Monday, November 12, 2007

Canon Powershot G9, SD950 and A650: can 12MP make SLR from compact

Canon A95 vs. G9Canon’s new 12.1 megapixels digital cameras G9, SD950 and A650 were announced this August as flagship models with wild enthusiasm about their cool advantages. Of course, some its features as Optical Image Stabilizer, DIGIC III processor, Canon’s Face Detection AF/AE/FE or RAW mode are not bad and sometimes are realy useful. However, I think that $500 for compact is the same excess as 12 megapixels in a 1/1.7” sensor.
Large 1/1.7 inch sensor
In itself, the idea of changing Canon’s favorite 1/2.5” sensor size to bigger is great. All of Canon’s latest compacts and ultra zooms have 1/2.5 inch as a rule and this fact keeps away from a pleasure of having a big zoom (look through Canon S5 IS pros and cons or Panasonic FZ18 vs. Fujifilm S8000 or Olympus SP-550; Compare 18x SLR-likes) or a great picture quality. Digital images: nothing is perfectNevertheless, in case of Canon G9, SD950 and A650 large 1/1.7 inch sensor has a trouble. Its useless 12 extra pixels with not needed 4000 x 3000 resolutions bring in superfluous sensor noise (for example look at G9 user’s opinion: ‘horrendous image noise above 200 ISO’). There’s nothing to be done, trying to put more pixels into the sensor a mfr has to make a pixel smaller. As a result, the sensor becomes warm and makes an image noisy.
Canon Powershot G9
This is a most expensive and rich of features model. Its build quality is outstanding (just as G7). G9 has 3-inch wide angle view LCD, hot shoe and RAW format. Moreover, it has some SLR’s advantages such as swapping wide and tele converters, external flash etc. Unfortunately, these advantages cannot remove compact’s shutter lag time or make its image quality as close to SLR as possible. On the one hand, if you have free five hundreds and never look at the SLR, Canon G9 can be a good and groovy purchase. On the other hand, if you are ready to pay $500 for “body”, $160 for Wide converter WC-DC58B with conversion lens adapter LA-DC58H, $140 for Tele converter TC-DC58C for 420mm Tele photo and some (not a little!) money for External Flash Speedlite 580EX II, maybe it’s better to look at Canon Rebel XT (it’s cheaper) or even Rebel Xti / EOS400D. In any case, this is your choice. I only want to warn not to wait for an outstanding image quality from G9, it is merely a compact with RAW. For more details look through Canon G9 specifications.
Canon A95: an old fashioned look to Klong Prao waterfallCanon Powershot A650
In my opinion, this is Canon’s A-series bad dream. Its advantages such as 6x optical zoom, vari-angle 2.5" screen and optical image stabilization are not so useful against so noisy background. After great and cheap digital compacts such as A630 or my old A95 one of the biggest advantage of this compact is its outstanding $350-400 for a pocket camera price. However, looking for digital cameras information in the Net I see that the majority of people are interested in compacts for about $200. In addition, I will talk about Canon A-series in detail in my next post.
Conclusion
Canon Powershot G9, SD950 and A650 introduced as high end, range leading etc. compact cameras that are able to replace your digital SLR anytime soon. However, in my opinion using G9 as a second (first is SLR) camera is a bad idea. This is a groovy gadget for those who want to pay $500 for solid gadget, not for pictures. To tell the truth the RAW format is not so important for them. Maybe it is better to choose Canon G7. I can say the same about SD950 and Canon PowerShot SD550 (Digital IXUS 750). Unfortunately, many modern digital cameras are rich of features but have pour image quality. Moreover, the same story takes place with Nikon’s top compacts. For more look at: Nikon Coolpix P5100 vs P5000. Therefore, if you want to buy digital compact without extra features for extra money, it is better to look at the Canon Powershot A630 with 1/1.8 inch 8MP sensor, vari-angle LCD screen, full range of the same as G9 etc. accessories for abt. $270. Pay attention to its owner’s opinion: “It is a real bargain! The A630 is easy to use, with bright lens, very sharp and good quality images (80-200 ISO).Fantastic quality for the price!”
As for another brands, it is interesting to look at some Fujifilm's models as FinePix F50fd or F40: Fujifilm F50fd vs FinePix S5 IS Pro: 12MP from digital compact it’s not the same as 12MP from SLR

I collect info about all digital cameras. Tell me what you need and we will find the one together. Feel at ease at Comments directory.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Canon G9’s 400 ISO seamed to be useable in the tests, but I am not sure, because I still see very much noise. Please, we do not ask for more pixels, we ask for better quality!

Mr. Canon G9 Camera said...

