Once upon a time, the Canon PowerShot G series was the darling of amateurs. A relatively compact camera with a wealth of manual features and great photo quality, for a while, it had no equal in its class.
That was then; this is now.
In a world of cheap dSLRs and powerful 12X zoom models, it will take a lot for the $599 Canon PowerShot G7 to garner the attention of the current generation of enthusiasts. It does up the G series to 10 megapixels, while most of the competition is still at 6 or 7. It has an image-stabilized f/2.8-to-f/4.8, 35mm-to-210mm (35mm equivalent) 6X zoom lens, which could probably stand to be a bit wider. Canon integrates its Digic III image processor for potentially better all-around performance. The new Digic chip also helps drive the G7's golly-gee-whiz feature, Face Detection; the camera can locate as many as nine different faces in a scene, select the most likely subject, then maintain the optimal focus lock and exposure as the subject moves. A gaggle of scene modes, high ISO support (as high as ISO 1,600 manually and ISO 3,200 via a preset), and a 2.5-inch LCD round out the G7's new feature set.
But this G-series model lacks something its predecessors had: a flip-out-and-twist LCD display. I suppose that's the trade-off for getting a larger screen, but I know I'll still miss it. Check back at the beginning of October when the Canon PowerShot G7 ships to see how much of a deal breaker that display turns out to be.