Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD

Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD

Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD Rating:
List Price: $599.99
Sale Price: $374.99
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Product Description

Canon PowerShot G11 Point & Shoot Digital Camera 3632B001 Digital Cameras


  • New 10-megapixel High Sensitivity System; DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • Bright 2.8-inch Vari-Angle PureColor System LCD plus optical viewfinder
  • Wide-angle 5x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-140mm); Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Improved Smart AUTO intelligently selects from 22 predefined shooting situations
  • RAW + JPEG shooting and recording modes; capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)

Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 953 user reviews
Canon Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD Canon PowerShot G11 Point & Shoot Digital Camera 3632B001 Digital Cameras $599.99

10 Responses to “Canon PowerShot G11 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Optical Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch articulating LCD”

  1. Kirk Tuck Says:


    I’ve only owned a G11 since this morning but was compelled to write this review for two reasons. First, I am amazed at how well Canon listened to their customer base. People loved the G10 ( and I plan on keeping the one I’ve been shooting for the last year….) But the two biggest complaints/suggestions I’ve routinely heard are: 1. The high ISO noise is too obvious and noise filters blur the image. 2. I wish it had a flexible screen on the back. To those two complaints I would have added: It would be nice to have a better optical view finder with more accurate framing.

    We all hoped that they wouldn’t change the things that everyone liked such as the wonderful analog controls on the top of the G10.

    So, I now have camera that IS really about a stop and a half or two stops more sensitive. 400 on the G11 looks better than 200 on the G10. I’d buy the camera just for that. Secondly, the screen on the back now swivels. Nope, the viewfinder didn’t get improved.

    What you are getting is a really nicely made camera that is convenient to carry around (but not really pocketable) that works quickly and well and is getting into the quality space that used to be the sole provence of DSLR cameras. You also get a nice movie mode (640, not HD) which works well for web projects as well as a camera with smaller file sizes than it’s predecessor. It is 10 megs versus 15. Another reviewer griped that the G11 should have had a longer zoom and 24 megapixels. I don’t want either of those things because I understand the greater the range of the zoom lens the less well it can be corrected for optical faults. I don’t want more megapixels because 99% of what I print is 12 by 18 inches or smaller and both cameras will already do that very well if you practice good technique. There are plenty of long zoom range cameras that work well for snapping your kids playing soccer. I have a Canon SX20 that does a good job with that. But there are few small cameras that are both fun to shoot quickly, on the street and it available light situations that also yield really nice files. This camera is one of them. We should give a few kudos to Canon for getting rev2 (actually rev 8) right for what we really like to do as photographic artists.

    I hope someone writes a really good book about using cameras in this class.

    Also thrilled that Canon uses the same battery between the G10 and the G11.

    Added last night: I went out shooting in the soft rain and gloomy half light yesterday afternoon/evening. I used the camera at ISO 400 and 800 and shot as low as 1/25th of a second. The images did not have a lot of noise and the IS worked very well. If you’ve shot with Canon’s previous powershot cameras you will get used to the controls and menus very quickly.

  2. nicjaytee Says:


    Unfortunately, I purchased a Canon G10 just before the release of the G11 and for reasons explained below I’ve now bought a G11… which gives me the unusual and unexpected “privilege” of being able to compare the two side-by-side.

    So what was so wrong with the G10 that I bought a G11? Nothing, other than its noise levels at higher ISO settings. Is this a serious problem? Well, if like me, you want a camera that’s a portable alternative to your DSLR and which operates very close to your DSLR’s performance, then it probably is. How much so? Here’s two examples that made me invest in the G11. The first was when using the G10 on a bright blue-sky day to shoot sports events on its “Sports” program – the camera, correctly, chose shutter speeds of 1/1250 and as a result set ISO ratings at around 400, but noise was evident at 50% magnification and very marked at 100% magnification. The second was when snap-shotting my children indoors in reasonably good late afternoon light with the flash turned off – on the “Auto” program the ISO was, again correctly, bumped up to over 200 and, again, noise was evident at 100% magnification, so much so that I was forced to manually set ISO to under 200 with the resulting problems of moving subjects and slower shutter speeds.

    You could say that I’m being overly “picky” here, but I don’t think so… while these noise levels are acceptable in cheaper and much smaller point & shoot cameras, they’re not acceptable in one that’s priced at DSLR levels. More importantly, they mean that it can’t be used with confidence as a portable point & shoot alternative to my DSLR, which was one of the main reasons for buying it. Sure you can overcome some of the ISO issues by using the camera’s huge number of manual over-ride options, but you shouldn’t have to.

