Monday, February 7, 2011

Is There a New Camera in My Future?

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

For the last couple of days I have felt an urge to experiment with my Canon G7. Off and on I have enjoyed shooting with it, but I bought at it at just about the worst time to have purchased that camera in Canon's line. The G7 shoots only jpeg and I cannot talk myself into being satisfied with that format when I have worked so long with RAW files.

The last couple of days, I have been reminded of how nice it is tote the lightweight camera. It's quite handy for my walks. The photo above was taken during my Sunday evening walk/therapy session. I walked two-thirds of a mile in my trip to the mail boxes and back. Finally, I am moving beyond our drive. One thing was clear: for now at least, a DSLR would have been heavy by the end of the jaunt. Still, as convenient as the point and shoot is, I miss the controls of my DSLR's, and I miss the heft of the heavier cameras when it comes time to frame and trip the shutter.

Unfortunately, I recognize this urge to use the G7 for what it really is. I am flirting with an upgrade to the G12. There are several reasons. Better performance at higher ISO's would be a welcome bonus. The sensor in the G7 is several generations old, and I feel confident that the G12 would give me more flexibility to shoot in lower light. Still, the ultimate frustration with my current version of a point and shoot is the inability to shoot RAW files. That is the true source of this edition of gear lust.

No doubt the smaller camera would always be my second choice and picked up only when conditions make a DSLR impractical. Not surprisingly, the G7 suffers badly when compared to the 40D and 50D. I have no illusions that a G12 will fare dramatically better in a direct comparison.

I am still on the fence about this. I know there are many photographers who are deeply satisfied with the Canon S90. While some of them are people I greatly respect for their more informed opinions, I find myself stuck on the notion of a G12. I can't determine whether I am dense, stubborn, sentimental, or just old enough to be stuck in my ways.

We shall see how this turns out. But, for now, the G12 is the clear front runner.


  1. I love the texture and color in this shot, Anita. Beautiful
    I think you would be happy with the G12. The S90 is a bit smaller and lighter, but you pay extra for that and I,m not sure if you would notice any performance difference. In the meantime, might I suggest you process your jpgs from your present camera in Camera Raw. There are lots of controls in ACR that work fine on jpgs and it's very easy to use.

  2. Ken - Thank you. I am glad the scene appeals to you.

    I appreciate your input on the camera choice.
    Although I know that smaller and lighter can be convenient, I don't care for the feel of a tiny camera. They don't seem to fit my hands. That's another vote for the somewhat "bulky" G12.

    What?! You can process photos without going through Camera Raw? Kidding you, of course. I can't imagine how frustrated I would be with the camera, if I took files straight to Photoshop. But, knowing me, I am probably missing some bets. Would your share some of your favorite tips? I desperately need to keep learning.

  3. Have you considered a Panasonic GF1 or the new GF2? I love my GF1 and find both the 20mm prime and 14-45mm zoom to be superb.

  4. Colin - Welcome! Thank you for dropping in and for your suggestion. I have heard great things about the GF1 and appreciate another nudge to look at that alternative. Does needing the lens cap aggravate you?

  5. I've looked through the "viewfinder" of a G12 and I see a bit of the lens barrel in the lower left of the finder :-(

    A friend recently was considering the G12 but gave up the idea in favour of the Lumix GF1 + a pretty nice camera case [like the cameras of ole times used to have] + a nice zoom + an electronic viewfinder which tilts up 90 degrees. The camera is light, easy to carry, easy to adjust, and takes nice pictures. I have not compared pic quality to the G12 Canon, so I cant say if it is better or worse. The main advantage, as I see it, is the option to switch lenses like one does on a DSLR.

  6. I love my S90 (now the S95), and I'm a Nikon guy. I had a requirement when I bought it that I wanted a camera that would shoot RAW, but still fit in a pants or shirt pocket for those times I didn't want to hand "carry" any camera. The S90 meets those requirements, the G12 would not. That's what decided it for me.

  7. Anil - Wow! The Panasonic Lumix line is getting some great recommendations. I have to find out the name of the latest version of the GF1 and check on the price. This is getting more complicated.

    Thank you so much for your input.

  8. Earl - Of course, you and Paul Lester are the folks I was referring to in my post. With both of you vouching for the S90 (or S95), I know it must be awfully good. I guess I am going to have to put this off until I can get to a camera store and do some hands on testing. There are too many strong contenders to place the order without handling the cameras.

  9. No problem with having to use a lens cap, I've used one for 30 years so it's just a way of life! I've owned Canon G7, G9 and a G10 in the past and my wife now has an S90; there's no doubt that they are all good cameras (except perhaps the G10 because I really disliked the RAW files). One reason why I like my GF1 (and also an LX5) is because I can use the EVF; My eyes aren't good enough to compose with the LCD and I don't like holding a camera at arms length. Secondly, the RAW files out of the GF1 are in a different league to the other compacts and will stand up to a lot more adjustment in Lightroom. No it's not so compact, but it's still more portable than an SLR and makes for a great street camera and for use during strenuous hikes in the mountains. My wife gets on very well with the S90 and we fitted one of Richard Franiecs grips to it which really improved the handling.

  10. Colin - You have convinced me. I will have to wait for a trip to Los Angeles and test the cameras. You make the Panasonic Lumix sound awfully tempting. It will come down to comfort.

    "Not so compact" is fine with me, because I don't require a camera that will fit in a shirt pocket. I am perfectly content with the size of the G7. But, some problems with my hands have me thinking more seriously about a camera that shoots RAW and isn't as heavy as my DSLR's.

  11. I suggest buying the G12 and the S95. Solves all your problems. After a few days of sampling them you can pass along the one you like the least to yours truly. I take any hand me down. :-)

    The reason I haven't purchased the S95 or G12 or P7000 is the need to learn a second camera. I still have more to learn with the one I had for over two years. It money was not an issue I'd probably have one of them.

  12. Monte - Gee, now I know where to turn for problem-solving. That is a big relief. :)

    I hear you on the issue of learning a new camera. It seems to take me forever to get to know where all the buttons and knobs are. I certainly would not claim that I get everything possible out of my current cameras, but weight is an issue for me at the moment. I hope to get to LA in a few weeks to check out a few contenders.


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