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Canon G1

by Philip Greenspun, Dec and 2000, December 2000


The most interesting feature of the Canon G1 is the hot shoe that accepts Canon EOS flash units. Adding an accessory flash with bounce capability and a Sto-Fen diffuser to the G1 will make a slightly bulky camera much bulkier but it will free your indoor photography from the "deer-in-the-headlights" look of on-camera flash.

If you're not using the camera for flash photographs, it becomes a competent competitor to the Nikon 990. Resolution is 3.3 million pixels (2000x1500). Sensor speeds are equivalent to ISO 50-400 film. The zoom lens provides a 35mm range of 34-102mm (f2.0-2.5; minimum aperture of f/8).

zoomed out zoomed in
Digital photo titled salt-pond-wide Digital photo titled salt-pond-tight

The zooming real-image viewfinder provides much more accurate framing than that on the Canon S100. Controls are intuitive and fast to operate even in manual exposure mode, where you choose shutter speeds from 8 seconds to 1/1000th of a second. Battery life is very good, specified to 260 images with the LCD display on. Canon's specification seems to be about right from my experience.

One consistently annoying thing about the camera is the lens cap. You have to remove it manually before turning the camera on. If you forget and turn the camera on first, the top-deck LCD flashes a complaint. If you then remove the lens cap the camera still won't wake up. You have to turn it off and then on again.

Bottom line: A very nice camera, a bit better overall than the Nikon 990, but if you can afford its bulk and $1,000 price tag, you can probably afford a digital SLR.

Fun with panoramas

Digital photo titled chatham-backyard-panorama-20001225 The included PhotoStitch software with Canon cameras is very easy to use and the panoramic mode on the camera is intuitive and helpful in aligning successive frames.

When making panoramas, be careful about setting exposure for the first frame. Point the camera at a mid-tone object at the correct distance for the panorama then push the shutter release down halfway to lock in the exposure and focus. Now you can move the camera to compose the first image.

Gallery

These represent the best images from a few hours of taking pictures with a borrowed G1.

Digital photo titled 470-shore-road Digital photo titled cape-cod-national-seashore Digital photo titled chatham-main-street Digital photo titled chatham-yard Digital photo titled shore-road-view Digital photo titled coast-guard-beach

Where to Buy

The G1 is stocked by Adorama, a retailer that pays photo.net a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation.

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Text and photos (c) Copyright 2000 Philip Greenspun.

Article created December 2000

Readers' Comments


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Cowan Stark , December 29, 2000; 01:29 P.M.

I agree with the lens cap complaint and have a few of my own. Its pretty inconvenient for a point and shoot style camera, but I guess it's something I've been putting up with on my EOS lenses for years. One of the reasons I chose the G1 was the compatibility with my 550EX flash, and it has a lot of features in common with the EOS line. The 550 works fine, but now it ceases to become a convenient point and shoot camera if you have to lug the flash around. The red eye reduction system is a joke. I never really expected it to work anyway since my kids' eyes have defeated everything except for a Sto-fen Omnibounce and/or flash bracket. Even then, there was still some red-eye using the 550EX/Sto-fen with the G1 which I don't get with equivalent focal lengths/distance to subject situations with my EOS SLRs. Another annoyance is the download/battery charger door. I doubt it'll stay on the camera very long. I can barely pry it open with a fingernail. I'm sure it'll loosen up eventually shortly before it self destructs. Dumb design from a company that in my opinion has spent some time with getting the ergonomics right with their other products. OK, now to the plus side. I actually like the camera! The images are really nice. It's my first digicam, and I got it mainly to jump in until my $1500 six megapixel EOS1V equivalent comes out. I was pretty surprised at being able to use some of the modes I'm comfortable with in film cameras...Av,P,Tv, exposure compensation, AEB, FEL etc. It's still $2000 less than the D30, but I think it's a great camera for those of us who have some idea about basic photography to make the switch to digital and still feel like you're actually doing 'photography', not just 'recording'. I'm also going to keep it handy for cataloging scenes I may want to go back to with my 4x5 at another time of day or year. One more thing...why on earth didn't they put image stabilizer technology into the G1?!