    The reason for this is, of course, the mega-pixel count in the G10 which while good for marketing purposes is just too high for the chip size in a camera this small and which therefore precipitates additional noise at even relatively modest ISO levels. Set the camera to under ISO 200 and you get the resolution advantage of 14.7 million mega-pixels but your shooting options are reduced; let the camera do the work and, in anything other than “normal” situations, noise could become a serious issue.

    Time to assess how my newly acquired G11 performs in similar situations… the answer?… perfectly. My test shot comparisons between the two cameras show noticeably reduced noise levels for the G11 at anything over ISO 200 with, as noted by other reviewers, something between a one & two stop improvement. What this “one to two stop improvement” means in practice is that in the critical band between ISO 200 & 800 (critical because ISOs in this range are typically selected by both cameras’ pre-set programs in poor daylight or in normal daylight with high shutter speeds) noise is not a serious issue with the G11 – it also means that the G11′s noise levels across the board are as close to my DSLR as I’d hope for or expect. In terms of resolution, there is indeed a slight loss in the G11′s performance with slow ISO rated shots (i.e. 80 or 100) that’s noticeable if they’re blown up to very high magnification levels… but, am I really going to use this type of camera rather than my DSLR for huge prints or professional quality studio or field work? Unlikely. Also, there seems to be a marginally better “feel” to the G11′s shots at below ISO 200 which could be the result of claimed improvements in its image processing or just my perception. Whatever, the bottom line is that the G11 produces the same or better quality photos than the G10 in virtually all “real life” situations that I’m likely to use it for.

    Other differences? Well, the G11′s rotating screen gets a lot of praise but, in my view, can be argued either way: it has obvious benefits but it makes the G11 feel a little “bulkier” and, to fit it in, it’s necessitated two unfortunate changes to its rear panel layout – a reduction in the size of the rotating wheel surrounding the rear function button, making it much less tactile, and a 10% reduction in the size of its viewing screen. In all other respects the camera’s are pretty much identical: the G11 has a couple more menu options which most people will never use; it has two additional pre-sets on its main dial – a “Low Light” program, which is of limited value, and a “Quick Shot” program that’s pretty much the same as the “P” program but which replaces the image on the screen with an easy to read summary of all the camera’s settings; the “Panorama” pre-set on the G10′s main dial is included as one of the “Scene” options in the G11; and, the on/off button on the G11 is slightly smaller. In other words, other than the advantages/disadvantages of a rotating screen, nothing worth writing home about.

    Oh, and the price… the G11 is, at present, about £100 more than the G10 in the UK, which is a pretty big difference. Is a £100 price hike worth it for improved performance in certain situations and a rotating screen? Well, that’s your decision: the G10 is a perfectly acceptable and usable camera once you know its ISO limitations but, if you don’t want these limitations or, if you want the confidence that the camera will perform at close to DSLR levels in virtually all situations you throw at it, then the G11 is definitely worth the extra money. Anyone want to buy a G10?… it’ll be on eBay soon.

  3. OrangeCrush Says:


    I actually still shoot film the vast majority of the time however I purchased my mother a G-10 for her birthday last year and spent a couple weeks using the camera so I could adequately teach her how to use it. I have since borrowed it on numerous occasions and was actually about to buy my own G-10 but then I heard about the G-11 so I figured I would wait and buy the new upgraded version. I am glad I did just that. For me this camera is worth upgrading to just for the swivel LCD view screen on the back. I cant tell you how many times I have shot outdoors and was completely unable to see the LCD screen even when you shaded it with one of your hands. Adding the swivel option basically eliminates this problem. This option is so nice when shooting outdoors that I am honestly thinking about upgrading my mothers camera for this one reason alone as she doesn’t have the best eyesight which means if I am having problems seeing the viewfinder, I can only imagine how hard it is for her to see it.

    The next best thing I have noticed about this camera is its improved film speed ratings. I have already done a lot of testing with the G-11 and to say that they have improved the speed ratings is a huge understatement especially in the higher film speed settings. I was extremely hesitant to use a film speed over 400 with the G-10 yet I am using speeds above 800 with the G-11. Depending on the conditions your shooting in you should see anywhere from a 1.0 to 2.0 stop difference. I did some tests where the G-11 shot pictures at 800 that were basically equivalent to a 200 on the G-10. I was hoping for an improvement in this area but wasn’t expecting this big of an improvement.

