versatility and its image quality. There's no reason to expect this higher-res version of the camera to fare worse, unless some unexpected image quality or performance problem crops up. However, photographers who like to make large prints and shoot at odd angles should consider Canon's new 5-megapixel PowerShot A95, which adds a flip-out LCD along with the higher resolution. The Canon PowerShot A85 will be available in late August 2004 for a list price of $299.