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Canon Powershot G2

by Zlatko Batistich, November, 2001


Contents

  1. Zlatko Batistich's view
  2. Zlatko Batistich's gallery
  3. Patrick-Michel Dagenais' view
  4. Where to buy it
  5. Reader's Comments

Zlatko Batistich's View

The G2 offers substantially more creative control than the typical point-and-shoot camera. At the top is the Mode Dial with the familiar Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Auto, Portrait, Landscape and Night Scene modes. The dial is similar to the Mode dial on my EOS 30 (Elan 7e) 35 mm SLR. Surrounding the Mode dial is the Main dial which switches the G2 from "shooting" to "off" to "playback".

One of the G2's best features is its 7-21 mm f2.0-2.5 zoom lens. The focal length is comparable to a 34-102 mm zoom range on a 35 mm camera. I don't know of an SLR zoom lens that opens to f2.0 at its wide end and f2.5 at its telephoto end, and those that open to f2.8 tend to be quite expensive. I could often shoot indoors without flash by setting the aperture to f2.0 or f2.5, the shutter to 1/30 second and the ISO to 400. This is something like shooting with an SLR with a prime lens and loaded with 400 speed film, but with the added benefits of having a zoom and not having to worry about whether the film is tungsten or daylight balanced.

As with many point-and-shoot style cameras, the zoom lens telescopes outward when you turn the camera on. The startup procedure takes about 4 or 5 seconds. The 3X zoom (11X digital) is controlled via a lever that is moved left or right with the right index finger. It works fine, but isn't as quick and precise as the zoom ring on a typical 35mm SLR lens.

Controls and Displays

Leaves in the Pond, Tenafly Nature Center, October 27, 2001 (CRW_0344.jpg)
The Mode dial includes an interesting Pan Focus mode, which disables various functions in order to provide the quickest possible shooting with the camera. In Pan Focus mode, the zoom is fixed at its widest angle, the aperture is set to f5.6, and the auto focus assist light is disabled. The depth of field is great enough to make everything from 25.6 inches (65 cm) to infinity appear in focus. Pan Focus may be good for parties and situations where you want to use a flash and can get close to your subject.

The Mode dial also includes a Color Effect setting which allows the user to select different color effects: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia and Black & White. These settings work when recording in JPG format, not in RAW format. Of course, if you choose one of these color effects, your image is permanently recorded with that color effect. This may be useful for someone who doesn't want to play around with color adjustments on the computer. However, it locks in your color decision; so, for example, if you record an image in Sepia, you can't convert it to color later. Most photographers will want to record images without color effects, and then make adjustments more flexibly and precisely on a computer.

Stitch Assist mode helps to line up a series of overlapping frames into a large panoramic image. Making a panorama with the included PhotoStitch 3.1 software is fairly easy, although my attempt resulted in some errors appearing in two distant buildings. Fixing the errors would be very time consuming in Photoshop.

Movie mode is for 320x240 movies of up to 30 seconds or 160x120 movies of up to 120 seconds. In Movie mode, the exposure, autofocus, white balance and zoom settings are locked to the settings of the first frame. Don't expect Movie mode to replace a video camera, but you may find it useful as a kind of video notepad. Although the G2 records sound in Movie mode, it won't record audio clips without video, so you can't attach voice memos to images as you can with Canon's cheaper S40/S30 cameras.

An extremely useful feature of the G2 is the swing-out LCD monitor. In this respect, the G2 is often better than an SLR in that you can maneuver the camera up, down and all around, even at arms length, and still see what you are shooting. At the same time, an LCD screen just doesn't provide the finely detailed image information of an SLR viewfinder. Although the LCD monitor is about 1.5 inches wide and the resolution is quite good, it still feels cramped out in the field. After shooting landscapes for a while, I couldn't help but wish that the screen were bigger. Of course, you can't fit a much bigger screen on a camera of this size. Also, I often find myself adjusting the LCD monitor until it is at just the right angle. If the angle is a little off, the image starts to appear too bright or too dark and the contrast is diminished.

Lost Brook Preserve (CRW_0507.jpg)A Menu button brings up a menu on the LCD screen that is well designed. An often-used item on the menu is the ISO setting, which offers four options: 50, 100, 200 and 400. Grain (or noise) is much greater at 400 than at 50 or 100, though still very usable. Generally, you will want to use the lowest ISO setting that suits your lighting conditions. In Playback mode, the LCD gives you the option of seeing a shrunken version of each image next to a cute little histogram of the image; any parts of the image that blew out due to overexposure will flash from white to gray to black.

