It seems like Digital Cameras are everywhere. They range in price from low $100’s to high $1000’s. So how do you know which one is the best for you? The first thing you want to do is to choose a camera from a reputable company. The second is to pick a camera that has a good history or predecessors. The Canon PowerShot G6 is the successor to the very popular Canon PowerShot G5. Because of the good history with this line of cameras, you know you can’t go wrong.
- 7.1 Megapixel CCD and Enhanced Optical Shooting System for Stunning Image Quality
- Powerful 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) 4x Optical Zoom
- NEW Ergonomic SLR-style Grip and 2-inch LCD Monitor
- Exclusive Canon DiG!C Image Processor and iSAPS Technology for Superior Image Quality and Faster Processing Speed
- 9-point AiAF for Precise, Accurate Focus
- 12 EOS-based Shooting Modes plus Photo Effects, Super Macro Mode, Wide-area FlexiZone AF/AE and Spot Metering
- VGA-quality Movies; ID Photo Print and Movie Print
- Print Direct from Canon Direct and PictBridge Photo Printers
Owning a Digital Camera is not like any other electronic device that you have owned. A digital camera will be used to capture moments in your life that are precious and special. Most of these moments will never occur again, so, you want to make sure the camera that you have can capture the moment with detail and clarity. With a 7.1 Megapixel CCD you can be sure you are going to get a lot of details. In fact the higher the number of pixels the more detail the camera will capture.
In addition to having a great amount of detail the Canon PowerShot G6 has a decent zoom. This is about average with 7 Megapixel cameras. It would be nice if the zoom were a little better, so that you could get a closer shot without having to get closer to the subject. To help alleviate the short falls of the zoom, Canon offers a wide angle and telephoto lens that can be attached to the camera, so that you can get wider or closer shots. These are nice additions, but they are also expensive. Each one is between $150 and $200.
Being able to record videos seems to be a feature that most high end digital cameras have. The only thing I don’t like about the video on the PowerShot G6 is that it is limited to 30 seconds at a time. It would be much more useful if you could just record until your Compact Flash card was full. I suppose this is because the videos are first written to internal memory — because it is faster, then it is written to the slower Compact Flash card when the internal memory is all filled up. This would also be the case with taking many shots at the same time. There are two continuous shooting modes. High speed mode is able to take shots faster, but it also fills up the internal memory faster. When the internal memory is filled up the speed of the shots will drop dramatically. This is done so that the camera has enough time in between shots to write the images to the Compact Flash Card. You will also notice that on high speed mode the LCD screen is turned off. This is probably done to reduce some of the processing requirements of taking pictures really fast.
Having a wireless remote is essential. The PowerShot G6 comes with a very nice, fully functional, yet small remote. With this remote you are able to access many of the cameras settings and functions. The only problem is that if you are far away you are not able to see the screen and you don’t know if the settings are what you want.
The PowerShot G6 is designed very well and it is comfortable to hold — due to the large grip on the front and the rubber coating on the grip.
On top of the PowerShot G6 grip you will find the shutter button, zoom lever and main dial. The shutter and zoom are self explanatory, and the main dial is used for selecting certain menus and for displaying images. In shooting mode, turning the main dial can set the aperture value, exposure compensation, white balance and other menu items. In playback mode it displays the next and previous image. You can also click the main dial, in shooting mode it will select the menu item that you are currently on, and in playback mode it does not do anything. This dial only works for menus that are accessed with the FUNC button.
On top of the PowerShot G6 is an LCD display screen. This will display the camera settings, the remaining number of images, movie shooting time, battery charge and other information. To the right of the screen is a small button with a light bulb above it. This button will turn on the back light for the display. The back light will stay on for 6 seconds unless you press the button again. Pressing will manually turn off the back light. Also on the top of the camera is Hot Shoe. This is used for attaching an external flash. To the left of the hot shoe is a set of buttons. The top button cycles through the different flash settings. The next one sets the continuous mode and the self timer. Finally, the bottom one switches the light metering settings and also jumps images when in playback mode.
The back of the PowerShot G6 is dominated by the LCD viewing screen. This screen can flip out and face many directions so that you can see it from the front or back. Above the LCD are the macro and manual focus buttons, and the settings knob. The settings knob can be rotated a full 360 degrees so you can select any of the settings. These settings range from Auto to Movie to Manual mode. With these settings you are able to make sure this camera fits just the situation you need. Be very careful with this knob because it is easy to bump it and change the setting. I had this happen to me several times and I didn’t notice it until it was too late to retake the pictures.