Andrew Grant , December 29, 2000; 01:47 P.M.

Ergonmically the G-1 is a disaster. It is otherwise a great camera and good value for money. If I hadn't already just bought the Olympus I would definitely consider this camera. It has a histogram function, supports microdrives and has a RAW mode. The flash shoe is nice, but the Olympus has an optional flash bracket supporting the TTL functions of the FL-40. I have to disagree with Phils comment that if you can afford this camera you can afford a digital SLR. The Canon D30 costs about $3000 plus lens. $3500 is a lot more expensive than $1000. The D30 is a much better camera though. Well worth buying if you can afford it. Hopefully Phil will review that camera soon.

Paul Cox , December 29, 2000; 04:39 P.M.

"if you can afford its bulk and $1,000 price tag, you can probably afford a digital SLR"

An odd comment! Digital SLR's are much more expensive at the moment.

Rommel Feria , December 30, 2000; 09:24 A.M.

You can digital SLR-type cameras for less than USD1000! Check out the Pentax EI-2000/HP C912xi.

Green Ears , December 30, 2000; 04:58 P.M.

I agree with the above! I've seen a VERY GOOD quality digital Olympus SLR just recently hit the market (do not remember the exact model, but do remember th egreat price!) at 1200$ CDN.

Stephen C. Murphy , December 31, 2000; 07:40 A.M.

I agree that the Canon-dedicated hot-shoe is a great feature of this camera. In fact, the instant feedback that the digital preview gives each time you take a picture makes a pretty compelling argument against standard straight-on on-camera flashes. Each time you take a picture with the G1 it displays the image on the built-in flip-out LCD screen for two seconds by default, or 10 seconds via a menu setting. For me 2 seconds is too short and 10 seconds is too long, so I leave the camera set to 2 seconds and use a feature that isn’t as obvious, but can be found in Canon’s excellent manual: you can keep the preview image around as long as you like by simply holding in the shutter release after taking the picture. The is great fun because when you get a great image you can hold it up and show the picture immediately to whomever you are with. Now I routinely glance at each image that I take just to make sure there aren’t any “show stopping” problems with the image such as closed eyes, exposure errors, and the like. When I started doing this, I was appalled at how much damage the electronic flash does to an image! The image using the standard flash scarcely even resembles what I saw in the LCD viewfinder an instant before and what my own eyes are observing before me. This is why bounce flash and the STO-FEN adapter were invented.

Mount Rainier with G1 (retouched) I suppose that this experience embodies the best thing about digital. The instant feedback is just so wonderful! I’ve been a programmer long enough to remember the bad old days when the time between writing a line of code and actually seeing the results pop out the other end could take days. When programs like Turbo Pascal came along on the PC giving seemingly instantaneous feedback it was a huge boon to programmers. You could learn immediately from your mistakes. I’m not ready to give up my Velvia yet, but it doesn’t seem like too much of a leap to imagine that waiting hours or days to see whether your film-based photograph even turned out will seem a bit old-fashioned in the not-too-distant future. On the other hand, on the 2-inch LCD screen sometimes looks can be deceiving. Several times I have glanced at the screen to verify that I “got” that picture only to find out that the picture I took had a blurry subject and a perfectly focused background! If you want to make absolutely sure you got proper focus you have to switch over to “Replay” mode and zoom in. You can “zoom in” on the LCD image 2.5X or 5X and pan around using the “Nintendo” pad on the back of the camera to look at your subjects face or some other critical focus point. Similarly, checking exposure on the LCD while in “Shooting” mode is pretty difficult because depending on the angle you look at it the picture can seem too dark, dead on or too light. I usually rock the camera back and forth a few times and if it isn’t too bad I just leave the rest for Photoshop 5.0 LE (which incidentally is included with the camera). This angle of view problem with LCDs is precisely why the tilt/swivel design of the Canon G1 and the Nikon 990 is not just window dressing: you need that to be able to frame the picture, especially when taking those great high- or low-camera-angle shots that are so much easier with a digital camera. I like the G1 design slightly better than the Nikon because it stows face-in to the camera making it less prone to damage or “nose smudge” when you use the optical viewfinder.

