Canon Powershot G10 Review

Review Date: October 27th 2008
Author: Mark Goldstein

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Conclusion


Ratings (out of 5)
Design
5
Features
5
Ease-of-Use
4.5
Image Quality
4.5
Value for Money
4

The new Canon Powershot G10 carries on where the previous G9 model left off, further establishing the G-series as a realistic alternative to an entry-level DSLR camera, or backup compact for a pro user. Since dropping RAW mode completely on the G7, Canon have been scrambling to regain their core enthusiast audience, and the changes to the G10 will certainly help them achieve that. Perhaps the most important change is the new 28-140mm lens. Although it shortens the maximum telephoto setting by 60mm, most photographers will happily trade that for the wider-angle 28mm focal length, which is much more versatile than the 35mm offered by the G9. The G10's lens is commendably fast at either end of the zoom (f2.8-4.5) and doesn't suffer from too much barrel or pin-cushion distortion. Most of the other handling improvements individually fall into the nice-to-have category, but collectively add up to make the G10 the most intuitive G-series camera yet. The new Exposure Compensation dial is particularly noteworthy, and in combination with the shooting and ISO dials and the rear thumbwheel, provides ultra-quick access to the camera's fundamental settings. The extra resolution of the LCD screen is very welcome, and the viewfinder is slightly bigger and brighter than the G9s (although still best used as a backup for the LCD). Even the external buttons and handgrip have been significantly improved - the G10 really is a great camera to use for beginners and more experienced users alike.

Sadly, the same sentiments can't be made about the new 14.7 megapixel, 1/1.7 inch, CCD image sensor. Although this offers massive 4416 pixel wide/high images that can easily be printed up to A3 size and beyond, or to make severe crops, it comes at the notable cost of noisy images at ISO 400, and virtually unusable ISO 800 and 1600 modes. This is admittedly on a par with comparative ISO settings on the G9, but I would have preferred to see Canon stick with the same 12 megapixel sensor and improve high ISO performance, rather than cram in even more megapixels. The excellent image stabilisation system helps to ensure that the G10 can handle most common shooting situations, but don't expect stellar results when using the camera handheld in very low-light, as you'll be forced to use the high ISO speeds, or the built-in flash. If you're comparing the G10 with a DSLR, you need to seriously consider how often you'll be using ISO 400 and above, as any entry-level DSLR clearly beats the G10 in this respect. Otherwise, image quality is excellent, with punchy but not inaccurate colours, little sign of chromatic aberrations, and excellent night and macro performance.

The G10 is undoubtedly the best ever Canon G-Series camera, and is a serious alternative to both an entry-level DSLR and other similar compacts (most notably the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 and the Nikon Coolpix P6000). It ultimately fails to gain our whole-hearted recommendation, however, principally because of the noisy images at slow ISO speeds, and the rather prohibitive price-tag of 449 / $499 - you don't to have to add much more cash to the pot to be able to stretch to Canon's own 1000D / Rebel Xs DSLR (particularly if you live in the UK). Having said that, I was very reluctant to return the Powershot G10 to Canon...

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

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