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Canon Powershot G7
Excellent picture quality throughout the zoom range
Superb build quality
Lovely rangefinder styling (if that's what you like!)
Decent zoom range 35-210mm (35mm equivalent)
No RAW mode (unlike earlier models)
No articulated screen (again, unlike earlier models)
Grip not great
The G7 is a strange 'update' from the G5 & G6. Strange because it loses some of the great features compared to the older models e.g. RAW shooting, articulated screen etc, but does retain the excellent image quality we've come to expect from the Canon 'G' series.
In use, the G7 starts up very quickly and is ready to go in a couple of seconds and if using the green full auto mode, you only have to frame & zoom. But it's all the other controls that can be set that gives the G7 the almost semi-pro tag to a compact. I particularly like the dedicated ISO dial - mind you, for best results, stick to the lower ISO settings.
The G7 feels solidly built and very rugged, it's just a shame the grip isn't as sculpted as it could be. I guess this was to keep the camera as small as possible, but the later model G series compacts do address that issue and include a decent grip. It's not a huge problem, just a niggle.
Who is the camera aimed at? I guess it's the amateur photographer who already has a DSLR, but needs a compact that can be carried around at all times. Although it does have the 'auto everything' mode, the camera is capable of much more if used to it's potential - which takes it out of the 'point and shoot' brigade.
In summary then - the G7 is a very capable performer when used intelligently, with superb build quality and manual controls. However, being a 'semi-pro' compact, why has RAW being dropped? That sums up the G7 - it is a great camera but doesn't really fit in anywhere.
Oh my god, I was waiting for a long time for a camera manufacturer to come up with a semi pro camera that did not have the bulkiness of a typical DSLR or prosumer cameras.
I wanted something powerful, has all the SLR like functionalities but fits in the pocket nicely.
Finally, Canon was decent enough to come up with the wonderful Canon G7.
Since I bought the camera, I haven't been happier as I was taking splendid photographs for a beginner like me...
And now to the PROs and CONs
- Compact camera that fits in the pocket, but possess all the SLR features
- Image stabilization allows more accurate pictures, and helps a lot if you are a shaky person (eg in the freezing snow)
- Superb Macro photography. I have photographed flowers and insects at blinding close range.
- I personally like the Sports function as I am able to take fast moving pictures and hundreds of them at a time
- Not that great in low light conditions. You do need a tripod for this.
- Beyond ISO200, the photos become sadly, grainy
- Lag between shots
Overall, I am very very happy with this camera, and have not have a single complaint about it.
My next target is the Canon G10 - without a doubt!
First of all i am not a professional photographer and you can read specs from any site so let me give you my personal opinion.
I needed a good quality high megapixel camera for work and this is what i bought.
Compared to other cameras i have tried i really like its qualit,y its got lots of various features and it doesnt let you down. The photo quality is crystal clear, the size of the files is large the free programs included are good but not exactly adobe photoshop. One thing that i like is that even if your hand isnt the steadiest, the photo comes out great it doesnt blur.
IF your looking for a high end camer i definately recommend this even though i am not qualified to do this, if you are a beginner i think you can get good quality you will be impressed with for half the price.
I had read some good reviews and each seemed to be either aimed at professional photographers or were a short overview.
I tend to agree with the review by Big H on this site, but if you want some more information aimed at the average snapper, read on.
Out of the box
As you would expect, everything you need to get going is included:
An impossibly small memory card.
Battery with charger
Comprehensive manual on CD and quick guides on paper
Connection leads for your computer
The camera (phew!)
Ill start with the memory card. At 32MB its only capable of storing about 5 or 6 full sized photos, which you might initially think is pretty useless. Well, not quite.
This does at least give you the chance to play with the camera on day one.
If they provided a card of respectable size it would put the price up and the people who already owned a decent memory card would be annoyed.
My old Nikon was supplied with no memory card at all which added 3 days of waiting to my time before I could use the damned thing. Sensible thinking on Canons part.
The battery takes 1.5 hours for the first charge which just about gives you time to have a read through the manual. I recommend copying the CD directory structure to a temporary folder on your hard drive to prevent you having to wait for the CD to wind up every time you turn a page.
Design wise there are some good features and some bad features.
Canon have often used thumb wheels for selections on their cameras and the G7 is no exception. One wheel allows you to quickly select shooting mode and another allows you to select ISO speed (more on that later on).
Thumbs-up to thumbwheels, I like them a lot.
The front and sides of the G7 are button free. The shutter release button is on the top with the power button and main tumbwheels and the rest are crammed on the back next to the screen.
There are a total of twelve buttons on the back. Thats right, twelve. There is also another thumbwheel there.
Some of these twelve double up depending on which mode the camera is in and at first glance you think Whoah, steady! but in use, I found them a doodle to use; it really was a case of guessing what to press and getting it right almost every time.
One drawback is the lack of a reasonable grip. The reason for this design decision is probably to keep the unit flat so that it can fit into a shirt pocket.
The net result is that you will end up accidentally pressing buttons while lining up your shots for the first hour or so until you figure out a way to grip it around the sides while using it. It feels odd for a while but it can be done.
A surprising omission is the lack of connection for a shutter release cable.
Surprising because it would only mean the addition of a threaded hole in the button top.
Even on a tripod pressing the shutter release button can cause enough shake to ruin the shot, particularly on a lightweight tripod.
Fortunately this camera has a lens shift stabiliser that actually works really well.
The tactile feel of the shutter release button is a bit odd. A half-press is pretty much a full depression with the last half being a solid click. Its a bit like a new clutch, any self respecting bloke will get used to it in two seconds. Cant say about the ladies really, my wife doesnt want to touch the camera for fear of damaging it irreparably.