Shutter speeds range from 15 seconds to 1/1000 second. However the 1/1000 second speed is only available with the aperture at f8.0 (the smallest aperture of the lens) while the 1/800 speed is only available at f4.0 or smaller. The G2 comes with a tiny but useful remote control, essentially a wireless cable release, although there is a 2-second delay between when you press the remote and when the shutter fires.

The zooming optical viewfinder is easy to look through for an eyeglass wearer, but it only shows 84% of the image whereas the LCD shows 97%. And there is no parallax correction in the viewfinder, so your framing is likely to be way off if the subject is very close to the camera.

The display panel at the top of the camera is compact but adequate, showing the number of frames left, the aperture and shutter speed settings, the flash setting, the resolution and compression settings, the white balance mode, and exposure compensation or exposure bracketing settings.

Autofocus and Exposure Metering

Portrait in low light , October 15, 2001 (CRW_0102.jpg)I find that the autofocus is accurate with contrasty subjects in good light, but error prone in low light and with low contrast subjects. The autofocus square on the LCD appears green when the subject is in focus. The ability to choose manually among three autofocus squares is a nice feature for off-center subjects, but autofocus would be much better if the camera automatically chose from among multiple autofocus points as on Canon's SLR cameras. Autofocus on my SLR is distinctly better. The G2's dynamic range appears to be roughly similar to that of slide film. Without careful metering, some images suffer from blown-out highlights. The automatic exposure bracketing feature is very useful in this regard. It works the same as on an SLR, offering the ability to adjust in 1/3 EV steps in a range of -2EV to +2EV. The G2 also has an AE Lock button, designated with an asterisk (*), allowing you to set exposure and focus separately. The G2 has a Macro AF button which allows the lens to focus down to 2.4 inches (6 cm).

There are four metering modes similar to those on better SLR's: Evaluative metering, Center-Weighted Averaging, Spot metering on the center square and Spot metering on the autofocus square. Although probably not as narrow as a true spot meter, spot metering mode on the G2 is an excellent feature.

Shooting

Perhaps the G2' biggest limitation is the photographer’s uncertainty as to exactly when the shutter will fire. I understand from other reviews that the G2 is better than its predecessor in this respect. However, after getting used to the fast focusing and responsive shutter release of an EOS SLR, working with the G2 can be frustrating if the subject is moving or changing expressions. Practice with the G2 will no doubt improve your hit rate. Pan Focus mode is one way to get around this, albeit with its own limitations described below. Another and often better option is pre-focusing on the subject or another subject at the same distance, and then holding the shutter down halfway until you are ready to shoot. This improves your timing greatly.

The G2 has a continuous shooting mode which allows approximately 2.5 frames per second in its high setting and 1.5 frames per second in its regular setting. Do expect the camera to pause and record for a while after it shoots 4 to 6 continuous frames in RAW mode, or 5 to 7 frames at the high resolution JPG mode. I could get as many as 8 continuous frames without a long pause in the Pan Focus (JPG) mode. But be careful not to start shooting too early; you may find that the camera is busy storing past action just when you need it to photograph current action

Another important factor to consider with the G2, as with most digital cameras, is the great depth of field of the lens. That's not so great for portraits if your aim is to separate the subject from its background using shallow depth of field. Of course, this can be liberating for landscapes where you're more likely to want great depth of field; you won't be limited to small apertures and longer exposures. For portraits, the G2's Portrait mode helps somewhat by setting the lens to its widest aperture. If you zoom the lens to the telephoto end and get close to your subject, you can get a somewhat blurry background, though it doesn't approach the creaminess of a wide-open prime telephoto on an SLR. If you get to within 2.3 feet (70 cm) of your subject, you can switch to the Macro AF mode and get even greater background blur.

Leaf at the Tenafly Nature Center, October 27, 2001 (CRW_0324.jpg) At first I thought that the Pan Focus mode might be good for street photography, but it isn't. In Pan Focus, the G2 defaults to using the flash - not a nice thing if you are trying to remain unobtrusive. You can turn the flash off, but you have to remember to do so every time you switch to Pan Focus mode. When the camera goes to sleep after three minutes of inactivity and you wake it up by touching the shutter, flash mode is back on and you have to remember turn it off again. To avoid this, you could turn the Auto Power Down feature off so that the G2 doesn't go to sleep, or ride the shutter button periodically to keep the camera awake. But more importantly, you can't use Pan Focus at ISO 200 or 400; the G2 automatically chooses between ISO 50 and 100. This means that in shadowed daylight you sometimes get shutter speeds as slow as 1/8 or 1/20 second, useless for quick shooting on the street. For street photography, it's probably best to stick with the Shutter Priority, Program or Manual modes, all of which allow you to choose freely among the ISO settings, the zoom settings and the aperture. Also, these modes remember whether you set the built-in flash to be on or off.

