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Wednesday, 19 August 2009


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Not to steal anything from the G11 - but can someone better informed tell me what's not to like in the new S90? 28mm, f2, RAW. Pushes my buttons. I presume the body is less sturdy though??
Anyway - as a through-and-through Nikon slr user I'm so pleased to see Canon dictating terms to Nikon with their compacts.

What's really floating my boat is not only did Canon announce the G11, they also announced the S90, a line that's been dead and gone for four years. And it's more proof that Canon took a cue from the success of the LX-3--just look at the styling. And it's got the same sensor/processor, it looks like, as the G11, and a slightly shorter (and faster?!) lens (28-105 f/2-4.9 vs. the G11's 28-140 f/2.8-4.5). Also does RAW and PSAM modes. Essentially, a smaller, cheaper version of the G11 if you can forego the flip-out LCD and a hotshoe. And the control ring is just neat.

Very good news... I may replace my G9. With the advances in sensors over the last few years, high ISO IQ at 10MP should be pretty good now.

Big question for me, though, is whether the optical viewfinder is any better.


Truly, an example of competition being good. But given the way Panasonic has been unable to fulfill orders for the GH1 almost six months after announcing it, one wonders about their production capability as well.

Also, the S90 looks pretty interesting. It like Canon is trying to sandwich the LX3 with two offerings. The front customisable control ring on the S90 looks like a good idea.

Finally, in a classic example of Canon market segmentation (to me Canon is a marketing company hiring engineers) the darn things don't do HD video, and the S90 has no hotshoe! What gives?

I think the S90, announced at the same time, is actually a more interesting compact. Much more akin to the LX3 in design with what looks like some nice controls and the same sensor as the G11.

I think I'm in LUV!

I went with an A650, instead of G9, specifically for the articulated screen. After using it for 18 months, I find the articulated screen to be endlessly useful. CHDK add-on firmware and a cheap WA adapter make it a very flexible, powerful camera.">http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=187&Itemid=1/">camera.

I couldn't see where the G10 brought anything of particular value over its predecessors to the table. The gain on the short end of the zoom pretty much offsets the loss on the long end.

Now the G11 manages to squeeze in the twist & tilt screen at a tiny cost in size and much thinner than the A650 - along with the step away from the megapixel war toward emphasis on IQ.


I see the same sensor system with smaller, lighter, sleeker body revives the S series as the S90.

I've been trying hard to convince myself that some version of the µ4/3 system would serve my desire for something small enough for pocket/belt carry with good IQ. In my heart, though, I know it'll never work with interchangeable lenses sticking out.

Canon may have solved my problem. The Panny LX3 is a super camera, but again, I know some thing about myself; while 24mm is nice, I'd never be happy with the limited long end.


Just thought I'd point out that the articulating LCD is another "retro G" feature (last seen on the G5, I think). I think many people will be hailing G11 as the first "real" G since the good old days.

Considering Canon seem to have addressed the major shortcomings of the G10, I wonder if it's too much to hope that the optical finder was improved as well.

This has to impact M4/3 compact development somewhat, right?

I have the G9 and love it but I've wanted (not really needed) to upgrade to the G10 for the wider angle lens... now I'm really not sure! Guess I'll have to wait a bit to see how the images look once it's out.

Are the megapixel wars, gasp, finally over?

I'm hoping now that camera competition will be on the basis of useful features and higher image quality. But who am I kidding?

Ken, no doubt you are an enthusiastic Canon G fan; however, with this little bit on the G11, I have to wonder if you get a commission on each G camera sold. I'll let your words do the talking:

From your G9 review: "The G7 produced some of the best point & shoot images I had seen. The G9 exceeds that standard to my eye."

From your G10 review: "Despite Canon cramming more pixels on that tiny CCD (which Canon claims is all-new) the G10's image quality is actually markedly better than the G9's."

From your comments on the just announced G11: "But on the path from the G7 to the G10, there's no question that image quality declined."

Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade!!! Sorry, but I have to laugh.

So, this is it? Oficially the first time a line of cameras had decreased megapixels? It's really a milestone, I think.

Really nice move on Canon's part. Very encouraging to see they decided to end the megapixel madness in this segment. I actually got even more excited with the S90 announcement today though... It has the same sensor as the G11 but a f/2.0 lens and a much lighter package. I'm a happy LX3 owner but I got to say that these new Canon cameras have me tempted...

In Germany it will be listed at € 589, and at the beginning the street price will probably be that. Compare that to $ 500 at Amazon and BH which equals roughly € 350 and add VAT at 20% which makes is €420, and you get an amazing difference of 40% more expensive in Germany.

