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Sunday, 17 February 2008

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I like my G9 well enough, but I am not blown away by it. I find it's noise performance to acceptable at pretty much one ISO, 80. I completely agree with Ken that Canon could have left this camera at 10 megapixels instead of 12. In fact, I would happiest if they had left it at six! Then it would be quite a good camera. If it had Fuji's 6th gen 6 megapixel SuperCCD sensor in that G9 body and shot RAW, it would be a brilliant P&S camera.

But, Canon and everyone else is caught up in this completely meaningless megapixel war.

"Mr President, we cannot allow ourselves to be caught out in a Megapixel gap...!"-paraphrasing Dr. Strangelove....

Alas.....

I guess the fuji F50 is just as good as the G9 in terms of image quality and costs much less. It also has image stabilization.

I too like my G9. However, the one thing not mentioned in the review that would make the camera perfect for me would be a lens that reached down to 28mm (or even 24mm like my Kodak P880). Canon has another model (whose name ascapes me) that goes to 28mm - so we know they are capable of doing it. 36mm at the wide end just doesn't cut it for me.

One thing I've noticed, that I'd like to share is that the camera can take advantage of fast memory cards. Using a Sandisk Extreme (21MB/sec) instead of a vanilla SD card (4MB/sec), can cut the write times in half (when shooting RAW files).

My 4 mega pixel G3 produces excellent 13' x 19"prints. It is a delight to hold and use. The G9 sounds tempting, but I'm still pretty happy with my G3. I think I would miss the tilt and swivel LCD.

Something that reviewers of the G9 never, or rarely, mention is how the viewfinder is useless. It is off centered (regarding the lens) and not parallax corrected. The framing and composition of a picture, even using the lens at its wide angle setting, are not accurate. Using the view finder at the longest focal of the zoom is impossible, since one ends up with at best half of the visually framed picture, the other half never appeared in the viewfinder... So if you want to use a G9, or G7 for that matter, and expect to get what you frame, you have to use the screen. And for me this is not acceptable from a camera supposed to be at the high end of the compact range. And it also raises also the question: why did Canon put an optical viewfinder in the first place, if it is useless? I bought a G7 when it came up, and kept it for 2 weeks. A point-and-shoot it is not.

Does anyone know which third-party grip Ken was referring to in this piece?

I second Gary. I don't need a 200mm (equivalent) lens, but I do need a 28mm so I'll carry on using my Canon S70.

I've had the G9 for about a month and can affirm Ken's comments in the original posting. The G9 has replaced my previous always-with-me camera, a 5 mega-pixel Canon S60, with RAW mode, ISO 400 top end, and RAW capture.

I agree that I don't need the 12 megapixels and would prefer fewer of them with less noise.

But the G9 gives me an acceptable ISO 800 after a little digital noise reduction (Neat Image) and unsharp mask sharpening in Photoshop. Even ISO 1600 is more than acceptable, given that just a few years ago, I was accepting what I got using 1600 ISO color film in my 35 mm SLR!!

Of course one of the first things I did when I got the G9 was photograph the same view at each of the ISO settings. When I loaded up the files and viewed them in "Actual Pixel" mode (Alt+Ctrl+0) the noise was evident 200 and 400 and disturbing at 800 and 1600. But that was on the screen.

You gotta remember that "actual-pixels" show you a 30x40 inch print size at 100 dpi.

15x20 inch PRINTS look good!!

Aaron:
A fellow named Richard Franiec makes a nifty handgrip for the Canon G7/G9. You can find it at LensMate Online: http://www.lensmateonline.com/newsite/richard_franiec_accessories.html#cg

Luc: Indeed, the viewfinder seems to exist mainly to provide a "Yes" in a feature list. It does not bother me at all that it's not very usable, as I like the live view on that terrific 3" lcd screen. But it does seem to bug some people.

Gary: Indeed, under my "wish list" I neglected to mention that I, too, wish that the lens was wider. Just another 5mm of focal length would make a big difference. But I suppose Canon had to hold something behind for a future G10.

The "buzz" on this fine little camera continues on several photographic sites, TOP included. For many, myself included, the G9 is the current top dog among digicams.

One observation that I have not seen oft mentioned is that apertures much smaller than f/4 really do degrade image quality. Avoid f/8. (The built-in neutral density filter makes the use of small apertures unnecessary in most cases, however.)

Bravo, Canon!