Flash Photography

A valuable feature for many photographers is the G2's ability to communicate with Canon EX flashes. For the time being, I have a flash from another brand as well as a studio lighting kit with a powerpack and two heads, so I tried the G2 with those instead. For the studio flash, I used a hot shoe to PC cord adapter (about $10 to $20). Some warn that these adapters may allow the flash's powerpack to fry a digital camera's circuitry, so you may want to get one that is guaranteed safe for this purpose.

Flash exposure for the G2's built-in flash can be adjusted in 1/3 EV steps in a range of -2EV to +2EV. However, as with other compact cameras, the built-in flash is limited in power and lacks the flexibility of an add-on flash. If you add on a high powered flash that wants you to shoot with the aperture at f11 or smaller, you can't - the smallest aperture of the lens is f8.0 - so you'll have to turn the power down on the flash. Fortunately, the great depth of field of lens means that you won't have the same need for a very small aperture as you might with a 35 mm SLR.

Storage and Battery Power

The G2 currently comes with a 32 megabyte CompactFlash card -- too small for many uses. You may want to consider getting a much bigger CompactFlash card or an IBM Microdrive. I bought my camera with a 1 gigabyte IBM Microdrive which stores 359 RAW images at maximum resolution, or 512 JPG's at maximum resolution. In RAW mode, this is equivalent to ten 36-exposure rolls of film and more than sufficient for a day of active shooting. The rechargeable battery ran low after about 2.5 to 4 hours of regular use with the LCD. It's a good idea to have a spare battery if you are planning to use the camera regularly for a long period away from an electrical outlet. To conserve battery power, you may want to turn off the Continuous Autofocus mode in which the camera continuously focuses as you move it around. With Continuous AF turned off, the camera will only focus when the shutter is half-pressed. You could also take all of your photos with the LCD monitor switched off, but that's no fun.

Software

The key components of the G2 software package are ZoomBrowser EX and RAW Image Converter. The RAW Image Converter converts RAW files to TIF or JPG and works fine. However, I found ZoomBrowser unusable as it froze my computer repeatedly. My computer is an older 333 MHz model with 256 megabytes of RAM; ZoomBrowser should work better on a newer computer. Nevertheless, no other program has ever frozen my computer as consistently as ZoomBrowser. Hence, I no longer even try to use ZoomBrowser. Instead, I use BreezeBrowser which does an excellent job of meeting a need where Canon seems to have left a gap. BreezeBrowser allows you to view RAW, TIF and JPG files and to convert RAW files to TIF’s or JPG’s without freezing your computer. Note that for the Canon G2 you will need Breezebrowser 1.2 or later. A limited free version is available on Breeze's site. With registration ($35) you get a code that unlocks the program and converts it to the unlimited version. Breeze also offers a free Downloader for downloading images from camera to computer.

Another software option is Scott Professional Photo Studio for Canon Cameras. I have not tried it, but the current trial beta version looks promising and you can download a copy on Scott's site.

Tips

A Roy Lichtenstein sculpture on Park Avenue (IMG_0735.jpg)Consider buying an accessory adapter at least to serve as a lens protector. Currently there are two options: the Canon Conversion Lens Adapter LA-DC58 and the LensMate. Each allows you to add on wide angle, telephoto, and close up lens accessories. They have different diameters: Canon's is 58 mm; LensMate's is 49 mm. Both the LA-DC58 (which I use) and the LensMate (with readily available 49-58 step ring) let you add-on Canon accessories. However, because of its width, the LA-DC58 blocks roughly 25% of the optical viewfinder and part of the coverage of the built-in flash and the autofocus assist light. The LensMate will cause less blockage because of its smaller size. You can avoid blockage problems by using the LCD instead of the optical viewfinder, and an external flash instead of the built-in flash. Note that the LensMate now comes in a “champagne” model designed to match the exterior color of the G2. With an accessory adapter, you have a permanent protective housing over the zoom lens. Attach a UV or Skylight filter to the accessory adapter just as you would to an SLR camera lens. The accessory adapter provides other benefits: you can hold the camera more like an SLR or a rangefinder and, hence, more steadily than a typical point-and-shoot, because the camera sits cupped in your left hand with the fingers of your left hand around the lens protector. The accessory adapter also allows you to add a polarizer, a neutral density filter or any other filter that makes you happy, provided it has the right diameter. Either accessory adapter will make your G2 a little bulkier. If you decide to use the wide or telephoto lens accessories, allow yourself time to screw them on; it's not as quick as bayonet mounting a lens on an SLR.

