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Technisch

Niet beschikbaar in
January 2009

Canon G series PowerShot cameras have gained the respect of many professional photographers since their launch in September 2000. In 2007 the arrival of the G9 brought the ability to capture RAW images together with a host of other improvements. Then in 2008 the G10 arrived. Containing all the goodness of the G9 and many of the changes requested by photographers, this camera is the perfect tool when a little subtlety is required or if you aren't carrying a DSLR.

First off, sensor resolution has been increased from 12.1 to 14.7 megapixels. Before anyone groans, the addition of the latest DIGIC 4 processor has made those pixels genuinely useful and image quality has been upped, even at higher ISO settings.

Improvements

On the basis that you can always walk closer to the subject, but often you cannot walk backwards, the most requested change by photographers on the G9 was a wider zoom. It seems Canon has listened and the built-in 5x zoom (6.1-30.5mm) is now equivalent to 28-140mm in 35mm format. The maximum aperture at the wide end is f/2.8; f/4.5 at the long end. Combined with a four-stop equivalent Image Stabilization (IS) system the camera has formidable capabilities, robust construction and drop-dead gorgeous looks.

© Nick Wilcox-Brown

The high quality wideangle lens with four stops of stabilisation allows shots that would be hard without a tripod on a DSLR.

Functions

For consumers, the G10 offers a mouth-watering array of functionality, with an unbelievable collection of exposure modes - how does 'special scene', 'aquarium', 'fireworks' or even 'colour swap' sound? There is also an arsenal of photo effects packed into the camera: vivid red, lighter skin tone, the ubiquitous sepia and many more.

On the focusing side, there is Canon's excellent face detection technology that has now been expanded for multiple faces - perfect for group shots. i-Contrast is a brilliant technology for optimising image exposure, but sadly it only works with JPEG capture.

For professionals who will want to turn off the gimmicks, there is true manual exposure mode as well as the usual suspects - Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Program, Movie and perhaps most useful of all, Custom settings.

Exposure modes, together with ISO settings are controlled by chunky mechanical dials on the right side of the camera's top plate, exactly where the shutter speed used to be on film cameras. On the left side, another control dial allows +/- 2 stops of exposure compensation in 1/3 stop intervals.

 

The top plate is uncluttered and features chunky, mechanical knobs for control of exposure mode, ISO (right) and exposure compensation (left).

The rear of the camera boasts a familiar looking control wheel, combined with a FUNC SET function button and multi-controller. Together these allow input of many of the major settings and menu items. The multi-controller also allows direct access to Manual focus, flash, macro and drive mode settings.

Custom Settings

The previously mentioned Custom settings are a true joy: accessed through the main control dial, C1 and C2 allow for your favourite combinations of shooting modes to be combined with values (shutter speed/aperture for instance), zoom location and even manual focus location. With two custom settings available on the main control dial there is great potential for instant access to a fast shooting setup for street shooting, for example.

Out of the box, AF response and subsequent delay on shutter release can seem a little slow. Fortunately, this is down to the default settings. For a quick fix, go into the menu and set AF Frame to Flexizone, then choose the centre AF point. Immediately the camera becomes responsive and shutter delay becomes user friendly.

© Nick Wilcox-Brown

The G10 produces great pictures - these are buildings within the Alhambra Palace complex, Granada, Spain.

Focus Free shooting

Remembering that the 1/ 1.7" sensor is only 7.6x5.7mm in size, and the actual focal length at the widest setting is 6.1mm, then setting an aperture of only f/4 gives you almost unlimited depth of field.

For really fast shooting, set the zoom to the widest setting, manual focus to a distance of 2m (helpfully displayed on the rear screen when MF is selected), aperture to f/4 and it is possible to walk around all day, without the need to focus. At half zoom, f/5.6, focusing at 4m will give sharp pictures from approximately 2.5m to 10m, and this can be very useful for reportage.

The zoom control attempts to give you some idea of depth of field for a given aperture on the camera's rear screen: ignore it. If you want accurate hyperfocal distances, check out some of the depth-of-field tables that are available on the web.

Working with flash

Starting with the G9, excellent compatibility with any Canon EX Speedlite flashgun and the Speedlite ST-E2 transmitter is built into the Powershot G series. The G10 is no exception and although it looks a little unusual with a 580EX II flashgun sitting on the hotshoe, the results are excellent. Autoflash metering, FE lock and exposure compensation all work well and, using the 580EXII, continuous shooting is matched by the flash recycling times.

Flash synchronises up to 1/250sec and can be controlled from the camera menu, including first and second curtain sync and the ability to set up the EOS wireless flash system.

PureColor LCD

The new, 7.62cm (3") PureColor LCD II screen certainly makes working with the menus easier. With 'true-to-life' colours, and twice as much resolution as the G9, images look vibrant and rich. Take care though to ensure it does not get scratched on your jeans rivets though!

© Nick Wilcox-Brown

Balconies in a Spanish apartment block.

If you are trying to get maximum life out of your battery (although this will rarely be an issue), turn off the rear display with the DISP. button below the multi-controller. On the other hand if you just prefer to look through a viewfinder, the G10 features a 'Real-image' zoom, meaning that when you zoom in to a scene, the change is faithfully recorded in the viewfinder. A built-in dioptre correction ensures that everything is clearly in-focus, with a correction of -3 to +1 dioptre.

One of the functions that is rarely offered 'out-of-the-box' with a DSLR is true macro capability. Most zoom lenses offer ersatz macro, but for real close-up work, it is usually necessary to resort to extension tubes or a dedicated lens. The G10 has a great macro setting - it is possible to focus down to 1cm from the end of the lens, with just a press of the Macro button on the multi-controller. Combined with image stabilization and there is a genuinely useful tool at your fingertips. Touch the MF label on the multi-Controller and rotate the quick control dial to focus.

© Nick Wilcox-Brown

Images have plenty of detail and with 14.7 megapixels large prints require no upsizing.

Sound

The ability to record a voice note has long been part of the spec of Canon EOS-1 series cameras. As with the G9 the G10 can add up to 60 seconds of sound to each image during playback. Alternatively the camera can be used as a stand-alone recording device by selecting Sound Recorder from the playback menu.

The G10 is a very competent camera that is great for weekends, great when something discrete is required and is perfect to sit in the pocket when you see that 'once-in-a-lifetime' image. OK, so it is a little bit noisy at high ISOs, but colours are good and the prints are superb, straight from the camera, as well as at A3 size and beyond that.

If you want just that little bit more the 1.4x teleconverter TC-DC58D and a full 30m WP-DC28 waterproof case are available too.