The custom grip (as well as a few other items) can be found at:

http://www.mycanong7.com/html/g7_g9_grip___tr.html


I love the G9 as well. I just with it was a 28mm or 24mm instead of 35mm. I would also be happy with 10 MP (or even 8 for that matter).


Michael

@ Aaron; there's a third-party grip mentioned in the Lumious Landscape article. Probably the same one:

http://kleptography.com/rf/

Grips and other G7/G9 accessories may be found here:

http://www.mycanong7.com/html/g7_g9_grip___tr.html

looks like nice stuff, but I prefer my G9 to remain as small as possible for pocketability.

M. Eckstein,

I know what you mean. I still use and enjoy my G3. It's too bad they didn't just stick a newer 6-8 mp chip into the G3 body, without changing anything else, but I guess that's not how things are done. I keep wishing that they would just put a new tech engine into a Datsun 510 body.

Robert

It's black and sexy. It's raw. It's over-pixelated. It's a Canon. It's a point and shoot. It proves Canon knows a thing or two about marketing. More than a few seemingly sophisticated photogs have been seduced.

It's not the camera we are all waiting for. Its time will pass. And soon.

"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."

According to the specs, the G9 has a 1/1.7" sensor and the G7 has a 1/1.8" sensor, so the slightly bigger sensor should make up for the slightly larger pixel count, and there shouldn't be much noise difference.

Theoretically, there should be a small image quality increase over the G7 on account of the larger sensor and newer sensor.

See the Luminous Landscape article Ken referred to ~ the info about a grip is there.

This is one of the more popular grips for the G9: http://www.mycanong9.com/html/g7_g9_grip___tr.html

Have a look at this site for the custom grip. http://www.lensmateonline.com/newsite/order_G7_1.html

A remote! The G9 needs a remote particularly for digiscoping and such.

I don't find much to love about the LCD - the blue cast is bad to the point of distraction, not to mention the light leaks. And lens distortion at 35mm is about the worst I've ever seen.

I also have an A650 IS and keep thinking how nice the G9 would have been with that camera's flip-twist LCD (new A650s have no light leaks or color cast) and a high-quality 28-135 f2.4-3.5 lens.

Is it easier to attack Leica for not doing things than any other camera manufacturer which consequently don't do the same things you mention here?

OK I'll go against the received wisdom and own up to quite liking a 210mm IS lens in my pocket to take
http://blipfoto.com/view.php?id=98411&month=1&year=2008
at 1/80 sec, handheld.On a recent trip I took my 5D to go wide, left my 70-200 in the cupboard and pocketed the G9 for the occasional long shot.

I have a G9 that I bought in the hopes that it might be a reasonable substitute for a DSLR. I have been searching for quite sometime for such a camera. I like the camera a lot, but it is no substitute. The Raw files are quite odd in that they seem to have some compression already and the photos have a kind of noise that is different from what I am used to. It is almost like a fine grain. I think the camera does well in good light when photographing things, but I don't think it does a good job with portraits. People just don't seem to look right. Their skin is not pleasing much of the time.

All this is subjective of course, and anyone may argue with me. I have pre-ordered a DP1. the search is not over.

I tried the G9 and honestly didn't see any advantage over my A620 that wasn't canceled out by the loss of the swiveling LCD...same old story: we need an APS or bigger sensor and much better lens options, otherwise why pay more?

Both Nick Devlin and Sean Reid have mentioned significant shutter lag as a major downside of the G9. According to Sean, this lag persists when using manual focus and exposure. Of the negative points I have come across in user reviews of this camera, this is the main one that keeps me from purchasing it.

I held the G9 in a store the other day and took a few shots with it. I was impressed by its compact size and solid feel and loved the DSLR-like buttons that don't require me to go through menus (my main camera is a 20D).

I immediately disliked the optical viewfinder as it wasn't even close to what the sensor captured, making it less of a viewfinder than a sight for aiming. I also disliked the unresponsive feel. Even prefocused there was too much of a lag between pressing the shutter and having the picture taken and it felt slow shot to shot. Next to the G9 was the latest Powershot S5 and it was noticeably more responsive, but too large for me to seriously consider as a second camera.

Still waiting for my 40mm(e) digital Canonet.

I continue to hold out for a pocket camera that will allow for background separation (read larger sensor paired with a reasonably fast lens). Perhaps a variant of the Sigma DP1 with a 40mm-e lens?

