PowerShot G9

September also sees the very welcome launch of, the new PowerShot G9. It represents a return to form for Canon's flagship semi-pro compact camera, addressing all of the issues that users and reviewers disliked about its predecessor the PowerShot G7.

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Outwardly at least the G9 looks very similar to the previous model, with the same chunky and businesslike metal body, the same 6x zoom f/2.8-4.8 image stabilised lens, and SLR-style external controls including an ISO dial and thumb-wheel control interface. The body design has been slightly tweaked though, providing a larger hand and thumb grip, and a selection of optional coloured bezels for the lens surround, so you can personalise your camera.

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The most obvious improvement is the new 12.1 megapixel 1/1.7in sensor, which is the same as the one in the new A650 IS. Other changes include a new 3.0-in 230k LCD monitor which compensates for its lack of articulation with an exceptionally wide angle of view, allowing the camera to be held overhead for shooting over crowds. A new Face Select and Track function enables the user to manually select and track an individual face from up to 35 faces detected in frame.

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For hobbyists and enthusiasts the most welcome change will be the return of RAW mode, which was missing from the G7, as well as RAW + JPEG for maximum image quality and control. Of course such a semi-pro powerhouse won't be cheap, and the PowerShot G9 will be available from September 2007 priced at £429, which is nearly as much as an entry-level DSLR. I don't care, I'm totally buying one.

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Link: Canon compact cameras

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