    The next biggest improvement has to be with the auto mode. I tested the auto mode extensively with the G-10 as that was going to be the mode my mother used the most, at least out of the gate, and I was unimpressed. There were too many shooting situations to count that easily fooled the camera into shooting with settings that were less than optimal. You would still get decent results but it definitely needed improvement and they have done just that. Running the identical tests I did with the G-10 clearly showed that this camera is much better at selecting the appropriate shooting mode. Some conditions were drastic improvements. This is probably the 2nd biggest reason why I am most likely going to be upgrading my mothers camera to a G-11.

    A lot of people were concerned with the G-11 as it actually has a smaller picture size than the G-10. The G-10 has a 14.7 MP size and the G-11 only has a 10 MP size. Overall that’s a 32% decrease in maximum size. People who have a high understanding of digital imaging sensors knew not to worry as the MP size is not the most important aspect to an imaging chip. Details such as dynamic range, image noise and low-light performance are just as important, if not more important, when discussing overall image quality. I for one have always hated the MP war as we passed the quality that the vast majority of the population would be content with a long time ago. It has basically become a numbers game where people think that bigger is better and they just don’t seem to grasp that they will never have any use for such high MP images. So I tip my hat to Canon for taking this extremely bold step as this is the FIRST time that we have seen resolution reduced in a line of cameras that is still progressing forward. IMO this is the white flag that signifies the war of the MP is finally coming to an end and we will finally see companies focused on these other, equally important, image qualities as much as they have been with the MP size. As for the image quality of the new sensor, its outstanding! I immediately noticed a difference in the overall quality of the images. They seem richer with much less compression on the higher and lower ends. If I had the choice of choosing between the G-10 sensor and the G-11 sensor I would take the G-11 sensor every single time. Again a big tip of the hat to Canon for boldly choosing to go this route with the G-11 sensor.

    The G-11 retains the same 5x optical zoom lens from the G-10 which in case your unaware is equivalent to a 28mm to 140mm lens. Also the same is the aperture settings which go from f/2.8 to f/4.5 depending on the zoom setting. Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 15 seconds and it has the same metering modes as the G-10 (evaluative, center-weighted and spot). Thankfully they didn’t make any changes to the manual dials at the top of the camera as that is easily one of my favorite aspects to these cameras. ISO speed and the camera mode dials let you quickly and easily switch the most important settings. I an an old school photographer so I still prefer dials to buttons. IMO its the best set up out of all the point and shoots on the market.

    2 other noticeable improvements include an increased flash sync speed of 1/2000 and a high-definition HDMI connector (Dont worry it still has the USB 2.0 connection).

    The bottom line is that Canon has taken the G-10, which was easily one of the best point and shoots on the market, and made some outstanding improvements that have taken this camera line to a whole new level. If your one of those people who care more about how many MPs your camera has than the actual image quality of the camera then you should stick with the G-10. If however you are more concerned with image quality than MP’s then drop what your doing, list your G-10 on eBay and run out and buy the G-11. The image quality, improved noise performance, and swivel back LCD screen make this camera absolutely worth every penny.

    The only negative thing I can say about this camera is in regards to Canon’s sheer ignorance when it comes to the lack of standard size filter threads. How hard would it be to design this camera so it had a 52 or 58mm threaded lens opening? Trust me when I tell you it would be extremely easy. At the very least they could design it so all you needed was a simple step up ring to 52mm or 58mm. Instead they leave out threads altogether and make you go out and spend around a hundred bucks on a 3rd party aluminum lens tube that then allows you to use 58mm and 72mm filters. The “Plastic” Canon Lens tube isn’t even an option as its so poorly designed. It just really annoys me that canon totally ignores this aspect of this camera. In all honesty threaded lens openings should be mandatory for all cameras, even point and shoots. Again it would be EXTREMELY Easy to change.

    Overall the G-11 is simply an amazing, must buy, camera.

    5 Stars!!


    The more I thought about it the more I thought I should come on here and be more specific in regards to the lens tube issue. While Amazon will not allow me to write the name of the company that makes the aluminum lens tube that people should buy if they want to use filters with the G-10 or G-11, I can however be specific in regards to which one you absolutely should not buy which ironically is the one made by Canon. The lens tube that you should stay away from is the LA-DC58K Lens Adapter and here is a link to that item.