Christmas Lights Probably as important to me as the flash are the battery life and storage flexibility of the G1. The battery is a fantastic little Lithium-Ion battery that this camera shares with Canon’s D30 and some of its camcorders. It is rechargeable and packs an impressive 1100 mAh of juice in an amazingly compact size—about half the size of a deck of cards. The battery charges inside the camera. Extra batteries cost about $60, but it’s a small price to pay to virtually never have to worry about battery life, even with the LCD on all the time. Incidentally, yes the door over the power connector and USB port is a pain to use and seems very flimsy, but mine seems to have loosened up a bit after just over a month of use.

The G1 is compatible with the new IBM Microdrives giving up to a gigabyte (!) at the lowest price-per-meg available on the digicam market. I have heard rumors that the old IBM Microdrives should be avoided. The 16Meg CompactFlash card that comes with the camera is a joke, especially in RAW mode, which is one of the cameras greatest features. The raw mode takes the image exactly as it comes off the CCD and losslessly compresses it down to just over 2 Meg. In RAW mode only 5 images fit on the 16 Meg CF card that comes with the camera. Compare this to the equivalent 8 Meg Nikon 990 TIFF image (of which only one fits on its 16 Meg card) and you’ve got another great reason to own a G1.

There were a couple of things about this camera that I didn’t expect. The first, and most disappointing to me, was the depth of field of the lens. Since the G1 has an “equivalent” 35mm focal length range of approximately 105 at f/2.5 at the long end, I expected that I could render backgrounds nicely out of focus like one can using a 105 f2.5 on a 35mm camera. Wrong! Just because the equivalent focal length is 105mm doesn’t change the fact that the actual focal length is 21mm and, like your trusty 20mm lens on your 35mm SLR it renders virtually everything in focus. Bummer. So if you are sweating the difference between the 990’s f4.0 long end and the G1’s 2.5 long end, don’t. The G1 blows out backgrounds a bit better than the 990, but not like a D30 with a portrait lens on it will.

The other thing that surprised me was that although the reviews I read said that there was virtually no shutter lag, my experience has been that this Point-and-Shoot exhibits that same kind of shutter lag that every P&S I have ever used has. The difference is that with the image review feature the fact that you missed the decisive moment is apparent immediately, not in a week when you get your film back and wonder why you took that picture.

Steve Rosenblum , January 03, 2001; 11:47 A.M.

I appreciate the effort that went into this review but I think that reviews like this will be much more helpful if they are written by someone who has used the camera for more than a few hours.

I bought the G1 after doing a great deal of research about the various digital cameras that are available at this price point. What clinched the decision to buy this camera (particularly in comparison with the Nikon offerings) were these features:

1. The ability to utilize an IBM microdrive. This one feature cannot be underestimaed. A 340mb microdrive allows you to record the equivalent of approximately 10 rolls of 36 exposure slide film at the highest quality and lowest compression JPEG settings without having to dump the files to a computer. A gigabyte microdrive allows perhaps the equivalent of 30 rolls. This frees the photographer from having to lug a laptop computer with them if they go on a vacation, as an example. If you also consider that the digital camera allows you to edit out bad shots at the end of each day, thereby freeing up even more space, this feature alone is enough to sell this camera. As of now the Nikons do not accept microdrives.

2. The ability to record images as RAW files- The G1 (and D30) allows you to record your images as RAW files which capture the complete unmodified output of the CCD and record them using a lossless compression scheme at about 2mb per image. When the images are downloaded to your computer they are converted to 9mb TIFF images and you can apply whichever white balance, sharpening, etc., that you wish to. Compare this with other brands (such as Nikon) which record their highest quality images as 9mb TIFF files. Combine this with the inability to of these cameras to use microdrives and you will find yourself using up your compact flash cards with only a few images.

