Scoring second place in our Best High End Compact Camera 2009 awards is Canon’s heavyweight PowerShot G11 digicam.
The G11 is the current flagship of Canon’s G-series range which has established an excellent reputation amongst pro photographers and dial-twitching amateurs for producing the highest quality images in a tough package.
It’s a beast
Much as we love the chunky old school looks, there’s no denying that as compact cameras go, the G11 is a bit of a beast, and there’s not even the slightest prospect of fitting this monster into a regular-sized trouser pocket.
But what you lose in portability, you gain in functionality and handling, with the G11 offering an unsurpassed array of old-fashioned knobs on the top for adjusting ISO settings, changing shooting modes and adding EV compensation. We like this very much indeed.
Old school SLR owners will also swoon at the mechanical feel of the top dials, although the fiddly multi-controller on the rear mars the overall experience.
Optics come in the shape of a 5x optically stabilised zoom lens covering the same 28-140mm focal range (f2.8-4.5, 35mm equivalent) as the G10. We would have preferred a wider angle zoom, but it’s a reasonable compromise.
Canon have also bolted on an optical viewfinder, but this is so squinty it borders on useless (coverage is a hopeless 77%), so it’s a good job that there’s an excellent articulating 2.8 inch 461k LCD monitor on the back.
Wisely, Canon stepped out of megapixel war and dropped the pixel count to 10MP with the G11, a sizeable step down from its predecessors 14MP, giving the camera superior high ISO performance.
As ever, there’s a full suite of automatic and manual controls onboard, with the ten primary scene modes being: Auto, Low Light, Quick shot, Scene (14 specific shooting scenes plus stitch assist, colour swap and colour accent), Program auto, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Custom1/Custom2 and Movie.
As with the Powershot S90, video shooting is restricted to Ye Olde Low Res 640×480 or 320×240 pixels resolution, both at 30fps. We say: “Where’s the HD, Canon?
The camera’s not exactly the fastest snapper off the blocks, taking several seconds to start up and focus, but once you’re up and running there shouldn’t be too many complaints about the image quality, with the G11 producing clean, well exposed shots full of detail.
The decision to strip down the pixel count was vindicated by the G11’s low light performance too, with decent results available up to the giddy heights of ISO 800.
It’s meaty, beaty, big and quite probably bouncy camera, making the G11 a perfect camera for the rugged outdoors and street photography.
Built to take the knocks and serving up a SLR-like selection of shooting modes with the handling to match, the G11 is a great all-round camera for serious photographers.
Offering top notch image quality with tons of manual control and an excellent flip-out screen and lengthy battery life, this is a camera we can heartily recommend.
Type 1/1.7” CCD
Effective Pixels Approx.10.0M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology
6.1 – 30.5 mm (35mm equivalent: 28-140mm)
Optical 5x. Digital approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter approx. 1.4x or 2.3x and Safety Zoom¹)². Combined approx. 20x
Maximum f/number f/2.8-f/4.5
11 elements in 9 groups (1 double-sided aspherical element)
AF System/ Points
AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (Any position is available, fixed centre or Face Select and Track)
Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE¹
AF Point Selection
Manual selection using FlexiZone AF/AE, Size (Normal, Small)
AF Assist Beam
Manual Focus Yes
Focus Bracketing Yes
Closest Focusing Distance
1cm (W) from front of lens in macro
Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre or linked to Face Detection AF or FlexiZone AF frame)
AE Lock Yes
+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ND Filter (3 stop)
AEB 1/3 – 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
1 – 1/4000 sec (factory default)
15 – 1/4000 sec (total range – varies by shooting mode)
Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater, Custom1, Custom2.
White Balance Correction
Real-image zoom, optical viewfinder
Dioptre Correction Yes
Vari-angle 2.8” PureColor II VA (TFT), approx. 461,000 dots
Adjustable to one of five levels. Quick-bright LCD
Auto, Manual Flash On / Off
Slow Sync Speed
Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation
+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments. Face Detection FE. Safety FE.
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Manual Power Adjustment
3 levels with internal flash (up to 19 levels with external EX Speedlites 270EX and 430EX II. 22 levels with 580EX II¹)
Second Curtain Synchronisation Yes
Built-in Flash Range
50cm-7.0m (W) / 4.0m (T)
E-TTL with EX series Speedlites¹, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Auto*, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Custom (2 modes), Low Light¹, Quick Shot, SCN (Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Sunset, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, Color Accent, Color Swap, Stitch Assist), Movie
*with Scene Detection Technology and Motion Detection Technology
My Colours (My Colours Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Single, Continuous, Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer
Approx. 1.1 shots/sec.¹, AF: Approx. 0.7 shots/sec.¹, LV: Approx. 0.8 shots/sec.¹ (until memory card becomes full)²
RECORDING PIXELS / COMPRESSION
(L & RAW) 3648 x 2736, (M1) 2816 x 2112, (M2) 2272 x 20%4, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 3648 x 2048. Resize in playback (M3, S, 320 x 240)
640 x 480, 30fps
320 x 240, 30fps
Up to 4GB or 1 hour
Still Image Type
JPEG compression, (Exif 2.2 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, RAW, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (monaural)]
Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
Yes, during shooting and playback
My Camera / My Menu
Start-up image and camera sounds customisation. Menu customisation
Image tagging feature
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Approx. 2x – 10x
Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom or FaceSelf-Timer
Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other HDMI Mini Connector. A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
Type SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus.
SUPPORTED OPERATING SYSTEM
PC & Macintosh
Windows XP SP2-3 / Vista (including SP1-2)
Mac OS X v10.4 – 10.5
Browsing & Printing
ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Digital Photo Professional for RAW development
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-7L (NB-7L battery and charger supplied)
Approx. 390 shots¹
Approx. 420 min. playback
A/C Power Supply
Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC50
Cases / Straps
Soft Case DCC-660, SC-DC65A
Waterproof / Weatherproof Case
Waterproof Case (40m) WP-DC34, Waterproof Case Weight WW-DC1
Tele-converter 1.4x TC-DC58D
Lens adapter LA-DC58K
Canon Speedlites (including 220EX, 270EX, 430 EX, 430EX II, 580 EX, 580EX II¹), Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2, Off-Camera Shoe Cord OC-E3, Speedlite Bracket BKT-DC1
High Power Flash HF-DC1
Remote Controller/ Switch
Remote Switch RS-60E3
Power Supply & Battery Chargers
AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC50, Battery Charger CB-2LZE
Ring Accessory Kit RAK-DC2
Canon HDMI Cable HTC-100
– 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD, excl. protrusions)
112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 mm
Weight (body only) Approx. 355g