|Canon PowerShot G9 - RAW format shooting
When the G7 was introduced a lot of talk went on about the RAW format lacking, even more so because the G6 did offer RAW shooting. According to Canon the possibilities to edit and correct pictures are limited on a compact camera which makes RAW rather useless. But programs like Lightroom and Aperture offer lots of possibilities. And even if you can only adjust white balance, shooting in RAW will be an advantage. RAW format on the Canon G9 is a CR2 file similar to the RAW format on SRLs. Unfortunately you can't open the files with the beautiful Digital Photo Professional but you have to use a plug-in for Canon's ZoomBrowser. Personally I am not too keen about the ZoomBrowser and I find that the plug-in works moderately. It does not offer a lot more than a JPEG directly from the camera. But fortunately the RAW files of the Canon PowerShot G9 can be opened in Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom which makes you aware of what you can still gain.
Canon G9 - Automatic & Manual white balance
One of the most important items you can change in RAW afterwards without a problem is the white balance which is still quite necessary with most compact cameras. The Canon PowerShot G9's white balance gets it wrong at times when shooting under incandescent light circumstances. It requires manual adjustment of the white balance or selecting a preset mode. In daylight the white balance is fine and the camera delivers correct colour reproduction. In general colour reproduction is fine although the LCD monitor shows too saturated images. The camera stores the JPEG files in sRGB; RAW lets you convert the pictures to AdobeRGB which will give you a larger choice of colours. Especially pastel colours benefit from this.
Canon PowerShot G9 - ISO sensitivity range
The sensitivity range on the Canon PowerShot G9 ranges from ISO 80 up and including 1600 ISO on full resolution. The G7 offered the same and Canon has pressed even more pixels on the same sensor unfortunately. Usually this does not add to the image quality. JPEG images show noise or rather noise reduction even at 100 ISO when looking closely. And 200 and 400 ISO pictures also show traces of noise reduction. ISO 400 is not recommendable for shooting in JPEG. This is a pity and certainly unnecessary due to the Megapixel-race. RAW offers more possibilities to get the most out of your pictures but only if you don't use the software provided by Canon. Using it gives you the same noise reduction. The pictures I changed in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) are of use until and including ISO 400. Above that quality diminishes and I would consider ISO 400 as the limit. Well, in case of an emergency I would even take a picture with ISO 1600 because sometimes taking a bad picture is better than no picture at all. But all in all I would work with ISO 80 up and including ISO 400. It is a limited range considering there is also a limited amount of aperture values available and the camera is not really light sensitive in telephoto mode. The image stabilizer works fine although it can't create miracles, so carrying a small tripod along might be wise.
|Canon PowerShot G9 - Dynamic range
One other problem that you may encounter is the dynamic range. The range is rather restricted due to the pixels being too small. RAW will help in this case but don't expect miracles. You will not be able to retrieve something that the camera did not capture. It is a matter of correct exposure and making the right choices. Personally I am tempted to use a separate light meter with spot metering next to the Canon PowerShot G9. At least then I will know what to expect.
Canon PowerShot G9 - Exposure
If you really want to get the most out of the Canon G9, you have to know what you are doing. It is essential to expose the correct way and you should not rely on the large play-ground the camera offers. Also shooting in RAW is advisable. Don't let the sharpness or rather the lack of it, frighten you off when you open the pictures in ACR. The sharpening has been turned off and very soft pictures remain. Ideal material to edit to your own preferences but it requires putting some extra time into it. The JPEG pictures are not bad at all as long as you photograph well. You can't afford to make a mistake or it will show in the picture.
Canon PowerShot G9 - Lens
Not only image sensor and processor form the image, also the lens plays an important role. The range is acceptable but personally I would like so much to have more wide angle instead of telephoto. A 35mm, compared with a 35mm camera, offers an insufficient angle of view for a lot of photographic moments. And I am not the only photographer who likes to get close to his subject. The Canon PowerShot G9 could be a perfect camera for shooting documentaries in countries where one is not aware of what's yours and what's mine. Taking pictures with the Canon G9 is quite inconspicuous; you can shoot more freely than with a camera that really stands out. And it is nice to be able to get closer to an object and still show a lot of the surroundings. Or if you want to capture a wide landscape. Of course you can stitch pictures but why go through the trouble if there is an easier way?
Canon PowerShot G9 - Telephoto & Wide angle
In general the lens performs well with the entire range. There is some distortion visible in maximum telephoto as well as in wide angle, but that cannot be prevented. Just as colour fringing in wide angle. However; everything stays on an acceptable level compared to the pictures of the G6 that I still remember clearly. Compared to that the Canon PowerShot G9 raised the bar. In telephoto you will need the image stabilizer. And this works fine; even at slow shutter speeds jitter is correctly compensated.