Cameras forum

General discussion

Comparing Canons: G9 vs. S5 IS

by Denise S / October 22, 2007 10:43 AM PDT

I'm trying to decide between the Canon G9 and S5 IS, but haven't seen any direct comparisons between the two, and am not sure about which group of users each of the two cameras is designed for, or what factors should be the primary ones I should consider in making my decision.

I'm an enthusiast who doesn't want to shell out the $$ for a dSLR. I have no interest in taking videos with my camera, so video-shooting problems don't bother me. I'd like to be able to take photos that can be blown up to 8 x 10 size, and am particularly fond of shooting in low-light or nighttime conditions (for example, during Xmas, I love to shoot houses with tacky light displays). I'm not concerned about the price differences between the G9 and S5 -- will buy whichever one is the better camera for me.

I like the S5's use of AA batteries, its zoom range, and its extendable monitor, but was disturbed by the amount of noise that showed in the sample pix in the review of the S5, as compared to the sample pix in the same site's review of the G9. I also am concerned about the continuous-shooting mode in each camera -- the DigitalCameraReview piece on the I5 complained about how slow the LCD screen is to catch up with the lens during continuous shooting, and I haven't seen any reviews that address this issue on the G9.

I see lots of reviews that mention RAW format, but I've never used it, and don't know if it makes sense for me to use its availability (or lack thereof) as a criterion for making a purchase decision. The G9 has it, the S5 doesn't seem to. Also, the G9's ISO range goes up to 3200; the S5's only goes to 1600, which is a factor that causes me to lean toward the G9.

I'm not sure what an electronic viewfinder does or how it differs from the LCD screen or an optical viewfinder. If anyone would be willing to enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.

Please share any thoughts you might have that will help me decide. If you need more information to help you give advice, feel free to ask.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Comparing Canons: G9 vs. S5 IS
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Comparing Canons: G9 vs. S5 IS
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
G9 - S5
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / October 22, 2007 2:48 PM PDT

These two camera are very much alike.

the G9 has more megapixels.
The S5 has more optical zoom.

As far as low light or nighttime shooting:
Neither has any advantage over the other.
Amy ISO setting over 100 will have some noise.
Any ISO setting over 400 will have too much noise.

If you want to use higher ISO settings with low noise, you will have to buy a DSLR camera.


For taking good (low noise) low light and nighttime photos you need to understand "exposure" and the elements that affect it.
And you absolutely need a tripod.

Here is the camera set-up for taking Christmas lights.
Turn the flash OFF.
Use the "Aperture Priority" mode.
Set the aperture to the f/2.8
Set the ISO to 100.
Put the camera on a tripod.
Frame the shot.
Set the shutter to use the 10 second delay.
Press the shutter down and then take you hands off the camera.

After 10 seconds - when the shutter trips, it can be several seconds before the image is captured; so wait up to 15 seconds before you touch the camera.


Here is a comparison of both cameras:


Collapse -
G9 - S5
by Denise S / October 23, 2007 12:51 AM PDT
In reply to: G9 - S5

Thank you for the input, snapshot2. I did see (and use) the camera comparison on, but wasn't sure how to weigh the few differences between the two Canons. One factor that seems to be significant, at least based on the posts I've read over there, is the sensor size -- the G9 has a larger sensor than the S5. Do you, or does anyone, have any opinion on the significance of sensor size?

The article on various viewfinders / LCDs was extremely helpful; thanks for that link. Thanks also for the detailed instructions on Xmas-lights shots. I do have a tripod, but haven't used it as yet.

Collapse -
Sensor Size
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / October 23, 2007 7:11 AM PDT
In reply to: G9 - S5

The main reason these two cameras have different size sensors is the G9 has 12 megapixels and the S5 has 8 megapixels.

They can't fit 12 megapixels on the smaller sensor......yet!


To see more information about sensor size:

Go to this link:

Scan down until you find the line titled "sensor size"
Notice the yellow question mark (?) on that line.
Click the question mark for more information.

You will see the comparison of the larger sensors that are used on DSLR cameras and the small sensors used on the non DSLR cameras.

Noise is primarily caused by crowding too many pixel sensors onto the sensor assembly. They tend to cross talk.

But the penalty of using large sensors is mainly cost.
A large sensor cost more to make.
It then requires a lens that has a larger diameter (and more costly to make).

To reduce cost, camera makers continue to use the smallest sensor possible for the non DSLR cameras.
The penalty is noise.


Collapse -
Sensor size continued
by Denise S / October 23, 2007 10:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Sensor Size

Thanks again for this very helpful information.

So if I'm understanding you, and the information on the page at, correctly -- when all is said and done, cramming 12 megapixels onto a 1/1.7" sensor may be just as bad as cramming 8 megapixels onto a 1/2.5" sensor?

Collapse -
(NT) That Is Correct!
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / October 24, 2007 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Sensor size continued
Collapse -
Other fixed-lens cameras . . .
by Denise S / October 25, 2007 2:24 AM PDT
In reply to: That Is Correct!

Someone on another forum suggested that I also look at the Panasonic FZ50, and I also saw some writeups of the FZ18. The editors here don't seem to have gotten around to reviewing the FZ18 yet -- anybody on this forum have any thoughts about it?

Collapse -
G9 vs. S5 IS
by scammarata / October 25, 2007 10:09 AM PDT

If you have access to a good camera shop that stocks both of these cameras, go try them out in the store. That's how my wife and I decided to buy the Canon A710 IS. She wanted a relatively compact camera; I wanted one with optical zoom greater than 3x. Experimenting with a bunch of different cameras in a local shop made us both feel great about buying the A710 IS.

The sample photos on various Internet sites that review digital cameras are informative, but there is no substitute for actually trying out the real product.

Good luck,

Collapse -
Trying cameras out in the shop
by Denise S / October 25, 2007 12:28 PM PDT
In reply to: G9 vs. S5 IS

Thanks for the suggestion, Steve. I checked the camera shop near my house, but they only had a demo G9. I plan to check the shop near my office tomorrow.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

The Samsung RF23M8090SG

One of the best French door fridges we've tested

A good-looking fridge with useful features like an auto-filling water pitcher and a temperature-adjustable "FlexZone" drawer. It was a near-flawless performer in our cooling tests.