Conclusions

After shooting with the G2 for several weeks and then going back to my 35mm SLR, I had several impressions. First, the G2 is a fun camera! It's fairly compact and light, so I'm more likely to carry it around than my SLR (although the G2 is bulkier and heavier than most point-and-shoot style bodies). The G2 offers very useful automatic and manual features similar to those on a fine 35 mm SLR. As with other digital cameras, seeing results instantly is wonderful. And with a large CompactFlash card or Microdrive, you can keep shooting and experimenting without worrying about the cost of film and processing. These features speed the active user along a faster learning curve than one is used to with a film camera.

At the same time, a good 35 mm SLR feels much more agile and flexible. When photographing my toddler son running and playing on the grass on a sunny afternoon, the SLR could lock focus almost instantly. More importantly, I knew exactly when the SLR locked focus on the subject and when it locked focus on the background. Also, with the SLR, I could quickly adjust the ring zoom to exactly the right focal length without fussing back and forth with a little finger lever. In these respects, the G2 just doesn't match that crispy feeling of speed and certainty.

Part of my speed and comfort with the SLR is no doubt due to having used it for a longer period of time. But even with further practice and familiarity, the G2 will not replace my film SLR. When I want quick access to a broader range of focal lengths or need to be more responsive to fleeting moments, I'll continue to use the SLR. But when I want instant high resolution images and the freedom to experiment without cost, the G2 is a good tool. Perhaps the SLR is the wrong reference point, but Canon's advertising of the camera does invite the comparison. It is fair to say that there are times when the G2 is preferable to an SLR, and that a photographer with a good understanding of its advantages and limitations can produce excellent results.

Gallery

Nature photography with the G2 in New Jersey

Autumn Leaves and Water Lillies at the Tenafly Nature Center, October 27, 2001 (CRW_0348.jpg) Tenafly Nature Center (CRW_0535.jpg) Tenafly Nature Center (IMG_0303.jpg)

Store windows at Bloomingdales

A window at Bloomingdale's advertises the musical Mamma Mia, November 8, 2001 (IMG_0618.jpg) A corner window at Bloomingdale's, November 8, 2001 (IMG_0629.jpg)

Getting close with Macro mode, a handpainted scarf and autumn leaf

Detail of a hand-painted scarf by Irena Novosel (CRW_0452.jpg) Lost Brook Preserve (CRW_0514.jpg)

Daylight photography at ISO 50

A morning walk in the park, October 21, 2001 (CRW_0190.jpg) Dock at the Tenafly Nature Center, October 27, 2001 (CRW_0281.jpg)

Low light photography at ISO 400

135 East 57th Street / the ING Building (CRW_0465.jpg) Hiding behind a curtain, October 15, 2001 (CRW_0116.jpg)

Flash photography with the G2

In grandfather's arms, November 11, 2001 (IMG_0923.jpg) Bath time, October 19, 2001 (CRW_0168.jpg)

Candid photos in a park in Jersey City where the World Trade Center would have been the background a few months ago

Jersey City, November 10, 2001 (IMG_0807.jpg) Jersey City, November 10, 2001(IMG_0840.jpg)

A portrait made using the G2's Portrait mode

Portrait of Laurie (IMG_0075.jpg)

An artist paints the Manhattan skyline from a park overlooking the Hudson River

An artist paints the Manhattan skyline from a park overlooking the Hudson River, November 10, 2001 (CRW_0860.jpg)

Two war memorials in New Jersey

A war memorial in Weehawken in late afternoon sunlight, November 10, 2001 (CRW_0863.jpg) Katyn Memorial, Jersey City (CRW_0751.jpg)

Patrick-Michel Dagenais' View

To say the least, the G2 is sort of confusing. It tries to offer what you would expect from a semi-professional grade digital camera yet it's built on a point and shoot body and looks like it's intended for beginners. It tries to do both. A neophyte will make use of the presets and automatic modes, and someone a bit more seasoned will quickly jump on the full manual control which gives just enough breathing space to be creative.

