The latest offering in Canon‘s prosumer PowerShot G series is the new G1 X. Announced today—the first official day of CES—the G1 X features a 1.5-inch 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor (compared to the G12‘s 1/1.7-inch 10MP CCD sensor) as well as Canon’s DIGIC 5 image processor. It also boasts an ISO range of up to 12800 for low-light capture and an f/2.8-f/16 4x optical zoom lens. With a price tag of $800, the G1 X costs as much, if not more, than an entry-level Canon DSLR, which might turn off those photographers who are shopping around for a next level camera to step up their image quality and feature set from a compact point-and-shoot, especially if they’re looking to get into a system with interchangeable lenses. However, the Canon G series has for more than a decade now been a favorite everywhere camera for professional and enthusiast shutterbugs when they need to reach for a more portable option that will still make great images.
The Canon G1 X will be available for $799.99 in February.
Canon has announced two new leaders in their lineup of professionally-leaning PowerShot compact cameras—the G12 and the SX30 IS. Here at DP, we’re big fans of the PowerShot G-series (G10 reviewed here and G11 reviewed here), so we were excited about the prospect of a new generation. Upgrades to the 10-megapixel G12 include: built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) scene mode, Canon’s Hybrid IS technology, “a new control dial… [on] the front of the camera…for easy adjusting of camera settings similar to how users operate a Canon Digital SLR camera,” and a 5x optical zoom lens with wide-angle capabilities starting at 28mm. Let’s hope that the viewfinder offers much more coverage this time around because, really, that has been our biggest complaint with the camera’s predecessors. The G12 will be available in early October for $499.99.
The new PowerShot SX30 IS is being hailed as the “perfect companion for photo enthusiasts capturing memorable images or videos at sporting events or special occasions” because of its super telephoto lens (24mm to 840mm) and a “Zoom Framing Assist button to aid in the tracking and capturing of subjects from a great distance away while keeping the lens in focus.” The 14.1-megapixel SX30 IS will be available in late September for $429.99. More images and info from Canon below.
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Samsung NX10 Review
Text and Photos by Allison Gibson
Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras
A new genre has emerged in digital photography gear: the compact interchangeable lens digital camera. Not to be confused with its rival, the Micro Four Thirds system camera—which is, in turn, the rival of the digital SLR camera—the interchangeable lens digital camera is, in bare-bones terms, a hybrid point-and-shoot/D-SLR. With a large APS-C size CMOS image sensor that’s as big as those found in entry-level D-SLRs, the compact interchangeable lens camera has the advantage of a smaller, more lightweight body. The major defining difference between the compact interchangeable lens digital camera and the D-SLR is that the former is mirrorless, meaning it abandons the mirror box (which in a D-SLR is necessary for the viewfinder to see exactly what the lens sees), operating exclusively with Live View shooting—the same way that the Micro Four Thirds camera does. (See my recent review of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 to learn more about the Micro Four Thirds standard.)
So far in 2010, three cameras of this type have been announced: the Samsung NX10, which was floated as a concept at PMA 2009 and then introduced in full at CES 2010; and the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5, which were both announced on May 11, 2010 after Sony introduced the concept at PMA.
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Text and Photos by Allison Gibson
Canon’s latest G-series flagship compact—the PowerShot G11—features some marked improvements from its predecessor, the G10. Image quality is sharper, thanks to the cutback in megapixels to better suit the 1/1.7-inch image sensor, and low-light performance is improved, with less noise at higher ISO ranges. The lure of the G11, and its predecessors, is that it looks and feels more professional than a standard point-and-shoot (and of course, offers full manual shooting control), while at the same time offering a much more compact alternative to an interchangeable lens D-SLR or Micro Four-Thirds standard camera. This place in the market—often referred to as “prosumer”—attracts both professional photographers who want a compact second camera, and advanced amateurs looking to move into more serious gear but who aren’t yet ready for the heft, price and responsibility of a D-SLR.
What’s Different from the G10
The MSRP for the G11 is $499.99, and it remains the same also for the G10. With this new generation G series camera, Canon recognized the need to cut back on the megapixel count—going from the G10’s 14.7 down to 10MP with the G11— despite the industry’s penchant for using these ever-increasing numbers as a selling point. Though comparing the number of effective pixels may be an easy spec for consumers to swallow, jamming more and more megapixels into a sensor the size of the G10’s wasn’t doing image quality and noise control any favors.
