The PowerShot A85 is Canon's 4-megapixel "big brother" of the PowerShot A75 and replaces the Powershot A70, one of the most successful cameras in Canon's seventy year history. The A85 built on the A70 success by adding new features that made it even easier to use, while at the same time giving the experienced user more options. Along with improved ergonomics and refreshed styling, the A85 included a larger 1.8-inch LCD, 13 shooting modes, VGA resolution movie clips with sound, 9-point AiAF auto focus, and a Print/Share button plus extended print functionality.

The A85's main drawbacks were its small and noisy 1/2.7" sensor and slow operation. The previous PowerShot A80 had also had 4 megapixels but on a much larger 1/1.8" sensor.

It featured 13 shooting modes which were extended with 6 'special scene' presets, which helped the user to get great looking results in sometimes tricky shooting conditions. They included presets for the beach, fireworks, underwater, foliage, snow, and indoor. The focus system had been upgraded to 9-point AiAF, for consistently sharp auto-focus even with non-centered subjects. The 3x optical zoom extends to 11x when combined with the digital zoom and has a respectable f/2.8-4.8 aperture.

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