Canon PowerShot G10

An enthusiast camera in a compact's clothing.

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Canon PowerShot G10
  • Canon PowerShot G10
  • Canon PowerShot G10
  • Canon PowerShot G10
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Relatively low noise at ISO 800, effective image stabilisation, ideal for low-light shooting, excellent macro performance, natural-looking colours, hot-shoe for flash, can accommodate tele-converter

Cons

  • Shutter feels a little spongy, sometimes missed the focus point, zoom is jumpy

Bottom Line

The G10 is compact but it packs plenty of manual features and is ideal for an enthusiast who doesn't want to lug around a D-SLR. We found it to be very well-suited to low-light photography and macro shots, but it will perform well in any situation.

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If you're a photography nut who is pining for an easy-to-carry advanced compact camera that can do amazing things, the Canon PowerShot G10 needs to be on your Christmas list. It possesses a 28mm, 5x zoom lens and a 14-megapixel sensor, and it uses Canon's DiG!C4 image processor, which is commonly seen in the company's high-end 50D and 5D Mark II products.

With an f/2.8 lens, image stabilisation and a dedicated ISO control, the G10 excels in low-light conditions — you don't have to rely on the flash in dimly lit places in order to get clear portraits of your friends. Its image stabilisation seems to work exceptionally in poor light: we were able to capture clear photos while holding the camera with a shutter setting as slow as 1/6.

Its low-light ability helps you take wonderfully atmospheric pictures while drinking with your friends at a pub, and it's a great camera for portraits as well as action shots. Colours weren't over-saturated and looked natural when viewed on our PC's monitor. Noise, even at ISO 800, was not much of a problem. In fact, almost all of the shots we took with the G10 were well defined and relatively clean. We could only notice some purple fringing in the highest-contrast areas of our photos, and the lens suffered from a little barrel roll, which made straight lines look slightly curved.

The G10 is much smaller than most advanced compact cameras, mainly because it doesn't have an ultra-zoom lens. The lens sits concealed in the G10's body until you switch on the camera. The neat thing about the G10 is that you can also attach a tele-converter to get extra range.

One of the most important features of the G10 is its ability to shoot in RAW mode. While you will need a 2GB or larger SD card to accommodate a decent number of shots, the good thing is you will be able to tweak the images before converting them to JPEGs.

Its lens has a range of 140mm, but at the maximum zoom its aperture will stop down to f/4.5, so it is necessary to shoot at the widest zoom point in low-light conditions. The zoom lever surrounding the shutter button doesn't zoom smoothly; it sometimes jumps in and out from your subject, which can be annoying, but this is something most, if not all, electronic zoom cameras exhibit. You need to use the 3in LCD screen to properly frame and focus your shots, but there is also an optical viewfinder available. It's not a very useful viewfinder, as it doesn't show the whole shot in the view; you should only use it to conserve the battery while shooting objects directly in the centre of the frame.

The camera's dials and buttons are comfortably spread across the top and rear of the body, and for the most part the G10 is easy to use. We found the shutter button to be a little spongy; it wasn't always obvious when the half-way point had been reached. The camera's focus was also a little temperamental at times — we missed the focus point in several shots — but the face detection worked quite well.

The G10 has plenty of focus modes to play with, and you can also move the focus zone if you want to get creative. There is even a manual focus mode. Although this can be a little cumbersome to use, it's still easier than most cameras of this size that have a manual focus feature. You can use the rotating thumb control on the rear of the unit to focus your subject. In bright environments, where the screen might be hard to view, autofocus is still king.

On the body you will find dedicated dials for the ISO speed and the exposure level, as well as the mode dial. The mode dial lets you shoot in auto mode, manual mode, or you can select from aperture priority, shutter priority and scene modes. A video mode is also available, as well as two programmable modes

While it has many of the features found on a typical advanced compact camera, we recommend the G10 for enthusiasts who are looking to get creative but who don't want to lug around a cumbersome kit with huge lenses. It excels in low-light environments and it's also ideal for macro shooting. At its widest point the G10 will focus as close as 1cm away from your subject and will render the background with a beautiful bokeh effect.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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