Sunday, January 13, 2008

Canon Powershot G9

Back the first of December I wrote about wanting a point and shoot camera. Something small enough to put in a purse, pocket or to hang around my neck for the day. While we were in Texas, I bought the Canon Powershot G9, 12 megapixels and it shoots RAW files. The Jesus image above was made in one of the churches here in San Miguel with the G9, 200 ISO, f/4.5 at 1/20 of a sec. The basic Photoshop work is just the conversion to black and white and adjustments to the contrast. At 200 ISO the noise is fine but noise at higher ISO's is one of the problems with the small sensors in the point and shoot cameras.

Jesus was sitting in a glass case and there was a horrible light inside the case pointed at his face. I think the camera did okay under the circumstances. IF I wanted to include this image in with a portfolio of my work with the Canon 5D, I think it would pass muster. But I don't know about using it above 200 ISO. By 800 ISO the grain is really noticeable and at 1600 ISO, for me, it is unacceptable to the point that I don't think it can be fixed, especially for a picture with detail.

I'm not going to write a review of the camera because you can find them all over the web but I think that the best user commentaries for the camera are in several entries in Paul Butzi's blog. He took the G9, and it was the only camera he took, along on a vacation and he was pleased with the results. Of course, Paul is a very accomplished photographer.

So far, I like the camera for what I bought it for but it has taken some getting use to. Since I have mostly used medium format cameras or DSLR cameras for about 15 years, I thought that I wanted a viewfinder on the camera. The G9 has a viewfinder but it is so small and inaccurate that I am using the LCD screen to compose images and it feels very I'm waving this 8 oz. screen around in the air. Although I find the screen difficult for composing images, the view finder is more difficult.

The first 3 megapixel digital camera I owned had a huge delay when you pushed the shutter which made it difficult to get a shot of moving grandchildren. The G9 has a nano second delay. A great improvement for point and shoot cameras but noticeable especially when combined with composing the image with the LCD screen and moving grandchildren. I think if I shot with the G9 a lot, I'd make the adjustment but right now, I notice it.

Some people have complained about the controls on the G9. Paul Butzi likes the controls on the camera and so do I. I agree with him that the controls are slightly different than Canon's DSLR's but familiar enough that they are easily changed.

All in all, I'm happy that I now have a pocketable (I'm sure that the spell check isn't going to like that word) camera.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Billie,

As someone who abhors digital noise, I can certainly agree with your comments on the G9. I have an older G3, which is fantastic in most respects (for a 4 MP point & shoot), but it does get a bit noisy over 200 ISO. However, I have found software which does a fairly good job of getting rid of the noise. It's called noiseware, and you can find it here: There's a free edition which is pretty good, and I imagine that the photoshop plug-in is even better.

It does soften images somewhat, but this is the price to be paid for noise reduction. I suspect you can re-sharpen in photoshop, especially with smart sharpen. Give it a try, maybe you'll find more use for your G9.

As someone who bought a Canon 30D DSLR a while ago for its low noise and good color reproduction, I have to confess to being a bit tired of lugging it around. It's heavy.

Best luck,

Kim G
Boston, MA