    Canon LA-DC58K Conversion Lens Adapter for Canon G10 Digital Cameras

    There are multiple problems with the LA-DC58K. First its plastic which means the overall quality is much lower than the other options on the market, besides plastic threads are never a good idea as they wear down with time making it harder and harder to properly screw things in as it ages. This simply doesn’t happen with brass or aluminum threads. The biggest problem with the LA-DC58K is that it doesn’t fit soundly on the camera. Once installed it should be 100 movement free, in other words it should have a nice sound fit and that just isn’t what you get with the LA-DC58K. It rattles around and is completely unstable once fitted in the camera and this is simply inexcusable. As if this wasn’t enough you also get severe vignetting at wide angles and the tube isn’t long enough thus it restricts full zoom ability. I honestly have absolutely no clue how this accessory was allowed to go to market in its current condition.

    I know it may seem unbelievable that Canon could design an accessory for one of its flagship models that has this many problems but believe it as everything I wrote is 100% accurate. I am one of the unfortunate people that ordered the LA-DC58K. It was absolutely horrid and was boxed up and returned after less than an hour of use. Its a shame that I cant give the name of the company that makes the aluminum version but since its not sold on Amazon its against their policy to list it. Just Google “Aluminum lens tube canon G10″ and you should easily find the company that produces it.

    I hope this helps!

  4. G. Gilbert Says:


    Canon G11 vs. Canon S90: A Matter of Personal Preference (I’m posting a very similar review under both the S90 and the G11.)

    I’ve been trying to find a ‘carry everywhere’ camera to always keep on my person so that I don’t miss the amazing things that make up the events of everyday life (like tomorrow when I actually get to get off the R train at Cortland Street in Manhattan, something I haven’t been able to do for years due to construction). I wanted something that was (1) Small and (2) Had the ability for full manual controls for shutter speed and aperture. The two cameras that fit this bill very well were Canon’s S90 and G11 – Canon’s top of the line point and shoots in their respective series (S and G). But which one?

    The two major things that the cameras have in common (in addition to the above mentioned manual controls) are:

    1. The same image sensor (same size, etc)

    2. The same image processor

    Anyone who’s written a comparison of the cameras will point this out quickly – because normally ‘which camera’ would come down to these one of these two issues. In addition to these things, there are dozens of other features that both cameras share: this makes it very difficult to decide “which camera?” Having owned both of them (but ultimately deciding to go with the G11 and returning the S90) I would like to make a short list of positive/negatives which I think could be deciding factors when trying to choose between these two excellent cameras. Instead of listing both positive and negative points by each camera, I’ll simply point out the positives of each that the other model does not share – I hope that this is helpful in your decision!

    G11: Advantages

    - Hot shoe: but on a compact? Some people will say “it’s pointless to use an external flash on a compact camera – the whole point is to be compact!” That’s a valid critique, but at the same time there are times when it’s nice to be able to throw a flash on a compact if you really need one. I own the 430EX and the 580EX II (both compatible) but I picked up the newish 270EX with the G11 and it works fantastically with the camera without adding a lot of weight. Both the camera and the flash fit perfectly into the Pelican 1060 case side by side but with enough room to stay padded with the foam insert. And hey – if I want to throw the nearly-twice-as-big-as-the-camera-itself 580EX II on the G11 I can do it! Yet I can also do without it – the camera is versatile this way in a way that the S90 is not.

    - Vari-Angle LCD: which at first I found annoying. The screen adds just enough bulk to the camera that it does not fit in smaller cases which it otherwise would. When I first got the camera I was really rather annoyed by it in fact – not only because of the bulk but because it is actually smaller than the LCD on the S90. I had to read another review to realize that it was a much better thing than I realized – because it allows you to hold the camera at all sorts of different levels and angles while still allowing you to see what you’re shooting. I really enjoy doing photography with the camera low to the ground (I have an angled viewfinder for my DSLR) and so this works perfectly for what I need. As others have pointed out, the Vari-Angledness of the LCD allows you to flip it while in storage so that it’s even more protected.

    - Remote Shutter Release: you can use one! I love doing night photography and that the G11 allows me to use a cable release really seals the deal on the S90 vs. G11 for me personally (granted on the S90 you can always use the 2 second self-timer). Good news too if you use a Canon Rebel DSLR – it’s the same cable release.

