If regular digital cameras just aren't built strongly enough for you, perhaps you need to take a look at Canon's latest PowerShot, the G9. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to a tank it is built like a rock and has a bevy of manual features to boot. Also packing in RAW shooting, a 6x optical zoom and a 12.1-megapixel sensor, it has basically everything an enthusiast could want and makes a great backup for your D-SLR.
- Great build, crystal clear pictures, great colour reproduction, tons of features
- Some chromatic aberration issues, burst mode could be faster
If you're after an enthusiast camera but don't yet want to venture into the land of SLRs, or just need a backup for your main camera, Canon's PowerShot G9 is a great choice. While there are a few minor issues for the most part, it captures brilliant shots and the feature set and build quality are sure to keep all but the most demanding professional satisfied.
Price$ 849.00 (AUD)
Image quality is, as usual, very impressive. Canon has increased the resolution on this unit from the 10.1 megapixels found on the G7, as well as including the much clamoured for RAW shooting which was strangely omitted from the previous model.
In our Imatest sharpness test it performed excellently, scoring 1941. This result is one of the highest we've seen from a compact model, which isn't surprising. Our test shots were crisp and sharp, even when captured in JPEG mode.
However, chromatic aberration was somewhat of a problem. There was noticeable haloing in areas of high contrast, although it was more problematic in our chart test shots than real world pictures. It was also more problematic on the horizontal axis than the vertical, with Imatest giving it a score of 0.227 per cent for the former and 0.139 per cent for the latter.
As usual colour reproduction was up to Canon's high standards, with the G9 scoring 6.89 in Imatest's colour checker. Warm colours were quite strongly saturated, particularly reds and yellows, however this isn't surprising and the overall balance was rich and vivid.
Noise was a little higher than normal, with an Imatest result of 0.87 per cent at ISO 100, however it wasn't too problematic as the grain was fine and only evident in extreme magnifications. It doesn't ramp up too badly until you hit ISO 400, but above that level we wouldn't recommend anything larger than 4x6in prints.
In our speed tests the G9 performed wonderfully. It exhibited 0.08 seconds of shutter lag, 1.6 seconds between shots and took 1.4 seconds to power up. The burst mode is a little less impressive. It operates at three frames per second for the first three shots, but slows down considerably after that.
All the features you could possibly want are here. There are full manual shooting modes along with two custom spots on the function wheel to store your own configurations of settings. There are bracketing modes, as well as spot, evaluative and centre weighted metering and you can set white balance using either the pre-sets or the custom mode. For portrait lovers, face detect makes a welcome return and there is optical image stabilisation to help reduce the impact of shakes and jitters. There are also 13 scene modes, including one that bumps the sensitivity up to ISO 3200 (although we wouldn't recommend using it).
As stated earlier, build quality is one of the G9's key strengths. Constructed almost entirely out of metal, it is extremely sturdy and feels capable of taking some hefty punishment. The controls are nicely laid out and the interface is intuitive, although the shutter button and zoom controls are a touch on the small side. The 3in screen is a noteworthy upgrade, increased from 2.5in on the previous model. It is bright and crisp and makes framing your shots a breeze.
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