I shall not argue with her; partly because I like the camera but mainly because it would be a waste of time.
Big, Bright, Beautiful . and a magnet for fingerprints.
It has a special anti-reflective coating, bazillions of pixels and no matter what lighting conditions youre in, you can see it just fine. It cannot be tilted or swivelled that can be a pain when taking shots from the back of a crowd. Enough said.
The zoom is controlled using a rocker switch and not by turning the barrel. I wish this camera had the same zoom control as the Fuji Finepix S6500FD (which was very nearly the camera I ended up buying, mainly for that reason) but it doesnt. Its something I will just have to live with. The zoom is reasonable at 6x optical and then there is some digital zoom on top of that.
In the olden days, digital zoom used to be about as useful as a rubber chisel; totally useless.
In these modern days of complex electrickery the digital zoom is rather good. When you take one with the G7, is does some clever stuff that delivers a reasonable image (though not perfect). The digital zoom is better than I had hoped but is probably standard for a modern day digital camera.
Manual focus tries a bit harder though. When you select manual (not available in Auto mode) the centre portion of the image is magnified to help you get it right and focus is set using the thumbwheel on the back of the camera. Even though the focus control is not on a ring on the lens, the setup is pretty fast and accurate. Nicely done.
Gimme that old hot shoe
Like my old Canon film camera, the G7 has a flashgun shoe. If you have one (and I do, from my old Canon) you can plug your serious flashgun onto the top of the camera for all those external flash benefits. Another plus point.
Using the camera
This camera goes from Off to Ready in about a second.
Depending on the mode employed it will take the picture a fraction of a second after you hit the button.
With a nice fast card in there, were still talking a fraction of a second for storage of a full size image.
It goes from on to off in about a second too.
Picture the scene. September 11th and our G7 owner looks into the sky and says No way, pulls the G7 from his shirt pocket, powers it up and takes loads of 10mega pixel shots of this moment in history as it happens.
Best get the hell out of here he thinks and runs away only to turn round a minute later and take some more photos of first tower as it comes crashing down onto the Coolpix owner who is still waiting for his camera to get its arse into gear.
Speed is important and this camera has it. Admittedly, there is lag with this unit under certain circumstances that could cheese you off, like full auto everything with flash required (that hasnt warmed up yet) and can take almost a second. These are all things you can get round by using the camera properly and buying a flashgun.
Most importantly the pictures.
The pictures it takes are certainly big enough (3648x2736px) which means you may find some decent photos within your photos. Could you print out posters? Yeah.
This size does mean that the images will happily munch away at your memory card like a heard of starved goats however.
Where is RAW mode? It just isnt there. Ive looked. Twice. Even behind the fridge and cant find it.
In the past I have used RAW mode very occasionally and it does have its benefits; Image quality IS better, particularly for reduction of colour banding on sky shots and overall colour rendition, but to be honest, unless youre a real pro, lack of RAW isnt the end of the world and besides, you would probably only fit one RAW image on the supplied memory card!
The exposure is normally well calculated but most folk who spend upwards of 300 pounds on a camera should know who to use exposure lock and stops anyway.
The colour balance seems to cope fairly well indoor and out (with more emphasis on the out, incandescent and tungsten look a little bit warm - but you can tinker with that on the camera or in your paint package).
Handshake is not quite a thing of the past, but the stabiliser is a big help and the images are sharp from edge to edge.
Macro mode is very good too, like looking at a fly on the end of your nose without much "goldfish bowl" effect.
In fact, you have to put in a bit of effort to take a bin shot. Well okay, your subject may be dull, but this camera will bend over backwards to capture it in the best possible way. Even the built in flash isnt too harsh.
So where are the issues?
Lets have a look at the ISO settings and noise.
I imagine that because the CCD is of a high megapixel rating and that it is a small (in physical size) chip, it is more susceptible to noise than some others.
That would be my guess looking at the results.
ISO 80 to 200, no problems really, certainly no worse than some more expensive cameras Ive used.
ISO 400 hello, whats this? Starting to look just ever-so-slightly grainy.
ISO 800 Oh dear, that looks a bit ill.
ISO 1600 forget it, this is a bin shot
ISO 3200? I didnt even look at this setting.
In reality, the ISO modes are worse but probably not MUCH worse than any other camera, but above 800 is just a joke.
Terrys Top Tip? Keep your ISO setting below 800 - and with this camera you can - the stabiliser will let you use slower shutter speeds without blur (unless your subject is moving) and you can set a reasonably wide aperture (2.8). Just try, it shouldnt be so hard to use ISO 400 or lower should it?
At lower ISO settings I cant really fault the image quality and in a way its good that the camera doesnt smooth away all the detail with its onboard noise filter, at least you can choose whether or not to smooth it up a bit in your paint package and you can be selective on the areas you touch up.
I tried to think of any times I would need to use ISO 1600.
Taking yet another shot of a full moon without a tracking system?
Capturing a pack of lions in the dark without the flash alerting them to my tasty presence?
If you need to use a high ISO speed on a regular basis, this is probably not the camera for you, I think youll need to spend some more money.
The videos this thing can shoot are impressive.
You can go up to 1024x768 at 15fps. Thats a big frame size if a bit jerky.
640x480 at 30fps is the next one down. This is smooth and is not too far short of DVD quality. The zoom can be used while recording and best of all; there isnt any of this 15 second maximum duration nonsense like with most cameras; on the G7, you can keep shooting until you fill your memory card.
If you need to , you can use the G7 as a voice recorder as it will make WAV files with its built in microphone. It might be useful one day.