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Old Sep 29, 2003, 10:28 PM   #1
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Default Seeking advice about Canon Powershot G5

I am a weekend digital photo taker. I take very simple pictures (i.e. pictures of the family camping).

I am thinking about purchasing a Canon Powership G5 because I previously owned a Canon Rebel G and am familiary with its controls and how to best use it.

Are there better digital camera options for me? Or for my useage level, are most digital cameras about the same?

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Old Sep 30, 2003, 12:53 AM   #2
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The Canon A70 is a smaller & slightly cut back version of the G5.
For example, it has 3.2Mpixel instead of 5, & 3x optical zoom instead of 4. I has most of the features of the G3 & G5 such as full manual, full auto, aperture priority & Shutter priority.
The big plus is that it costs around one third of the price of the G5. Which route you take between the 2 is dictated by how serious you want to get.
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 1:36 PM   #3
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One of the advantages of the G3/G5 cameras is that they do offer much faster lenses than you'll find in the smaller more compact models.

Their lens is rated at F2.0/F3.0. So, at wide angle, the lens is TWICE as fast as a camera like the A70 -- with even more difference using zoom. F2.0 is twice as bright as F2.8.

So, the larger G series camera are much better for lower (or available light) photography, compared to the smaller models, allowing much faster shutter speeds compared to the subcompact models, for the same lighting conditions/focal range/ISO Speed.

The G series cameras also have a built in hot shoe, for easily adding an external flash when needed.

There are always tradeoffs in a cameras design (physical size, light gathering capability of the lens, control layout, ability to take add-on lenses and accessories, flash strength, etc.).

You'll need to decide which one is right for you, in the conditions you'll be using the camera in.

BTW, the newer G5 does seem to have more chromatic abberations (purple fringing) and noise, compared to the 4 Megapixel G3.

See the review of the G5 at http://www.dpreview.com for details.

Unless you really need the 5 Megapixels, I'd probably go with the 4 Megapixel G3 instead. It's lens and sensor seem to be much better matched to each other, compared to the newer G5.

Also, Canon has a new 4 Megapixel Model coming out -- the Canon Powershot A80. It will have the same CCD as used in the Canon G3, but it's lens will have the same limitations (not as bright as the lens used in the larger G3).
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 3:23 PM   #4
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I have read some similar reviews about the G5 noise and purple fringing. The reviews recommend the G3 as the better buy.
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Old Sep 30, 2003, 3:51 PM   #5
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BTW, since you are a former Rebel owner, you may be interested in knowing that Canon has recently released a Digital Version of this camera.

It's the Canon EOS-300D (a.k.a., Canon Digital Rebel).

It lists for $899 (body only).

This camera uses the Canon EF lens mount system, with a 1.6x crop factor (due to the difference in size between the camera's CMOS Sensor, and a 35mm film frame, you must use a multiplier to determine the true focal length of the lenses you purchase).

For example: a 50mm EF Mount Lens for a 35mm camera would equate to an 80mm lens when mounted on the new Canon Digital Rebel.

Here's Canons new web site for the EOS-300D:


There are pros and cons to a digital SLR (versus a model like the Canon Powershot G3 or G5):

LCD: you can use the LCD for framing a photo with a Camera like the G3, but not with a Digital SLR.

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a consumer level camera, you often have to spend much more money, especially to get lenses that are as "fast" (widest apertures available at wide angle and zoom). To get all the features (macro performance, zoom range, etc.), you must often purchase more than one lens, too. To the credit of Canon, the G3 and G5 do have a relatively fast lens (F2.0/F3.0) compared to most consumer models.

Camera Size/Weight: Because of the larger sensor used in a camera like the EOS-300D, the lenses also have to be larger and heavier for the same focal ranges/light gathering ability.

Sensor Cleaning: When you swap lenses, you risk dust getting into the the sensor.

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens Optical Viewfinder" -- what you see is the same image being transmitted to the sensor.

Much Better Dynamic Range -- again, this is due to the much larger sensor being used, compared to a consumer grade camera like the G5.

Ability to shoot at much higher ISO speeds with low noise -- A Camera like the EOS-300D can shoot at speeds of up to ISO 1600 with very little noise.

In contrast, noise can be visible even at very low ISO Speeds with a Consumer Camera like the G5. This is mostly due to the small sensors used in a Consumer Grade Camera. In fact, noise is the biggest complaint I've seen about the new 5 Megapixel Models (specifically, the G5) using the very small 1/1.8" (.556") CCD.

PHil Askey (owner/editor of dpreview.com) was very dissapointed in the noise levels and chromatic aberrations in his recent review of the G5 (see the conclusion section of his G5 review at http://www.dpreview.com). The G3 is better with both noise and chromatic aberrations compared to the G5.

For low light photography (or sports photography), many users find that consumer grade cameras can be virtually useless in many situations, due to extremely high noise --- especially at ISO 400. Settings above ISO 400 are usually not even available on Consumer Grade Cameras (because the images would be virtually unusable due to noise).

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLR's use a Phase Detection Focus System which is extremely fast. Most Consumer Grade Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System which can be slow (and often unreliable) in lower light.

Ability to Control Depth of Field - The smaller sensors used in a Consumer Grade Camera limit your ability to control Depth of Field (blur backgrounds by using wider apertures). The much larger sensors used in a Digital SLR give you much more flexibility over Depth of Field, especially since you have a great variety of lenses available for an SLR.

Lenses become an investment - With a Digital SLR, when you upgrade your camera body later, you can take your lenses with you within the same manufacturer. With a consumer grade camera, the lenses are permanently attached.

Speed of Writes - The processors used in most Digital SLR's are usually much faster than the processors used in consumer grade cameras. As a result the camera's overall operation is usually much faster.

A few other comments:

Most Digital SLR's are designed to have a much truer color output (tone, saturation, etc.) compared to consumer models (which often have colors that many professionals consider to be overly "vivid").

As a result, images from Digital SLR's usually require some "post processing" in software for the same "vivid" look. Of course, the final image look is a matter of preference.

Both types of cameras can be great for many users. Some users have both (a compact consumer model good for most shooting situations, that is much easier to carry); as well as a Digital SLR (with multiple lenses) for special purpose applications.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.
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