To me the most exciting feature of the camera is the ability to shoot at up to ISO 12,800 in reduced 2.5MP resolution.

I can think of many events I photograph where I'll never need a print larger than A5 and would love to be 100% available light.


Wow that sounds great. I was very seriously looking at the G10 and the LX3 about 8 months ago. Ended up going with an SLR instead, partially since both cameras for me were irritatingly close to a perfect fit that I felt maybe if I just waited...

But it still has a crappy viewfinder.

It's a bad thing that a specialist in optical instruments now puts more work in the little computer inside the camera than in the actual optical components.
Even Olympus, famous for its microscopes, doesn't seem interested to come up with something to enlarge the view in the finder of their DSLR.

I like these cameras a lot for their size, weight and image quality, but would never buy one because of the CV-disease (crappy viewfinder disease).

Here's an NYT article about the new generation of camera's. No longer a focus on more Megapixels. Finally the camera companies work on higher quality pixels.


OK Canon, whilst you are listening to your customer listen to this. How about allowing UK customers to buy the G11 for the same price as those in the USA? I've seen a proposed sterling price of £569. Is someone multiplying by the conversion rate instead of dividing? There are lots of empty shops on Exeter High St, perhaps a US retailer would like to open a new branch.

And what about the S90 Mike? Same sensor and image processor in a much smaller package, yet lots of control too. Looks interesting to me.

The G11 looks nice, but I'm actually more interested in the S90.

It appears to be the same sensor as the G11 in a smaller frame; the control ring around the lens mount is a really nice touch - set that to aperture control, put it in aperture-priority, and that'd be lovely, especially if the new sensor, and that wide-angle lens, are as good as one would hope. (28-105, f2-f4.9? could be fun at the wide end).

Let's hear it for chicken lips!

This is seriously good news. There is some exciting competition ahead in this market segment at last, and that can only mean good things for those of us in search of the serious compact!

I think the S90 actually looks more interesting, especially if you already own a larger camera with an articulating display. The [email protected] is nice, and same sensor!

I too was very happy to read about the pixel-downgrade on the G11 on dpreview this morning. I've been wishing for new cameras with less MP for quite a while now (see My New Camera and the Megapixel Wars), but I actually thought that nobody is listening. I need a digicam, and I will surely order a G11 when it becomes available in Germany.


I've been using the G10 for about three months. In the right conditions the camera is capable of astonishing results.
Take a look at this shot for example.
In my opinion the G11 has to be considered more like a companion to the G10 than a replacement: good light? use the G10 for maximum resolution, low contrast, low light? Use the G11.

To be honest the S90 seems more interesting- similar lens and the same sensor and processor as the G11, in a smaller body without the useless viewfinder. It also has a lens control ring, which can be set to a variety of functions (focus, aperture, etc.)

It's possible, depending on how well the thing works, that we finally have a viable manual focus mechanism on a compact built-in-lens camera!

Be interesting to compare G7 vs G11, since they're both 10 mpix. (Btw, my old G3 has an articulating LCD.)

$500 in the US
£569 in the UK (about $942)

Pure greed.

I imported a $500 lens from the US last month. Paid about $160 duty and tax.

Must be the greater distribution costs in the UK. 60 million people in a country the size of North Carolina - long way to transport cameras?

Even Microsoft isn't ripping us off that badly for Windows 7.

Personally, I am even more excited about the S90. Same sensor, smaller body, and a new twist (if you'll excuse the pun) on the control wheel concept.

One of our guys bought a G10 a few months back. The 16x20s he made from it were extremely crisp but did have some noise in the shadows.
I assumed the cause was an overstuffed sensor. Nice to see Canon listening to photographers as opposed to the marketing folks.

I currently have a G9. Over the years I owned a few of the SXX series as well. The problem with the S30 and S40 was that the lens was a compromise over the G series. Hopefully the S90 will improve upon the older S series lens design. Unless the image quality is a huge improvement over the G9, I'll probably wait for the micro 4/3rd prices to drop and jump on that ship.

Image quality??? What image quality!?
It's just another useless little play-time-size sensor camera.
A doorstop that takes photos, sorta, kinda, maybe.

Folks seem to be very interested in the S90. I hope that Canon has done something to improve shutter lag. My wife's S80 is incredibly slow and frustrating to use.

As always, the buzz will reach its peak once the camera's out available for testing.