The G9 is a good camera with a good iq. I'm not really bothered by the lack of a bigger sensor or hotshoe or a viewfinder for that matter. It seems to defeat the purpose of having a compact in the first place. Certainly some compromises has to be made. I mean even the small film compacts had their fair share of problems. Furthermore can you just imagine holding onto a small dinky camera with a huge speedlight? Bleargh.... Sensor technologies are getting better and I find them now to be as good or better than what I need.

Anyway other than the G9, I find the new cameras from Fujifilm and Ricoh interesting like the Ricoh R8 http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Details.aspx?NewsId=22509

and I'm still waiting for the Panasonic LX3, any news my brothers?

No waist level swivel finder kills it for me. A swivel finder, IS, and that long lens would be interesting for street work, but no swivel, no sale.

I agree with Triplight...I find the blue cast on the LCD to be a real problem for me, too. I forgot to mention this in my post yesterday. I And, like the rest of you, I wish it had 28 on the wide end, rather than 200 on the long end. And the shutter lag is quite a disappointment, and the optical viewfinder is well, in a word, ridiculous. We shouldn't be dealing with any of these issues these days on a top of line line advanced P&S.

To honest, I find my Fuji F31 and F20 more impressive for what they are. Much simpler, not the fancy sophisticated body, only shoot JPEG, but the image quality from them is really excellent. They have a naturalness of color that is quite impressive, and their noise performance at high ISO is rightly the stuff of legend.

If you use your G9 most of the time at 35 mm equivalent, if you like to SEE what you frame, if you don't like to work like a tourist,try the Voigtlander (square)28/35 external viewfinder...
You're going to like it
It just cut off the flash...but who cares...
If you want to use the flash, just remove it...

I find it interesting how much discord this one camera engenders. It seems that the more some people like it, the more other people want to dislike it. After all, its just a camera. ch

My only complaint about the G9 is that the write times to the card tend to be very slow after about 3 shots in not so quick succession. This has frustrated me at several critical moments with the camera effectively useless until the buffer cleared. Does anyone have any direct experience with the Pro cards, like a Sandisk Extreme 3 (20mb/sec)? I’m using a Sandisk Ultra 2 (9 mb/sec), it’s not a question about which card is faster, but if the camera will actually take advantage of the faster card.

I have a G9 amongst other Canons and did a comparison at ISO 200 with a 40D Canon using approximately the same focal length and identical exposure and resized both images to 24 by 36 inches at 300 dpi. Yes, the G9 was noisier and the microdetail was slightly less. Was the G9 image outstanding at this large size..yes! Would I hang it in a gallery..yes I would and no one would be any the wiser. One must have a direct comparison up close to note the differences which are there but just think where we have come since film days. I could not reliably make a print from a 35mm negative at that print size at all. The G9 is fabulous as a carry around camera and its lens and file cleanliness is amazing..period. No, it is not a DSLR and no it is not equivalent to an APC-c CMOS nor certainly not a full frame digital sensor but hell, it is damn good for what it is meant to do and nothing but nothing can touch its sharpness and quality. Oh yes, it is sharper than the 40D as a RAW image but the file from the 40D can take more sharpening than can the G9 file before noise becomes annoying. By the way, anyone..what is wrong with grain/noise? Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. It can be an artist's tool. What is most important is optical and colour accuracy and sharpness in the focussed areas. All other aspects are peripheral.

I've owned the camera since shortly after it appeared. It's a very good camera, good value and robust (with the lens retracted). Given the overall balance of qualities, I thought of buying another in case Canon's next is not as good (like no raw again).

The only real thing, I keep mine in my shirt pocket, and a LOT of dust has got into the viewfinder and even some in front of the LCD behind the coverplate. Fortunately I can't see any dust on the images. If I have to have the sensor cleaned though, then I'll have to have a soft lint-free pouch for it, which will slow things down a bit, or accept the regular cleaning bills.

As far as the megapixels/noise business is concerned, doesn't anybody realise that you can trade megapixels back for improved noise in post processing?

Wow, I've been on vacation but there has obviously been a huge response to this article. Except for the noise issue, my Panasonic LX-1 fills all the bills for me. While only, (only?) 8 mp, it does a terrific job and has everything the G9 does. Too bad Panasonic screwed up the concept by going to a higher mp (LX-2) without a larger sensor. I'm keeping my "outdated" one.

