optics, technical innovations, and aggressive product development. Over the last few years, they've developed a powerful lineup of digital cameras, ranging from surprisingly feature-rich entry-level models, all the way to the extreme high end of professional digital SLRs. Last year, their PowerShot G2 prosumer model was one of the top two or three cameras on the entire Imaging Resource site, a fact I attribute to the superb job Canon did in designing and producing it. - The G2 was one of those rare cameras that really hit all the right notes with the "enthusiast" crowd, offering a rich feature set and excellent image quality.
Now, Canon has updated the G2, calling the result the PowerShot G3. To the surprise of many, they eschewed the five megapixel sensors employed by many of their competitors in high-end prosumer models, choosing instead to stay with the proven four megapixel chip first seen in the G2. (I'm told the reason for this is that Canon was unwilling to accept the image noise tradeoff that the current crop of 5 megapixel CCDs require.) While the sensor has remained the same, numerous feature and user interface enhancements (including a new 4x zoom lens with fast f/2.0 maximum aperture) combine to result in a noticeably different user experience. Read on below for the full story, but based on my early look at the new model, I'd say Canon has come up with a very worthy successor to the wildly popular G2.
4-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,272 x 1,704 pixels. (3.87 megapixels effective)
Real-image optical viewfinder and 1.8-inch, color LCD monitor with swivel design.
4x optical zoom, 7.2-28.8mm f/2.0-3.0 lens (equivalent to a 35-140mm lens on a 35mm camera) with auto and manual focus.
New autofocus system with continuously adjustable AF area.
Unique focus bracketing mode.
Digital telephoto as high as 3.5x.
Full Automatic, Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes, as well as three preset exposure modes, and two user-programmable modes.
Manually adjustable aperture settings from f/2 to f/8, depending on zoom setting.
Built-in neutral-density filter can be switched in via the shooting menu. (Equivalent to external ND 0.9 filter, 3-stop exposure cut.)
Manually adjustable shutter speed settings from 1/2,000 to 15 seconds.
Variable light sensitivity: Auto, 50, 100, 200, or 400 ISO equivalents.
Evaluative, Center-Weighted Average and Spot metering modes, with an adjustable Spot area.
Spot metering optionally tied to AF area.
White Balance adjustment with nine settings, including two separate "custom" options.
Built-in flash with nine operating modes, flash metering is TTL (through the lens).
External flash hot shoe.
Flash system supports full wireless capabilities of EOS speedlights, via optional Canon wireless transmitter.
Flash system supports optional ringlight and Macro Twin Light accessory flash units.
Continuous Shooting (normal and high-speed), Stitch-Assist, Auto Exposure Bracketing, and Movie recording modes.
Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation adjustment.
Vivid Color, Neutral Color, Low Sharpening, B&W, and Sepia options.
Remote control and utilities for operating the camera from a computer.
JPEG and RAW still image file formats, movies saved as AVI / Motion JPEGs.
Images saved to CompactFlash Type I or II memory cards.
DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
USB cable for high-speed connection to a computer.
Canon Digital Camera software included, as well as Photoshop LE 5.0.
Powered by Canon BP-511 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, with AC adapter/in-camera charger included