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Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Canon PowerShot G6


A rotating, live LCD and 7.1 megapixels make this an ideal field camera


canon powershot g6
canon powershot g6

The talk of digital for outdoor photographers is heavily oriented toward D-SLRs. Yet when I teach classes around the country, I hear many photographers admitting to loving the little advanced compact cameras for their size and capabilities. Canon's latest model in this group is another G-series camera, the PowerShot G6. It offers a smart design with an SLR-style grip, a 7.1-megapixel sensor and all the photographic controls you'd expect in a digital SLR, but in a far more compact package.

I've long been a big fan of the rotating, live LCDs found on the G-series cameras. The PowerShot G6 includes a two-inch LCD. The more common 1.8-inch monitor doesn't seem so much smaller in specs, yet when you use a larger monitor like this one, you'll definitely notice the difference.

The combination of a rotating, live LCD with built-in macro capabilities makes this an ideal camera for close-up photography. In its Macro setting, the PowerShot G6 focuses to two to six inches (depending on focal length) without any accessories. There's a Super Macro setting, but this is essentially a digital zoom and only provides a 3-megapixel image. I wouldn't recommend it for serious close-up work.

You can add accessory lenses to gain more focal length capabilities. With high-quality wide-angle and telephoto accessory lenses, you get a total range of about 24-240mm (35mm film equivalent). I also like the achromatic close-up lenses, such as those from Century Optics, to increase the camera's versatility in close-up work.

Images from the PowerShot G6 compare quite favorably to photos from larger cameras when the PowerShot G6 is shot at ISO 50-100. Above that, however, noise becomes noticeable (the digital SLR holds a commanding lead in keeping noise low at high ISO settings). Shutter speeds range from 15 to 1/2000 sec., and speeds longer than 1.3 seconds automatically include noise reduction (which increases processing time). Shutter lag is reduced from other G cameras, but not eliminated.

Canon has included its remarkable DIGIC processor in the camera, which reduces noise and acts like a RAW file-processing expert built into your camera. The PowerShot G6 also has a feature that more digital cameras should have—instant RAW file capability. Shoot a photo and when it's reviewed on the monitor, press the flash button and the camera will give you the option to save as RAW (although the file likely will contain more noise than saving as JPEG).

The camera fits your hand comfortably and is very compact at 4.1x2.9x2.9-inches and 13.4 ounces.

Contact: Canon, (800) OK-CANON, www.powershot.com.

[ Specifications ]
Resolution: 7.1 megapixels (3072 x 2304 pixels)
Lens: 7.2-28.8mm, ƒ/2.0-3.0 zoom lens (35mm film equivalent: 35-140mm)
Viewfinder: Optical
LCD: 2-inch rotating
Media Type: CF cards
Shooting Modes: Auto, Creative Zone (P, Av, Tv, M), Image Zone (Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Stitch Assist, Movie), Custom 1, Custom 2
Exposure Compensation: ±2 stops in 1/3-EV steps
Metering System: Evaluative metering, center-weighted, spot
Shutter Speeds: 15-1/2000 sec. (1-1/2000 in auto modes)
ISO Equivalency: 100-400
Power Source: Proprietary Li-Ion
Size: 4.1x2.9x2.9 - inches
Weight: 13.4 ounces
Street Price: $699


Primary Features
1 Rotating, flip-out, two-inch LCD panel for easy viewing at any angle

2 Zoom lens with a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 35-140mm

3 DIGIC internal processing to create high-quality JPEG files

4 Wide-angle and telephoto accessory lenses extend the focal length range (35mm equivalent of 24-245mm)

Compact digital cameras are lightweight and easy to tote. The Canon PowerShot G6 is an extremely capable model with a sharp lens, a 4x zoom, the advanced DIGIC II processor and pro-level features.

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