How’s the Powershot G9 Doing?

Well, it’s been several months since I got a Canon Powershot G9 to be a point-n-shoot compliment to my Nikon D70s.  Since I got it I’ve done a fair bit of shooting with it and have some notes:

It’s slower shooting than the D70s.  This isn’t a bit surprising.  It takes a bit longer to pull focus, there’s a bit more lag between pressing the shutter release and the picture getting taken, and it takes considerably longer to write images to the memory card.  All expected.

I take it along with me a lot more than I ever did the D70s.  It’s still a far cry from a pocketable ultra-compact, but it goes in a jacket pocket with no problem, and is much more low-key for public and event shooting than a DSLR.  Doy.

The image quality is sometimes better.  Given an easy to shoot scene without a lot of dynamic range and where the subject and I are both holding relatively still, it can produce stunning images.  I think it defaults to a bit more saturation and sharpening than the D70s, and it does a much better job processing jpegs in-camera.

The pictures aren’t as good.  This is a combination of factors.  With the D70s I have a wilderness of high quality optics available, and I have some very good glass at my disposal which the little lens on the G9 simply cannot match.  The G9 shows almost comical levels of barrel distortion at the wide end, making it barely acceptable for landscape shooting.  Also, the viewfinder on the G9 is more or less worthless.  I mean, you can see what’ll be in the middle of the frame, sure, but forget trying to compose in the viewfinder (it’s simply not an accurate reflection of the crop you’ll get in the frame).  This means you really have to compose using the screen on the back of the camera, which means the camera is held away from your body (not as stable) and since your eye isn’t right in the frame it’s harder to spot problem areas in the frame before you take the shot (I shoot a lot more frames with my shadow visible, or with an obstruction jutting into the middle of the picture, or other amateur hour-type errors in composition).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great camera and I’m still very happy with the purchase, but I’m going to be carrying the D70s a lot more for my nature shooting going forward.

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