This is where Ian Burley, DPNow's editor and founder, shares his unique thoughts and impressions on subjects that he hopes will be of interest to others on the subjects of digital photography and other related or loosely related topics! You can follow DPNow Editor's blog on Facebook and Twitter, too.
Canon Powershot G11 - sensor sense at last?
Posted 24-08-09 at 02:17 PM by Ian
The G11, when less is almost certainly more
I never could understand the logic behind the Canon Powershot G9 and G10, yet these cameras have sold in good numbers. But at last Canon has made a more sensible G-model, the G11, which was announced last week.
So what was wrong with the G9 and G10? I was surprised by the G9 in several ways. Firstly, for a camera that was aimed at discerning photographers who would be able to see through the megapixel marketing race, the G9 had no less than a 12 megapixel sensor. On top of that, the G9 lens (35-210 equivalent) fell between two stools in not being generously wide in view, nor a threat to superzooms. To top it all, the G9, in my view, is rather big and bulky for a compact.
When the G10 came out, I was even more bemused. Why on earth did Canon think stuffing 15 million pixels into this camera was going to make it photographically any better? The G10 is also no less big and bulky compared to the substantial dimensions of the G9, either. But at least the G10 lens goes wider, though only to a modest 28mm equivalent.
With the new G11, though, Canon seems to be coming around to my way of thinking - a little. Gone is the 15MP sensor and, my gosh, we're going retro with 'only' ten megapixels. Now Canon is focusing on the term 'high sensitivity' for the sensor in the G11. That also means lower noise, better low light and/or high ISO performance, and better dynamic range.
Perhaps the most obvious premium compact rival to the G11 is Panasonic's Lumix DMC-LX3. Panasonic hinted that they could have put a 13MP sensor into the LX3, but they went for a 10MP one at the time Canon went for 15MP in the G11. The LX3 is also much more compact than any of the latest Canon G-series cameras. Its Leica-branded lens goes to a 24mm equivalent wide view, although its tele range is more limited than the G11.
I also welcome the return of an articulating LCD screen on the G11, something G-series users of the distant past took for granted.
So well done Canon for underlining the fact that compact cameras with small sensors simply don't need ridiculous pixel counts.
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