Upon the arrival of a Canon PowerShot G10 test sample, it is tested in our DIWA Lab. The technical data from the rigorous tests are processed and translated into understandable data. Inside the lab, testing takes place in standardized circumstances. An environment in which cameras, both compact and system concepts, can be compared without a problem. Besides that, the Canon G10 compact camera is extensively used in practice and evaluated as for operation and shooting in practice. This combination of lab tests and the testing in practice, results in a final conclusion that is carefully reviewed.
Gretag Macbeth Color Checker
When it comes to color reproduction, the Canon G10 is fairly consistent and deviates somewhat more in the end ranks of the ISO range. As a standard in the DIWA Lab, the color reproduction is compared to that of the Gretag Macbeth Color Checker. The result of the comparison is a slight deviation of the colors; still, they are reproduced quite accurately. Out of those tested; 400ISO creates the most accurate result. The color sensitivity is measured in bits and we find the highest value coming from the measurement at 800 ISO; 22.53 bits out of 24. These values decrease slightly until 400 ISO (21.53 bits out of 24), measuring an average of 20 bits out of 24 at 800 and 1600 ISO.
ISO settings on the Canon PowerShot G10
When it comes to the accuracy of the white balance, the Canon G10 performs very well. The manual white balance setting is able to perfectly filter color cast in the entire ISO range, from 80 to 1600 ISO. Furthermore, the white balance is very consistent with almost identical values over the entire ISO range. The auto white balance encounters a bit of trouble with incandescent and fluorescent light however, measured in the DIWA Lab, a manual balance is preferred to obtain the best result. During DIWA technical measurements, hardware, such as the image sensor, is measured for its sensitivity in addition to the evaluation of the image quality. In practice, the stated ISO specifications do not often actually reach the same levels. Deviations of 20-25% are very common. The image sensor of the Canon PowerShot G10 is an exception. Up to and including ISO 400, the measured value is almost identical to the stated specifications (average of - 1.75%) which is an extremely good result. At 800 and 1600 ISO, the actual sensitivity is slightly higher, 903 ISO and 1749 ISO respectively.
Canon PowerShot G10 noise reduction
The increased resolution on an already small image sensor doesn't make it easier to control noise. Yet, based on the technical tests, it turns out that the Canon G10 does not show more noise than its predecessor, yet there is a big difference in resolution. This is a significant achievement for Canon, even more so since they succeeded in preserving detail. Still we can't get around the fact that the camera produces the best results at low ISO values up to and including ISO 200.
At ISO 400, it is already more difficult to keep noise under control and at the high ISO values, it is uncontrollable. The granular result does not look good on the prestigious Canon PowerShot G10. That said, the competitors also produce the same result in the same test. There is currently no need to use a resolution higher than 10 Megapixels on a small image sensor like this for better image quality. Unfortunately, the remainder is marketing strategy.
Dynamic range of the Canon G10
One of the limitations of a small image sensor is the small dynamic range. Certainly when we compare this to a digital SLR camera, the compact camera has to give in rather quickly. This shows in practice by the white-washed areas or blotted dark areas in a picture. If we check the results of the DIWA Lab measurements, we find a good dynamic range up to and including ISO 200, however; at higher ISO it soon goes from less to reasonable. To obtain the best possible result in contrast-rich environments, you will really have to be aware of this fact. By using the exposure compensation, the separate command dial on top of the camera, you are able to positively impact to the final result.
Canon PowerShot G10 lens
The G10’s 5x optical zoom lens has a range of 28-140mm. The sharpness of the lens ranges from excellent to fine. At f/4 aperture, the lens performs the best, at any focal length, with an excellent sharpness in the center and towards the edges. A slight blur towards the edges is only visible at wide-angle and the middle focal point and f/8 value, however, this is acceptable. The wide angle does have large distortion over the entire aperture range, though. The so-called 'vignetting' is hardly, to not at all, visible.
Canon PowerShot G10 - Chromatic aberration
Unfortunately, the Canon lens does suffer from chromatic aberration. To be blunt; it doesn't matter which focal length or which aperture you use; the risk of visible chromatic aberration almost always exists. This is rather disappointing. We have seen competitors, the Panasonic LX3 for example, perform a lot better in this area.