About to get a Canon G11. Stop me while you can.

by Volker Weber

canon g11

I need to buy a camera that is smaller and easier to carry than a DSLR and allows me to adjust shooting parameters quickly enough to not get in the way of a good photo. It does not need to live in a shirt pocket. It's ok, if I can just put it in a coat pocket or throw it in a bag. Picture quality needs to be way above what phones will provide in the near future, or it becomes pointless.

I checked a couple of candidates including the excellent Lumix LX3 and the much smaller Canon S90, but I keep going back to the G11 for a couple of reasons:

canon g11

Now is your time to speak up. Is this a good choice or should I step away from this camera?

Comments

G11 all the way. I bought a G10 12 months ago and its a seriously decent bit of kit. Built to last, it feels like a camera ought to. Image quality is right up there too -- somehow it always seems to take a better photo than my D70.

Colin Williams, 2010-01-05 02:18

Good choice but look at the Panasonic GF1 before pulling the trigger.

Dan Sickles, 2010-01-05 02:45

Indeed, GF1 looks incredible, and very portable. Big bucks, though!

Hugh Pyle, 2010-01-05 02:55

I had the G9 and was reasonably happy. Also the video seemed very good in comparison to other small chip cameras.
Unfortunately I broke it in India recently. The lens cover and the inside of my bag weren't compatible ;-(

The G9 is much smaller than a GF-1 with a comparable lens, but it is still not really pocketable. So as a replacement for my G9 I went for the GH-1 with the 14-140 and so far I am happy with the quality of the larger sensor pictures.

Mariano Kamp, 2010-01-05 08:11

Panasonic DMC-GF1. WAY better camera, you'll regret getting the G11 quickly... Get the 1:1,7 20mm pancake, you'll LOVE it.

Frank Köhntopp, 2010-01-05 08:42

Go for it!
I have recently bought the S90 as a small backup for the DSLR, to have it with me, every time I am not willing or able to use the big one. I have chosen the S90 because of the ability to shoot RAW and complete manual control about exposure, shutter speed and ISO.
So far I can say, the image quality is excellent compared to my former pocket cams, especially the performance improvement at higher iso levels up to 800 is significant and usable.
I'm happy with the two swivel controls (the big one around the lens an the smaller on the back) which allow me to adjust quickly the parameters I have assigned to them.
As I am always a friend of dedicated buttons and controls the G11 for sure in this aspect is the better choice, but for me in this case size matters more.

Ulf Bernhardt, 2010-01-05 08:42

It depends on your shooting style. I also considered the G11, but chose the Pana GF1 + 20mm Pancake. While that sounds very limiting, it is a very creative tool.

Moritz Petersen, 2010-01-05 09:12

Buy it !!
I buy the camera for my holidays in japan. It was really great. I have full access over the parameter and shoot in RAW Modus. The best of the camera is the LOW LIGTH MODUS, because there you have to 6400 ISO and only a quarter of the picture size. But it works very fine and you can shoot indoors WITHOUT flash. The photos then look better than with the flash and highlighted in front and dark background. Now i make a lot of photos with our new dog at low light. I can send you then Link to the photoalbum if you want. There is only one big difference to a dslr (i have a 30D) - if you press the shutter it takes 1-2 seconds the photo is taken. But the moving display is also wonderfull to shoot from above the head or from the ground.
So - i will decide so again.

Lothar Krahl, 2010-01-05 09:16

A friend who makes his living with his cameras, now uses little but his G10 - not sure what changes Canon has made with the G11 but I'm expecting it is an improvement....

Nick Daisley, 2010-01-05 10:23

I got mine three weeks ago for a good price and I'm realy happy with it. The G11 replaced my old EOS 350D. The picture quality is good in comparsion to the 350D and I have the camera at my bag all the time, don't miss some cool shots.

Buy it, But look for the price. I think 460-480 Euro is good in germany, not more.

Gavin Quast, 2010-01-05 12:10

OK, the Panasonic LX3 is getting a bit old, but therefore good deals maybe had. Especially for indoor photography the LX3 is still very good - because of the wide lens, the sensitivity to light and the possibility to fit a flash similarly to the GF1 and G11. As you like the new gadgets, I guess that this camera might not be an option, however how about this: get a used one, or a returned one until the new LX3 is out...

