Canon PowerShot G11 Review

October 22, 2009 | Gavin Stoker |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

In general terms the Canon PowerShot G11 is capable of capturing plenty of fine detail, especially evident when images are downloaded and examined close up on a desktop, colours being for the most part natural, even when the likes of vivid colour mode are deployed to add some visual punch to blues and greens in landscape shots.

When left on default settings, sky detail tends to burn out still, so the ability to invoke the built-in neutral density filter proved useful in preserving detail throughout the image. Though there is some pixel fringing to be found between areas of high contrast, it's better disguised here than on most compacts or DSLRs for that matter.

Shooting at maximum 28mm wideangle on the Canon PowerShot G11, there is some barrel distortion visible, as most closely witnessed on our white wall test shots.

Canon has further suggested that the G11 features greatly improved noise reduction, delivering a two-stop advantage. Although ISO 12800 in theory allows for shooting in near darkness, the camera has to find a subject bright enough to focus on.

When it does, results actually leave much to be desired, detail smeared and the image taking on that all too familiar watercolour effect. So, it seems Canon's not quite up to Nikon D3S or Canon 1D Mark IV ISO levels yet (yes, true, they are almost 10 times the price).

Sticking less ambitiously to the manually selectable range which tops out at ISO 3200 reaps more impressive results, images at that top setting displaying so little noise they're comparable to levels witnessed at ISO 800 on most rivals.


There are 7 ISO settings available on the Canon PowerShot G11. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)


ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)


ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)


ISO 3200 (100% Crop)


Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot G11's 5x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot G11 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with fairly limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


The Canon PowerShot G11 allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Canon Powershot G11 are Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)


The Canon Powershot G11's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/4 second at ISO 1600. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)