The Canon G11 is the point-and-shoot announced today that seems to be the focus of everyone’s attention. Despite my current infatuation after fondling the S90, Canon must be praised for quite a number of things they seem to have done right so far with this camera. Here’s a quick list of the key advancements.
Showing Megapixel Restraint
The G11 has less megapixels on its sensor than its predecessor, the G10. The series went from 14.7MP down to 10MP, therefore satisfying the needs of photographers who wanted cleaner images. Further, with the coupling of the DIGIC 4 engine there should be less of a problem with the processing of the image noise in the your photos. One poster in the DPReview forums (via 1001 Noisy Cameras) made a connection that there may be a Sony sensor of some sort inside the body of this little digicam.
This move is one that was appreciated by Nikonians when Nikon released cameras like the D300, D300s, D700 and the D3. They kept the resolution to a decent sized while ensuring that image quality remained paramount. Canon is apparently taking the same route with some of their cameras and we wonder if we will see this with the upcoming/rumored 60D and 7D.
To be fair though, some professionals wanting to use this as their pocket-backup may say that 10MP is not enough. In that case, they may want to move over to Micro Four Thirds or work with the Rebels instead. But for the pros that are used to better images that really want a compact just to carry around, this camera may suffice.
Focusing More on Photographers Than Hybrid Users
Besides focusing on delivering cleaner and better images to their users, there are features on the G11 that are appreciated more by the purist category of photographers rather than the hybrid users, photojournalists, enthusiasts etc. Those features are the inclusion of an optical viewfinder and not focusing on putting HD video capabilities on these cameras. I encounter lots of camera users that say, “I don’t really care too much about video, I just really want pictures.” These people know what they want and may be thoroughly satisfied to upgrade to the G11 if they’re not already in love with their G10.
The G line of cameras has always had an optical viewfinder and in truth they’re really quite excellent. Because of the way it’s designed, I don’t experience the tunnel vision effect nearly on the level that I did while shooting with the Olympus E-510. The viewfinder is bright and works well while zooming in and out. Granted though, it’s nothing like looking through my 5D Mk II‘s viewfinder.
Beyond this, there’s a special feeling and look to the G11. It reminds me of a rangefinder of some sort. Granted the sensor isn’t anywhere near as big as the Micro Four Thirds family line, but it sure does have that feeling that of being a companion camera to your DSLR.
Multi-angle LCD Screen
That rotating screen will surely enable users to be able to take photos at the harder angles to shoot at. I tried it today at the event and I was able to shoot over my head with relative ease. To be fair though, rotating all the wheels and dials in combination with pressing this button and that button to perfectly expose my shot became a lot harder to do with my hands up in the air. However, if more time is spent trying to do something like this the muscle memory will develop.
Alternatively, you could always just shoot in program mode.
Range of Accessories
If Canon made a battery grip for the G11, I would say that this camera is almost a throwback to the days of using something like the AE-1. However, they don’t. You can use the EX Speedlight flashes with the camera though, as well as underwater housing accessories, the G11′s own high powered flash, teleconverters, etc. The last time I heard about an advanced compact camera that can do all that it was in the form of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, especially the EP-1.
At the end of writing this, I’m noticing that I’m doing a lot of comparison of the G11 to Micro Four Thirds cameras. Perhaps well do a face-off of some sort.
Meanwhile, the Canon S90 still has my attention. Perhaps this is because I don’t care for a hot shoe that much and come from the school of photojournalism where you’re trained to shoot without flash.