3. The ability to use dedicated canon flashes with E-TTL metering. So far my experience with this has been less than perfect, as the camera seems to overexpose most flash pictures unless I apply -1 flash exposure compensation. Some images get really blown out. I suspect that this may be a bug in this camera, but would love to hear from others about this issue.

4. Battery life- The camera comes with a rechargable lithium ion battery that seems to go on forever even when the LCD is used. This feature is also not to be underestimated. Anyone who has burned through a dozen alkaline batteries in a day, or changed their rechargable nicad batteries 4 times will absolutely fall in love with this feature. Recharge times are quite reasonable as well.

The image quality is excellent. This is also true of a number of other cameras. However, image quality being equal, I believe that the practical features noted above make the G1 a winner.

Charles Bandes , January 03, 2001; 04:16 P.M.

There are a few reasons that I purchased the G1 which aren't directly referred to above

1. The hot shoe - not only does it synch with EOS TTL flashes, but it lets you use strobes, etc. Many other cameras in the $1000 range have non-standard or non-existent flash synchs, I was pleased to find one with a standard flash connector.

2. Greater sensitivity to IR than most contemporary digicams. Still not as great for IR photography as an older-generation camera, but nicer than a Nikon 990 or most of its peers.

3. Bundled remote acts as a long-range cable release. The 990 doesn't come with a remote, and I'm not sure if it's offered as an option.

4. LCD panel swivels all the way around for self-portraits etc

I am pretty happy with this camera so far, although I still prefer working on film than digitally. I have no reservations about recommending the G1 to someone interested in digital but without $4k to burn on a D30/D1

Jeff Jonsson , January 04, 2001; 05:10 P.M.

I was a skeptic about the whole concept of digital photography until the current crop of 3MP cameras came out. I started to change my mind when I saw the output of the CP990, the Oly C3030Z. I was all set to buy the Olympus when I spotted a preview of the G1 and decided to hold off. I am really glad I did. Santa got me the G1 for xmas, to which I have added a 1GB microdrive.

I am rapidly falling in love with digital photography. I have literally learned more about exposure control in the last two weeks than I have in 15 years of film photography. The rate with which you actually shoot pictures really changes when you have a) instant feedback, and b) no extra cost per image. So after shooting about 500 shots since xmas with the G1, I am in a position to say that this thing absolutely rocks.

It is rather chunky and un-ergonomic, although no one says Volvos aren't good cars because they're boxy.

Alan Soon , January 08, 2001; 03:51 A.M.

This looks like the start of a good thread.

This Christmas, I went all out looking for a digital camera. I initially started with the Nikon's 990, but was eventually swayed toward the Canon G1. The reasons were simple -- review after review applauded the quality of the shots, and more importantly -- it was a reflection of the EOS system which I've been using for last 10 years.

But after repeated tries with the G1, I gave up and shot for the wallet-burning Canon D30.

It wasn't a camera I could readily afford, but I realized I wasn't ready to enter the point-and-shoot realm.

I couldn't get used to the ergonomics of the G1. Boxy and difficult to hold. I quickly realized I wasn't going to get "photography" out of it, but rather "records" as someone else here pointed out.

I've been shooting with rangefinders for some time now, and despite the small size of the rangefinders, it didn't get in the way of making pictures. Somehow the G1 didn't feel like a "tool", but rather edging toward a "toy".

The D30 cost a bomb, but maintained what I've come to know as a style. Shooting with the D30 doesn't feel "digital". In fact, it's the photography style I've known for some time.

Carleton Wu , January 28, 2001; 05:20 P.M.

Re: Exposure. I would agree with previous comments about overexposure with the G1. I have found that -2/3 adjustment works best all-around. For flash photo with my 380EX, I will step that down further to -1.

