The Canon G10 was released only 2 years ago and within one year had been replaced by the G11. The G10's predecessor, the G9 (inventive names, right?) was one of the first point-and-shoot cameras to offer RAW image quality. This "pro-grade" offering, along with numerous other features pushed the G line to the top of the P&S market as one of the most advanced pocket cameras anyone had ever seen. Seeing as how this camera is 2 years old, by tech standards, this is old news. So why am I writing this?
I merely wanted to point out, after selling two of these cameras to support my heavier DSLR kit, I realized there are some things this G10 does that even the Panasonic GF1 (or any of the new EVIL cameras) can compete with. Namely, it's size.
Things I Love About This Camera
1. Size - The Canon G10 is about as large as I can go for a true "pocket" camera. After months of trying to figure out the GF1, it just doesn't cut it. Even the newer G11 with the larger swivel screen may be a bit too bulky for my jeans.
2. Durability - This camera is truly a thing of beauty. It really is "made like they used to be". Despite some plastic for the lens barrel, the body of this camera is excellent! It's nearly all metal. It feels like the old rangefinders did, solid. It takes abuse like a pro. My other G10 looked like it had been tumbled in a woman's purse for a couple years and it still functioned perfectly.
3. Versatility - Everything you want to do manually, you can, including manually focusing (fly by wire)! I love the wide angle lens (28mm equivalent and with some zoom to boot). I never really thought zoom would be much of an issue but seriously, using the 20mm f/1.7 on the GF1 is just ridiculous. For a walk around camera, I have got to have some zoom! With the GF1, should you decide you want some zoom, mount the 14-45mm and you now have a small DSLR in your hand. It's nowhere near pocketable. I'd rather just carry the D700!
4. Macro Mode - Forget lugging around that extra 90mm macro lens in case something great crawls across your path. Just throw the G10 into macro mode! This feature is something I may even go as far as to say sold me on Canon P&S cameras. Their macro modes allow you to get so close and it still maintains excellent image quality! In fact, the smaller sensor and optics enable me to easily achieve a massive DoF in a macro images unlike a DSLR, which must be stopped down considerably to achieve similar results. This combined with the fact that the G10 has a hot shoe allows me a ton more versatility in the studio since I can then slave my strobes to the G10 and make some pretty cool images like the front lens element shots found on this blog.
Some Not-So-Great Things I Can Live With
1. Image Quality - I'm spoiled by the D700. Plain and simple. I cannot help but compare. I find myself shooting in a similar style as my DSLR, such as moving my ISO and shutter speeds around in ways to get a shot, only to realize I can't really use anything beyond ISO 400 (maybe even 200). And by then the moment is gone. Even the GF1, while considerably better than the G10, has me sour. Those new FX sensors are just incredible. Also, RAW on a P&S, while cool in theory, is still a fairly shallow file. You have very little latitude to adjust for exposure differences compared to larger sensor cameras.
2. It's Not a Mini D700 - P&S cameras are still just that, point and shoot. Many things about P&S cameras still bug me because I just get used to the big boys. Shutter lag is a big one.
Why all this so late in the game? Learning takes time, use, practical application. In shooting and traveling and having a girlfriend who doesn't like a giant obtrusive camera dangling around my neck everywhere we go, we learn new things everyday. So I got this G10 for my birthday, and I will be keeping this one for good!
Check out this sweet little bubble level/hot shoe cover I picked up on eBay. Pretty slick.