Ok, I am not the first to mention that there is also the S90. When, say, Sigma announces something with a 2.8 lens, it is so slow that no one can take photos with it, this is clear. When Canon brings another 2.8-nowhere zoom it is great. Rant over.

But, the S90 has a freaking 2.0 lens with that control ring. Wow, this is the real thing, the new Yashica T4 if I remember correctly, or Hexar AF. I just wonder why so few people get exited about the 28 2.0 lens, which is almost perfect (35 2.0 would be). At 35mm it should perform great, at least I hope so.

Not to justify the discrepancies in the exchange rates, but there are often a great deal of behind the scenes dealings/agreements that can serve to balloon the price of goods.

For instance, in Canada, Sony had a distribution agreement in place with a Canadian company dating back to the mid-50's or 60's. So whereas goods imported into the US are marked up with freight, duties/tariffs and localization, goods coming into Canada were also marked up by the national distributor. I believe this changed a few years back, but this contributed in large part to the pricing discrepancy.

Regarding Canon, I have been told that for Canon Canada/US that prices are established in part by the volume of product the "local" office requests. Which is to say, the US will order 5-5.5x as many cameras as the UK and therefore will likely receive better pricing from Canon Japan. The substantially higher cost of business/living should also be a major consideration in the UK. Doesn't a McDonald's meal cost £3.99?

(If you want to feel better... go look at motorcycle prices. Hondas, Suzukis, Yamahas are priced within a few hundred pounds of Ducatis and Aprilias. We definitely don't get that this side of the Atlantic.)

Dunno for sure but I suspect higher prices in the UK have something to do with the government(taxes).

Dont you guys across the pond have a VAT that is responsible for some of the price differences?

Veerry interesting products. I do have to wonder about that ring on the front of the s90 and how it will handle in the real world. Reaching around the front of an SLR that's pressed up against your face is one thing, reaching around to the front of a tiny little compact camera held at half arm's length away from your face seems like something very different.

At times like these I feel that we are caught up in the technology equivalent of a kid in the back seat asking, "are we there yet?" I love the G10 controls and am glad that has not changed. I don't care much about the articulated screen, and am generally concerned that the upgrades may only be a series of half-measures only. Is simply reversing field on the nothing-exceeds-like-excess megapixel path sufficient? No upgrade in fps for shooting people, etc. 3200 ISO? I note that each of the full-sized demo pics on the Canon website is shot at ISO 80, which has been de rigueur for using the G10, where ISOs above 200 are just numbers on a dial. The proof will be in the pudding but, after 10 tries, I would have bumped out the size of the body and asked the engineers to do their best with the working space.

It seems to me from the sample images posted, that the G11 has a slight edge in image quality - although it is quite early to tell. Since both cameras share the same sensor, it seems to me that the lens on G11 is somewhat superior to the S90 lens but S90 lens has an advantage in low light. In one of the hands-on reports, someone mentioned that the autofocus seemed somewhat slow on the S90. I personally like the G11 at this point in terms of ergonomics, possibly slightly better IQ, and the available accessories.

@ Kevin S.: You're right. I've no rebuttal to my own words. My enthusiasm over the G11, however, is that it's actually a downgrade in the interest of image quality preservation.

So now it's, "Downgrade, downgrade, downgrade!"
That S90, which I'd not paid attention to, sure does look like a good value, eh?

Could either the S90 or G11 be the fabled DMD? If IQ is as good as anticipated, only P & S AF speeds could potentially hold either camera back.

Dear fmertz,

Funny thing. I'm using a camera with just about the same size sensor as the new Canon, and at ISO 100 & 200, it produces images just as high in quality as a Nikon D200. (At high ISOs, it loses a stop in performance vs the Nikon.)

It's entirely possible to get excellent image quality from a small sensor, as some cameras have demonstrated. It's also possible to get lousy image quality from a large sensor, as a few cameras have demonstrated.

Anyone who bases their opinions about image quality solely on 'format' without actually looking at photos is likely to be parted from their money unwisely at some point or another... and deservedly so.

pax / Ctein

Yes, we have a VAT that's not avoidable - here in Germany, it's 19%. Then, there might be tariffs and different warranty legislation. But still, the price difference is huge and not completely explainable without greedy behaviour. And that's not only with cameras, software is a good example as well (for example, Adobe Lightroom).

But at least a visit to the ER costs me max 10 €, so when I get seriously sick, I could buy lots of Canon G11s or even 5DMIIs from the money saved compared to what you over there would have to pay in a similar case.

To conclude, you can't just compare prices without seeing the whole picture.

