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Dennis Hissink : July 16th 2003 - 23:12 CET

Firstlook on the new Canon PowerShot G5

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CanonToday Canon introduces its new 5 Megapixel Powershot member of their successful range of G1, G2 and G3 cameras. The new PowerShot G5 is, surprise, equipped with a 5 Megapixel resolution and it looks remarkably the same as the Powershot G3 camera that was introduced last year. Last month we had the opportunity to take a quick glance at this new model and as far as we can see it has the same body as the PowerShot G3, but this time only in a black finish. The new PowerShot G5 has a nice bright f2.0 (wide) lens, a total of 4x optical zoom, and offers a wide range of functions for the serious amateur and professional photographer.

The PowerShot series of cameras always had a respectful name in the world of Digital Imaging and it would be a surprise to us if this new PowerShot G5 would not follow its predecessors. Of course this new model is equipped with Canon's innovative DIGIC (Digital Imaging Core) processor that delivers high-end quality within a compact body. The DIGIC processor stands for efficiency in power consumption and high-speed image processing. The power consumption of a Powershot G5 gives one of the longest battery lives of any digital compact on the market. At this moment Canon has a high skilled high resolution camera in its hands and they will definitely succeed in their goal to stay on top in this digital world.

The high resolution of the 5 Megapixel CCD delivers a high quality and allows the user to blow up prints to A3 size or crop their images into a desired one. The higher the resolution, the smaller the pixel size on a CCD with the same size as the 4 Megapixel CCD will be. This means that the quality of the lens will have to level an almost extreme high level of quality. The lens that Canon is using for its new model is the same as we have seen before with the PowerShot G3 model. It has a fast wide (f2.0) and with a f3.0 in tele we can also speak of a respectable fast tele as well. The 4x optical zoom lens has a range of 35-140mm equivalent to a 35mm camera. Canon is using an optical neutral density (ND) filter that is built into the lens to reduce the light by 3 stops. By using this new approach it is possible to create lower shutter speeds or larger aperture settings in bright conditions. The FlexiZone AF/AE function allows users to specify a particular object in the frame without having to move their camera, a function that is great when you are taking shots with a tripod.

One of the most talked about details of the PowerShot G series is the vari-angle LCD display. This 1.8-inch LCD display can be fully rotated and is one of the most user-friendly features that exist on the digital camera market today. It would be great if the size of the LCD display could be enlarged to a full 2-inch, but we are talking about a detail here. This rotating LCD display offers great flexibility for shooting with the camera in different angles during close-ups or in crowds where it is sometimes impossible to shoot straight forward. The images will be stored in JPEG of RAW format on a CompactFlash card type I or type II. Some months ago SanDisk introduced their 4GB CompactFlash type I card so the user will have no worries of getting a larger capacity card for this camera. Canon will also create a combination of a PowerShot G5 and an IBM Microdrive of 1GB. Personally I am no fan of this type of storage, there are too many users experiencing problems with Microdrive and unfortunately I am one of them. Canon can do a better job when they will offer the PowerShot G5 with a 1GB CompactFlash card in stead of the Microdrive. But time will tell I think...

The camera has a great range of functions on board. Both the amateur and professional user will have a great camera in their hands and it is only a matter of creative skill to get a perfect image out of this compact black box. The PowerShot G cameras are more or less system cameras. Canon is offering a wide range of accessories to expand the capabilities of the PowerShot G5 camera. A 0.7x wide converter and a 1.75x teleconverter will turn the optical zoom into a 24.5 - 245mm zoom lens. To expand the macro capabilities Canon is offering a 58mm close-up lens and a professional Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX or Macro Twin MT-24 EX flash unit.

At this moment we are getting to a 5 Megapixel resolution that offers already a high quality to most of us, but will there be a higher resolution around the corner? Do we need it and if not will this be the end of the evolution? It could not be possible, could it? Well, we are getting to the second half of this year now. The upcoming period will definitely bring us some news about higher resolutions only it is too early to spread the word, so be patient all!

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