That's nice, but it's far from being perfect...

Some of these extra control features don't deliver the meat as they should. For instance, manual focus is quite cumbersome. To use it one has to hold down the Manual Focus button which is awkwardly located on the high left side of the camera all the while toying with the d-pad control located on the back. If you think that's bad, wait until you try to actually USE the thing. You basically have to sharpen a very, pixely, zoomed-in portion of your picture (focus point). The pixels are so huge that you might have problems making out what you are actually aiming at. The best trick one could give is to try and make the pixels as sharp as possible. Problem is, the range in the steps go by a bit too fast so you will probably find yourself going back and forth through the steps until you get what you " think " is best. I'm not saying it's completely useless though, it did save my pictures once or twice, but if I can, I try not to use it. It requires a bit of time to so your subjects should either be patient, or trees and rocks.

There is also the question of image quality when using the 200 and 400 iso settings. If you are a perfectionist like I am, you will probably never go above the 100 iso setting and always try to use 50 iso with RAW which produces the clearest pictures possible (the RAW image was under iso 50 as well). The rest, like other digital cameras at this present time, will always give you noisy results. Please don't be fooled, as digital noise and grain effect are two different things altogether. Don't bother looking elsewhere by the way, as this problem plagues all digital cameras on the market. The only difference will be how bad the noise will be, but it will always be there.

Image at ISO 50
G2 at iso 50
Image at ISO 100
G2 at iso 50
Image at ISO 200
G2 at iso 50
Image at ISO 400
G2 at iso 50
Image at Raw
G2 at iso 50

Talking about image quality problems, using the RAW setting gives you something to consider - you can't really zoom in on your picture once it's taken. The RAW pictures don't extrapolate upon enlargement so you only zoom on a thumbnail preview that gives you big sprites, contrary to jpegs where you can zoom up to 6x and really see the detail up close. Thus, you can't be sure if your picture is actually sharp or not when you look at them through your LCD, and in my opinion, that pretty much kills the biggest advantage of having a digital camera. A little trick one might use here is to take a jpeg picture first, see if it's nice and okay, and then go for the RAW setting… Unless you happen to lug around a computer with you all the time.

If you insist on looking at this camera on the true professional point of view, the biggest limits come from the fact that it's built on a point and shoot frame. The lens, though it's good, has only 3x optical zoom and short focal length producing images that seem equal to a 50mm. You need a special adapter kit if you want to augment that lens, but you will only have the choice of two special Canon lenses.

The user's manual is another thing. Fortune cookies seem to be clearer on what they try to convey compared to what is explained in the little brick given in the box. For a person who is not familiar with the many terms and abbreviations that you find with photography, don't expect to learn anything in there. A manual should at least try to explain up to a certain degree. A beginner will probably be scared to hell, so find people who already have that camera and start asking questions. If you can speak and read photography, pay attention to it.

I'm done complaining

That's pretty much where the negativity should stop though. The G2 will set itself apart with it's nearly 4 mega pixel effective CCD and you will produce some of the clearest, sharpest pictures you can get with a digital camera under the $1,500 price tag. Think digital cameras can't make good enlarged prints? Think again, I just received today my 10x15 version of this picture I took not long ago and it turned out great. Unfortunately, the G2 has not been around for too long (at the time this article is being written) so it's very hard to find good picture galleries out there. But can you bear with the thought that the G2 is an enhanced version of the G1 and that i t's superior in almost every respect? If so, take a look at Pekka Saarinen's G1 gallery . It will give you a good idea of what can be done with the G2. A practical gallery too since Pekka is nice enough to share all the settings that where used on each picture. I learned a lot about what my G2 could do thanks to his site actually.

If you want to talk about bang for the buck, one might as well mention that it comes with it's own rechargeable battery and kit that also works as a charger and AC adapter. A very welcome addition after owning a Powershot A20 that gobbled up batteries like they where crack flavoured Doritos per dose of 4 AA's. I just hope this becomes a standard to all digital cameras since most of them will always require you to buy rechargeable batteries anyway. The durability of this power source is quite versatile too. I got to play photographer during a Halloween party not long ago and took exactly 276 pictures, mostly with the built in flash. Somewhere during the night I got a low battery signal, something I expected because I did not fully charge my pack before the party (shame on me since a full charge only requires 2 hours). Within 30 minutes I got impatient and unplugged the camera to start shooting again, and never got another warning. I know this has something to do with the fact that most of the battery will be charged within only 40 minutes, but you need more time to have it up to full. My Powershot A20 would have eaten three to four packs of batteries for sure.

