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Canon PowerShot G10 - Canon PowerShot G10

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


Like the G9, the design of the G10's body is a development from the PowerShot G7. It is obviously designed to resemble an old rangefinder camera, and the split-level top panel is reminiscent of a Voightlander-Cosina Bessa. Unfortunately that means it's also reminiscent of the dreadful Epson R-D1, but we'll just quietly forget about that. Like a rangefinder camera the G10 has lots of external dials and knobs to keep the gadgetheads happy, with a large dual-level dial for main shooting mode and ISO setting, and another smaller dial for exposure compensation. These controls are chunky and solidly mounted, and turn with a reassuringly positive click. They are also clearly labelled, and the illuminated index points make them easier to operate in low light.

The G10's overall build quality is simply fantastic, as one should expect from a £340 camera. The body is all aluminium over a steel chassis, and is finished in a scratch-resistant matt black crackle texture. It has a small but comfortable rubber-coated handgrip on the front and a sculpted thumbgrip area on the back, and feels very solid and secure in the hand. The controls are sensibly laid out and fall naturally under the fingers, including the exposure-lock button. The main rear-panel control is a slightly small D-pad surrounded by a rotary bezel, which is used for making exposure adjustments in conjunction with a very clear on-screen display.

The LCD monitor is superb, with pin-sharp resolution, excellent colour and contrast, an anti-glare coating and a viewing angle approaching 180 degrees both horizontally and vertically. Some people have lamented the fact that the recent G-series cameras lack the articulated monitor of the older models, but to be honest I'd rather have a large monitor that is this good than a smaller one that can swivel around.

The viewfinder however is not so good. It's better at least than the token viewfinders found on some smaller compacts, but it is still small, dim and tunnel-like and only has about 80 percent frame coverage. It does accommodate glasses-wearers with both dioptre correction and a soft plastic surround, but it's still not a patch on even the worst DSLR viewfinder.

The real strength of the G10 is in its photographic controls. It has of course got a full range of manual exposure options, with manual shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/4000th of a second. This is exceptionally fast, on a par with the better DSLRs. The G9 only offered a top shutter speed of 1/2500th. The lens has a maximum aperture range of f/2.8 - 4.5, which is pretty good, although it will be a little disappointing for anyone who remembers the stunning f/2.0 - 3.0, 4x zoom lens on the 2004 Canon G6.

As well as these exposure options the G10 has a built-in mechanical neutral-density filter activated from the shooting menu, which is used for increasing exposure, or reducing over-exposure under certain circumstances. That may not sound too useful for most people, but if you've ever found yourself needing an ND filter you'll appreciate having on available at the touch of a button.

Like most high-end cameras the G10 can shoot in Raw mode, using Canon's CR2 Raw file format, although if you want to open the pictures in Photoshop's Camera Raw program you'll have to wait, since it's not supported by the latest version. Instead you'll have to use the supplied Raw converter, although to be fair Canon's program is better than some.


December 13, 2008, 3:33 am

Thanks for the review Clive. Alas, your conclusions are pretty much as I feared. The G10 is, for me, very nearly the perfect high end compact camera and I'm itching to buy one. The only thing stopping me is the desire for a larger sensor/fewer megapixels and a faster lens - both hinted at by your review. I can only hope that the advent of the LX3 and Micro 4/3rds will nudge Canon towards both in their next iteration of the G series - with any luck Canon will take that last step in realising the ultimate G series - surely they can see it will be a killer camera. In the meantime the proposed Olympus Micro 4/3rds looks really interesting, or maybe Santa will bring me an LX3.

Lastly, why wasn't there a G4 or G8 - I'm intrigued (sad I know!).


December 13, 2008, 4:03 am

Noise starts showing at ISO100, ISO400 is only usable for small prints and you give it 9 out of 10 mark for image quality? Oh, please...

If only they've used 10 Mpix CCD or CMOS sensor, like in LX3, and this could be the winner.


December 14, 2008, 1:31 am


I couldn't agree more with your opinion on the iso noise, the LX3 is far superior, the car picture difference is like night and day. It's the sunny vs cloudy outside pictures that make the G10 seem to take better outside pics (well that and a bit more zoom)

I personally am very tempted by the LX3

Cliff Smith

December 15, 2008, 7:32 pm

Who's Clive?