    S90: Advantages

    - Very compact: quite a bit smaller than the G11, it would easily fit in pockets and cases that the G11 never could. If you’re into Pelican cases like I am, you can fit the S90 in the Pelican Micro Case 1010 with room to spare.

    - More efficient controls: the ring around the lens is amazing and an excellent idea. Especially when in manual mode, this makes setting aperture and shutter speed a snap (it’s more awkward on the G11 – you have to use the small back dial and then toggle between aperture and shutter speed with a separate button which can get to be messy when you’re trying to shoot quickly).

    - The f2.0 lens: a full stop faster than the G11′s 2.8 lens. This is a LOT of light, and especially important when you want to take photos in low-light situations (note though that the lens on the S90 doesn’t zoom in far as the G11 if that’s important to you – both lenses are the same focal length when zoomed out).

    Both the G11 and the S90 are beautiful, well made cameras that will serve any photographer well when you’re looking for something that’s not DSLR sized.

  5. Randy Benter Says:


    Before Canon’s latest release, I used a G10 as my compact camera. I bought both the S90 and G11 the first weekend they were available and have been comparing both of them to the G10 for the past couple weeks. I have taken hundreds of images using all 3 cameras side by side with the same settings. The title of “Best Compact” has been debated feverishly on the web, with most votes going to the G10 and LX3. But now, I think Canon’s new release of both the S90 and G11 will put a quick end to these debates. There is no question in my mind that this pair sits above all competitors. All three of these Canon cameras benefit from the ability to shoot raw format and the 1/1.7″ sensor, which is larger than the 1/2.3″ sensor found in most other compact cameras.

    G11 vs. G10

    The first thing I wanted to test was image quality and noise at high ISO settings. Most photography hobbyists and pros know that low light performance is the number one factor influencing camera and lens prices. This is the main reason an f/2.8 zoom lens costs 3-5 times as much as an f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The G11 performs superbly in this regard. RAW images from the G11 set at ISO 800 were equal to or better than RAW images from the G10 set at ISO400. Both luminance and chrominance noise were lower in the G11 images. This represents a 1 stop improvement, which is what I was hoping for. These comparisons were made with all noise reduction disabled in camera and in the DPP software. I tested all other ISOs and found the G11 to be better at all ISO settings above 100 and the 2 cameras demonstrated equal IQ at the base ISOs of 80 and 100.

    The feel of the G11 is almost identical to the G10. The biggest difference is that the G11 now has an articulating LCD compared to the fixed LCD on the G10. To accommodate the new LCD mount, the back of the camera was slightly redesigned. The back is now plastic instead of metal, the shortcut and play buttons are now slightly harder to reach, and the rear control dial is both smaller and has a cheaper feel. These differences are immediately apparent to someone who has used the G10 extensively, but I expect the camera will feel just fine to everyone else. I think most people would agree that the articulating LCD is worth giving up a little bit of the solid feel.

    I went step-by-step through the menus and features of both cameras during my comparison and most functions are very similar. One of the new features I really like is the ability to fine tune the WB. So if you find the auto white balance tends to run too warm for your tastes, just dial it cooler and it will adjust each WB calculation by the amount you specify.

    G11 vs. S90

    Both these cameras have the same new sensor, so low light performance is identical. Canon also boasts about the S90 having a faster f/2.0 lens compared to the f/2.8 on the G10, but this part of the camera did not impress me. The lens only has the 1-stop advantage at the absolute widest setting and the max aperture closes down fast from there. The G11 lens is faster at the telephoto end and the difference is negligible at all zoom settings in between. Both lenses are equally sharp throughout their zoom ranges. The G11 has a hot shoe, but when I want to use external flashes, I dial-down the on-board flash and use it to trigger remotes.

    The ergonomics of the G11 and S90 are the biggest difference. I wanted to try the S90 because it boasts of equal image quality to the G11 in a smaller, lighter package. After using the S90, I think it might just be too small for my hands. On the G11, I can operate all of the controls on the right-rear of the camera with the thumb of the hand holding the camera. With the S90 there are fewer controls that I can operate one-handed and at times I feel like I might drop it, because I just can’t get a good grip on it. The rear control ring on the S90 turns too easily and I have found myself unintentionally adjusting settings because of this, which was never a problem on the G10.

