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Tuesday, 14 April 2009


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Ok Mike, for the sake of criticism: are you putting two Canons at the end of the list to justify the presence of other brands upper? Or are there plans to sell TOP to a certain online megastore?

(Hey, this is STRICTLY joking here!).

Yeah OK. I'm with you so far. In fact I'm really with you regarding the G10, which I think is a heck of a camera for the size and price. Still use a G7 for traveling light myself, but it's just not a genre of camera that demands constant upgrades IMO, so no rush.

But we're still only at #9! Two down, eight more to go.

The suspension is killing me! (<- that was deliberate by the way, just in case anyone thinks I'm illiterate ... or even "alliterate").

So give us a hint. Where does the Deardorff 8x10 fit in? Above or below #5?

And when do we get to the cameras that are going to spark all the flaming and name-calling? Can't have a camera list without a good punch-up you know. I hope you're planning to loosen your grip on the censorship rein a bit for this one. Let some of the juicy bits through, like?

Anyway, so, above or below #5?

My first digital camera was the 4 MP Canon G3. It's performance so exceeded my expectations that it turned a former film snob into an enthusiastic digital convert. I've since moved up to a dslr, but I still enjoy using my G3 from time to time, and I remain an admirer of the Canon G series.

You didn't mention one big change from the G9 and earlier models that is welcome to many and unwelcome to many others.

The 6x, 35-210 mm eq. lens has been replaced with a 5x, 28-140 mm eq. lens on the G10. Good for WA aficionados, a step back for "tele" eyes.

The lack of twist & tilt screen is a big drawback of both G9 and G10 for me. It is such a huge help, greatly widening the kind and angles of shots one may make.

I often carry it along when shooting with 5D, for the reach and angles I can't do with an optical viewfinder.

The A650 IS has all the performance features important to me of the G9 along with the addition of a movable LCD.

A cheap WA adapter gives me all the WA I need without the size, weight and cost of the Canon adapter. Cropped to 16:7, it loses the vignetting at the widest setting and the soft corners for the horizontal equivalent of a 16 mm lens on 35 mm and not far from the format of 6x17 cm on 120 film.

A 210 mm AOV has proven to be long enough for most of my use, but 140 mm would drive me a little crazy.


The suspense is killing me.

I repeat my suggestion: publish your hate mail - it will be great entertainment.

G-series' old competitors may have given up on this segment, but new competitors have stepped up to keep the heat on. Just look at the out of stock Panasonic LX3.

Maybe Canon should just make two cameras. With US$ 11 billion in sales from the camera division alone they might just be able to afford it.

Or heck, just copy what Fuji are doing with their F200EXR sensor. Those who need resolution can shoot at 14 megapixels, and those who want higher ISO can shoot at 7 megapixels.

Spot on in regards to the Big Three scenario. My wife is tired of hearing me say things along those lines...


Another nicely done article. I'm, of course, biased, as I own the previous models of both 10 and 9. I even, grumpily accede to you on small camera viewfinders, though as a "shotgun" aiming device, workable when one doesn't want the display lit up.

More than anything, it was the cheap sub-$1000 DSLRs that killed off the $500+ small-sensor cameras. Unfortunately, leaving the pocketable category to really inferior cameras, G10 and a few others excepted.


As nice as the G7-G10 are, they're not a revitalized update of the earlier G series. They're simply lower-end Powershots wrapped in a more capable interface (A P&S for pro's rather than a bridge camera). The G7 and G9 share sensors, lenses and processing with lower-end bodies and the G10 is merely an update of the G9. Compared to the G6, the last and greatest of the original G series the current ones are lacking ergonomically, lacking in features (especially the loss of the flip/twist LCD) and feature downgraded lenses compared to the excellent and fast (f2.0 at the wide end) lenses the original series had.

The closest thing you can buy to a G6 today is the Panasonic G1. Which I suspect was named as such intentionally.

I have never, ever, enjoyed making pictures as much as i do with my G10!

Mike, I don't have any particular argument against your assertion that GM & Chrysler going out of business would benefit Ford & perhaps end up overall as a good thing.
On the other hand I don't think it's quite as simple with newspapers because they are much more of a regional business. People like to read the papers from their city & if that goes out of business they are unlikely to consider an alternative. It's hard to see how that one's going to work itself out.

And it has an optical view tunnel too. You can actually see (sort of) what you're taking in bright sun.
As you say we each have our must have features.

"it remains a good choice for people who don't want to deal with the bulk of even a small DSLR."

Actually, I think the camera is at its best as an adjunct to a DSLR, which allows you to use each camera to its individual strengths. A G10 doesn't make a great birding or sports camera...

I'm also an 'enthusiast' who likes the megapixels. I don't print often, but I do tend to print big, up to 24x32. The pixels come in useful. Noisy at high iso? Yup, so why use it like that? I'm more interested in the best quality a camera can achieve than in how much degradation is 'acceptable' under sub-optimal usage.

Used to its full potential the G10 offers amazing image quality for the price, along with sufficient control to be able to achieve that potential. The icing on the cake is that it is also very pleasant to use*. Good and fun - what a treat.


* it's a particular blast to use with studio lighting. The extra DOF from the small sensor lets you work the lights less hard, the live view composition works well for product shots and the whole process is just fun :)

"...with the G7 in 2006. Then... the G9 and G10."

Avoiding the G8 for sound political reasons, I suppose?

Oh, I see they avoided the G4, as well. So is this simply a Canonial prejudice against developments of 4? Will we also never see the G16?