Re: ergonomics. With the addition of a lens conversion adapter, be it Canon's or Lensmate, you have a camera that is easier to handle with the left hand cupping the barrel of the conversion adapter. You also do not have to worry about the lens cap blocking the lens when you turn the camera on. What it does add to G1 is size so you will need a bigger carrying case, which is not a problem for me. Canon's adapter is flared to accept 58mm lenses, while the Lensmate is more cylindrical and accepts 46mm (or was that 49mm?). Also, Canon's is plastic and the Lensmate is metal. In any case, both blocks the optical view as well as the built-in flash to varying degrees but I tend to use my LCD on ALL shots anyways.

Re: Microdrive. For those contemplating 1gig vs. 340mb, I would urge you to consider the 1gig. It will enable you to use RAW almost exclusively, which must be converted by CANON software--but the included TWAIN software can be used by almost all photo apps including PHOTOSHOP, making it a snap. Unlike film where you simply reload another roll, if you are on a trip that is longer than just a few days, that 340mb Microdrive can fill up awefully fast. With the LCD being somewhat lacking in resolution, even in zoom viewing, it is difficult to tell if you captured a scene well. For important shots, I often snap 2-3x. I also snap any photogenic scene with reckless abandon instead of having to worry about budgeting my Microdrive with only bonafide shots.

Re: flimsy rubber cover for USB/Power. Avoid using altogether! I have an extra BP511 battery to use as spare (from my ZR10 camcorder), and bought a Lenmar battery charger for about $50. Also, I use a USB Compact Flash reader ($30) so I never have to worry about breaking off that cheap cover at all. I now need to remove the Microdrive but that cover is VERY well made and it is more convenient for me to work with a Microdrive when transfering to computer than lugging my camera.

Re: owner satisfaction. So far, I love this camera!!!

Andrew Booth , January 30, 2001; 08:29 P.M.

I purchased a G1 just after Christmas. I've used it for a few weeks now - in a studio, out and about and on a skiing trip. I generally agree with Phillip's comment - if you're putting down a fair amount of money for a flexible digital camera, you should take a look at the SLRs. For me, this is my first digital camera, and I wanted to spend less, but still buy a camera which gave me enough flexibility to evaluate digital.

Overall impressions are mixed. I've read lots of postings over on dpreview, Luminuous Landscape etc. about the quality of digital, but on the basis of the G1 I'm not yet convinced. Resolution seems good, but colours are uncertain. Reds seems to block up easily (colours look Kodak-ish, which I don't like). Exposure latitude is poor and noice is easily detectable in shadow. The lack of histogram feedback therefore means you're treading a fine line between overexposure (unacceptable with digital) and noise. I don't necessarily think that these negative traits are peculiar to the G1 however - and there was much to like about the camera; the immediate feedback with each photograph taken was very welcome.

A couple of points and 'gotchas' I've discovered while using the camera:

  • The exposure and exposure compensation doesn't work as in a film camera. I believe that once an exposure reading is taken, the camera performs a histogram/level analysis in order to maximise the CCD brightness resolution. This was particularly clear with show scenes, where the camera refused to underexpose. White snow was always placed at > 230, and any extra exposure dialled in by me resulted in overexposure.
  • Be careful if you use a sto-fen with this camera. I used an omnibounce on a Vivitar 283 flash (European model with low sync voltage) and I got flare within the lens and on the image. After some experimentation, I found that the flash head had to be angled at > 70 degrees to prevent this - at this angle the front lens element was shaded from the flash.
  • Don't trust the LCD to evaluate exposure. I tried using the G1 in a studio, and reduced the exposure since the LCD indicated whites were blocking out. A histogram function would be a great addition to this camera - in its absence learn how it reacts and check what the camera has done using photoshop.

Anders E , February 10, 2001; 06:41 P.M.

I agree on that the G1 is excellent except for one thing; the strange "solarization" effect in near-overexposed areas. The edges around overexposed areas, eg a reflection, get magenta. Anyone else seen this, or should I get a replacement?