    Bundled Software

    The camera ships with a newer version (3.7) of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software. There is not much difference compared to older versions, but there is one nice improvement: the lens aberration section is enabled for images taken with the G11. This allows for correction of vignetting, CA and distortion. I do not understand why the same controls are not available for RAW files taken with the G10. There is still no straighten function in the software, which is a disappointment. Another disappointing factor about the software is that Canon has not yet released a new RAW Codec; the current version (1.5) does not support the S90 or G11. This allows raw files to be viewed in Windows and for thumbnail images to be created in Windows explorer. I am sure they are working on an update, but I wish they had this ready by the time the camera was released.


    If you are considering upgrading from a G10 to a G11, I say “Go for it”. With the exception of the cheaper feel on the back of the camera, there is nothing I can think of that is not equal or better on the G11. Most importantly the image quality is better.

    If you are trying to decide between a G11 and S90, I recommend you try them out in the store and see which one feels better to you. I still have them both and do not yet know which I will be keeping.

    The G11 is an excellent camera and I highly recommend it.

  6. Thomas Mclean Says:


    I’m a G10 owner and really like it. However, we all know about the low light noise and that bugged me because I don’t like to use flash. So along comes the G11. Read the specs and thought, this is exactly what I want. So now I have one and for the most part I really like it. I’m way more aligned with the 5 star reviews than the others. I gave the G11 5 stars because that is what I believe it deserves.

    I love all the functional improvements. lower noise sensor, swivel screen, same layout on top plate etc. If you know the G10, you will quickly adapt to the menus on the G11. Since it uses the same battery as the G10, that is another benefit!

    My only gripe is that compared to the G10, the construction quality and feel is slightly lower. If it wasn’t for my knowledge of the G10, I would never have suspected that you could get better than a G11. But you can. For build construction I’d give the G10 5 stars and the G11 4 1/2 stars. That said, if I only had to pick one, it would be the G11 without ANY hesitation. It is a better camera functionally and feels really good. In every other area I’d give the G11 the edge…especially in the sensor and LCD.

    You really can’t do much better.

    Update on 10/17.. have taken many photos and I’m very pleased with the result. Image quality is excellent! If anything, I’m more impressed with the G11. It’s a home run for Canon in my opinion.

  7. Anthony M. Zipple Says:


    I am a Canon SLR user but wanted a small, compact P&S camera that had good controls and shot RAW images. I used a G9 for a couple of years until it was stolen. The G11 is my replacement. It is as good as the G9 in every way and better in some. Noise is very good below ISO 200, good at 400, usable at 800. That is a full stop better than the G9. Image quality is superb within the limits of a small sensor camera (Read that as you should shoot below ISO 400 whenever possible). This will be my pocket camera, hiking camera, take it to a show camera… my whenever I am to tired to lug an SLR camera. No complaints at all. A great choice if you need to shoot RAW… and even if you do not.

  8. Traveler Says:


    If you’re already in the market for a top level P&S that shoots RAW then you’re probably looking at the Canon G11, Canon S90 or the Panasonic LX3. All three cameras have their plusses and minuses so no one should be saying which one is best. The question is what works for you. That’s all that matters.

    The Canon G11 and S90 both share the same sensor which means they have almost identical noise performance. The big difference on the low light issue is that the S90 starts at f/2 and the G11 at f/2.8. Sounds like a small difference, but it isn’t when you need all the low light capability you can get.

    According to at least one blowhard pro reviewer (Ken Rockwell – don’t know how the man passes as an “expert”), you’d think that the G11 was a waste of money in comparison to the S90 and that only people who want a heavier camera for no apparent reason would want the G11.

    Here are my reasons:

    1. The G11 has an articulating screen. There are multiple uses for this. A)Makes self portraits easy; B)Allows you to inconspicuously take photos with the camera down at your waist; C)Allows you to compose photos at ground level without lying down; D)Allows you to take photos with the camera over your head in crowd situations; and E)Allows you to protect the screen by turning it inward towards the camera. I know the articulating LCD has its detractors, but to me it’s one of the top reasons I bought it over the S90.

    2. The longer focal length: 140 vs. 105 on the S90

    3. The heavier weight. Heavier means metal. Metal means this camera can take more abuse. Pros in the field frequently choose the G series Canons as their backup because they’re built so well. If you’re not going to take your camera on a mountain expedition, for example, then you might not need the G11′s sturdier build and the S90 might be a better choice.

