The Canon G10... and other P&S cameras

The Canon G10

Canon hit upon a damn good formula with the G7 with one minor exception... the lack of RAW. 10 megapixels is too many megapixels for that sized sensor, but we can forgive them that a little bit since it's otherwise high quality. The zoom range is nice, although it could be a little wider. The camera is fairly well constructed, has a hotshoe, and is fairly well laid out.

Canon fixed the RAW flaw in G9 and then also proceeded to add 2 more megapixels that don't improve image quality in any way.

Rumors flew that Canon has a smackdown to be laid upon Sigma for the DP-1 in the works. See, as I've written before, you can't just stick a bigger sensor in the same camera and expect it to actually function. So some adjustments ought to be made. Now, couple that with Canon's CMOS sensor plant for P&S cameras and one might assume that they'd launch it on the G10. But, no, they are launching that on the SX1 IS superzoom and the SX1 IS sensor is just as tiny as the SX10 IS with a non-Canon sensor.

And the G10 has the same sized sensor with more megapixels that we don't really need.

There's still some positive changes that bring the non-sensor aspects of the camera up to a even higher level of polish. Actually, some fairly HUGE improvements, in my opinion.

First, the EV compensation is now a separate physical dial, which I approve of. I find that I do a lot of Av or Tv photography where I'll set it to spot metering mode and then use the EV compensation to set what tone that object will be. This is where the ISO knob is on the G7/G9. The ISO is now a ring around the mode dial, which I think should be more egonomic.

I don't think anybody's commented on this, but now it has support for the RS-60 E3 remote shutter release -- the same one as the Digital Rebel line uses -- for better tripod uses. Also, It adds servo autofocus with the shutter button half-pressed.

And they took away some of the long zoom range and gave it a wider lens instead. This means that it's now a 5x zoom lens instead of 6x zoom lens.

And while they were at it, they bumped up the maximum shutter speed to 1/4000th and put in a higher resolution LCD screen.

It's going to be interesting to put the G10 up against the Panasonic LX3. Much less so against the Nikon P6000, given that the P6000 is loaded with stupid on account of the windows-only RAW format that makes it pretty much un-buyable. Even though the LX3 has fewer megapixels than the G10, it has a good chance of taking better pictures... although the LX2 had a really noisy sensor...

SX110 IS, SX10 IS, SX1 IS, A1000 and A2000

The new A1000 and A2000 series discourages me. See, the A series has always been kind of a "Honda Civic" sort of lineup. It's not excellent at any one thing. But it's got manual functionality and takes decent pictures. And Canon removed most of that from the A1000 and A2000. If this is what we're going to have in the future from the A series, a lot of folks are going to be pushed away from that lineup.

I looked at the SX110 IS and realized that it's about the same size as some of the bigger A series models, except it has a longer zoom. So if this trend continues, I'm going to have to start changing my advice about cameras to pick up.

I'm interested in seeing how the SX1 IS reviews. Especially given that the SX10 IS is so similar, it should give a useful data point about CMOS vs CCD in the P&S form factor. And I guess it's cool that it has a 20x zoom lens with more room on the wide end. But the superzoom form factor just doesn't do it for me.

What's next in the Serious Compact Market

I am keeping an eye on things. Thing is, of the three times we were victimized by crime over the past year, during one of the occasions my wife's P&S camera was stolen. So what I'm probably going to do is give my G7 to her and then get something else.

There's a rumor... or perhaps just wishful thinking... that there's another G-series-esque camera with a bigger sensor on the way out from Canon, just not at Photokina. So I'm curious about how the G1 situation plays out, given that a Panasonic G1 with the pancake lens would be actually quite nice and if the G1 shows there's a market for this sort of camera, there might be other new and interesting variations on the theme on their way out.

PR from Canon

I was realizing that I ignore huge chunks of the market in my interest. The crop-factor digital SLR lineup doesn't interest me as much as the full-frame lineup. Except for groundbreaking changes like live view and video. Otherwise, it's full-frame and medium-format digital SLRs and the tiny cameras that don't suck.

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