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Canon PowerShot G11
The Canon G series range of cameras has been the forefront of the company’s ability to make indispensible range of digital cameras. Their overall image quality can very well be compared to an entry level DSLR. The Canon PowerShot G11 is more than just a digital camera it is actually built keeping the professional shutter bug in mind. The camera is not built for the masses but that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying it.
The G11 is definitely a part of Canon’s PowerShot series but doesn’t quite compare to any. Reason being, the camera is so feature packed and user friendly that it actually makes other digital cameras feel a little too underrated. However the camera doesn’t come by as being light but definitely has one of the best builds in the digital camera segment. With approximate dimensions of 112 x 76 x 48 mm the G11 is big, making it one of the largest when compared to cameras with zoom values below 10x. Moreover due to its slightly larger size the camera also weighs in at 380 g making it also the heaviest but lighter than their previous PowerShot G10. The camera has also seen a change in its effective number of pixels and comes with an effective pixel of 10 MP as compared to the 14.7 MP that the G10 had. What remains the same is the 28 mm wide angle lens.
From the looks of it the G11 has a very retro look that takes you back a few years when film cameras were in existence. Moreover the camera sits perfectly and it doesn’t feel too heavy or too light. Adding to this is the protruding outer shell (front) along with a thin layered rubber padding translates to much better grip when held. The overall fit and finish is one of the best we have seen so far in a digital camera and with the G11 encased in a black matt body you can be sure that the camera won’t attract fingerprints. The PowerShot G11 comes with the same tilt-swivel screen that gives the user the freedom to hold the camera at almost any angle without losing out on the subject. The screen is decently big at 2.8-inches and performs well even under broad daylight. Overall usability of the camera further extends with the addition of large and protruding buttons. Layout again is typical of any Canon camera with buttons nicely spaced out.
Now before we even get into the cameras internal menu navigation system it is the out of box thinking that has really gone into the PowerShot G11. For instance almost all of the controls that one would use are placed on the cameras body. This more often than not eliminates the need to access the cameras interface to change settings making them quick and precise. So apart from the mode selection dial, which is a common feature in almost all cameras, what you also get is a dial mode for the ISO and EV. In addition to this, the dial modes come with selection markers that light up when the camera is switched on. This basically shows if adjustments can be made to the ISO or EV depending on the shooting mode selected. What you also get is an optical view finder along with a Hot Shoe through which you can attach a number of external flashes. Let’s not forget to mention that the built-in flash is powerful enough to light up the darkest of areas.
Other features include bracketing modes and ND filter modes. In addition to this the camera can also be set to shoot in RAW as well JPEG. However, shooting in RAW will take up considerable amount of space as the images are left unprocessed. There are also a total of 14 scene modes to select from but nothing really extra ordinary to write about. However if there was something that would go against the G11, it would be the way scenes need to be selected. You are forced to scroll through the scenes one by one without getting to view them in a grid format. Second would be the placement of the review button. Its awkward placement and flat surface makes it a tad difficult to operate.
As far as video is concerned there isn’t much to complain about as the camera does a darn good job. Overall color and contrast are handled well by the G11. However the transition from a decently lit area to a low lit area takes a little time for lens to get used to. For the price that the G11 retails for one would expect it to record in HD (1920 x 1080) but sadly it just comes with a max support of 640 x 480.
The G11 does well in handling the overall color and contrast. The saturation level tends to be on the high side making the overall picture look a little vibrant. However the camera does a very good job at handling the overall picture sharpness.
Considering that the G11 still falls in the category of a digital camera its overall sharpness and details are simply super. The sharpness of the leaves or even the bystanders for instance is clearly visible with no apparent disfigurement or distortion. However there are very minor levels of fringing towards the edges of the building which apparently shouldn’t be of concern.
The night performance of the G11 reminds me of the Canon S90 - reviewed a couple of months back. The camera does pretty darn well for low light shots. Overall image is quite sharp even when viewed at max resolution. There is visible amount of noise in the image but with the ISO at 6400 I personally don’t think that the picture can get any better than this. Resize the image and it will definitely be more than usable.
Here again there is nothing that one can complain about as the cameras macro range falls in at a decent 1 cm and as you can see the details again are pretty sharp.
The Canon PowerShot G11 is by far the most consistent digital camera you can get your hands on. However with a price tag of Rs 31,995 the G11 is definitely not for the faint of heart. But if you are planning to tread the path of photography then the G11 is surely one hell of a camera to look out for (provided you have your mind set on a compact digital camera). Moreover DSLR users looking out for a compact point and shoot should consider this but I guess you would be knowing this.