The just introduced Canon Powershot G9 is Canon’s flagship point & shoot digital camera. Like the iconic Leica CL/Minolta CLE film cameras of the seventies, Canon’s "G" series digicams are elegant, relatively compact, and completely self-contained imaging tools capable of producing professional quality images. The new G9 features 12 megapixel resolution, the DIGIC III processor, a bright 3.0 inch LCD screen (and an optical viewfinder), an excellent 6X optical zoom, optical image stabilization, improved Face Detection AF, a dedicated hot shoe for Canon Speedlites, and improved ergonomics.
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For me, the fundamental considerations in assessing the performance of any camera are overall image quality and how well the device responds to the needs and demands of the user. Canon's G series digicams are famous for being shooter-centric, and the G9 continues that worthy tradition. Canon decided to eliminate the RAW mode on last year’s G7 and that ill-conceived corporate move created a very vocal protest from loyal G series fans – Canon listened and the RAW function has been restored. The new Canon Powershot G9 was obviously designed by photographers for photographers.
I’ve only had the G9 for a few days, but my initial impressions are quite positive. I thought noise might be a problem with resolution boosted to 12 megapixels (the G7 was a 10 megapixel digicam), but Canon’s teensy 1/1.7" image appears to handle this substantial increase nicely. I’ve shot about 100 images in the short time I’ve had the camera – so far colors are hue accurate and slightly over saturated, but not garish. Reds are a little warm, blues are a tad bright and Caucasian skin tones are very slightly ruddy. Everything I’ve shot to date showed balanced contrast, very good to excellent shadow/highlight detail, and tack sharp resolution. Based on what I’ve seen over the past few days, the G9 is a winner. Check back in a few weeks for our full review.
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