I am not a professional photographer but I have owned several digital cameras, including the Canon G2, G4 and G6. My review here of the latest G9 is based on personal use and a comparison to previous G series cameras. My comments will be general in nature and intended for non-professional shoppers interested in a good digital camera. For more specific and technical information, I recommend the website www.dpreview.com which will provide the reader with extensive technical data about this camera.
As I stated above, I have owned various Canon PowerShot G series cameras for the past 6 or 7 years, including the G6, which I will refer to frequently as it compares to the G9. There was also a G7 edition which I did not own, but I am also familiar with. To begin, I will summarize some of the features of the G9 that I am pleased with (Gift List) and then some features that I do not like or feel Canon should have included or improved (Wish List).
~Very large (3 inch) LCD screen
~Inclusion of RAW shooting mode (taken out in the G7)
~Retractable built-in lens doors instead of lens cover (G6)
~Increased hand grip compared to G7
~Slim & attractive rangefinder style in total black
~ISO settings wheel on top of camera-no need to use menu
~Solid & heavy mostly metal construction
~Many new shooting features not on the G6
~Zoom capability up to 24X with digital & optical combined
~New Zoombrowser software
~Megapixels increased to 12.1
~Improved face detection technology
~Red-eye correction in playback
~Two custom White Balance settings (1 in the G7)
~No swivel LCD monitor as in G6
~Battery compartment not accessible with tripod attached
~AV Out & Digital interface door should have been on left
~Battery life improved over the G7 but not great
The bottom line is that although there is room for some improvements in the G9, it is still probably the best point and shoot camera on the market and feature for feature can only be topped by some high-end digital SLRs. This is the kind of camera that will appeal to the professional as well as the novice. It doesn't take much time to learn how to use it with basic standard settings and a novice can gradually increase his knowledge to become more adept at taking advantage of its enormous capabilities. Just using the mode dial with its dozens of shooting modes and the top mounted ISO dial, there are probably millions of combinations available to shoot a photo. Then there are the numerous menu settings including quality & compression that can also be used. I have never seen a camera with so many features in this price range.
I find that the quality of the photos is excellent for my use. If there is a particular shot that I want to get as near to perfect as possible, I shoot it in RAW mode and make the necessary adjustments on the computer. Using this method has produced photo prints as good as any from a professional photo lab. There are also accessories available for the G9, including wide angle and telephoto lenses which are mounted easily using a lens converter and also various lens filters. I have not used any of these at this point, but I am considering purchasing a macro lens for close-ups which will increase the capability from the built-in macro setting.
The items that I did buy immediately and I recommend to anyone purchasing this camera were a new larger SD card (I got the SanDisk 2GB Extreme III High Performance) since the camera comes with a meager 32MB card, a LCD screen protector (this is very large screen and will get nose smudges easily when using the viewfinder), an extra battery pack so that you have a fresh battery available at all times and a good semi-soft carry case, preferably with a belt loop.
I paid $436. for this camera at Amazon.com and I suggest that you shop around for the best price. I sold my G6 for $325. so the total cost to upgrade to the G9 was a little over $100. For the great new features in the G9 and the handsome new look, I think I did very well. I want to emphasize again that I am not a professional and cannot speak to the many technical aspects in a camera review, but as an enthusiastic amateur who likes to learn how to use advanced features, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Canon PowerShot G9 to anyone. For more technical information I suggest visiting the many professional websites including dpreview.com.
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Amount Paid (US$): 436.00
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Solid Enough for a Professional