The 12-megapixel Canon PowerShot G9 features Raw capture, a 6x optical zoom and manual control.
Return of Raw
Canon has finally seen fit to up the stakes and re-introduce the Raw shooting mode that previous PowerShot users had been pining for. The sensor of the G9 has had a 2 megapixel increase over the G7, and sits now at an effective 12.1MP. The rear LCD screen has also been enlarged and now dominates the back of the unit at three inches, with a slightly increased pixel count and PureColour II technology.
As was the case with the G7, a DIGIC III processor, stabilised 6x optical zoom lens and 80-1600 ISO range all feature, although the ISO can now be extended to 3200 in 2MP capture. The Face Detection system sees the introduction of a Face Detect and Track System, that can select and track an individual face out of a maximum 35, while the FlexiZone focusing system allows a single AF point to be moved to a greater degree around the frame.
The same hotshoe and compatibility with conversion lenses remains, though the model is now additionally compatible with Canon’s ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter, with flash functionality itself also having been expanded.
Aside from the increased size of the LCD, the design of the Canon PowerShot G9 has been kept much the same as its predecessor. It’s by no means a small compact but the extra improvements over the G7 model have not added anything whatsoever to its overall weight or size. Inspired by the design of a traditional rangefinder, a dedicated ISO dial remains on top of the camera while a multi-control dial encircles the main menu pad. The viewfinder is clear, with its only failing being that it is partially obscured by the protrusion of the lens at the wideangle end.
The DIGIC III processor no doubt plays its part in improving the overall operational speed of the G9, as has been demonstrated in other recent DIGIC III-equipped compacts. The bright LCD screen benefits greatly from both its size and clarity and is a joy to shoot and view images with. Image reviewing does take its time if done via the menu pad; using the multi-control dial not only speeds through the images and thumbnails but does so along with displaying the time and date of their capture.
Superficially, images appear very pleasant. There are no problems with exposures or white balance, with both being accurate and producing lovely images. Luminance noise is evident in higher-ISO images, though chroma noise is far better controlled and not a problem at all. The overall level of detail is more than satisfactory while colour is well rendered even at higher ISO settings. It’s only under closer inspection that a few inaccuracies begin to show. Corner drop-off is noticeable, with edge sharpness fairing just a little better, while fringing does also make itself known. Barrelling is noticeable at the wideangle end but by mid-range this isn‚t a problem. Again, a lot of this is only an issue under closer inspection, though for many buying this sort of camera it will no doubt matter.
Value For Money
Everything you could possibly need in an enthusiast’s compact and a great deal more is included in the G9, and given that the camera can now be found for around £100 less than its RRP, it seems, on paper, to represent great value for money. This is, however, hampered by certain flaws in image quality which, for this price, shouldn’t really be there.
Canon’s PowerShot G9 performs very well across the board, with a fantastically detailed LCD screen, great functionality and good images.