Eric Ung , March 03, 2001; 10:19 P.M.

Canon G1 is a very nice amateur digital camera to me. It accepts Canon - mount flash, long operation times because of big size rechargeable battery, funny and highly usable panorama mode ( needs software manipulation but this feature delays me to go for the Hasselbalh ), freely rotatable LCD screen ( good for taking photo for oneself ). All these are superior to my old 505 sony DC. However, lack of zooming function during video mode, inability to put images back from computer to DC, incompatibility to third party speedite ( at least to my E-TTL Metz Flash but works excellently with my Canon 550 ), old fashion appearance, low class USB/AV connection cover are the drawback.

Joe Biegel , March 13, 2001; 09:15 A.M.

Two months into G-1 ownership and I still like this little box very much,in spite of a few small issues. Overall image quality is quite good. Battery life is awesome

+ Using Canon Speedlites makes all the difference for flash shots; with a diffuser and bounce, indoor family shots are excellent

- There is no equivalent to the EOS custom function when taking flash images that allows you to fix the shutter speed and select an aperture, having the Speedlite compensate its output to expose properly. This is a bummer. I have taken lots of nicely exposed flash shots at f/2…seems like this should be the default mode for aperture priority with flash…

- The camera does not hand hold well with an attached Speedlite.

- No one I’ve talked to at Canon knew if the off camera cord offered for the EOS’s would work with the G-1 –this would allow the flash to be mounted on a grip for comfortable indoor work. One of the tech support people said it wouldn’t “fit” (it’s a hot shoe mount…) If anyone has tried this please email me!

- Flash exposure compensation firmware needs help I have it locked on –1 stop…

+ Battery life is awesome

- The AC plug cover is a bit of a joke, but you don’t need it much

- Exposure lag is still long…

+The controls are very easy to learn and use (I never could master the Nikon 950, the 990 is much better than the 950 though…)

- The camera is a box and is not very comfortable to hold

+LCD is awesome, even on bright snowy days

- The RAW conversion s/w is very limited – it would be nice if you could create a LUT to map down to 8 bits instead of just a few contrast settings…

+ I like the analog lens cap – it offers some real protection over a sliding door (OK it is goofy to have it dangling from the camera like a pendulum…)

- The viewfinder is not terrible, but this is no Leica…I find myself using it less and less…

I like and recommend the camera often..

Image Attachment: sara-gravity.jpg

Jon Anhold , March 15, 2001; 01:33 A.M.

Acording to the review at dpreview.com, the magenta around overexposed areas is due to chromatic aberration within the lens itself.

Samuel Lam , April 12, 2001; 12:24 A.M.

When you forgot to remove the lens cap before you turn on the camera, there is no need to turn off then on again. Just remove the lens cap and press the shutter button once, that will wake up the camera.

Rickey Andrew Mead , April 23, 2001; 04:17 P.M.


Deco

I am not a "Pro" photograher in fact I never used any camera more complicated than a point & shoot Fuji film camera. In 1997 I got my first digital camera a Kodak DC50, The DC50 was pretty good back in 97 but in October 2000 when I started to really check out what was new in digital I could see it was way past due that I purchase a new digital camera. I researched for about a month comparing Images & features & agonizing over the Nikon vs Canon debates. I then decided to purchase the G1. After having the G1 for four months I can say I truly am happy with my decision. The G1 has a very sharp lens And with a external flash you can do beautiful portraits. The G1 has super low light capabilities. And lots of creative control, I most allways shoot raw in manual mode except for when I need that quick one, I use auto mode for the "snapshot". The battery is one big plus of the G1 it really seems like it goes on forever, unlike the other cameras that eat up AA batterys like candy. All in all there has been no disappointment with the G1 for me.
Here is a link to my Images so you can see what the novice photographer can do with the Canon G1 - take a minute and check it out. I also purchased the Lensmate Adapter for the G1 and I leave it on all the time with a Hoya HMC multi-coated UV filter. So now the little problem of forgetting to take the lens cap off does not happen. I also recomend buying the Lowepro D-Res 40 AW Camera bag, It will fit the G1 with the Lensmate adapter on it, Close up lens set, filters, batterys, & cf cards. Oh yeah, The door over the power connector and USB port that everyone cries about seems all right to me, It has been opened numerous times in the five months that I have had the camera and I dont see any problem with the design. Too many whiners out there.