    4. The easy to use “as if it was designed by a real photographer” outside dials for mode, ISO, and bracketing.

    But the G11 also has its issues.

    The f/2.8 lens IS a concern, although the cameras do even out around 50mm and the G11 surpasses the S90 at the other end of the zoom. There are times I really don’t want to carry that extra weight. And the G11 has bit too many extras on it that make it more complicated than it needs to be. Quite honestly, I hate how Canon designs their interface. I’m a Nikon DSLR user, but their P&S cameras don’t match the Canon’s in terms of quality. I love what the G11 can do, but I despise trying to change settings on it.

    There’s one reason why none of these things pushed me towards buying the easier to use S90: I also bought the Panasonic LX3. The LX3 has an f/2 lens and an ultra-wide 24mm lens. It’s older technology than both the Canons, but whoa does it fill in the gaps on the G11. It’s lightweight, easier to use, wider lens (even if it has limited zoom), and has a specific feature not on any Canon: dynamic B&W. I know, I can get the same effect with software after shooting. But that’s not my style. I generally shoot it just the way I want it in the moment. I don’t enjoy spending a half hour at the computer trying to tweak an image to death. I was self taught on a 35mm shooting almost exclusively B&W so Panasonic’s bow to us long term photographers is greatly appreciated.

    I realize most folks can’t afford to get two top of the line P&S cameras. You have to decide what features count the most. I’m betting most users will prefer the S90. They won’t use the articulating screen and they don’t need the sturdier build. For people who want to just take photos of friends and family I actually recommend the S90. But if you have needs that go beyond that, start giving the G11 a serious look. There’s just one fly in the ointment I have to add: The S90 has the slowest continuous shooting speed of all three of these cameras at .9 fps vs. the G11′s 1.1 and the LX3′s 2.5. If you’re shooting fast moving children, for example, you might want to back up completely and reexamine what it is you need as a cheaper camera without RAW but with faster continuous shooting might be the better choice.

    I’m writing this review in late 2009. I’ve read that Panasonic will probably release the LX3 replacement, said to be the LX5, in 2010. If they keep the positives and add a longer zoom and an articulating screen then forget everything I wrote as I will be ditching both my LX3 and G11. I hate the Canon interface that much.

    One last thing on weight – bought a camera grip that just makes the camera feel perfect in my hand and I’m no longer afraid I’m going to drop it. Something like this: PROMASTER CAMERA GRIP

  9. Andrew Cooper Says:


    A few days hands-on with a new camera have allowed me to form some opinions. Overall I am very impressed, the camera looks to be everything I wanted. Build quality appears to be up to the G-series standard. The wider lens gained with the G10 and carried over to the G11 is distinct improvement. Photo quality meets my high expectations, what else do you want to know?

    I am not writing this entry as a complete review, the digital photography websites will do a far more thorough job of that. But I do have some comments on the camera I wanted to put here. Much of my comparison is against the Powershot G9, as I never have never seriously used the G10.

    After using the Canon G9 for so long I have had no issue in learning the controls of the G11, most are located in the same places, the menus are mostly unchanged. This was true from the very first frame when I was using the camera in the dark. The only real difference is in the top wheels, where exposure compensation is now a direct control and not a rear thumbwheel action. Considering how often I use this function the top wheel is a very welcome improvement. ISO gain is below the main function wheel, something that has the benefit of being harder to actuate. I had a few instances on the G9 of finding I was using a high ISO when I wanted low ISO as this wheel had gotten accidentally changed.

    The camera is a bit larger than the G9, most of that seems to be front to back. The data sheet shows the camera to be 5mm (1/4″) thicker than my G9, you feel that 5mm when gripping the camera. It takes a larger pocket to hold the G11. The camera just fit in the shirt pocket of the aloha shirt I was wearing when unpacking the camera, but barely, not certain I would call this a pocket camera.

    The return of the flip-out viewscreen is welcome, but with mixed feelings. The loss of 0.2″ in screen size from the G9 is not an issue, despite some negative comments I have read on other sites. I enjoy the ability to compose a photo with the camera held over my head or close to the ground. This is something I loved about my old Nikon 995 and allows some great creative possibilities. I worry a bit about the robustness of the screen assembly, will I inadvertently damage the screen or the swivel mechanism?

    I do forget that the screen can be swung out. At least twice already I have found myself in an uncomfortable position trying to compose a frame before realizing I can just flip out the screen and stop straining my neck. Duh!

