Canon PowerShot G7
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The PowerShot G7 ($599) is the latest model in Canon's flagship series of fixed-lens cameras. A year ago I was told that the PowerShot G6 would be the last in the series, which was sad, as I've been a fan of the G-series cameras. Then, earlier this summer, I was in for a surprise: the "G" was back, in the form of the G7.
The differences between the G6 and the G7 are considerable, so I put them into this chart for you:
I don't know about you, but lot of the new features on the G7 aren't exactly "steps up" from the G6.
Does the G7 continue the tradition of being a top-notch fixed-lens camera? Find out now in our review!
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot G7 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Canon puts a 32MB memory card in the box with the G7, which holds a grand total of six photos at the highest quality setting. That means that you'll want to get a memory card right away. The G7 supports Secure Digital, MultiMedia, and the new SDHC memory cards. I'd recommend a 1GB card as a good place to start. It's worth spending a few extra bucks for a "high speed" card, 60X or above.
The PowerShot G7 uses a different battery than its predecessor. While the G6 used the BP-511A, the G7 uses the smaller NB-2LH battery, which is also used by the Digital Rebel XT/XTi. That old battery packed a whopping 10.3 Wh of energy, while the one used by the G7 holds almost half that -- 5.3 Wh. And while the G7's battery life isn't half as bad as the G6, it's still worse:
As you can see, the G7's battery life is 35% worse than on its predecessor. In the group as a whole, it's well below average. Kind of disappointing, in my opinion.
There are a few issues about proprietary batteries like the one used by the G7 that I wanted to mention. For one, these batteries are quite expensive, selling at around $40 a pop. Secondly, you can't just pop in off-the-shelf batteries when the rechargeable die, like you could on a camera that uses AAs.
There's a built-in lens cover on the G7, so there's no clunky lens cap to deal with. As you can see, it's a fairly bulky camera.
The G7 supports quite a few optional accessories, and I've compiled them all into this handy chart:
Quite a list! The one thing missing: a wireless remote control, which was offered with the G6.
ImageBrowser (Mac OS X)
Canon includes version 29 of their Digital Camera Solution software package with the PowerShot G7. The main applications are the ImageBrowser/ZoomBrowser "twins" that come with all PowerShot models. ImageBrowser is for the Mac, while ZoomBrowser is for Windows PCs. The Mac version is not Universal (Intel native), so it's not as fast as it could be.
After you download photos via the CameraWindow application, you'll end up with the screen above, which has a standard-issue thumbnail view. Photos can be organized, printed, and e-mailed from this screen.
Double-click on a thumbnail and you'll bring up the edit window. Editing functions include trimming, redeye removal, and the ability to adjust levels, color, brightness, sharpness, and the tone curve.
MovieEdit task (Mac OS X)
The MovieEdit task lets you take your movie clips, add effects and transitions, and then save the results as a single movie.
RemoteCapture task (Mac OS X)
The RemoteCapture task lets you control the camera from your Mac or PC. You can adjust any of the camera settings, and the photos are saved directly to your computer's hard drive.
PhotoStitch (Mac OS X)
A separate program known as PhotoStitch is used to put the photos you took in the Stitch Assist mode into one giant panorama. The interface is simple, the process takes minutes, and the results are impressive, as you can see.
The G7's documentation comes in several parts. You get a basic manual to get you up and running, and an advanced manual for more complex camera features. There are also separate manuals for the bundled software and direct printing. While the manuals aren't what I'd call pleasure reading, they will answer any question that may come up about the camera.
Look and Feel
The PowerShot G7 is a midsize, fairly bulky camera with a style reminiscent of classic rangefinder cameras. Build quality is excellent -- the camera feels like a brick in your hands. It's covered with buttons and dials, and is not for the faint of heart (or those who don't want to open the manual). There isn't much of a grip on the front of the camera, and there aren't too many places to put your fingers without touching a button, either. I can't say that I'm a fan of the zoom controller or shutter release button, either.
Now, here's a look at how the G7 compares with some of the competition in terms of size and weight:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
Canon PowerShot A640
4.3 x 2.6 x 1.9 in.
21.2 cu in.
245 g Canon PowerShot G6
4.1 x 2.9 x 2.9 in.
34.5 cu in.
380 g Canon PowerShot G7
4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7 in.
20 cu in.
320 g Kodak EasyShare C875
3.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in.
12.6 cu in.
177 g Nikon Coolpix L5
3.6 x 2.4 x 1.8 in.
15.6 cu in.
170 g Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5
3.9 x 2.4 x 1.8 in.
16.8 cu in.
186 g Samsung Digimax L85
4.3 x 2.5 x 1.1 in.
11.8 cu in.
190 g Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W100
3.7 x 2.4 x 1.0 in.
8.9 cu in.