Hoss McDonald , May 01, 2001; 02:06 P.M.

In a review above I read "Another annoyance is the download/battery charger door. I doubt it'll stay on the camera very long. I can barely pry it open with a fingernail." Several other reviewrs echoed that sentiment. Canon listened. I just bought the G1 (4-28-01)and Canon modified this door. The cover is now soft rubber and hangs by a rubberized thread at one corner when open. It's a cinch to use. BTW I don't find it awkward to hold. I find 14 ounces to be a very managable weight. Overall I am very pleased eith my G1.

Richard Sessums , May 12, 2001; 09:33 P.M.

I did not realize that my plastic USB/power cover door was the "new" type...it's easy to open, but every time I open it I think to myself that it's gonna fall off within a year.

What really was the clincher for me was this camera's ability to work with my existing Speedlites. When I put my 550EX on the camera (or should I say when I put the camera on my 550EX?) and bounce it I always get spectacular pictures. A big, wicked flash like the 550EX really makes this camera work for me. I've even used a 420EX as a slave to the 550 and that worked great, too.

A second concern is that on/off/transfer/review dial that is attached to the focus mode dial...I often discovered after the fact that I've switched modes after I've turned that power dial -- and with the gigantic 550EX on the camera it's kind of hard to see the dial and the LCD. That dial seems a tad "cheap" to me, too. I hope it lasts longer than I think it will last!

Enough with my whining. This is a wonderul camera. Even in plain ole "auto" mode the shots are great. In the creative modes they are even better! With a Canon Speedlite the are even better yet.

I got this camera to hold me over until the D30 or it's successor is one day affordable to me (a hobbyist.) I am very happy with my decision. The only problem with going digital is that, with hundreds and hundreds of large images, you realize that you need to go out and score a much larger hard drive for your PC!!!! <grin>

Richard

Tampa FL USA

Cheong Peng Ng , July 07, 2001; 08:40 P.M.

Dear All G1 supporter:

Just wanna to say that the consistent annoying factor as mentioned by the author is not actually a problem even you have forgotten to take out the cap. YOU NO NEED TO OFF & ON THE CAMERA. Just press the shot button to wake the camera up. It is just that easy.

Cheong Peng, 2001

Eugene Genov , August 10, 2001; 06:53 P.M.

It's VERY, VERY strange than no-one mentions the biggest G1 fault - the auto-focus.

I'm a pro photographer, who can't spend 6-7 grand for a Kodak/Nikon, so after reading numerous postings & reviews I decided that Canon's G1 is the best alternative at the moment - a lot of extras & good performance for a decent price. I can live with all it's faults, except the Auto-Focus. I can't believe that it's possible for a big & reputable company to produce such a crap. The camera has awful problems focussing at distances 0.7-2.5 meters. Out of 4-5 shots, taken one after the other, without me or the model moving at all, sometimes only one is well-focussed.

This is a highly frustrating issue, and to my dismay, Canon has ignored my several e-mails addressing this problem. I've done an extensive research and foun that other G1 users are experiencing the same problem with the focus. Can't the Japan boys do something about this? Or maybe they don't give a damn about the users opinions?

Seems like I'll walk back to Nikon - at least for the digital part. Coolpix 990/995 may have lots of drawbacks, but at least it can focus OK when the lighting conditions are normal.

