Canon G11–first impressions

It’s back—The articulating LCD monitor is back on the Powershot G series cameras. This time it’s twice the size of what it was on the G3.

As you read the title of this post, you must be thinking. Gee…this camera has been out a while and I’m only now writing about it?

I tend to buy equipment as the need arises.

It’s really a shame to blow $500 on a Point-and-Shoot camera when I have multiple bodies of digital SLR.

But there are times when a dSLR is overkill or not welcome.

My new Powershot G11 is complicated.

And it’s  not because of its price tag.

It’s complicated because there is very little real estate on its body.

Whenever a camera is this small, there just isn’t enough room for a lot of dials, buttons and knobs.

Sure, they can cram all those on the body, but what ends up happening is this: the user will accidentally push a button when they don’t mean to.

So instead of instant access to say changing the shutter speed, ISO or White Balance, you now have to dig through the layers of Menus.

The bad—With limited real estate on such a compact body, something has to give. In this case, if you have your camera on a tripod as I have in the picture, you can’t access the battery and the memory card compartment without first taking the camera off. It’s a minor inconvenience but not a deal breaker.

If that’s not complicated enough, the manufacturer is assuming the user knows the names or understands what each term like “Compression,” “White Balance,”  “Color Space” means. If you don’t know what those mean, how can you know what to change?

So whenever a feature that is often used or changed gets buried away under multiple layers, it’s a bad design.

I still don’t  understand why there is a “print” button on the camera body.

How many people do you know print directly from their digital camera?

As experienced as I am, I would never assume a picture is going to be ready to be printed based on what I see on that tiny 3″ LCD monitor on the back of my camera.

Ink is too expensive for one thing. And even if I had the capability to check on the focus by the zooming in to maximum magnification, I can’t be sure of the color.

Only sure way is to open the image in Photoshop, view it at 100% magnification or some other color managed editing software on a calibrated monitor I’m familiar with.

7 thoughts on “Canon G11–first impressions”

  1. as to wider range of f stops I would like to refer you to understanding exposure B. Peterson page 47 he lists equivalent f stop settings. He feels that on a Nikon Coolpix 5700 a setting ofF4 is equivalent to f16 on a 35 mm SLR and 60mm is 200 in 35mm terms.

  2. Hello Terry,
    Thanks you so much for that contribution. When and if I find that issue with the access to battery and memory card slot intolerable, I will look at the plate from really right stuff. Thank you

  3. Hello Al,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. The G11 is something I have with me all the time. It’s perfect for those times when a dSLR will be too obtrusive and unwielding.

    I did like the Neutral Density filter feature very much. I wish the camera had a wider range of f-stops. But for $500 I am getting exactly what I paid for–a versatile Point and shoot for those times I don’t want to be stuck with a lot of weight. Times like when I’m a field trip with my kids.

  4. Tim,
    I saw that you shot some pictures with the 5D and the G11 as comparison. Most photographers who “light” always want that ability to sync at high shutter speed for control and the G11 being a rangefinder fits the bill. It’s too bad the “glass” is so-so. But we have to be realistic. It’s about $500, what do we expect? I am happy with my purchase.

  5. Peter, I agree about the over-crowded back of the camera. I’ve accidentally activated the MF and Macro buttons a number of times, which can be frustrating.

    I’d agree that it’s silly to have the print direct button, except that it’s also now a shortcut button to other functions – the same button on my 5D has never been pressed for any reason! It’s not even a shortcut. Mine’s set as a shortcut to WB modes

    I’ll be interested to see how your review continues, and by all means feel free to swing past my blog where I’ll be occasionally talking about the G11 and pictures I’ve taken on it.

    I wouldn’t say it’s a “great” camera – the image files aren’t up to DLSR standard, but it’s proving very useful to me.

  6. Be aware the pictures on lcd can appear sharper then they are. Buttons do get in the way but it is workable. Discover the ND filter, and the live view Histogram that my Nikon does not have. I have not seen it but Busch has a guide to camera. I have posted some shots to my face book page taken with this WONDERFUL camera. Battery live is so good that with a large card the slot should be no problem. Al Reiner

  7. Peter,

    I love my G11. Have a work around that is perfect for your G11 comment about the battery door. Really Right Stuff has an L bracket that allows access to the door when the bracket is attached. This does limit full articulation of the LCD screen but not a big concern. Usually when on tripod the screen is flat to the back. This is my walking around camera when I do not want to lug the SLR and glass around. I love L brackets because I can follow the instruction learned MANY years ago. When is the best time to take a portrait image? Immediately after you take a landscape! Here is the link to RRS bracket for G11.


Comments are closed.