The market is littered with small, compact digital cameras capable of producing fairly decent shots, but climb slightly higher up the ladder and there are relatively few high-end compacts from which to choose.
Indeed, for the past few years Canon’s G-series PowerShot range has almost had a monopoly in this segment, and it’s clearly looking to continue this trend with the new PowerShot G10.
Going simply by looks alone, very little has changed from the Canon PowerShot G9. The same chunky, all-black chassis is used, while the large 3-inch viewfinder takes its place at the rear.
Canon has, however, given the megapixel count a considerable bump from 12.1 to 14.7. The lens has also changed, with the new 28mm wide-angle model allowing for far more encompassing landscape shots compared to the 35mm PowerShot G9. A slight disappointment, however, is that Canon has also decided to cut the optical zoom from 6x to 5x, meaning the 210mm telephoto of the G9 drops to just 140mm here.
Canon has greatly improved the screen by cramming in no fewer than 461,000 pixels. During testing we found it a delight to use and it’s one of the best we’ve seen. A traditional viewfinder is also provided, but it only reveals around 80 percent of the scene and therefore isn’t much use when you’re looking to take accurate photos.
The top of the camera is home to a flash hot-shoe, power button, shutter release, zoom control and three dials; one dial is to set the camera’s mode, while the other two are dedicated shortcuts for ISO and exposure compensation, which is a nice touch.
As far as features are concerned, you’re certainly not short-changed with the PowerShot G10; aperture-priority, shutter-priority and full-manual mode are joined by a range of preset scene modes. Face detection is also included, as is a rather nifty feature called Face Self-Timer that, when activated, waits until your face (or anyone else’s, for that matter) appears in the scene before taking a shot.
Sensitivity up to ISO 1600 is offered and as long as you stay below ISO 200 you won’t notice much noise. We certainly wouldn’t recommend taking shots at ISO 1600, although it’s good to have it available for those times when you simply can’t use the flash. When shooting in low light or fully zoomed in, the optical image stabilisation also reduces the chances of a photo riddled with camera shake.
Focusing was speedy, with the AF lamp helping out in darker scenes, and burst modes are reasonably impressive; we measured 1.3fps (frames per second), though this dropped to 0.7fps when we requested the G10 to reset the focus for each shot.
It came as no surprise to find the PowerShot G10 was capable of producing some excellent photos. Using the 1cm macro mode we were able to capture some amazingly detailed images, with colour and fine detail both spot-on.
One issue we noticed, however, was that it’s a little susceptible to chromatic aberrations: purple fringing and some green edges were noticeable in some high-contrast outdoor shots. It should be stressed that this is only a minor complaint, though, and unless you’re creating huge prints or cropping right in on detail, you’re unlikely to notice these issues.
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