Moritz Schroeder, 2010-01-05 12:23

Volker, did you have a look at the Olympus Pen?
It is aiming at the same market as the LX3, but your preferences count.

Jörg Hermann, 2010-01-05 14:06

KAUFEN! Highly Recommended!

Ich habe die G11 seit Heilig Abend nicht mehr aus der Hand genommen. Nach den ersten, etwas unsichern Test-Shots bin ich jetzt restlos überzeugt. Super Lichtstärke, super Farben und sehr guter Belichtungsmesser. In Kombination mit einem kompakten Stabblitz super für Party-Bilder, in Kombination mit einem entfesseltem Blitz super für Portraits.

Die Kamera passt zwar nicht in die Hosen- oder kleine Jackentasche mehr, dafür gibt es aber auf eBay super schicke Ledertaschen im Retro-Look.

Im Vergleich zu einer DSLR ist die Kamera aber noch recht handlich und sicher öfter mit von der Partie. Was hat man schon von einer DSLR, die man zu Hause gelassen hat, weil man keine extra Kameratasche mitschleppen wollte...

Alexander Puell, 2010-01-05 16:17

In der Summe überzeugend

Die G11 ist auch mein Favorit und zwar aus mehrererlei Gründen:
- Der schwenkbarer Monitor - heutzutage quasi ein Unikum.
Wer schon mal in der tobenden Menge gezielte Über-Kopf-Aufnahmen gemacht hat oder beim Blümchenknipsen nicht auf dem platten Bauch liegen möchte, weißt wovon ich tippere. Außerdem die beste Kontrollinstanz bei Gruppenbildern mit Selbstauslöser und Selbstportraits...
- Der optische Sucher mit Dioptrin-Einstellung
Brillenträger werden ihn lieben. Und wenn es mal wieder länger dauert, schon der abschaltbare Monitor den Akku.
- Ein echter Blitzschuh
Nichts gegen stimmungsvolle Avaiable-Light Aufnahmen, aber wenn bei Dunkelheut auch weiter weg noch was zu erkennen sein soll, finden selbst längst pensionierte Lichtkanonen wie ein Metz Mecalite CT5 wieder Anschluß
- Alle Knöppe da wo sie hin sollen
Die G11 findet gerade bei altgedienten Knipsern ihre Freunde, welche noch nicht damit großgeworden sind, alle Funktionen nur noch über Tasterkreuze
neben dem Monitor einzustellen.

Klar gibt es Kameras, die schneller auslösen(Panasonic) und die hauseigene S90 ist auch noch ein bischen lichtstärker. Und natürlich gibt es zum Preis einer G11 auch schon Einsteiger DSLR -andererseits gibt es zum Preis von zehn Powershots G11 gerade mal ein Leica M8.2-Gehäuse OHNE Objektiv!

Aber die G11 überzeugt einfach in der Summe ihrer Eigenschaften.
Und die wichtigste Eigenschaft ist ihre immer noch kompakte Größe.
Denn wie sagte mal ein Profi auf die Frage, welche nun die beste Kamera sei? "Die man dabei hat wenn etwas passiert."

Gerd Gerbert, 2010-01-05 19:14

S90!

Image quality being very similar, consider this:

Even though I really liked the form factor of my G10 and it survived a serious drop test I firmly believe you take the best pictures with the camera you actually have with you. The G10/G11 fits only in very bulky pockets (and then will get knocked out by a climbing harness).

The S90 has an ingenious control device in the front ring and allows easy adjustment of ISO and exposure correction which is what you will be using most. I'll admit that the On / Off button is too small and the ring on the back turns too easily.

In addition the S90 has f2 at the maximum wide angle giving you something very rare in a small sensor camera: limited depth of field at wide angle.

Tele on small cameras is over-rated. The small f-stops and the low weight body leads to blurry pictures. Physics, you can't beat it, even if you have 'anti-shake' since your subject doesn't have anti-shake.

I got a little grip for my S90 making it handle even better since the metal skin is just a touch slippery.

The G11 is heavier than you might think. Might as well pack the SLR. I might choose a G11 if that was the only camera I had.

S90 - the camera you actually have with you and use.