OK, I know that the camera manual mentions possible focussing problems with objects without contrast, but I don't think that a man in front of a gray wall at diffused sunlight is missing any contrast. Moreover, the camera sometimes makes razor-sharp pictures at these conditions, and sometimes screws completely up! Maybe it's firmware problem?

There's another one great problem with G1 - it can't use corectly external flash! No matter what the manual says - I tried this at home, if you don't believe, try it too!

Setup: Radio slave, Sunpak 555, Sekonic 608 and the shitty G1: I set the flash to manual, 1/8 power, metered with the Sekonic, then put the slave transmitter on the hot shoe of the camera (set to M, speed-1/125 & aperture according to the metered values) & made a shot. Over-exposed. Closed the diafragm with 1f. Another shot - overexposed. And all the way to F8 - all shots were over-exposed!

Well - this was at the shortest focal length of the zoom. I zoomed to full tele - and everything worked just fine. Seems the G1 can't close its diaphragm on time when the lens is zoomed below 50mm (equiv.)

Any comments/opinions?

Regards, Gena

Ted Nicoson , October 20, 2001; 05:46 A.M.

This is in answer to some of the previously listed questions/concerns about connecting external flashes to the Canon G-1 digital camera. I am a bit late in the model run getting this out, as I see the G-2 has now hit the market. I have no information on the G-2, but assume that much of what follows would apply to the G-2 as well as the G-1 - particularly the physical mountings of an external flash.

First, we must address the issue of compatibility. On Canon's film based EOS cameras, if the external flash unit is not a Canon EX or other E-TTL unit, the camera/flash system resorts to plain old TTL flash. This is not the case with the G-1. If the external flash is not a Canon manufactured EX series speedlight, then the flash unit resorts to FULL POWER with no flash exposure control at all - requiring the photographer to control exposure with f-stop/shutter speed settings. So, if you are a G-1 owner considering an external flash - stick to the Canon manufactured EX series units. Do not be swayed by 3rd party claims of E-TTL compatibility. They are talking about compatibility with the EOS film based cameras.

I would not recommend mounting the EX flash unit directly to the G-1's hotshoe. The out-of-balance condition would seem to be an open invitation to eventual disaster. Canon's off-camera EX flash cord WORKS PERFECTLY with the G-1. Both E-TTL mode and flash auto-zoom work with this cord. For a more "compact" setup, I use the Canon 380EX mounted with the G-1 on a NIKON COOL-PIX 950/990 flash bracket. The NIKON bracket comes without a rubber grip for the left hand and can get a bit slippery. So I modified it with the rubber grip from a Sima video camera light bracket grip from Best Buy. This setup is extremely rigid/rugged and quite handy. For more serious work, I mount the G-1 and 380EX on a StroboFrame Flip-Flash bracket. Not only does this allow 90 degree camera rotation without upsetting the flash orientation, but also provides a minimum of 12 1/2 inches of separation between lense and flash axes for real red-eye reduction. It also provides ample space for fairly large "soft-box" flash diffusers made by Lumiquest and others.

The CCD in the G-1 is extemely sensitive and over-exposes easily. Since the Guide Numbers of most EX external flashes far exceed the G-1's internal flash, overexposure and burn-in can be a real problem. I normally run the G-1 in PROGRAM (P) mode with day-light exposure control set to -1.3 and flash exposure control set to -1.6 or -2.0. Even at this, overexposure and/or burn-in can still be a problem with flash. Bounce flash or a softbox seem to be the only effective answers. A very high bounce angle (70 to 90 degrees) seems to work best (assuming you have a WHITE ceiling to bounce from). A 3X5 white note card rubber-banded to the backside of the flash unit as a fill-flash reflector seems to work fairly well even when there is no ceiling to bounce from. Lumiquest makes a variable bounce unit that is very good for this and looks a lot more "professional". Keep in mind that anytime you rotate the flash head into bounce position, you drop from E-TTL mode into straight TTL mode. If E-TTL is absoulutely essential, then a softbox that allows straight-on flash diffusion might be a better answer.

Good luck and ENJOY !


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