I'm a newcomer to the G7/G9 world of photography having only owned a second hand G7 for just over two weeks. I choose the G7 over the G9 for three reasons:
1. It was cheaper (than the G9)
2. The 10mp sensor just made more sense (and less noise)
3. and I didn't need RAW (I have a Canon 10D, 30D and soon to be acquired 5D for that) but more on this later.

What I really like about the G7/G9 is that for me it's a step backwards into my photographic past. It's like holding a Leica with a digital back. I'm slowly learning photography all over again. Alas it isn't all roses in this brave new world. The optical of the G7 viewfinder is CRAP! The only solution I've found so far is a Bessa/Voightlander 35mm external hotshoe mounted viewfinder. I've only now put in a special request to Richard at Lensmate to adapt one of his Custom G7/G9 Hotshoe Covers to accomodate a viewfinder so that it would not disable the camera's on-board flash. I intend my viewfinder to be a permanent attachment to my G7 along with other Lensmate bits and pieces, such as the grip.

My other addition to the G7 will be the GDHK (Allbest) Hack which will enable the G7 to finally shoot RAW. more later.

i am grateful for these blogs because they did help me make a final decision; to purchase the G-9 (just did today at circuit city for $229.00). Having said that, i qualify it with the fact that i shoot with: a Contax TVX (28 -55 mm) which i love for film; a Canon 20D- which is great for landscape composition; a sony DSC R-1 (10.2 mb and 24-120 mm lens) which i use for everything except frequent airplane flights and the old reliable Canon G-3. i have been looking for that perfect portable camera that felt good, looked retro and had a wide angle lens and a flip out screen..i briefly had a Nikon 8400 (24-90mm lens; 8 mb and a flip out screen) purchased cheap at Wolf camera because "it was old" but when i dropped it..it could not be fixed...my primary reservation with the G-9 was the grip or lack thereof. Of course that was true with the 20D (so i ordered the large battery pack) and the Sony so i added a large vivitar side mount grip. Based upon the comments above, i ordered the custom side grip and thumb rest. I love the flip out screen; but truth be told, on the G3 and the nikon 8400 it was microscopic which is unfotunate when trying to compose with the wide angle lens attachment; then i remembered that the old Leica /Paul Strand pictures were all done "the tourist way" as it is now called. More to follow as i start firing the "black beauty" off.

An update to my previous note. i ordered the custom handgrip and the thumbrest and look forward to their arrival. However, i found another efficient and inexpensive method penidng its arrival. i dug out an old "pocket tripod"..the unit has three flexible legs about six inches long with a pocket clip. original purchase was about $8.00. (not the current black and grey models that are too big to be pocket size). When you screw the small tripod in the bottom of the black beauty, you have a perfect handhold underneath leaving the other free- ie the way the cameras are displayed in most discount stores. And do the standard trick of stretching the camera /neck strap tight out in front of you using your body as a pole and walla. and you can easily hold the camera upside down with this tripod handle / slightly tilt the camera toward you and get low angle shots almost as good as with the flip out LCD screen.

i did purchase the adaptor so that i can use my wide angle lens from the G-3 but gone is the portability.

Perhaps my final comment in this series as i note that there appears to be no "newcomers".

The accessories did arrive from lensmate yesterday (just four days after I placed the order which beats amazon all to heck). The grip was great; the thumb rest was ok-part of the two sided stickem was folded under- but it was not worth the postage to send back-The lens ring seems like a highly questionable add-on..it is fiddly to get on and doesn't make the camera any less obtrusive than the microscopic silver ring did.

However, I went to one of the two old fashioned photo shops in Portland, Oregon (Blue Moon and Hollywood Camera Store) and found the perfect G-9 side Grip. It was old; about half the size of a traditional side grip (these large grips make the G9 look like cigarrette lighter). And this old fashioned grip folded either onto the mounting plate or the other direction making one long plate / handle. The cost..$7.50.

What I can do now, is put the camera into my side hanging bag with the grip folded out.that produces a long handle sticking out of your bag which makes it easy to grab and pull the little camera out without fishing for it and accidentally pushing every button. Then you push the pin on the grip base and fold the grip into the upright position; slide your hand through the wrist strap and fire when ready.

I think this is a great camera for people like me who are just starting out in the photography world. I think it has great quality and pictures look awsome if shot correctly. Remember THIS IS NOT A DSLR. You guys are comparing it to something it is not. It can be compact in your pocket or as bulky as a dslr but the choice is yours and thats the beauty of this cam.

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