Sex and Brains
I wish it was slightly more square with sharper angles for an even more classic aesthetic, but it’s still pretty classy looking. The texture, which makes for half of the appeal, makes it a little slippery. The control ring around the lens is like the perfect scarf that ties it altogether. And despite being a bantam-weight shooter, it feels more solid than most cameras its size.
Lord of the Ring
Truthfully, using the dial never feels completely seamless, because of way you’re forced to hold the camera. As a result of its pint size, there’s no completely natural hand or finger posture for spinning the ring. But, the control it manages to put at your fingertips is remarkable: In manual mode, I had aperture mapped to the main ring, exposure set to the control ring on the back (which, like the G11, is a little too small to have a settings d-pad stuffed in the centre of it) and ISO speed mapped to the shortcut button. The only real issue with that setup is that the ISO setting interface lags behind your input occasionally, so you sometimes overshoot the ISO speed you wanted.
Just a Little More Hardware Talk
The battery’s small, obviously, so your picture taking is capped at a little over 200 shots, according to Canon. My days of shooting didn’t contradict that, for better or for worse—I’d get to half battery after around 100 shots and a couple video clips.
Finally the Photos (and Video)
Here’s a gallery of some stuff I shot, which you can compare to G11 sample photos and ISO tests (spoiler, they look great):
The video’s still 640×480, and still quite good too:
Buy If You Need a Tiny-But-Great Camera
I know, it’s $US430 — way more than most point-and-shoots cost in this day and age. But the amount of picture power this literally slips into your pocket is almost unbelievable: Outstanding low-light performance for a camera this size; a speedy lens; full control rings, plural; and yep, RAW. It’s the soul of what makes the $US500 behemoth G11 great, packaged in a true point-and-shoot. You lose some power and some pro tools, like the swivel screen, a (shitty) viewfinder, faster burst shooting, hot shoe, some zoom and a custom mode or two, but you’re also shedding a ton of bulk, meaning you’ll actually take it everywhere. And the best camera’s always the one you have with you—for me, that’s this camera, which just happens to be an excellent one all by itself.