The inclusion of a 32 megabyte flash card is also a welcome, as most other cameras in the same price range only offer 16 megabyte versions.

Having tried a few other digital camera's myself, I have to say that I much prefer the user interface from Canon, but that's just me. After comparing it with the Nikon Coolpix 995, the Kodak DC3400 and the Fuji Finepix 2400Z, I have come to appreciate the intuitive design of the menus and interface of the G2. To be fair, these other cameras where not in the same league as mine but I compared them when I had my (yes, I know I keep talking about it) A20 and it has a very similar interface, so any Powershot users will feel right a home with the G2. There are occasions though where I found myself having to push several a button several times just to change one setting, the problem comes from having four particular features accessible through only one button. That's probably the only downfall. For the rest, I appreciated how one could easily (and quickly) change shutter speeds and aperture sizes all with the use of the D-pad while in manual mode.

So what's the deal?

It's still hard for me to tell people what this camera actually tries to do and to whom it's intended for. I think it's safe to say that the Powershot G2 tries to be two things at once - a camera for the casual digital photographer that is weary of image quality, and the more seasoned photographer who's had enough of his limiting point and shoot camera and now needs more control over what he's shooting. Knowing that all pro photographers will hide a point and shoot somewhere in there gear just in case, the Powerhot G2 might be a good choice if they choose to get a digital one.

Where to Buy

The G2 is stocked by Adorama a retailer that pay Photo.net a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation.

More

Canon's official site
Phil Askey's review of the G2
Imaging Resource review of the G2
Steve’s Digicams review of the G2
BreezeBrowser
Scott Professional Photo Studio for Canon Cameras
LensMate
Jan Castermans' G2 Gallery List
Anders Wahlstrom's beautiful G2 Gallery will make you want to go to Sweden
Kevin Bjorke's G2 Notes list key differences between the G1 and the G2

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Pierre Phaneuf , November 20, 2001; 05:07 P.M.

It tries to offer what you would expect from a semi-professional grade digital camera yet it's built on a point and shoot body and looks like it's intended for beginners.

If you want to think of this camera more in a professionnal sense, it helps to say that it is built as a rangefinder body. :-)

mike boon , November 28, 2001; 08:15 A.M.

I fully agree that Zoombrowser is worthless and I could find BreezeBrowser, thanks to the author.

Thomas Martin , December 24, 2001; 10:34 A.M.

Maybe the idea of the G2 is initially confusing when we think in current 35mm terms, but I think the "rangefinder idea" has real merit from my experience with the G2 (as well as D30 and 35mm SLRs). In fact, that's why I bought the G2 -- it goes anywhere, shoots most things well. Canon should be encouraged to pursue this direction. Net: the G2 is the second (after the G1) in what we should hope is a stream of high-quality, realistically-sized digital cameras. Let the A20 and the Elphs handle the point and shoot need. Let them also handle price point requirements (I'd rather have a better G3 and G4 at $1k -- with 100% viewfinder, less flare, slightly bigger body, better mechanical controls -- than a cheaper G3 and G4 that are just big, complex Elphs). Let the D30 and D1 etc handle the extreme "pro" need (bulletproof ruggedness, 10fps) and specialized needs (long tele, tilt/shift, etc).

It seems that a nearly undiscovered aspect of digital cameras is the possibility (or re-discovery) of new and more rational form factors/price points. The film market is so saturated with minor variations of the same two ideas: big SLR and small point and shoot. With digital we should ask: where is the new SLR/interchangable lens system with a 20 oz. metal body and lenses that weight 8 oz - 1.5 lb? (I have no earthly idea how Olympus and Minolta can muff this so badly -- Canon and Nikon have killed them in 35mm SLR land, but C/N are stuck with a committment to 35mm and attendant huge equipment, now is the time to attack!) We should also ask: where is an automated "Leica", with basic zoom, built for quality, with quality feel, made by the Japanese so that the technology platform is up to date and the price realistic enough to justify the engineering? I hope the latter is where Canon takes the G3, G4...

Stephen Lutz , February 03, 2002; 11:37 P.M.

ISO 400 is useable with the G-2. Here's one I shot at a meeting the other day. We took a break, and I wandered around the room taking pictures at ISO 400 because I didn't want to use flash. This was at 1/30 of a second and wide open at f/2.5 @ 21mm.

