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The Complete Canon G11 Review

by Chris Gampat on 06/08/2010

The Canon PowerShot G11review is over. As is standard with point-and-shoots on this website, less time is spent with them than higher end cameras. However, that doesn’t mean that the G11 is terrible. Not at all. In fact, it’s really quite a lovely camera that I may be picking up for myself.

Testing

Day 1: Got a feeling for the camera.

Day 2: Used the camera at a party. Without flash, it floored me with its performance for a point-and-shoot. When the on-camera flash went on, it was a bit disappointing. Using the 430 EX II disappointed me as well because of the fact that it should be able to meter with the camera.

Day 3: Used the camera at a museum with a new form of composition that I’m currently studying. The screen helped me to do this as it is maneuverable.

Day 4: Comparison against the LX-3, D-LUX 4 and EPL-1.

Autofocus

The G11′s autofocus is one of the best I’ve seen and used on a point-and-shoot. I haven’t regularly used a point-and-shoot since the Canon S5 IS and this system trumps the older one by far. While it isn’t as snappy as the GF-1, it will still satisfy the needs of most users. The reason for this is because the focusing system is still very intelligent and can guess what the user wants to take an image of. Like the Nikon D3s, it’s correct most of the time (despite them being two totally different beasts). Most users will be happy with it, but will be thrown off by when the camera says that it hasn’t focused correctly but still focuses on what the user wants it to.

The autofocus was tested with both moving objects (persons, rather) and still people. It worked without flaw most of the time.

For absolute best results, always manually focus. Doing that brings up a magnified version of the focusing point on the screen.

Ergonomics

After using the G11 for a while, it is still big and clunky for a point-and-shoot. If you’re the type that wants sex appeal, it isn’t here. However, the button layout and dials make for easy access to the most important parameters of taking an image. That’s where it really saves itself. Add onto that the rotating screen and you’ve got yourself a nice winner there.

And what’s with the viewfinder? As a constructive criticism, I hope that Canon will make it more useful in the future.

In contrast, one can tell from the image quality that sex appeal wasn’t the main selling point on this camera and that consumers know that when they purchase it.

Image Quality

Very, very good—for a point-and-shoot. In that case, its good enough for most people then. The best results come in steady hands and with the flash off for the CCD to show off all the wonderful colors that are capable of being produced. To be fair though, the best results come out in RAW. At high ISOs and in JPEG mode, you probably won’t be as satisfied.

The on-camera flash makes it look like any other point-and-shoot with the exception of warmer colors in my tests.

When shooting without the flash, keep as still as you can to ensure that you do not capture a blurry photo caused by camera shake.

High ISO Use

For a point-and-shoot it still is very good. It can’t keep up with Micro Four Thirds models but the camera is still capable of doing very great things at high ISOs.

In truth, this is almost negligible now as most software can remove noise very effectively. However, this is true of shooting in RAW. Otherwise, the camera will present problems with noise.

Metering

The metering on this camera is accurate and reliable. Users will appreciate looking at the LCD to get a preview of what their image will look like when they manipulate the aperture and shutter speed. What’s better is that the LCD still works very well in bright light and is still very viewable. Coupled with the back dial and selection button, changing the metering is also fairly simple.

As a point of comparison, I like the dials on the Olympus EP-1 and GF-1 more. Both companies take a slightly different approach that works very well for the tiny cameras.

Conclusions

The Canon PowerShot G11is an excellent point-and-shoot. Canon is close to creating the almost perfect small-sensor compact targeted towards higher end users. While the camera has some flaws it still is a good product. However, consumers have been rightfully asking for things like HD video in the camera.

For still images though, you won’t really get much better in the higher-end compact line of cameras. As a tip, try to constantly shoot at the widest aperture, which means not zooming in at all. Therefore, use it as if it has a prime lens.

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