Among the list of new cameras introduced by Canon recently, we were most surprised by the announcement of one particular model, the Powershot G7. After two long years, the aging Powershot G6 has finally been refreshed in order to keep pace with competition. Physically, the new camera does not bear much similarity with the outgoing G6. It is noticeably smaller for better portability, which is a good thing because the G7 is perhaps the smallest prosumer camera with full manual exposure controls and a 10-megapixel CMOS sensor in the market right now. Also, because the new styling now features more masculine lines than before, the G7 is desperately handsome to look at.
As part of the design overhaul, the G7 no longer has a chunky handgrip, which is rather weird considering the G7 is actually heavier than the G6 as a result of a more substantial metal housing, a big plus in the way of build quality. In fact, the G7 now resembles more a digital compact than a prosumer camera. The downside is a clear drop in handling confidence but that should mean little when you consider the G7 is now much more portable and easy to carry around than the outgoing G6.
There are three main dials on the body to control the many settings and functions offered by the G7. The small dial on the top left gives you quick access to ISO settings while the right dial lets you control exposure settings in addition to auto, movie and scene modes. The control dial beside the LCD is actually a rotary dial and a multi-selector very much identical to the ones found on higher-end DSLR cameras, giving you control over aperture/shuttle speeds and playback respectively. Secondary functions of the multi-selector include flash, macro selection and timer/continuous shooting.
The new G7 comes equipped with the latest DIGIC III image processor, which means to say Canon’s latest face detection technology is one of the highlights of the camera.
In this mode, the camera automatically identifies and prioritizes focusing for faces over everything else in the frame and it is capable of doing this for up to nine faces in a shot at one go. The intelligence of this system goes as far as automatically switching back to the default 9-point AiAF mode when there are no human subjects in the frame. What’s even more delightful is that the camera will automatically categorize photos taken in face detection mode under ‘People’ in ‘My Category’, which is basically an indexing system that lets you find the photos you want via people, scenery or events categories.
The Canon Powershot G7 is a brilliant camera to have around for almost all kinds of occasions. It is handy, portable and packs a whole lot of useful features in a sturdy metal body. Armed with a 6x optical zoom and optical image stabilizer, the G7 is more than capable for telephoto shoots with little or no blurring. Even macro shooting was very well implemented as we were able to get a clean sharp shot at items 5mm away from the lens. As per Canon, photos were very well saturated and white balancing was spot on under most lighting conditions. Noise (grains) was very visible for shots taken at ISO 800; hence, we don’t recommend taking photos at ISO setting any higher than ISO 800. With a 30fps recording quality at VGA resolution, the G7 is also an impressive video recorder. The G7 even allows you to slow down video clips to for quick on-camera editing of portions you do not want.
With full manual exposure settings, video capturing (with audio) in a small body and proven image quality from DIGIC III image processor, the G7 is a cool all-rounder camera to have around for capturing memories. For US$599.99, you’ll be getting a quality prosumer camera that is forgiving enough to let you sharpen your photography techniques and one that is absolutely effortless to use at fully automatic which you can depend on for good pictures.