Late in the spring of 2004, the lens on my A20 zoomed its last. As I recall, it was stuck somewhere in the middle of its range. It still took pictures but the lack of zoom was irritating and the permanently protruding lens made it awkward to pocket. Besides, there had been three years of progress since my last camera purchase and I was ready to take advantage of it.
I had been quite happy with the A20 so I went for what was essentially the current model equivalent. But those three years had not only added about a million pixels, available manual controls, and video recording to the camera, they also shaved more than a hundred bucks off the price. The A20 had cost $384 in 2001. The A75, in June of 2004, was $276.
The lens was the same 35mm-105mm zoom and the recording media was still Compact Flash. More importantly, power still came from standard AA batteries. I owned several gadgets — GPS, voice recorder, FRS radios — that used AAs and I owned a couple fist fulls of rechargeables along with an AC/DC charger. Plus, in my mind, it was crucial to use standard batteries so I could grab fresh ones at any gas station if necessary. In my five years with the Powershots and seven years with an AA powered Garmin, I think I did that maybe twice with the cameras and once with the GPS. Of course, the GPS was usually powered directly from the car so one set of batteries was almost always being charged.
I guess it was this camera that got me to thinking that digital photography might actually have a future. Until now, I figured digital cameras were great for pictures to post on a website or email to friends and relatives but film was still needed for any kind of printing. The A75 couldn’t produce magazine cover images but a 3×5 or 4×6 print looked just fine.