I have had a G-2 for a few weeks now, and find I take more pictures than I did with 35mm. The reason? I don't have to wait to finish a whole roll before developing them. I just download that day, crop, sharpen, etc. and I'm done. For some reason, this really improves my willingness to take more pictures. I won't be "waiting" all the time to finish a roll, then take it in to be developed, then scan, then color correct... etc. It's much easier with a digital camera, and with ISO 50 and in RAW mode the quality of the image is, to my mind, "as good" as the results I have gotten with 35mm up to 8x10 prints. The biggest surprise (pleasant) I have had with this camera is the high quality of the lens. Boy are those pictures sharp! I couldn't get over it when I first took some. Impressive! The biggest surprise (unpleasant) is the shutter lag. This is something that makes this camera unsatisfactory for sports or fast action. If the "decisive moment" is your thing, this is not the camera for you.

But, having said that, I am well pleased with it and have no reservations recommending it to someone who wants to go digital. The picture quality is really superb, and if you don't need to shoot split second scenes, then you should be quite satisfied with it.

Image Attachment: foot550.jpg

Johnny Luu , June 10, 2002; 06:32 P.M.

I've had this camera for about a month and have to say I've taken more pictures with this camera in the last month than I have in the past year with my Pentax. Since I know longer have to worry about wasting film I've been doing a lot of experimental photography, and the instantaneous feedback of reviewing photos on the LCD is a great asset. With a 256 MB CF card you have the ability to store thousands of low res images or a hundred or so high res images.

the link below are some of the photos that have been taken with the Canon G2.

http://www.machinehien.com/stuff/g2/g2_a.html

The only drawback is that this camera is a bit big for a point and shoot and the shutter lag is very slow, it's difficult to maintain a composition when things are moving.

Derek K. Miller , July 14, 2002; 04:26 A.M.

Almost there: give me more zoom

My friend Alistair owns a G2, and I've borrowed it for periods of up to three weeks, using it in a number of different circumstances. It is a versatile camera that produces very attractive images. But would I buy one? I didn't, opting for a less capable but much smaller and less expensive Konica instead. But...

The good: I've never even seen the manual for the G2, but I sussed out most of how it works by playing with it for awhile and taking some pictures. As someone who normally uses a low-end Nikon F601 (a.k.a. N6006) SLR, I appreciated the wide manual and semi-manual control the G2 offers in comparison to other midrange digicams. I love some of the pictures I took with it (such as this and that, as well as this other one, and that one over there). The pivoting LCD is brilliant, and lets you easily take interesting self-portraits.

The bad: The 3X zoom is inadequate. Yes, with a 4MP image you can crop and achieve a similar image to a 2MP camera with a bigger zoom, but I'm used to being able to swap lenses on my SLR and make the zoom in the camera optically -- and that would steer me to the Sony F707, the Fuji S602, the Olympus E-20N, and the new Nikon 5700, which have optical zooms in the 5X and up range. Manual focus is nearly unusable for anything but still life, and even there it's yucky. (I wish some of these midrange cameras would use _real_ manual focus and zoom, where you move the lens elements with your hand instead of with buttons and motors.) Startup and shot-to-shot times are slow. The screw-on filter adapter blocks light from the onboard flash. The body is a bit too plasticky.

But overall, this is a good camera. With it, I've taken some photos I'm proud of -- indeed, I did that within an hour of first getting it. It's portable and flexible and friendly enough that you can shoot and shoot and shoot and have fun, and get good results. I'm not sure I'd buy one myself, but it would be up on my list. Ultimately, it comes down to ease of use, flexibility, and image quality. This is an easy, high-quality camera. If Canon would put a bigger zoom on the G3 (boosting flexibility), that might win me over.

Biky Toor , February 25, 2003; 06:16 P.M.

Just wondering if any reader has an experience with the Sharp VE-CG30U or the VE-CG40U. They both have a Canon 7-21 mm f2.0-2.5 zoom lens too. Could it be the same one? They are priced much lower than their 3MP & 4MP counterparts.

Eric Knepper , June 22, 2003; 11:15 A.M.

I have been using a G2 for a couple years now and it's a fantastic piece of machinery. However, the 3x digital zoom has never produced a decent photo - the digital zoom photos are not sharp (even when using a tripod and the timer so there's NO camera shake). The normal lens produces nice shots and I've enjoyed everything about the camera except for the digital zoom (I never use it). The shutter lag is also frustrating: it's very difficult to get a shot of something that's moving without a lot of advance preparation. Overall it's a fantastic machine and a lot of fun - the small size allows me to carry it in a hip-pouch on a daily basis to capture those unanticipated and memorable moments. Perhaps someone else has a comment on their experience with the digital zoom: Is the digital zoom normally going to produce a fuzzy shot?

