The successor to the A85 has arrived. If you caught our review of the Powershot A85 last year, you’ll know we were suitably impressed. Now, less than a year on, Canon has decided to replace the A85 with the A520.
The first difference is in the design. While the new model looks very similar to the A85, the battery requirement has been halved to two AAs. As a result, the right-hand grip has been reduced in size and the weight has dropped by 70g to 230g. Canon has also ditched Compact Flash support in favour of the far smaller SD card.
The basic specs haven’t changed a great deal. The A520 features a 4 megapixel charge coupled device, 1.8inch LCD monitor and sensibly-placed controls. The optical zoom has been boosted up to 4x, giving a 35mm equivalent focal length of 35–140mm and you get the same impressive range of automatic and manual controls.
Thirteen preset shooting scenes are backed up by aperture and shutter priority, along with a full manual mode. The A520 does have a few drawbacks, though, particularly when shooting in low light. Noise levels were quite high in our tests and the camera sometimes had trouble focusing.
Those who invested in a Powershot A85 last year shouldn’t ditch it in favour of this new version. There just aren’t enough alterations to make it worthwhile. Similarly, if you can find an A85 for sale cheaper than the A520, it’s worth considering the older version and saving some money.
That said, if you’re looking for a relatively cheap camera that houses a heap of features, takes good photos and is easy to use, we find it hard to believe that you’ll find a better model than the Powershot A520.
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