Plummeting Prices Make Repairing the Old Digital Camera a Questionable Proposition

I bought a Canon PowerShot A95 in December 2004. Over its life my wife and I have taken hundreds of pictures with it, and it's been well worth the $325 we paid for it.

A couple of weeks ago my wife took the PowerShot A95 with her to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention and Exposition in Atlanta. While she was there, the camera developed a power switch problem that apparently caused the batteries to drain quickly. I confirmed this problem when she got home.

I started looking into the cost of repairing this problem using a Canon-approved repair method. I went to Canon's Online Repair Estimator, and found out that Canon will repair the A95 for a flat fee of $97 plus tax. That sounds reasonable until you look at the cost of replacing the A95.

The Canon PowerShot A95 is a 5-Megapixel camera with 3x Optical Zoom. The cost of purchasing a similarly-featured camera from Amazon.com, the Canon PowerShot A530 costs about $130.00 this week at Amazon.com. So, for a little more than 1/3 of the price of the A95 two years ago, you get a 5-Megapixel 4x Optical Zoom Camera that requires two instead of four AA batteries, and uses SD memory instead of Compact Flash.

Needless to say, I decided to buy new rather than repair a two year old digital camera.

However, I didn't buy the A530. I stepped up to the Canon PowerShot A540 for about $170.00. This is a 6-Megapixel camera with a 4x Optical Zoom. The biggest reason I chose the A540 was that reviews I read said that the cycle time between shots was better on the A540 than the A530. My wife and I take a lot of pictures with our A95 indoors using the flash, and we would like the cycle time to be lower if that's possible.

I was surprised at how much the cost of digital cameras had come down in two years. The prices fell so much that it really didn't make sense to repair our trusty old PowerShot A95. Hard to believe a two-year-old digital camera would qualify as a "trusty old" camera, but in these times, I guess it does.