So far, I'm very happy with my upgrade to the G9 from the G7

fototramp said...

To Mr. Canon G9 camera
I am glad for your sake. However, can you tell me, which G9’s features make you happy? And why you were looking for the G9 while you had not bad G7 digital compact?

fototramp said...

To anonymous
Thanks for a good reply! I think so. No more mefapixels! We need a quality!

Tony said...

I would like to know: what is the difference between Canon Powershot SD950 IS and Canon SD 870 IS excepting megapixels. If these two cameras have any significant differences, which is better to buy?

fototramp said...

To Tony
The Canon PowerShot SD950 IS has 1/1.7 inch 12.1MP sensor, 36-133mm lens with Image stabilization, 2.5” LCD only for $400.
The Canon PowerShot SD870 IS has 1/2.5 inch 8MP sensor, 280-105 lens with Image stabilization, 2.5 LCD only for $300.
I would prefer the Canon PowerShot SD750 with 1/2.5 inch 7.1MP sensor (it is more than enough for an ultra compact), 35-105mm lens without expensive and useless for 3x zoom an image stabilization system and 3” LCD for $200. This is an adequate price for this gadget.

Kathie G said...

I am looking a new digital camera for Christmas, and I have selected these two -- Canon PowerShot SD950 IS and Canon PowerShot SD850 IS. I have read excellent reviews but I think that there are only an advertisment. I am not in need of 12MP but I want to make a good bounty for myself. Tell me, which camera is better.

fototramp said...

To Kathie G
If you don't want to wastу more than $100 for noisy image with useless 4000 x 3000 resolution, it is better to buy the canon SD850.

Kirill said...

I'm looking for a good and small digital camera for my wife. I'm fixed my choice at the Canon PowerShot SD870 IS. However, my friend had advice the Canon PowerShot A720 IS. I'd like. But how I have some doubts. It's much cheaper. Unfortunately that I can't search any info about these two in your articles. Can you help me with my trouble?

Chuck-not-Berry said...

Have you any information about the new digi cam -- Canon PowerShot SD1000? What can you say about? Does it a good gift for Christmas?

Anonymous said...

Why not shoot at 6mp instead of 12mp and double the quality?

fototramp said...

To Chuck
The Canon SD1000 is a really good digital compact. Look at this article.

fototramp said...

To Anonymous
Because:
- I do not want to pay for useless megapixels
- These pixels are small (6MP or 12 MP – What is the difference?) and can't double the quality

Gerard said...

To get twice the resolution, you have to multiply the number of pixels by four, not two. So twice the number of megapixels will not give you twice the resolution. However, extra megapixels will allow you to crop pictures or blow them up to larger sizes. Tests have shown that no one can tell the difference between 8x10 photos taken with 6 and 10 mp cameras. It's only when you blow them up much bigger that you start to see pixelization. Some say you can blow up a 6 mp shot to as high as 19x13 without pixelization.

fototramp said...

To Gerard
6MP photos from the Nikon D50 are not the same that 10MP images from the Canon A640. What do you want from a digital camera: good quality photos or cool resolutions?

northvillage said...

I am curious on any thoughts of purchasing a canon g9 or the nikon d40 slr? both are about $500? thanks in advance

fototramp said...

To Northvillage
If you want to take good pictures in any situations, look at an SLR. If you want to have a cool gadget, look at the Canon G9.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as an owner of both a Nikon D70, and a canon G7: i can tell you that hands down i'd take the G7 over the D70! the sensor in the G7 seems to have a much wider dynamic range. The D70 never seems to be able to grab the entire shot, having areas that are underexposed and areas that are blown out. i NEVER had this problem with the G7. (got a G9 today) it IS nice to have an slr- don't get me wrong. but don't mislead people into the idea that ANY slr is better than any compact. also-there are other factors to consider. for instance: i'd much rather take the G9 on a long backpack.

fototramp said...

To anonymous
Digital SLR cameras are much complicated and large-scale than compacts. It is not correctly to compare an excellent Nikon D70 with G7. However, in case of: "i'd much rather take the G9 on a long backpack" - this is a bigger D70 con.

Abhi said...

Dear Fototramp,

I have been using Canon A640 since last year and I am pertty much happy with that except the fact if I am moving in my car and I try to shoot a picture that picture gets very blury since 640 dosen't support motion detection.

Now I am thinking of buying a SD series camera. On Canon site they have posted some new SD series like SD 890, 790 & 770.

These models have Motion Detection technology. Do you think one of these can solve the issue I have with my A640. And which one would you suggest in those 3 new models.

Looking forward for your reply.

Thanks!
Abhi