The G11’s CCD sensor is the same as its predecessor’s, as is Canon’s DIGIC 4 Image Processor, but the G11 features a newly developed High Sensitivity System for improvements in low-light shooting. The improvements are noticeable—even in conventional settings—with higher ISOs. I tested the G10 last year at ISO 800 in a dark jazz club in Boston, only to find the captured image (unsurprisingly) teeming with noise. The G11 does much better at ISO 800, and even ISO 1600, yielding usable results with greater detail preserved. The G11 has essentially the same wide-angle 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 lens as the G10, bumping it up slightly to offer 5x optical zoom.
Let’s Get This Out of the Way—the Viewfinder is Awful
An optical (or electronic, even) viewfinder is expected by most photographers on a camera of this level, and it’s nice that the G11 includes one. However, it’s virtually useless for framing shots because the lens is in the way and the coverage is a paltry 77%. The good news is that the 2.8-inch, wide Vari-angle LCD is diverse in all of the various angles you can position it in. It’s extremely bright, making it functional even in direct sunlight, though it’s smaller than the G10’s 3-inch fixed screen. Having been basically forced to use the G11’s Vari-angle LCD exclusively, because of how bad the coverage of the viewfinder was, I found myself contorting it all kinds of ways—even holding it at 90 degrees to block people nearby from seeing exactly what I was shooting. (Which is admittedly neurotic, but comes in handy when you’re trying different settings and don’t need nosey folks next to you looking on.)
Handling the Camera
The G11, as I’ve said, feels more professional than other compact cameras. It’s heavier, larger and much sturdier with its magnesium alloy shell. You feel confident hanging it from a strap around your neck or shoulder—like you know what you’re doing. The controls on the body include: a shooting modes dial on top, which sits atop a very convenient dedicated ISO control dial; an on/off button; a zoom control; and the shutter release. To the left of those on top are the hotshoe mount for an external flash and a dial control for exposure compensation. On the back of the camera, to the right of the LCD, are: a four-way control pad for MF on/off, flash, self-timer and Macro, with a set button in the middle and a scrolling ring around the outside.
The G11 has the ability to shoot in RAW (CR2) and JPEG, and offers full Manual shooting, Aperture and Shutter Priorities and Auto mode. There are also 17 Scene modes, including: Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene and Stitch Assist. It also shoots video (640×480 at 30fps). Capture is to SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus card or HC MMCplus card. It offers no internal memory.
The G11 is fun to use, with impressive image quality, as was the case with the G10 before it. The major improvements are the better quality results at higher ISOs and the Vari-angle LCD, which provides a lot of freedom for getting creative angles. The most exciting thing, though, about shooting with the G11 is actually fantasizing about what the next generation of the G series will hold. Better viewfinder? Please! Full HD video? The lens control ring found in the Canon S90? Thank you! Of course, at $500, it has been argued that one might as well jump into the entry-level D-SLR market and reap the benefits of that level of image quality, lens options and overall control. One generation back, there are several such D-SLRs at a comparable price—lens kit included—such as the Nikon D40 or Canon EOS Rebel Xs. However, as I previously mentioned, an advantage of the G11 is its stealth size, and that’s something you won’t find with interchangeable lens cameras.
Canon PowerShot G11
- 4.41”W x 3.00”H x 1.90”D; 12.5 oz.
- Image Sensor:
- 10-megapixels, CCD
- Still Recording Format:
- RAW, JPG
- SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus card, HC MMCplus card
- 2.8-inch LCD (461,000 pixels); Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
- Video Recording Mode:
- 640×480 (30fps)
- Exposure Metering:
- Evaluative, Center Weighted, Spot
- ISO Equivalent:
- Power Source:
- Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery NB-7L; AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC50
Announced this weekend at PMA in Anaheim, the new Samsung TL500 has been creating a good amount of buzz for the past few days. Samsung‘s new flagship compact fits right into that increasingly popular “prosumer” category, making it an ideal step-up camera for those looking to move into more advanced equipment without jumping straight to D-SLR, and for those pro shooters who like to keep a more compact camera on-hand alongside their D-SLR.
The TL500 has a 24mm ultra‑wide angle Schneider KREUZNACH f/1.8 lens, and as shown above, can be paired with an optional wide-angle adapter that takes the lens from 24mm to 18mm. It has a super bright 3-inch swiveling AMOLED screen that shows deep blacks and really rich colors. The camera has a sturdy, pro-like feeling when it’s in-hand, and I anticipate this high end compact—with full manual shooting modes—will be giving others in its category a run for their money. Samsung is definitely emerging as the dark horse in the digital camera game, thanks especially to their new CES announcement, the NX10, and now the TL500.