Ashley Pomeroy , August 22, 2008; 02:57 P.M.


Oak Tree Field, Salisbury, shot with a PowerShot G2.

It's the Long Tail again. I picked one of these up from a leading auction site recently, out of curiosity more than anything, and it's interesting to read how people from the past saw this camera way back when it was new. Photo.net is full of people from the past.

It's a mixed bag by modern standards. The body is brick-like and heavy, barely smaller than a 400D/450D body, and far too large to slip into a pocket. The design isn't as square as other Powershot G cameras. From the side and back, it looks like a cheap 35mm compact of the type you might find in a charity shop. The menus are frustrating - one menu button cycles through exposure compensation, white balance, bracketing, and flash exposure compensation - and they don't go away if you tap the shutter button. Every menu button press is followed by a brief pause. You can only set the ISO through the menu system.

The zoom is paltry, and zooms slowly at one fixed speed, and it whines. The camera takes about five seconds to start up. There's no live histogram. The movie mode is useless. The hot shoe is fussy about which flashes and accessories it uses. Even at ISO 50 and f8 and 1/800 the exposure system can be flummoxed and overwhelmed by a very bright day (from what I have read, the ISO 50 is really closer to ISO 75, and ISO 100 is really ISO 125, and so forth). The macro mode isn't very macro. The camera doesn't detect image orientation, although as I understand it this was uncommon in 2002, so it can be forgiven.

It's redeemed a bit by the image quality, which is good but not exceptional. The noise reduction seems less extreme than in modern cameras, and although grainy at ISO 400 the images are perfectly acceptable that the level, because the grain is good honest grain rather than watercolour smudges. At f2.0 and ISO 400 it's a capable available light camera. It feels tough and I can confirm that it will survive a light shower. The tilt-swivel LCD is nice to have. The camera controls chromatic aberration very very well. And it has RAW mode, which is handy for white balance adjustments - although it's a shame it doesn't remember the custom white balance value you set.

In summary, in 2008 it's competent but doesn't stand out. It reminds me of a bit of the Olympus E-20 I used to own; it's too big to be a snapshot camera, not advanced enough to justify bringing along a backpack. In terms of overall capability, a modern Powershot AXXX with image stabilisation is the better choice, and even as a used buy it's not ideal, because it has a slight price premium over equivalent contemporaries, on account of the G-model designation. From what I can see, it's the cheapest Powershot G on the market (the 3mp G1 seems to go for slightly more, perhaps because it has a bit of historical cachet, whereas the 4mp G3 doesn't look as dumpy, and the later models have a higher resolution). I enclose a shot I took earlier today, although it's not a great example because it has been heavily processed. It would look no worse if it had been taken with e.g a Powershot A710 IS, possibly better.

Ashley Pomeroy , August 22, 2008; 03:00 P.M.

I would like to add that Zlatko Batistich's samples are excellent; they do a great job of selling the G2 and also Zlatko Batistich. But I suspect that he would have produced equally-great shots with almost any other digital camera on the market in November 2001.

The first image is linked to the wrong picture. In the seven years that this mistake has been present, Photo.net has not been any worse off because of it.

Jimmy S. , May 17, 2012; 04:26 A.M.

Canon's G2 is still worth owning in 2012

At current prices (complete for under $50 at the time of this writing) the G2 is quite a bargain indeed.  Image quality will assuredly not enthrall though neither will it disappoint. Coming from 35mm, I found it to approximate at its highest capturing mode a level of detail that one would typically expect from a nicely scanned C-41 negative, which is more than acceptable for either casual or artistic use.  Moreover, build quality and lens quality are very superior to what is to be found among current sub $500 compact camera offerings, and the G2 therefore acquits itself surprisingly well in comparison to many of the newer consumer models, despite the rapidity with which the megapixel race has ensued since its debut in 2001.

Considering that the Powershot G-series was originally priced at the $1000 mark only a decade ago, it is quite extraordinary to be able to pick them up today at the popular auction sites for less than the the cost of a tankful of gas. The G2 in particular makes for a perfect "knock around" camera, or perhaps even more for those seeking merely a general purpose compact image-making machine capable of producing beautiful prints up to 8x10 in size, with the smallest possible expenditure.

 

 


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