An express review of the Canon Powershot G7 has just been posted at Neocamera. The G7 is an advanced compact digital camera which borrows its name from the previously recognized – yet unpopular – Canon G-series of medium cameras. The Canon G7 has little to do with the previous Canon G-series in both features and ergonomics. While the sleek body design is completely new for Canon, the G7’s feature set is extremely similar to the Canon A-series – aside from having a hot-shoe.
Taking a peek at Neocamera’s sitemap, its obvious that there are not many medium-size digital cameras. Previous Canon G-series cameras unfortunately fell into that category, which surely contributed greatly to their unpopularity. Medium cameras are too big to be easily carried out of sight, yet they generally provide none of the advantages of large cameras. Most large cameras have better optics, longer zooms and ergonomics. Most importantly, large camera can use larger imaging sensors which result in lower noise levels, wider dynamic range and frequently sharper images.
Faced with this, Canon had to choose a compromise for its new G-series camera. By making the G7 a compact camera, Canon probably took the better choice. Keeping with a larger size would have meant putting the G7 against the hugely successful Canon Powershot S3 IS. Since the S3 has a 12X stablized optical zoom, a complete set of manual controls, great movie-recording capability and good handling, a larger G7 would have virtually no chances.
Among compact cameras, features tend to be more limited. Advanced photographers love manual controls. They frequently express the desire for a compact camera with easy-to-use advanced photographic controls. That is what the Canon G7 – and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 for that matter- are aimed at. Unfortunately for Canon, they also have the hugely successful Powershot A-series. The A-series has full manual controls, including manual focusing – plus they all show great battery life using standard AA batteries. What the Canon G7 offers over the A-series are additional external controls designed to provide faster access to advanced photographic features. What it gives up for that is battery life, the convenience of AA batteries and an easier to hold body. Together with the G7’s steep price, there are virtually no chances for Canon to sell more of this camera than any one single A-series camera model. Some people will buy the G7 based on looks alone, so Canon will sell some G7s, but probably not enough to make it a success.