While it's not nearly as sleek as a lot of the enthusiast models coming out these days, such as the Olympus E-P series or Canon's own S90, the larger size does allow the G11 to accommodate a usable optical viewfinder and large, easy-to-turn dials.
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Please reinvent the wheel
Last year, I said of the G10's similar controller, "Like the G9 and the G7 before it, the G10 uses a four-way switch plus Set/Function button, which is surrounded by a scroll wheel. I love the scroll wheel, but find I tend to accidentally hit one of the Manual focus, macro, drive mode or flash switch when I'm trying to press the middle button." Canon seems to have tweaked the design of the wheel, and I find it more troublesome: now I frequently press one of the switches while I'm scrolling as well. It's especially difficult to control in cold weather with numb fingers.
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The relatively large--3 inches--flip-and-twist LCD is one of the highlights of the G11.
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Exposure compensation dial
The exposure compensation dial is a useful and retro control.
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Dial it up
In addition to giving the camera a retro feel, the dials on the G10 are really practical and much faster to use than even direct-access buttons, which always require at least some navigation. That flying camera icon, Quick Shot mode, is new to the G11 (see next slide).
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Quick Shot mode
If you like this type of control panel interface, you're out of luck unless you're OK shooting in Program mode. You only have access to this in Canon's Quick Shot mode, a semiautomatic program mode that activates continuous autofocus and face detection (those two empty boxes on top get shutter speed and aperture readouts when you focus).