Hi Mike,

I have to agree with you that the Canon G10 deserves to be on anybody's Top 10 List. It certainly doesn't replace my DSLR outfit, but it is a very fun camera to use. Sure, noise from the small sensor is an issue when you start raising the ISO, but I just keep mine set to native ISO (80) all the time. When the light demands a higher ISO setting, I simply mount it on a very slick Manfrotto monopod (recommended awhile back by Michael Reichmann) and keep shooting at native ISO.

Can't wait to see the rest of your Top 10 list. I wonder if any film cameras will show up? :)


Hi Mike,

Are you gonna interrupt your regular programming to announce the Nikon D5000?

I'm going to enjoy reading your list of recommended cameras.

A suggestion for a future list: how 'bout recommended used cameras? You know, bargains to be found on eBay or old camera shops (if there are still any left)?

I bought a tatty Super Ikonta, for $50, 15 years ago and I love it. My hit rate of, successful or pleasing, photos is probably higher with this than almost any other vintage camera I've used, including my M3.

Anyway, looking forward to number eight on your current list. My guess, for the token film camera, is the ZM.

When a particular company is in trouble in a healthy market, propping that company up may help it survive in the long run and be good. But when the entire market segment is in trouble, such as the auto industry in the USA at the moment (and for most of the last 30 years), then yeah, propping up the companies in it just keeps the segment in trouble, and prevents any of the companies, propped up or not, from becoming healthy.

What people care about often in newspapers is the LOCAL reporting and ads, and most places are down to one newspaper already, so losing that loses them what they care about. Me, I grew up in a household getting the New York Times by second class mail to Minnesota, so I never did figure out what local newspapers were important for.

This is exciting...waiting to se if "My" camera makes the cut.

re the bemoaning of capitalism's creative destruction, you are correct. As industry segments change other's spring into being. It's not fun but it's real. Beside the inevitable failure of a government's attempt to determine winners is it's darker side...politicians, not the buying public also determine losers. Is this a power any sane person wants to see in the hands of government? Can one imagine this not being mis used? If one can then imagine this power being in the hands of the party you don't support... the "other guys."

But in fact, low light situations are exactly when you are most likely to use a small unobtrusive camera.

I used a G9 last year in Japan's neon-lit back alleys at ISO 800. When converted to B&W the RAW captures were quite acceptable.

I'm dying to know what # 4 is.

I vote for Sigma DP2. The film camera surely must be the Olympus Trip 35.

meanwhile, the sigma DP1 continues to sell for $450 'chez' amazon...
and waiting for the DP2. And olympus' micro4/3, surely your list #1 :) !


Mike, I'm two for two. I don't want to buy either #10 or #9. Keep it up, and I may get out of this with a whole skin.

I have a G9 and it's never used. I just can't put up with shutter lag, viewfinder, the list goes on. It sounded really good when I bought it...but I ended up grabbing my D70S, putting it in a Tenba Messenger Bag and making it my daily carry. The G10 may be a fine camera but it will never find it's way into my stable. I need to sell that G9, I could use the funds for a new monopod.

On the GM/Chrysler deal (since I live in the Detroit area where jobs are becoming somewhat scarce) - if GM/Chrysler go off the chart the suppliers that Ford depends on will not be able to survive on Ford orders alone. Without the suppliers Ford won't be able to make it either, sort of a domino effect. (Henry Ford had it right - drop off the boatload of raw steel, wood, whatever, on one end of the assembly line and deliver a car on the other. Suppliers be damned.)

The local papers (Detroit Free Press and Detroit News) pretty much agree on that (the supplier issue, the Henry Ford opinion is mine). BTW - Those papers have joined forces, dropped home delivery to three days a week, put together a horrible "subscriber" website and (IMHO) are absolutely doomed. It's very sad here right now - not only are the "Big 3" under siege, the papers that I grew up reading are headed for oblivion.

If you own all of the cameras in the top 10 list ... do you get a prize? ... before or after the divorce... :)

I can vouch for the sturdy construction of the G10 - dropped mine 6ft to the stone ground at the Trevi Fountain and it didn't suffer but a slightly rounded corner.

"So is this simply a Canonial prejudice against developments of 4? Will we also never see the G16?"

Personally, I'm waiting for Canon to release the environment-friendly, battery-free, Gstring.

My ex-wife has the G2, and I had the G3 (I let her keep it), and to me, at least, the 3 essential elements of the 'G' line were 1) fast lens at both WA and tele (the G2 was 2.0-3.0); 2) articulated LCD; and 3) ability to shoot RAW files. Seems to me that, maybe because of the lack of competition in this market segment that you quote, Canon felt 'safe' enough to drop two of those three elements in the G10 (and they even droped RAW support for a while in the G line). From what I've read, the G10 is a fine photo-taking machine, but without the flip/twist LCD and the fast lens, it's just not in the same league as the early-model G's.

Since I convert much of my stuff to B&W 800 on the G10 isn't any worse than tri-x. Overall the G10 is a wonderful "take it with you" camera. What still bothers me though is a P&S is a P&S. Pokey with too much shutter lag. I'm surprised Canon hasn't worked on getting the response time closer to the DSLR's. Then you would have a P&S worth bragging about.

Why no G4? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraphobia

As an aside, I just found the G10 micro site yesterday. Canon had some guys from the VII Photo Agency run around the globe with the things. Interesting to see the video of how Gary Knight adjusts his user settings.


Mike, are you being lazy and just copying Ken Rockwell?

You did not mention the best feature of the camera: A real exposure compensation knob on top of the camera!

The lag didn't bother you? I tried one in a store, and the lag (every type of it, pretty much), even with every last control there was manually preset, was worse than every other compact with any serious pretensions I've held.

Did I just try a bum copy?

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