By Ken Tanaka
Regular TOP readers may recall that I posted a brief review of the new Canon Powershot G9 here last year when the camera was first introduced. A reader recently wondered if my impressions of the camera had changed since then. Personally, I always find it interesting and informative to read relatively rare second-impression pieces. So here, after approximately 1,000 shots, is my brief follow-up on the Canon Powershot G9.
The G9’s Best Features
• A manual ISO selection dial. This is an essential feature for a camera designed for experienced or aspiring owners. (Too bad that Leica didn’t understand this when they designed my $5,500 M8.)
• RAW image file format. This is the feature we G7 owners whined loudly for and what Canon returned to us with the G9. Thank you, Canon. While the G9’s RAW files are not quite as robust as, say, those from the 1DsII or 5D they’re more than adequate for nearly all of the adjustments I’ve needed.
• Image Stabilization. No, it’s not new to the G9 but it’s a key feature that greatly buttresses the camera’s performance.
• Easy handling in Manual mode. Having taken time to become adept with the G7’s Manual control I found the G9 to be identical.
• That wonderful LCD. The live-view LCD display is superb in nearly all lighting conditions.
• Full E-TTL flash exposure control with Canon Speedlites and the Canon ST-E2 transmitter. The G9 works just like its bigger brothers in this regard.
• Overall build quality. Like its predecessor, this is a hefty, solidly-built little camera.
What I Wish
There are really only three things on my wish list for the G9.
• I wish Canon had restrained themselves from cramming an extra 2 MP onto that little G7 sensor. The G7’s 10 MP was just fine, thank you. But the G9’s 12 MP makes the image ever-so-slightly noisier particularly at ISO 200 and above without providing any tangible benefit.
• I wish the G9’s shot-to- shot time was much shorter in single-shot mode. Yes, I’m spoiled by my other cameras. But this seems like such a do-able improvement.
• I wish Canon would get a grip. Actually, I wish they would add a usable right-hand grip to the G9. I purchased a 3rd-party product that certainly does the job. But why not just design the camera for the reality of the the human hand? (I suppose Canon might say, "Leica has ignored such ergonomics for 50 years. Why should we start now?")
In case it's not obvious I've become extremely fond of the G9.
If you’re interested in reading more about the Canon G9 from a practical perspective I strongly urge you to read Nick Devlin’s wonderful recent Luminous-Landscape article titled, "The Canon Powershot G9 in Japan."
But beyond that, why waste more time reading about the G9? If you want one and don't already have one just go get one!