To the right of the LCD is another set of buttons and an omni selector. The display button turns on and off the LCD, The FUNC button gives you access to the picture settings. With this you can set things like resolution, detail, shutter speed, ISO and more. The menu button gets you into the system settings. Here you can set things like Red-eye, self-timer length, digital zoom, volume, Date/Time, and themes. Themes are a way to customize the sounds and screens that the PowerShot G6 uses when it is operating. Be aware that using extra sounds and stuff can cause some battery drain, for the most part I keep all my sounds off except for the timer and shutter sound, I like to know when the camera is about to take a picture.
The LCD is also very unique. Instead of being fixed in one position you can rotate it and expand it out from the back of the camera. For shooting pictures you open and rotate the LCD so that it faces backwards. When you are done you rotate it back and close it. This keeps the LCD safe when you are not using it.
The right side of the PowerShot G6 is where the Compact Flash card goes and the left side has all the connectors and a speaker. On the Left you have a A/V out for sending an image and audio to a TV or other screen. There is also a mini USB port for connecting to a computer. Last there is a DC plug for powering the camera with an outlet. The cable for this is not included with the camera. I actually find it easier to take the card out of the camera and download the images directly using a card reader. If you use the USB then you must use the Canon software to get to the images.
Testing a camera is not an easy task. If you don’t have the right knowledge and equipment then it can be difficult to get a comprehensive set of tests. I am by no means a professional photographer so I will leave the sophisticated tests to the professionals and I will test simple things like usability and some pictures that I have taken.
Depending on the type of photographer that you are, you may or may not appreciate all the functionality that Canon has built into the PowerShot G6. This camera is as close to an SLR as you can get. It even has interchangeable lenses. With this camera you have the ability to let the camera do all the work, by setting it to Auto, or if you are really picky you can set the camera to full manual mode and adjust all the settings that are available. For my tests I usually left it on Auto unless I needed to fine tune the shutter speed, or something else simple like that.
Taking a picture with the PowerShot G6 is a piece of cake. If you want a quick shot you set it for Auto and push the button. The camera will calculate all the right settings to take the picture. You can see the level of detail that you are able to capture with this camera. I have it set to the largest size, 3072 x 2304 , and its highest resolution, Super Fine. At this resolution I found that each picture takes up about 1-4 MB depending on the amount of detail in the picture. I know this seems like a wide span of space, but it is nice that the camera adjusts the size of the images so that low detail pictures save you space on your memory card.
Even though the PowerShot G6 has a fairly weak zoom, the shear number of pixels in each picture makes up for it. This means that you can take a wide shot and still get in close, because the detail is so good, you can crop out pieces and still have them look good. Below, I have 6 images each one is a different zoom and the cropped version of the picture. The regular image has been reduced in size so that it will fit on the screen. The cropped version is the same picture but with a small area cropped out and zoomed to 100%. This just shows how big the picture is that the camera takes. you will notice that there is a little bit of distortion with the digital zoom, so unless you really need it I recommend that you don’t use it.
The camera does a really good job of storing the images as well. The resolution and compression settings determine the size of each image, but the amount of detail can also effect the size of the image. On my camera I have it set to the highest resolution and the lowest compression, not raw, and with my 512 MB flash card I can store about 163 images.
One of the shooting modes that I found useful is Continuous shooting. Continuous shooting mode is really good for action shots. Canon reports that with Large/Fine setting you can get about 1.2 frames per second with normal and 2.0 frames per second with high speed. My personal tests were done with Large/Super Fine settings. With high speed mode I got about 5 shots in before I noticed a slight drop in the speed. After another 5 shots there was a dramatic drop. I don’t know what caused the first drop, but the second drop was because the camera had filled up the internal memory. With the normal mode I could get about 16 shots in before it filled up the internal memory. This is because the shots were slower and it gave the camera time to transfer some information to the Compact Flash card, in between shots.
The battery life on the PowerShot G6 is amazing. In my old camera I was using cheap rechargeable batteries and it seemed like I was always changing them. This camera uses rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, and according to Canon it can take about 300 pictures with the LCD on and 900 pictures with the LCD off. That means I can fill up my 512 MB flash card twice before I have to worry about charging the batteries.
Warranty and Support
Canon, like most companies, offers only a 1 year warranty on this camera. It would be nice to see longer warranties, especially with equipment that is this expensive.
This is really a great camera. For an amateur like me it is really easy to use. For a professional it still has all the settings of an SLR so you can have full control of the picture. At the time of this review most online retail stores were selling the PowerShot G6 for about $599. If you shop around you can find it for a lot less.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|