Canon PowerShot G7
At a Glance
Canon PowerShot G7 Compact Camera
This advanced camera offers many innovative features and takes very sharp images, but it's pricey and battery life is short.
The sophisticated $600 Canon PowerShot G7 boasts a 10-megapixel sensor, face-detection autofocus, optical image stabilization, and a maximum light sensitivity of ISO 1600. In contrast, the PowerShot G6 had a 7.1-megapixel rating, lacked image stabilization, and reached ISO 400.
The compact G7's rugged, bricklike metal body feels as though it could weather a few knocks. Its black exterior gives the camera a serious look.
The large, high-resolution 2.5-inch LCD doesn't swivel (the G6's did), lacks a wireless remote, and offers just a strip of rubberized material to grasp onto--a poor substitute for a true hand grip.
The mode dial atop the camera offers typical assortment of shooting modes, plus two positions you can assign customized settings to. Working with the camera's dedicated ISO dial is far more convenient than using an LCD menu.
Unfortunately, the top panel lacks a status display LCD.
On the back, the G7's four-way selector button is surrounded by a thin thumb wheel that lets you make menu selections without a lot of button pressing. When you select a scene mode using the thumb wheel, a virtual dial spins on the LCD screen--a nice touch.
The G7 delivered very sharp shots in our tests, earning the best score on this measure among recently tested advanced cameras. Overall, the G7 earned a Very Good rating for image quality. We were disappointed, however, by the indifferent accuracy of its exposures on indoor shots (at automatic settings), especially on shots where we used the built-in flash. On outdoor shots the G7 usually supplied accurate exposures. The slow autofocus proved frustrating: The lens tended to swim in and out for several seconds before locking onto my subject; and in dim lighting, it sometimes produced out-of-focus shots anyway.
The G7's 6X optical zoom is modest in comparison to the 10X or 12X zooms we've seen on most advanced cameras recently. Photo enthusiasts may be disappointed that the G7 shoots only JPEGs (no RAW images). And if you like to use a tripod, be forewarned that the SD card slot is located next to the battery compartment on the underside of the camera; before you can swap cards, you'll have to remove the camera from the tripod. It's just as likely that you'll have to replace the battery, however: The G7's battery lasted just 275 shots on a full charge, in a category where the average is over 400 shots.
The G7's shortcomings aside, its generous controls and easy navigation may prove an ideal combination for photographers who frequently adjust manual settings in pursuit of the perfect shot. But photo enthusiasts looking for a backup camera to supplement their digital SLR may be turned off by the G7's high price, lack of RAW support, and mediocre battery life.