The Zen Canon

When you travel the path to your intended destination, do not be afraid to step off now and then and see what you may find along the way.

The Master Plan calls for the acquisition of two cameras: a replacement for the ailing Nikon P610 (currently a Canon SX70 is the front-runner for this) and a full-frame DSLR for the nominal advantages it offers (currently a Canon 5D is the front-runner for this).

However, something new has been added that wasn’t planned: a Canon PowerShot G11. This is something like the PowerShot A70 I have, only on steroids. Let’s look at the specs and see why I might want this:

10MP 1/1.7″ CCD sensor capable of ISO 80. Whoa! Stop! You’ve got me.

Optical Image Stabilization. I said you’ve got me already.

2.8″ fully articulated LCD. Yes indeedy!

28-140mm (5X) zoom lens. I’m good with that.

Optical (tunnel) viewfinder. Shut up and take my money!

The Zen Canon Street Camera
Look at all those nice dedicated controls!

While some reviews would bemoan its small, ‘low’ MP sensor and complain about the lack of techno-glitz like wireless connections and touch-screen controls, I say it’s just the sort of thing I like. So what is it good for? According to Camera Decision, not much – except for being rated as “excellent” for Street photography. And that is where it fits into the Master Plan: fulfilling a niche I didn’t even know existed (Eric L. Woods understands). I’ve never done much in this area, but here is a camera that opens up the possibilities for me. Also it was $12. No kidding. The shipping was twice that, btw. There was no battery charger with it, and the replacement for that will cost as much as the camera! I’m still ahead, though, as a quick look turns up other examples of this camera listed for ~$250. The cheapest working one I’ve found (aside from the one I bought) was $65 plus shipping.

But is it worth the, or any, money? Let’s check the first shots!

Green logging truck nipping by, as-is colour.
Same image, slight tweak to compensate for aged sensor.

Although shot under less-than-ideal conditions, the colour rendition and contrast are nice right out of the camera. As is typical with an aged CCD sensor, a bit of a tweak is required but then that makes it more than acceptable quality. The tonal range is, as expected, better than CMOS.

The Queen’s (mincemeat) Tarts.

Pretty close, indoors, slightly cropped to eliminate distractions around the subject. There is nothing to complain about in this picture. And it is “as-shot”.

Full view, full zoom to check lens sharpness.
100% selection from the above image.

Remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that I did some pixel peeping and this camera does not lose sharpness over 100% image size! It goes to grain-of-film look at 200% and drops into pixels at 400%. There is no ‘oil paint’ effect or other signs of poor resolution. It makes the Lumix ZS-60 look sick.

The impossible ISO 3200.

I like low ISO because it’s more like film. High ISO is numbers silliness. This camera has ISO 3200 which is just absurd, especially given the sensor size. And yet … The original was unviewable, but some post-processing (white balance and contrast adjustment followed by desaturation) turned out this almost good night image.

With less than a dozen pictures taken so far, I already like this camera. It is a keeper, and I can’t wait to find out what I can do with all those lovely controls. This camera is going to be fun!

I would be remiss not to mention this recent and somewhat related post from Dan James.

5 thoughts on “The Zen Canon

    1. I really like your writing style and found it interesting that entry about the Pentax sort of coincided with what I was doing. As for getting your own G11 … mmm, maybe take some antacid instead? *LOL*

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Marc, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve researched the Canon G series and been watching a dozen of them on eBay… I won one once then the seller mysteriously said they’d damaged it in packing it up so the sale fell through. They remain something I’m curious about, though the model line seems strange how they steadily increased to a 10, then 12 then 14MP CCD, then went back down to 10 again. Worth some more in depth reading perhaps, but I wouldn’t mind a G7 which was the first 10MP CCD model I think. As you know, a 6-10MP CCD is my digital sensor sweet spot!

    Liked by 1 person

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