Canon Powershot G7 Review
Date: December 21st 2006
Author: Gavin Stoker
The Canon Powershot G7 is a 10 megapixel compact digital camera with a 2.5 inch LCD screen and optical viewfinder. The 6x optical zoom lens offers an effective focal length of 35-210mm and there is an optical image stabilizer to help combat camera-shake. Under the surface the Canon G7 uses the same advanced DIGIC III processor as the company's digital SLR cameras for faster performance and image processing. The ISO range is 80-1600 and there are 17 different scene modes on offer for beginners, plus more advanced Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and Manual shooting modes for those who desire greater control. VGA movies at 30fps, a My Colors mode that allows special in-camera colour effects, 1cm macro, a clever Face Detection system and flash hotshoe complete the specification. As well as adding new features, Canon have also removed some of the defining aspects of the G-series, most notably the vari-angle LCD and RAW mode, prompting some rather "heated" debate amongst Canon followers. Carry on reading to find out if the Canon G7 is a worthy addition to the revered G-series, and also a good camera in its own right.
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The Canon Powershot G7 has a 10.3 megapixel, 1/1.8 inch CCD that delivers 10 effective megapixels. There are 3 image quality size settings available (Superfine, Fine and Normal) and 6 image size settings ((L) 3648 x 2736, (M1) 2816 x 2112, (M2) 2272 x 1704, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 3648x2048) which are recorded as JPEGs. There are no RAW or TIFF formats. The G7 uses the DIGIC III image processor with iSAPS technology. The camera's 6x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-210mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is an optical image stabilizer to counteract the effect of camera shake, and also a 4x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. The camera is supplied with a 32Mb Secure Digital (SD) Card and also supports the Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Card and MultiMediaCard (MMC) memory formats.
The Canon Powershot G7 offers Auto, Program AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE and Manual exposure modes plus 17 different scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Color Accent, Color Swap, Stitch Assist) and 2 Custom modes. The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f4.8 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 15 secs. – 1/2500 sec. There are 7 ISO speeds ranging from 80 to 3200 (ISO 3200 only available at a reduced resolution) plus an Auto option. There are 7 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater), plus Auto and Custom settings. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV stops, auto-exposure bracketing of1/3 - 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments, and an auto-exposure lock function which operates when the shutter button is pressed half-way. The Canon Powershot G7 offers 3 different auto-exposure metering options - Evaluative, Cent re-weighted average and Spot (centre or linked to Face Detection AF or FlexiZone AF frame).
The Canon Powershot G7 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. 10 secs. or Custom) and a Continuous mode, which allows you take up to 2 frames/sec until the memory card is full. There are a number of different My Colors photo effects on offer (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 1cm and Focus Bracketing is available. The camera offers 3 auto-focusing systems - AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (any position is available or fixed centre) and Manual - and you can also manually select an auto-focus point using FlexiZone AF/AE. Face Detection AF/AE automatically detects up to 9 faces within a frame and sets the optimum focus and exposure.
The built-in flash offers 5 different modes (Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off). The flash range is 30cm-4.0m (W) / 2.5m (T). An AF assist beam, 3 levels of flash compensation (13 levels with external EX Speedlites) and Flash Exposure Lock are all available. Canon's High Power Flash HF-DC1 external flash or an EX series Speedlite can also be fitted.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor or the optical viewfinder with dioptre correction. The Canon Powershot G7 has a 2.5 inch colour TFT LCD monitor which has 207,000 pixels and which offers 100% scene coverage. Screen brightness is adjustable to one of fifteen levels. The Canon Powershot G7 can record movies with sound at (L1)1024 x 768, 15 fps, (L2)640 x 480, 30/15fps, (M)320 x 240, 30/15fps, (S)160 x 120, 15fps. Video is recorded in the AVI Motion JPEG format. The length of the video is limited up to 4GB or 1 hour (L1, L2 and M) and up to 3 mins (S). You can also attach a 60 second or less sound clip to an image. A histogram is available in playback mode. The Canon Powershot G7 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Canon Powershot G7's dimensions are 106.4 (W) x 71.9 (D) x 42.5 (H) mm (excluding protrusions), and it weighs 320g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion Battery or an optional AC Adapter. Battery life is 220 shots, measured according to CIPA standards. There is a metal tripod mount in the centre of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a Li-ion Battery, Battery Charger, AV Cable, USB Cable, Wrist Strap, 32Mb SD Memory Card and a CD-ROM containing Canon software (ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch, Remote Capture, TWAIN (Windows 98 / 2000), WIA (Windows Me) drivers). Note that you can only store 6 images at the highest quality setting on the supplied 32Mb memory card. You will therefore need to invest in some more memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Powershot G7 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.