Axel Nastansky, 2010-01-05 19:46

Die G11 ist bestimmt eine gute Wahl. Die Lumix GF1 halte ich persönlich für keine deutlich bessere Alternative. Wenn, dann schon eher die Ricoh GXR. Die wäre allerdings deutlich teurer als die G11. Dpreview hat zur GXR bislang noch keinen Test, sondern nur einen Hands-on-Preview...

Thomas Cloer, 2010-01-05 20:50

Thank you for all your comments. They have reinforced my decision.

Today I was able to try all the cameras you mentioned. The S90 is really impressive as in "tiny". If I would mostly shoot in automatic, this would be it. What killed it, was the dial on the back which is just too loose. The GF1 is in a different class, but it is both too expensive and too large. The 20mm lens looks great, but would limit the utility of the camera too much. I can't always walk the distance I would need to frame the picture. And with a zoom lens I might as well take my DSLR. The LX3 was really close, but the controls don't work for me.

The new camera is supposed to be a bridge between the camera that is always with me (read: smartphone) and the camera that only gets lugged around in a bag (read: the DSLR). It needs to be a jack of all trades. It will live on my desk for quick shots, it will live in my (quite large) laptop bag when I travel, but it does not have to be the camera that is always with me. It needs to have a certain heft to reduce camera shake. It needs lots of buttons and dials so I can tell it what to do.

As such, the G11 is the best choice for me today.

Volker Weber, 2010-01-05 21:21

I've been using a G9 for some time now, because the DSLR is just too much fuss to travel with now I am being "protected" so well. For me, the real win was that it had the same controls as my Canon DSLR so I immediately knew how to use it properly. It now travels with me everywhere and I am pleased with it.

Simon Phipps, 2010-01-06 14:32

http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/digital/lichtbildner_zwischen_den_fronten_1.4457687.html
und hier noch ein kleiner Bericht aus der Schweiz, in favour of G11.

Chris Frei, 2010-01-07 13:11

Looking forward to a full review from you...

Kevan Emmott, 2010-01-07 21:33

Wenns nicht zu spät ist: gib der Gf-1 eine Chance. Ich habe mir gestern eine gekooft.

Aber es war eine lange Entscheidung. Denn ich habe noch keine SLR. Und ich war kurz davor mir eine dieser Wummen ins Haus zu holen. Am Ende war es, man glaube es kaum, die Haptik die den Ausschlag gab. Ob D1-5000, EOS 500D oder Olympus E-620, alle fühlten sich einfach besch....eiden an. Die GF-1 hingen ist ein Handschmeichler. Was übrigens die G10, und leider nicht mehr so sehr die G11, auch war/ist.

Das Einzige was ich ein wenig bereue ist, daß ich nicht genug Mut und Kohle hatte, das absolut puristische Pancake dem des doch eher durchschnittlichen Zoom vorzuziehen.Iim Zubehörhandel kostet das allein schon 400Euro und ich weiß schon nach einen Tag, das ich mir das eh kaufen werde.

Ach ja, die einzige Alternative wäre übrigens, neben der e-P1, die G11 gewesen. Was bringt mir die dollste SLR wenn ich Sie doch nicht dabeihabe. Deswegen ist auch die Haptik so wichtig, man nimmt sie eher mit, die schönen Dinge...

Roland Dressler, 2010-01-09 19:54

Die GF1 habe ich mir sehr genau angeschaut. Ist wirklich sensationell. Aber leider nicht das, was ich brauche. Ich muss ein Zoom haben, damit ich auch Aufnahmen machen kann, wenn ich mich nicht auf das Motiv zu bewegen kann, oder nicht weit genug zurück kann. Und das Zoom macht die zu groß. Ich hätte in jedem Fall GF1 mit 20mm/1.7 gekauft und hätte damit eine viel bessere Kamera. Für etwa doppelt so viel Geld und mit weniger Flexibilität.

Die G11 ist für mich der beste Kompromiss. Die S90 wäre auch gegangen, aber die kriege ich nicht so gut "in den Griff".

Als ich vor Jahren meine D70 gekauft habe, gab es als gleich teure Alternative eine 300D. Die Wahl ist auch durch die Haptik und die Bedienung gefallen. Und ich habe das nie bereut. Ich denke, auch Du wirst mit der Panasonic sehr zufrieden sein.

Volker Weber, 2010-01-09 20:17

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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