So we all are excited about the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. But what to do when you can't afford or more likely can't find one? Rain checks for Christmas aren't much fun.
People ask me all the time what point and shoot camera they should buy. What camera do I need, what camera should I buy my -fill in the blank- (Brother, Sister, Mother, Husband, Papa) for Christmas? Until recently I have been utterly clueless how to respond. Finally I have an answer buy the Canon Powershot G10 ($420 Now $417 from Amazon).
The simple reason to buy it is the G10 is that it is easy to use, but is also more camera than you will ever need (its more camera than I need). Now I am not comparing it to the 5D Mark II. But it does to point and shoots what the Mark II does to DSLRs!
How so? Incredible image quality plus video at this price point . The camera has a 14.7 mega pixel sensor. More importantly -to me at least- it shoots a RAW file, the resulting uncompressed picture file is a whopping 40+ megabytes. That is an 11x14 inch print at 300 dpi. Stunning. If you don't want RAW you can shoot jpg or RAW + jpg.
Shutter lag -the bane of the point and shoot- is virtually non existent. The controls make sense and there are physical controls for everything. ISO, mode, exposure compensation, flash settings are all set with either a button or dial. No exhaustive menus to confuse a flustered photographer.
There is a fully manual mode. Though most of us will use aperture or shutter priority.
Did I mention that it is rugged? Metal body, strong knobs, comes in any color you want as long as it is black. Mine has put up with plenty of abuse (see the video below and use your imagination) since I bought it in October but still looks a shoots great.
The lens is a 6.1-30.5mm f2.8. That is bright for a point and shoot and and wide. Zoomed out it is the equivalent of a 28mm SLR lens. It is a pretty good lens, more than sharp enough. I could shoot pictures for National Geographic with this camera. In fact if I'm in a situation where I don't want to call attention to being a photojournalist -can you say Burma?- this is the camera to use.
above 1/80 sec f 3.2 aperture priority iso 400
Now for the bad news. The party stops at ISO 400. Yes the dial goes all the way to 1600 but you should not. At 400 there is some noise, at 800 it is pronounced and at 1600 my iphone looks better. THAT is the pay off for cramming all those pixels onto a small chip.
But iso 400 and f2.8 coupled with an internal stabilizer lets you shoot in pretty dark situations and come out with publishable pictures.
above 1/3 sec f 2.8 iso 400 manual mode
The camera really does have a split personality. Use manual control and set the flash compensation where you like and its performance is very professional. Or turn it to auto mode and it will blast out perfect holiday pics all night long no matter how much egg nog you drink!
The video is another story, 640 x 480 only, but very very easy to use. In fact I'v been handing the G10 to my assistant to document me shooting underground lately. The resulting video is great to have around.