Pros: Incredible lens. Clear, crisp, colorful image reproduction. 4 mega pixels.
Cons: Poor hand grip. Restrictive pricing.
I've been a fan and owner of several Olympus Camedia digital cameras over the past couple of years, but my 35mm SLR camera of choice is the Canon EOS Rebel II. Since I've been extremely happy with both, but always wondered what type of digital performance Canon was able to generate, I decided to give the new Canon PowerShot G2 Digital Camera an extended test drive.
Up until this point, my main experience in the digital world was related to 2.1 mega pixel cameras which, in my opinion, produce some superb images that can be printed to sizes of up to 8 x 10 without any type of serious pixelation. So, realizing that a 4 mega pixel camera would essentially produce similar output at the 8 x 10 print size and down, I didn't expect to be 'wowed' all that much.
Boy, was I wrong.
The Canon PowerShot G2 Digital Camera employs a superb lens that produces a 35-mm equivalent focal length of 34-102mm via its 3x optical zoom. But range and zoom aside, the lens is of such high quality that it perfectly captures and reproduces the image at hand. It has an equivalent film speed ISO rating of 50 which assures incredible sharpness and clarity. I was stunned to compare images taken with this Canon vs similar images taken with my Olmypus D-510 - especially in low light. The combination of the additional 2 mega pixels coupled with that incredible lens produces some of the sharpest, highest detail digital images I've ever seen - even when the resolution is turned down a notch or two.
But the Canon PowerShot G2 Digital Camera offers a lot more than just a good lens with stellar image results. While many digital cameras offer the ability to take short Quicktime movies, the PowerShot G2 also captures sound - something most other camera leave out. Now, this is just an added bonus as few people would seriously use this movie-capturing feature - but it's still a nice bonus to have. The resolution of the video image is a predictable 320 x 240 or 160 x 120, depending on which setting you choose, so expect some grainy movies.
Your choice of viewfinders is also relatively standard with an optical viewfinder which nicely reflects the zoom magnitude of the shot you're taking. And, of course, there's a color LCD screen - 1.8" diagonal dimension with nearly 114,000 pixels.
The on-board menu system is a breeze to use and arranged in a very intuitive fashion. All the options of the camera - and there are plenty of them - are easily accessible here. Additionally, in the true fashion of a Canon SLR camera, various auto exposure settings are available through a turn-knob on the top of the unit.
Battery life to date has been exceptional. I've snapped off nearly 200 images and taken several lengthy video images all on the same set of included batteries. The LCD screen, which normally sucks up power, doesn't seem to be impacting the battery life as much as I expected.
Alas, there are some complaints I have about this incredible performed. First, it's a little uncomfortable to hold. The hand grip is anything but due to a poor choice of plastics on Canon's part. I often find myself making sure I have a solid grasp on the camera instead of concentrating on establishing the shot.
And you'll be concerned about your grip on this camera too since you're likely to shell out in the area of $750 for it, which is concern #2. True, this is a great digital camera. True, it offers 4 mega pixels, more than anyone could ever really need or use. True, the image processor and lens are second to none. But this camera's steep price will certainly make it a prohibitive purchase for many shutterbugs. When you have 2 mega pixel camera, of high quality, going for around $200 now, it'll be hard to justify shelling out the additional $500-600 just for double the mega pixels and a few more bells and whistles.
Don't get me wrong - after seeing the images it produces, I know (for me) it's worth the money. But for most who aren't as discriminating as I am? They're likely to go the less expensive route and never really miss what the PowerShot G2 offers.
As I'm now heading down to Florida for an extended vacation, I'll continue to put this camera to the test. If it continues to perform as well as I've experience thus far, then it'll likely push my Olympus D-510 out of the camera bag and into the 'recycle' bin.
If you have the means, if you MUST have 4 mega pixels, you simply can't go wrong with the Canon PowerShot G2 Digital Camera
Complete camera specifications are listed below.
Thanks, as always, for reading...
TYPE OF CAMERA
* Compact Digital Still Camera with Built-in Flash and 3x Optical Zoom Lens.
IMAGE CAPTURE DEVICE
* Type: 1/1.8-inch Charge-Coupled Device (CCD)
* Total Pixels: Approx. 4.1 million
* Effective Pixels: Approx. 4 million
* Focal Length: 7-21mm (35mm film equivalent: 34 - 102mm)
* Digital Zoom: 3.6x (Maximum 11x digital zoom is available when combined with optical zoom.)
* Focusing Range: Normal AF: 70cm (2.3ft.) - infinity
* Macro AF: 6cm (0.2ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7ft.) (telephoto) - 70cm (2.3ft.)
* Manual focus: 6cm (0.2ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7ft.) (telephoto) - infinity
* Focusing Control System: TTL autofocus (Continuous or Single)
* AF lock and Manual focus are available.
* Optical Viewfinder: Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
* LCD Viewfinder: 1.8-inch low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD
* LCD Pixels: 113,578 dots (521 (H) x 218 (V))
* LCD Coverage: Approx. 97%
APERTURE AND SHUTTER
* Aperture Range: f/2.0 - f/8.0 (wide-angle), f/2.5 - f/8.0 (telephoto)
* Shutter Speed: 15 - 1/1,000 sec.
* Slow shutter of 1.3 sec. and more operates with noise reduction.
* (Equivalent film speed): Auto, or user-set ISO 50, 100, 200 or 400 equivalent (At Auto setting, camera automatically adjusts sensitivity in the range of ISO 50 to ISO 100 equivalent.)
* Light Metering Method Evaluation metering, Center-weighted average metering or Spot metering.
* Exposure Control Method Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE or Manual exposure control; AE lock is available.
* Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3-step increments.
* Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is available.
* White Balance Control: TTL Auto White Balance, Pre-set White Balance (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent , Fluorescent H or Flash) or Custom White Balance
* Built-in Flash: Operation modes: Auto, Red-Eye Reduction Auto, Red-Eye Reduction ON, flash ON or OFF
* Flash Range: WIDE: 0.7-4.5m (2.3-14.7ft) TELE: 0.7-3.6m (2.3-11.8 ft) (When sensitivity is set to ISO 100 equivalent)
* Recycling Time: Approx. 10 sec. or shorter.
* Terminals for External Flash. Sync-terminals at accessory shoe.
* Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV (at every 1/3-stop)
Shooting Modes Creative zone: Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual
Image zone: Pan-focus, Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Photo Effect (Black & White, Sepia, Neutral Color, Vivid Color), Stitch Assist and Movie
Self Timer Operates with approx. 10 second countdown.
Wireless Control Shooting and playback are available.
When shooting, image is captured 2 seconds after shutter release operation.
Computer-connected Shooting Available (Using included "Remote Computer" software. Required USB connection to competible computer).
Continuous Shooting High Speed: Approx. 2.5 images/sec., Normal: Approx. 1.5 images/sec.
(at Large/Fine mode and LCD viewfinder is OFF)
* Storage Media: CompactFlash (CF) card (Type I or Type II)
* File Format: Design rule for Camera File system (DCF*1)
* Print Order Format: Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) Version 1.1
* Image Recording Format: Still image: JPEG or CCD-RAW
* Image Recording Format: Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG, Audio data: WAVE [monaural])
* JPEG Compression Mode: SuperFine, Fine or Normal
* Number of Recording Pixels: Still image: Large: 2,272 x 1,704, Medium High: 1,600 x 1,200, Medium Low: 1,024 x 768, Small: 640 x 480
* Number of Recording Pixels: Movie: 320 x 240 or 160 x 120