    The screen is just beautiful, nice color, bright and with very high resolution. Some difficulty seeing the screen in full sunlight unless you turn up the brightness all the way, annoying to do when the setting is buried in a menu. The screen also shows every little greasy fingerprint, it is nearly impossible to avoid putting a finger on the screen during handling.

    One price of the larger area taken up by the flip-out viewscreen is a smaller area for the rear panel controls. They are certainly more compact than the G9, I have had some issues with my fat thumb when using the wheel and rocker. I suspect these will go away as I become more practiced with the camera.

    I have now taken a fair number of photographs under a wide range of conditions. The low light performance is a dramatic improvement over the Canon G9. I had done specific testing with the G9 after I ran up against the G9 performance limitations in low light during normal use of the camera.

    To see what the G11 could do I set it up with a tripod to take photos under the light of the full Moon. To my surprise the camera did a respectable job of landscape photos lit only by moonlight. This is something I have done with a DSLR on several occasions, but did not expect to do with a compact. At ISO1600 and 3200 there is appreciable noise in the photos, but these speeds are by no means useless. The in-camera dark frame subtraction also works well, with no hot pixels apparent in close examination of the frames.

    Another pleasant surprise was the quality of the new lens. From the first images the lens has continually impressed me as better than the G9 lens for sharpness. I was surprised when closely examining the day’s images, fine details in a seed head were perfectly sharp to the limit of the sensor resolution. The limiting resolution of the camera was indeed set by the sensor, not the lens, at least under the right conditions. Is this simply the lower resolution sensor? Is this a result of not pressing the performance past the resolving power of the lens? Or is the new lens design simply better than the G9?

    My only major complaint is one that many others have leveled against Canon… Why does this camera not have a decent video mode? I usually shoot still, but like to do a little video when the situation calls for it. The 1024×768 video and time lapse video modes of the G9 are missing. Why can they not add at least a 720p HD mode? There is likely no technical reason for this. Some internal Canon politics with the video camera division?

    The camera is indeed everything it has promised to be, with very few shortcomings. Beautiful pictures from a compact camera. I look forward to a long and productive relationship with this camera.

  10. C. J. Boyle Says:


    I recently purchased this camera and wanted to post my impressions of the camera from the perspective of an average camera user. I bought the G11 for my husband, who wanted an easy-to-use camera with an optical viewfinder and a swing-out LCD that was viewable in bright light. He is an avid hiker, cross-country skier, & mountain-biker who just wants to get a good shot when he pulls out his camera. On the other hand, I’m a more advanced (not pro) camera user with an SLR setup and I’m comfortable with manual controls. Both of us take photos for our own enjoyment and to share with friends and family.

    We both love this camera! The wide angle is wide enough for vacation and scenery shots. It takes very good people pictures and we like the face-detection feature, but turned off the anti-blink mode (maybe I DO want a picture of my granddaughter with her eyes closed!). The close-up/macro photos are incredibly sharp and have impressive depth-of field. My husband likes the brief on-screen tips when he changes settings (and will likely turn them off once he’s more familiar with them). When I use the camera, I find it very easy to change settings, although I sometimes find I’ve inadvertently pressed the metering mode button when I pick up the camera.

    Power-on is very fast and shutter action is quick as well. The colors are very good – I have no complaints at all in that regard. I’ve taken both jpeg and RAW photos; the jpeg’s look really fine to me, and I think I’d use RAW only when taking pictures I’d want to play with, such as landscapes, sunsets, close-up portraits, things like that.

    We found that in auto mode, the camera takes slightly over-exposed outdoor pictures in bright light. That is easy to adjust using the exposure compensation button in one of the non-auto modes. Or by just turning a few more degrees away from the sun – that works well, too! I like that there’s some resistance in the adjustment buttons on the top of the camera, making it hard to change something by accident – a common problem I’ve encountered with other P&S cameras. I also like the adjustment wheel in the back; I find it easy to use and like that I can use it to move quickly thru the various options.

    Both of us are comfortable with the handling/heft of the camera. It feels solid and well-built. Neither of us likes the neck strap so we bought the a wrist strap to use instead. It would have been a nice “option” for Canon to design and include a wrist strap with the camera – it seems counter-intuitive IMO to have a smallish camera need a neck strap!

    I hope this brief review helps some people who are looking for another perspective on the G11. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive review – just the personal impressions of two “average” camera users with a couple of different expectations.

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