Tag Archives: compact digital camera
Eleven years ago, the first Canon PowerShot G1 was introduced to our digital photographic world. It was armed with a 3.1 effective megapixels, a 3x 34mm – 104mm optical zoom, large f/2.0 – f/2.5 aperture and a 1.8″ flip-out & tilt LCD screen. Street price was set at 1,100 USD.
The PowerShot G2 came in August 17th, 2001 with a 3.9 megapixels CCD sensor. this time, Canon added Evaluative Metering mode, AE Program Shift, Manual Focus Zoom, Histogram, Selectable Focus Area and more features in Color Exposure mode. Price tag, 899 USD.
In September 2002, Canon rolled out the high end PowerShot G3. The third G model featured a 4.0 megapixel CCD sensor and a 4X optical zoom lens for a maximum aperture range of f/2.0 – f/3.0. It also housed a new Super Intelligent (SI) sensor that calibrated the variation between images taken vertically or horizontally, along with iSAPS technology, which controlled AF, AE and AWB by analyzing the photographic subject. Beside the 1st-curtain and 2nd-curtain Flash Sync Selection, the G3 also featured a wide range of shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/2000 and a built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter, enabling the creation of background blur and flash photography at macro distances. The newly developed DIGIC signal processor featured a far greater processing ability than general purpose processors, easily handling a huge amount of image data captured by CMOS or CCD sensor. 799 USD.
In June 2003, the 5.0 megapixels G5 joined the market with the same price as the G3. Then, the 7.1 megapixels G6 came in Agust 19th, 2004. The LCD screen was replaced with a 2″, 118,000 screen dots. Comparing to the PowerShot G5, the G6′s startup and its autofocus was much faster. It’s also about 10% smaller than the G5. New features on the G6 were Safety Shift, Auto/Manual Flash Adjustment, Reverse Display and RAW+JPEG size selection. Price tag was 100 USD less than the Canon PowerShot G3 and G5.
Three years later, the Canon PowerShot G7 kicked up a fuss with the loss of RAW mode and the vari-angle LCD screen. The 10 megapixels G7 was sold for around 480 USD in 2006. Although the G7 was loaded with the new DIGIC III technology and more features than the G6, Canon users fell that the changes were rather down-graded than up-graded.
Canon decided to replace the G7 with the 12.1 megapixels G9 in August 2007. Sold at the same price of the PowerShot G7, the G9 came with the RAW mode, a slightly larger sensor, 12 megapixels, Enhanced Face Detection, Auto ISO Shift and the compatibility with ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter. From this point, the PowerShot G series brought the much loved large aperture down to f/2.8 – f/4.8. The G9 gained a three inches, 230,000 pixels LCD screen but loss the flip out & tilt feature. The Canon PowerShot was sold for 480 USD.
The Canon PowerShot G10 was introduced on September 17, 2008 at the price of 456 USD. It’s the third incarnation of Canon’s flagship digital compact cameras since the G series was reinvented in 2006 with the G7. The G10 built on the successful concept of the G9 with the handling and control refined, the LCD resolution was improved, plus an useful AE compensation dial and a wider lens was replaced the 35-210mm (35mm equivalent). A joy to use, but the G10′s image quality wasn’t any better than any other digital compact on the market at the time.
On Aug 19, 2009, photographers around the world got the first glimpse of the Canon PowerShot G11, a successor to the G10. This time, Canon decided to reduce the pixel count from 14.7 to 10 megapixels. They sacrificed the low ISO resolution for better performance at higher settings. The G11 combined some of the best compact camera image quality with excellent levels of manual control, flip-out screen, raw capability, superb battery life, flexible lens range and the ability to mount dedicated flashguns. Selling price was 440 USD.
Canon PowerShot G12 was introduced on September 14, 2010. Inheriting most of the core features of the G11, the latest model featured the addition of an EOS-style front control dial, Hybrid IS for close-up work, and 720p HD video recording. Canon also added multi-aspect ratio shooting and SDXC card compatibility. The rest of the Canon PowerShot G12 features remained the same including a 28-140mm equivalent lens, 2.8″ tilt and swivel LCD, manual control and RAW shooting. Street price was 565 USD.
• Part Three: iAuto, iEnhance, Art Filters and Other Things…
So let talk about the wonderful iAuto mode. The iAuto or Intelligent Auto mode is just a fancy name for the Point-and-shoot mode with automatic scene selection. Basically, the iAuto mode was designed for users who do not have expert knowledge of photography but want to have creative control over their pictures. Once the mode dial is set to iAuto position, the E-PL3 will allow users to adjust various settings by way of the Live Guide interface. With the previous models, the Live Guide function was only available in the iAuto mode. But with the E-PL3, users can also activate the Live Guide mode by pressing the FN button from any of the P/A/S/M modes. From the Live Guide interface, brightness variation, depth of field, shutter speed, white balance, and color saturation can be controlled individually. Be aware that at some setting levels, your photos may become grainy and the density is decreased. I also don’t know why the Live Guide interface can’t be accessed while the clip on flash is activated—same with the Program Shift mode.
The iEnhance is more of a setting feature since it is set automatically when the iAUTO function is selected—you can also go to Menu, select the iEnhance feature while you’re in the P/A/S/M modes and fine tune the effect setting, contrast, saturation, sharpness and gradation. This feature will attempt to dynamically adjust colors based on analysis of the scene.
As I mentioned in part one of this review, Art Filters can be modified and effects can be added. You can also switch on and off filters that you don’t use through the Menu settings. For street shooting, I turn off all filters but the Pop Art, Grainy Film and Pin Hole filters. I find this feature is useful because it permits me to quickly gain access to the filters I mostly use.
Not all the Art Filters share the same effects. For instance, with the Grainy Filter I can choose two different BW filters and three types of effect—Pin Hole, Frame and White Edge. For Pop Art, Two different filters are available, plus Soft Focus, Pin Hole, Frame, White Edge and Star Light effects. Three filter types are available for the Pin Hole Art Filter along with the Frame effect. Now, if you go to Menu>Bracketing>Art Bkt, set it to On and select the filter, the E-PL3 will record multiple images, each with a different Art Filter when you release the shutter. Awesome, isn’t it?
Along with the kit lens, you will find a cute little flash, the Olympus FL-LM1. Don’t underestimate the little guy, though. It is powerful enough to give you some decent shots in the dark. You can set its intensity to Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. You can also remotely control up to 3 groups of wireless flash with this little guy.
So far, I’m happy with the Olympus PEN E-PL3. The Anti-Reflection Coating and the tilt LCD screen, the new menu layout along with the new features, its ability to shoot in dimly lit area and its image quality, plus the size and weight are reasons for me to choose the E-PL3 to be my everyday-street-shooting-camera. However, there are few things that prevent the E-PL3 to become my Ultimate Street Shooting Camera.
- I can’t switch off the shutter sound
- No ND filter
- I can’t combine multiple settings within the iAuto mode
- Live Guide interface can’t be accessed while the clip on flash is activated
- 16:9 aspect LCD leaves 6:6 images quite small on screen
Stay tune, folks. On my next blog, I will show you how I altered some settings to get the most out of the E-PL3′s BW & Color jpegs.