There was no G4 because the word "four" in both Mandarin Chinese and Japanese sounds very much like the word for "death" and is considered unlucky, while "G8" in Mandarin apparently sounds a lot like a very rude slang name for a certain male body part located in the trouser region. That's probably worth remembering if you're planning a holiday in northern China anytime soon.


January 4, 2009, 6:40 am

If you can afford the Canon PowerShot G10 then go for it. It's a stunning little compact camera. I was going to buy the Canon PowerShot G9 in 2008, but my first impression was "Toy" which was poorly built when compared to the 3 Canon EOS 1D’s I currently own and use for my sports photography work. I'm glad I didn't buy the Canon PowerShot G9 because late in 2008 Canon then released the Canon PowerShot G10. The weight and build quality makes it feel worth the money and compatible with the high end equipment I currently own.

I've also got a Canon PowerShot S80 which although rather good, I've hardly used and I realised why when I started to use the Canon PowerShot G10 - it's because I can adjust the shooting mode, exposure, shutter speed, aperture and ISO with a turn of a dial rather than using on screen menus. Only one slight draw back is that to alter the shutter speed and aperture requires pressing a button and turning a dial whilst looking at the rear screen.

I've tried using my Canon Flashes on the “hot shoe” but have found the 580's I own make the camera top heavy and difficult to handle for those holiday shots etc. So I purchased a simple Vivitar DF22-C flash at 㿧 which is a simple ETTL unit and shoots well as a fill in flash but not for close up work. I’ve found that the in build flash is more than suitable for the close up work.

The RAW images are extremely good quality for a Compact Camera but are obviously limited by the size of the sensor and apertures of the small lens, although they are still very usable and saleable images. I was rather surprised when I saw that some of my images shot in RAW had file sizes of 20mb and higher. I’m glad I purchased the 8 GB card which can give over 1200 shots in fully auto mode or just under 400 shots in RAW mode. It will also shoot just over 96 minutes of low quality video and sound on the 8 GB card if that’s what floats your boat.

The rear screen is the same size as the EOS 1D MKIII screen and is perfectly suitable for analysing test images to make corrections for the final shots. I've also purchased a cable release which is a good idea for those longer shutter speeds.

If you have time and want to use Canon’s numerous photo modes then you’ll find many styles when set to the “SCN” mode. Some of which include the obvious “portrait” and “landscape” modes along with “night scene”, “sport”, “night snapshot”, “kids & pets”, “indoors”, “sunset”, “foliage”, “snow”, “beach”, “fireworks, “aquarium” and “underwater”. All of which I’ve still to test out but I’m sure someone will find useful. You’ll also find that you can set the ISO to 3200 which will allow shooting in very low light conditions with very grainy but good quality results.

In summary, as a Sport Photographer it’s not going to be used for my high speed work. Because it is still a compact camera albeit a rather good quality and top end compact camera, it still suffers with shutter lag (i.e. under certain conditions if you press the button it appears to take a lifetime to shoot the image). However, I’m still extremely impressed with my purchase as a handy, carry around easily; everyday camera which I can use for snaps or extremely high quality still photographs, both landscape and portrait. Noise can be a problem at times but to me modern programs can reduce this to acceptable tolerances. The battery life is extremely good and is on a par with the 4 EOS cameras I currently own.

Michael Digital

July 4, 2009, 9:35 pm

I've owned my G10 for a few weeks, but I'm still amazed at the qualty of the images it produces. I have printed iso 200 images at 13" x 19" and the prints are as good as my 50D prints at this size. This camera would be hard to beat as a walk around shooter. If you purchase one you will be pleasantly surpised with the results. BTW it's built like a tank! It took the G10 to make me want to replace my G3, which is still going strong.


December 27, 2009, 7:43 pm

The G10 is a fantastic compact, as was the G9. How anyone (rhodopsin) can say the G9 was a toy is totally beyond me, but there you go. The best improvement for me from the G9, is the compensation dial and the slightly wider lens. I've found the images sensational, although ISO at 200 is pushing it a bit, anything above are virtually useless for a noiseless picture. The flash I've found is perfectly adequate for a compact, although I have used my 580ex with no trouble, apart from being obviously a unbalanced with the small body. It's ridiculous to compare a compact like this to a top end dlsr like the 1d series, so won't even go there. If you want a compact camera with all the trimmings that you WILL USE, then look no further, but if you just want a point and shoot set mainly on auto, then the Panasonic TZ7 is probabl;y a better buy.

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