I'm with Bruce. I am so tired of getting great cameras on paper that have excruciatingly long shutter lags (Canon is a particular culprit). I hate taking photos of what used to be there...

Do those who are excited by the "faster" lens on the S90 vs. G11 only shoot at the widest zoom setting?

S90 - 28/2.0 to 105/4.9
G11 - 28/2.8 to 140/4.5

Clearly, the G11 will be faster over at least part of the longer end of the S90's zoom range. No way to know where the crossover will be without actual testing.

Not saying one's better, just that they are more different than just the shortest focal length speed.

Personally, I use the whole range of focal lengths on my cameras.


>>you get an amazing difference of 40% more expensive in Germany.

That's probably why we can buy the LX3 and other items here in Germany in almost any decent store while the Americans still discuss the availability...

People are talking about high quality from a small sensor and no one here thinks to mention the new Sony WX1?

@pax / Ctein,

I agree that a camera should be judged on its own merits, not its category or sensor size. But...

Just a single solitary stop in high ISO performance from a G10 to a D200? Really?


Right ON! I like everything about the G11 but that there has apparently been no improvement in the OVF.


I've got my biggest show yet (23 pieces) up at a local coffeehouse, most 12X18 prints framed 18X24, and every image was taken with a small sensor Ricoh. Yes, I shoot RAW (DNG) and usually at 100.

Ctein is correct - used appropriately, these cameras are capable of producing stunning imagery.

Dear Peter,

Because none of us know a damn thing about it, yet, beyond a press release! Intriguing, to be sure. I certainly am! But whodahellknows?

Dear Steve,

Ummm, I don't have a G10, dunno what gave you that idea.

But yeah, only about a stop difference between the D200 and the Fuji S100. Which really means, to the degree I can measure this (not very precisely), that it's something under a stop and a half, and definitely more than half a stop. Still, when the pixel areas differ by a factor of 6, it's a surprising result.

pax / Ctein


My bad,

Go to the 8/7 date:



Very nice sample images. Also, it's worth mentioning that all we know about the G11 is also a press release, but it didn't stop one of the regular contributors here gushing about it based on the performance of past models. ;-)

Lower megapixel, higher sensitivity sensors. Hmm. Might we see a 12-15 MP 5DIII to compete with Nikon's D700? Hope so!

I spent a long time checking out the options for a compact high spec flexible camera that would be easier to carry around. i settled on the G10. It seems fine. Within days though the G11 was announced. so be it, these things happen.
What does irritate me though is Ken Tanaka doing what every reviewer does when a new model comes out and tells you what was wrong with the old model i.e. the image quality had declined since the G7. In all the reviews that I read, nobody said this. Maybe I hadn't read one of Ken's reviews.
Robert, Luxembourg (VAT 12%)

Dear Peter,

S'okay [s].

I can't tell a damn thing, one way or another, from those sample images, I'm afraid. And the press releases don't tell me anything about how good the pictures will be (I am familiar with the tech-- discussed related stuff in a previous column). Sorry!

It's one thing to discuss merits based on a press release when the camera is the latest version of an established line. One can look at the differences and draw some level of reality-based conclusion.

It's another to do it with an entirely new camera using different sensor technology. I could make sensible comments about the G11, if they hadn't all been made by others. Anything I (or anyone else) had to say about the Sony would be pure blather or regurgitated press release.

pax / Ctein

Yawn, I'll stick to my Olympus C8080 for a bit more....

I absolutely agree that the G7 is one of the top-notch prosumer compacts to ever grace the scene. The zoom control on my G7 snapped, but is still usable, but it has been sitting in my cabinet for a while. The announcement of the G11 is exciting news indeed!

Mike, I thought some people might be interested in seeing this image comparison between the Canon G11 and Ricoh GR III, posted on Focus Numérique.

Although chroma noise is similarly handled, the G11 beats the GR III as far as high-ISO resolution is concerned...by 2 stops! (Maybe even a bit more.) I'm quite impressed with how well the G11's ISO 800 looks, and I would say ISO1600 and 3200 are quite usable (depending on the subject), which seems absurd to me given the size of the sensor.

We live in truly remarkable digital times, huh? :-)

My only issue with any of this is that I have had 2 Canon compact cameras, one I used and one I used then gave to my girlfriend. Both have failed within 2 years, being repaired by extended warranty. There seem to be an awful lot of known failure modes with an awful lot of Canon cameras (like the A80 and the SD870 that I have experience with). I don't know if any other manufacturers are better; I have an LX3 and will see how that goes.

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