I fancied a decent pocket camera, something I can carry around anytime, incase I see anything interesting when I don’t have my SLR with me; it’s not practical to have an SLR with you all of the time. After a lot of consideration I decided to get the G7, it’s the only G series that doesn’t have the option to shoot in raw, but people in the know say there’s not much to be gained from having the raw ability on such a small sensor camera:
“I have found the RAW option to not be nearly as flexible on a compact camera with the tiny sensor as RAW can be when using larger sensored DSLR's, particularly when it comes to dealing with the noise, which you see at every ISO setting with these cameras. The camera companies do a very good job of getting the best results out of these cameras with their JPEG engines. I often found working with RAW files from compact digicams to not be worth the effort and time compared to what the camera just spits out using the highest quality JPEG setting” – Greg Chappell (From Photo.net)
“Ditto for wasting your time with raw. Compact cameras have so much noise and grit in the images to begin with, unlike SLRs, that there isn't anything to be gained wasting time, money and the environment processing raw files” – Ken Rockwell
I cannot verify this but I did try some noise reduction on an indoor Portrait, no flash at ISO 400 and could not see any difference whatsoever compared to the jpeg with no noise reduction applied, which kind of supports this idea. I was tempted by the G11, still am, but at the end of the day is it worth the extra cost, considering I will be using my SLRs more then the compact, its horses for courses and the G7 fits the bill for what I want, its also more pocketable then the G11. Obviously the jpegs cannot be manipulated as much as raw files from my SLRs, but it has a superb lens and produces great jpegs, if you take the time to get the exposures right it doesn’t need much manipulation anyway, Its best to underexpose a bit, similar to using slide film. I usually just tweak the jpegs a bit in Photoshop or Paint shop pro.
Initially I was reluctant to go digital, but think its great now, most of my reservations were just unfounded bias, I enjoy the digital darkroom, a lot easier dodging and burning for example compared to doing it in the traditional darkroom. Having said that, most people don’t appreciate how good film can be, especially most with no interest in the art of photography, they will probably have poor technique and be at the mercy of high street ‘Snappy Snaps’ for processing!
Digital is ideal for low light images, I did a test shot with the G7, see second image above. As you’re composing the shot via the LCD you can also see in real time what’s going on exposure wise. Something that’s impossible to do with film, the G7 also has an exposure scale visible on the right side of the LCD, but the camera leans towards overexposure, for the test shot above I had to underexpose to get the image looking like what I was actually seeing in reality. Same goes for indoors flash exposure, better to turn the power output down a bit, if you let the camera decide what’s right it blows it out, to much flash. Not tried it for outdoors fill in flash yet, it will take a speedlight but it wouldn’t look or feel right having one on such a small camera. Overall I am very pleased with the G7; it does what it says on the tin. A great little compact!
For indepth reviews and great articles visit Ken Rockwells site @ www.kenrockwell.com