In tune with the rest of the PowerShot range including the Pro1, the G6 has clear and easily navigable menus. These include a record menu, Setup menu, Play menu, My Camera menu (for assigning sounds and start-up images etc), and of course the familiar Function screen for setting the ISO, effects, compression and resolution. The main difference I noticed was the lack of a definable colour space such as AdobeRGB.
The rest of the features are very similar to the G5/Pro1. Behind a hinged plastic flap (no rubbery flap this time) is a USB 1.1 connector, an AV out and a DC-IN port. Interestingly, Canon has not included an AC adapter as it did with the G5, and instead has supplied the same battery charger that comes with the Pro1. However, if you’re planning on using the G6’s intervelometer (time-lapse) – which automatically takes two to 100 images at intervals between one and 60 minutes each – then you’re probably going to need the optional AC adapter for long stints.
Also in the box is the instantly recognisable slim infrared remote control that anyone with a G-series camera should be familiar with. It has a five metre range and because the G6 has infrared receivers on the front and side of the grip, it’s possible to remotely fire the shutter from the front as well as 90 degrees from the camera’s line of sight. It can also be used to control the zoom, image playback and thumbnail previews, making it ideal for running slideshows on the television. Optional lens attachments are also available offering wide angle or telephoto magnifications, once they’ve been secured to the bayonet lens ring.
As for software, there’s ZoomBrowser EX, Canon’s all-in-one application for uploading, browsing, editing and printing your images. A Remote Capture utility, which also allows you to control the G6 via a PC or Mac, a copy of Photorecord for organising you images, plus Photostitch for knitting together panoramic scenes.
In terms of image quality, I was very impressed with the results and in my opinion the G6 is clearly on a par with the Pro1. The G6’s lens has been modified with new coatings designed to cut down on chromatic aberrations (which certainly seems to have made an impact) – overall images were very sharp and well-balanced when viewed at their full 1:1 resolutions.
Outdoor shots are well exposed and fine detail is clearly captured without suffering from compression or sharpening artefacts. Highlights were not overblown, and blue skies with white clouds are rich and defined. Changing the ISO from 50 to 400 produced only slightly noticeable noise, while flash photography proved to be very accurate in terms of subject colour and even illumination. The macro shots that I took also demonstrated that the flash could be used at close quarters without overexposure. Movie playback was the only disappointment – quality was good, but I’d like to record more than 30 seconds at 640 x 480 pixels, and at higher than 10fps.
It would seem that Canon has listened to users of previous G-Series cameras and implemented many improvements over the older models. This has culminated in a much slicker camera in terms of operation, a more compact and ergonomic body and a hike in both image size and quality over its forerunners. If you’re thinking of buying the PowerShot Pro1, I’d think again – the G6 is almost £200 cheaper, offers almost the same level of features and image quality is comparable.