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Canon PowerShot G10 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 355
inc VAT

Specifications

1/1.7in 14.7-megapixel sensor, 5.0x zoom (28-140mm equivalent), 350g

http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

Canon’s G10 is aimed squarely at photography enthusiasts, with businesslike styling and lots of hands-on control.

At 350g it’s no featherweight, but unlike most enthusiasts’ cameras – namely SLRs and ultra-zoom models – it fits in a pocket. Thanks to its extremely sturdy build quality, it’s perfect for situations in which an SLR may be too bulky or delicate.

Various features help the G10 stand apart from more consumer-oriented cameras. A hotshoe accommodates an external flashgun and there’s a threaded lens ring for a 1.4x telephoto converter. Dedicated dials for ISO speed and exposure compensation make these easy to adjust and allow you to see the current settings at a glance. A third dial makes light work of adjusting various other settings, and manual exposure is particularly well implemented. Manual focus is available too, but even with the aid of a digital zoom that appears as you make adjustments, we found it tricky to focus with pixel-sharp accuracy. A RAW capture mode and accompanying software allows you to save images without any in-camera processing for manipulation on a PC later.

The improvements over its predecessor, the G9, are significant but not every change has been positive. The screen resolution has doubled to 461,000 pixels and battery life is up by 67 per cent. The lens now starts at a wide-angle 28mm, but its 140mm maximum zoom pales in comparison with its predecessor’s 210mm. Most disappointing is that Canon has seen fit to hike the resolution up to 14.7 megapixels. This is the highest resolution currently available in a compact camera, which doesn’t bode well for low-light performance, as packing more pixels into a small sensor tends to increase image noise. Meanwhile, it’s disappointing that video capture remains at 640×480 pixels – we would expect HD video from a compact camera at this price.

Fortunately, the massive resolution hasn’t damaged the G10’s performance, with an average of two seconds between shots in Single drive mode. Continuous shooting ran at 1.4fps for JPEGs and 0.7fps for RAW capture, but you’ll need a fast SD card to save the 25MB RAW files at this speed.

Images taken in sunlight were packed with detail and showed Canon’s usual knack for flattering colours. An i-Contrast option for brightening shadows was a little too subtle, though. Sadly, image noise was visible in all our shots. Even at ISO 100, shadows looked a bit scruffy. At ISO 200, detail had deteriorated significantly and ISO 400 shots were only just passable. Beyond that, detail and noise were worse than on most budget cameras.

The G10 is a great camera, but it’s spoiled by a needlessly high resolution that causes serious noise problems in all but the brightest conditions. It’s not alone in this predicament, but as the G10 costs more than many SLR models that offer vastly superior image quality, we can’t overlook it. The arrival of Panasonic’s G1 suggests that the days are numbered for high-end compact cameras.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 14.7 megapixels
CCD size 1/1.7in
Viewfinder optical
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 461 pixels
Optical zoom 5.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-140mm
Image stabilisation optical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution 4,416×3,312
Maximum movie resolution 640×480
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)

Physical

Memory slot SDHC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type 7.4V 1,050mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 400 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, remote
Body material aluminium
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 350g
Size 78x109x46mm

Buying Information

Price £355
Supplier http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Details www.canon.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 15 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/2.8 to f/8
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 7 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, skin tone, blue, green, red, dynamic range, ND filter
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes multi, centre, spot, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, face detect, AE bracket, AF bracket