I'm an old-school SLR guy. I like big, heavy cameras that I can swing from the shoulder strap to scare thugs away. So I was pretty skeptical of a point-and-shoot, even a high-end model.
But when the 14.7-megapixel Canon G10 arrived, I was surprised at how sturdy it is (and still slips into my shirt pocket!). Without glancing at the instruction manual, I popped in the battery and a little SD card from my wife's point-and-shoot and headed out. Right away I was thrown back to being eleven years old again, taking pictures just because I could. It was pure joy.
I left the next day for a weeklong assignment in LA and brought the G10 along. I found myself taking it out at the airport, stopping the car to make snap shots—taking way more photos, in more places, than I would when lugging only my pro gear.
No, it's not an SLR. But it's amazing what a camera like the G10 can do. The zoom lens starts at a wide 28 millimeters and extends to a respectable 140mm telephoto (in 35mm camera equivalent) to cover most needs. The camera's hot shoe let me attach external flashes from my SLRs. And the camera shoots in RAW mode to capture data-rich files that I can manipulate any way I want in Photoshop or Canon's Digital Photo Profession program. At a shoot in LA, I told my assistant—only half kidding—that I was going to walk onto the set with just the G10.
Of course there are compromises. I didn't get the super-fast focus tracking or negligible shutter lag of my high-end SLR. But I quickly learned how to work within the G10's limits. For example, after I got home I took my 17-month-old son to the park. He's a fast-moving target, and the G10's autofocus couldn't keep up with his random zigzags at full–tilt. But it did well the rest of the time when he was more predictable.
The zoom moves faster than I'd expected, but I had trouble working the zoom and shutter buttons at the same time with one finger. And the high ISO (light sensitivity setting) won't provide the frame-worthy low-light photos that an SLR does at the same settings. But it lets you grab good-looking snapshots with ease.
In short, the high-quality but nimble G10 lets you capture surprisingly good images of all those moments that you'd miss when you're too lazy to lug out an SLR.
I can't see why someone would opt for anything other than an SLR with that price tag, unless they are really hung up on size.
NOTE TO CANON:
Please, enough with the megapixels! All we need are 8-10MP. Use your resources to make the pixels bigger with better high ISO performance.
If this camera had 8-10MP, I would buy this to compliment my 5D dSLR.
Carrying a smaller more unobtrusive camera sometimes allows for better photos. An SLR will not fit in the armrest or in your pocket. Traveling on vacation or at a family reunion with an SLR around your neck is no fun. Smaller sometimes IS better. I do own a 40D and a 10D with a selection of lenses and they do have their place when you have a choice, as the author pointed out. I have just about worn out my G6 (job shots, Europe, it has been USED)and will probably buy a G10. We have valued photos that may have never happened if we had to drag along the SLR.
I have a Canon G9, and find it a good mix of portability and facilities.
It's tough, it's capable and it's portable. I find I use my SLRs less and less, but carry this thing everywhere with me.
It's not for equipment fiends, and it's fairly discreet, but it'll do most of what most photographers want. You never have to subject it to the tender mercies of baggage handlers either.
Let's be honest, if you don't have a camera with you, you can't take pictures.
I agree with rblee. I to own a G9 and am thrilled with the stuff it can do! I have taken pictures for over fifty years, yes that's five followed by a zero. I started with a Kodak Brownie (use goggles history function for you young guys)then a Graphics 35mm then Miranda Sensorex, Nikon F, Rollie twinlens, Minolta 700 with all the lenses and accessories, Agfa digital, Kodak C330 digital and now finally the Canon G9.I find it does everything I need it to and more. It's rugged, fast and has a cult following guarantying all sorts of neat accessories. As for more pixels, yes, we don't need more, we need bigger so the noise levels are down due to less amplification. But you guys that love those multi lens, mirrored boxed penta-prismed transportable imaging gathering photo collection devices you love to call DSLR's are doomed. You heard it here first. Hahaha...yes...doomed.
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