Reviewed by Mike Pasini, Mike Tomkins, and Shawn Barnett
Canon’s PowerShot G10 digital camera is a direct successor to the company’s previous PowerShot G9 model, and at a quick glance the cameras are pretty similar externally. The Canon G10 has grown just a little larger than the G9 in all directions, though, with the biggest increase being an extra third of an inch (6mm) of height. The Canon G10’s handgrip and optical viewfinder have been reprofiled, and probably the biggest visual difference is that the right hand control dial on the camera’s top panel is now a double-decker. The smaller upper dial controls camera modes, and the wider lower dial allows control of ISO sensitivity on the camera body — a bit more photographer friendly than hiding this important setting somewhere in the menu system as many cameras do.
Internally, the Canon G10 retains the same 1/1.7-inch CCD image sensor size as its predecessor, but boosts resolution from 12.1 to 14.7 megapixels, along with upgrading the previous model’s DIGIC III processor to a DIGIC 4 type that allows for servo AF tracking. At the same time the zoom lens loses a little reach, dropping from a 6x optical zoom in the previous camera to a 5x zoom in the PowerShot G10. This is probably an acceptable tradeoff for most uses though, as the G9’s rather restricting 35mm wide angle becomes a useful 28mm wide angle in the newer camera.
Thankfully, as with the previous camera, the Canon G10 includes true optical image stabilization to help combat blur from camera shake. Maximum aperture is now f/2.8 to f/4.5 across the zoom range. As well as the previously mentioned AF tracking, the G10’s autofocus system now has improved face detection capability. Canon says the camera will now recognize faces at most angles, and has included a Face Detection self timer which automatically takes a photo two seconds after an additional face enters the scene. The Canon PowerShot G10’s LCD display retains the previous 3.0-inch diagonal size, but its resolution increases from 230,000 to a higher-than-average 461,000 dots.
The ISO sensitivity range offered by the Canon G10 is unchanged from the previous camera, with a minimum of ISO 100 through to a maximum of ISO 1,600 (and ISO 3,200 possible in a special high sensitivity scene mode). Available PowerShot G10 shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 15 seconds, besting the G9’s fastest 1/2,500 shutter speed noticeably. Metering modes are unchanged, evaluative, center-weighted and spot all being offered. Likewise, exposure modes are unchanged with the Canon G10 including program, aperture- or shutter-priority, or a fully manual mode. Flash range when set to Auto ISO increases quite a bit, now being rated at 12 inches to 15 feet (30cm to 4.6m) at wide angle, and 1.6 to 9.2 feet (50cm to 2.8m) at telephoto. There are eighteen scene modes, including a new Sunset scene mode, and the G10 also offers a new Intelligent Contrast Correction function.
Where the Canon G9 offered Motion JPEG AVI movies, the Canon G10 opts for H.264 MOV instead, a newer format which generally offers significantly improved compression (and hence smaller file sizes) for equivalent video quality. As with the previous camera, sound is recorded along with movie clips. The Canon PowerShot G10 is unchanged from its predecessor in storing its Raw OR JPEG images and movies on Secure Digital cards, and offering both NTSC / PAL video and USB 2.0 High Speed computer connectivity. The battery type does change from an NB-2LH to an NB-7L lithium-ion rechargeable, however.
The Canon PowerShot G10 will ship in the USA from October 2008, priced at US$500 or less.