However, most of the new capabilities enhanced by the switch to a newer generation Digic 4 processor--face detection improvements, face detection self-timer, and i-Contrast automatic correction--are probably more important to the audience of snapshot-camera users than the manual enthusiasts who tend to buy the G series models. One capability I wish Canon had enhanced is the movie capture: it's still 30fps VGA without optical zoom.
Unfortunately, performance is mixed compared with the G9. Time to first shot is a quick 1.3 seconds, faster than the G9's 1.7-second start. In bright light, a relatively quick focus helps keep the shutter lag to a zippy-for-its-class 0.4 second. In dim light, that increases to a 0.8 second. Both are improvements over its predecessor. Two shots in a row have a decent 2.2-second gap between, a bit slower than the G9's 2 seconds, and adding flash recycle bumps that to a not-very-speedy 2.9 seconds. Continuous shooting is 1.4fps, down from the G9's 1.7fps. The AF system is pretty responsive, though no one would confuse this with an SLR. The 3-inch LCD is big and bright, but sucks quite a bit of power; the camera's 1050mAh battery is only rated for 400 shots with it on but 1,000 without it.
The primary reason to buy a camera like this, however, is the photo quality, and here the Canon G10 doesn't disappoint. Color and exposures are great. There's some wide-angle distortion at the 28mm-equivalent maximum, but photos have very good center and edge-to-edge sharpness at longer focal lengths. ISO 80 and 100 produce relatively pristine images and if you're alert to it, you'll see some noise-suppression artifacts starting at ISO 200. But photos look quite usable up to and including ISO 400; at ISO 800 they get visibly soft. (For more on photo quality, click through the slide show.)
Though I can't yet compare it with competitors like the Nikon Coolpix P6000 or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, users of the G9 or previous models who want the higher resolution and who won't miss the extra lens reach won't be disappointed. Only the mixed performance--not bad, just not as fast as it should be for the price--brings down its overall rating. And even if the Canon PowerShot G10 eventually turns out to not be best-in-class for whatever reason, it's still a great camera.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Time to first shot||Raw shot-to-shot time||Typical shot-to-shot time||Shutter lag (dim)||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)