Now, because I’ve used other G-Series camera before, I found the G6 a pleasure to use, partly because I’m familiar with the controls and layout, and partly because Canon has focused on making the G6 even more user-friendly than the previous models. As I’ve said before, all the controls fall within easy reach of your digits. The controls for manual and macro focus, metering and drive modes, and flash are all situated on the left side and are easily operated with the left hand. On the right, the shutter-release/zoom/preview-magnify button arrangement has been moved to the front of the grip whereas the main dial wheel has been shifted back – this is opposite to the G5 and far more ergonomic.
As for Canon’s trademark 12-position mode dial, this has been moved from the G5’s top mounted position down to a vertical one next to the viewfinder. Once again, this is so much easier to twist with just my thumb rather than using both thumb and forefinger. Just like the G5 this mode dial allows you to select from Full Auto, Program, Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority, two custom modes, three scene presets, a stitch-assist for making easy panoramic shots and a movie mode which can now capture up to 30 seconds of video (with mono sound) at 640 x 480 pixels and 10 frames per second. It’s a shame that the jump in video resolution is limited to 30seconds, although you can get up to three minutes 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 pixels (at 15fps). Shutter speeds run between 15 seconds and 1/2000, but there’s no Bulb option for longer exposures either.
Once the battery (the newer BP511A) and 32MB CompactFlash card have been inserted behind their respective spring-loaded doors, turning on the G6 is simply a matter of pressing the ‘off’ button lock release and flicking the mode lever either to the left for record mode or right for play mode. Immediately I can tell that the start up times are much quicker than my G1, and almost a second quicker than the G5. The charts below give an indication of the speeds
Shooting is aided by the use of wide-area 9-point AiAF that is used in Canon’s Ixus cameras. This automatically selects one or more focusing points to accurately achieve auto-focus under a wide variety of shooting conditions. A focus assist light is also positioned just next to the viewfinder lens on the front of the camera, which really helped with focusing in dim surroundings. For close-ups, the Super Macro Function, allows auto focusing from an impressive distance of five centimetres. If you want to control the focus yourself a manual focus option displays a distance bar on-screen and temporarily magnifies the centre to assist with your adjustments.
Sensitivity is rated between 50 and 400 ISO and there’s a Neutral Density filter option in case conditions get too bright for your desired exposure. The burst mode can capture up to 14 best-quality frames at two frames per second. Sadly there’s no live histogram option when shooting, just one for viewing the levels post capture.
A total of six resolution settings can be selected, including a RAW mode that allows you to simultaneously record a JPEG at a selectable resolution. The following table represents the file sizes and number of files that can be recorded onto the 32MB CompactFlash Card.
”These figures reflect standard shooting conditions established by Canon. Actual totals may vary according to the subject, shooting conditions and shooting mode. Maximums in the chart reflect ‘continuous’ shooting. The maximum recording times for movie clips: (640 x 480 pixels) : 30secs, (320 x 240 pixels) : 3mins, (160 x 120 pixels) : 3mins”