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Canon PowerShot G9 Review

This year’s Canon PowerShot G9 is essentially identical in appearance to its predecessor, the G7. With the exception of the optical viewfinder being decreased to make space for a bigger 3-inch LCD, the only other modifications are that the lens ring and release button have been changed from silver to black.

A large number of the components are also identical. It is equipped with the same f/2.8-4.8 35mm-210mm-equivalent, optically stabilized 6x zoom lens and the same Digic III picture processor as the previous model.

In actuality, the only noteworthy changes are a switch from a 1/1.8-inch, 10-megapixel CCD to a 1/1.7-inch, 12-megapixel CCD and the restoration of raw-format capability, which has been long-desired.

Despite weighing around 5.5g more than its predecessor — most likely as a result of the bigger LCD — the G9 is still only 320g in total weight.

In order to provide a good grip on the camera, the controls take up the space on the top and rear of the camera that is not covered by the LCD or the optical viewfinder.

It is nevertheless possible for folks with large hands to have difficulty gripping the G9 firmly enough to avoid accidentally obscuring one or more buttons on the device. We also found ourselves wishing that the shutter button and zoom controls were a little bit larger on the back of the camera.

More: Canon PowerShot G9 X | Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Despite the fact that the majority of the G9’s menu interface and navigation are consistent and easy to understand, there is a rare design choice that is perplexing.

The high-quality (1,024 x 768 at 15 frames per second) movie mode, for example, isn’t listed as a resolution choice under the Func menu, which is where you’d expect to see it.

To discover it, you must cycle through the many movie modes, which include Color Accent, Color Swap, Time Lapse, Compact, and Standard. This is understandable from an engineering position, but not so much from the perspective of the average consumer.


Since their introduction, Canon’s G-series compacts have been the exclusive domain of photography enthusiasts. Packed to the gills with capabilities, these cameras are deserving of the label “bridge camera,” as they are only one step removed from a fully functional DSLR.

Why choose the Canon Powershot G9, with its 6x optical zoom that doesn’t quite stretch to the level of’super zoom,’ when you could be the happy owner of an interchangeable lens EOS 400D DSLR for just a little bit more money? To begin, while having proportions similar to a box, the G9 is small enough to fit easily into a jacket pocket.

As a result, it gives the impression that it may be the most overqualified spur-of-the-moment snapshot camera that is now available. However, because of its affordable cost, that option is available to you.

Although there are add-on tele and wide conversion lenses available, the advantage that the G9 has over other bridge cameras and super zooms is that its admittedly modest yet thankfully image stabilized 6x zoom (which still has a respectable 35-210mm range in terms of 35mm) can be stored flush to the body when it is not in use. This is an advantage that the G9 has over other super zooms and bridge cameras.

However, one of the things about the camera that makes an impression right away is its construction. It has the look and feel of a dependable Leica camera that could survive being thrown to the ground, beaten around a little bit (maybe fired at), and still be used for its intended purpose.

In essence, it does not have the impression that Canon has taken any shortcuts in order to deliver the camera to the market at this price (429 RRP in the UK, which is somewhat lower than the model that came before it), with a matte black finish that indicates a serious aim.

Despite the fact that Canon has squeezed a multitude of photographic functions into the body of the camera, everything inside the layout seems like it is in its correct position and is quickly and logically accessible in an instant. The extensive specification list demonstrates this.

A very helpful dedicated dial for swiftly adjusting light sensitivity settings, ranging from auto all the way up to ISO1600, can be found on the very top of the camera, and it is situated on the far left (if the camera is seen from the rear).

A hot shoe can be found just to the right of this, directly above the lens, and to the right of that is a familiar mode dial. Additional flash may be attached to the hot shoe.

The shooting options begin with the full auto setting and progress clockwise around the dial, including pre-optimized scene modes (that feature a high-speed ISO3200-equivalent option), stitch assist for framing panoramic images, movie clip mode (an advantage over a DSLR for some users), Full Auto, and full Auto, followed by six ‘creative zone modes. The full auto setting is located at the very top of the dial.

In addition to the standard program, shutter speed priority (Tv), aperture priority (Av), and manual settings, you have the option to select either one or two user-defined parameters that are easily accessible.

To the right of this again, I told you the camera was veritably packed to the brim with functionality. To the right of this sits a slightly recessed rectangular on/off button behind which sits a forward-positioned zoom lever that is forward-positioned and encircles a raised, and very springy-feeling shutter button.

It is to Canon’s credit that despite all of these controls lying directly at your fingertips, nothing seems cramped, compromised, or unduly downsized for the purpose of “fashion,” which, to be quite honest, is a breath of fresh air for anybody who uses a tiny camera.

The rear of the camera is dominated by a (fixed) 3-inch LCD screen, which is larger than the screen on the earlier G7, which was only 2.5 inches. Ranged just over this screen is a rounded window for the optical viewfinder.

After using the PowerShot A-series camera made by the same business, I discovered that I missed their vari-angle LCD (which is also a feature of the G6) since, to tell you the truth, I found that I was returning back to utilizing the screen on the G9 for picture composition in the majority of cases.

This has a couple of advantages: first, you can see the live on-screen histogram to check exposure as you go, and second, a compositional nine-area grid provides additional assistance when framing landscapes and attempting to get your horizon level. Both of these advantages are useful when trying to get your horizon level.

The visibility of the screen is likewise consistently high, in contrast to the optical viewfinder, which has a cloudy appearance when used indoors under artificial light. It is more difficult to utilize the optical viewfinder on the G7 than it is on the G8 due to the increased size of the LCD screen, which has resulted in a smaller size for the viewfinder itself.

When the camera is set to a wide-angle focal length, the lens is visible in the bottom-left corner of the viewfinder. This is distracting, especially considering the fact that you can only see around 80 percent of the area anyhow.

Even though the G9 may be controlled with one hand, using both seems more comfortable. This is despite the lack of a hold on the left-hand side of the body, which, when viewed from the back again, makes it easy to leave thumbprints on the side of the LCD.

The playback button is located in the top right corner of the display, while the direct print button for PictBridge-compatible printers is located in the top left corner. The direct print button may also function as a shortcut button if the user so desires.

To the immediate right of the LCD are four buttons that are arranged in a compass pattern around a control dial that has a scroll wheel (used for browsing through taken photos and navigating menus) enclosing a function set button. These buttons are located to the immediate right of the LCD.

These buttons include one for deleting images that also functions as a means of switching between AF options (face detection, AiAF standard auto, and FlexiZone AF), a second for adjusting exposure on the fly (-/+2EV), a third for switching the display on or off (including the aforementioned nine-zone grid and histogram), and a singular menu button for calling up just that on-screen. The fourth button is a singular menu button for calling up just that.

Finally, on the rear of the camera, there is a button that, in addition to its function as an AE and FE (Flash Exposure) lock button, allows users to add vocal comments to photographs while they are playing them back.

A strong pull-out flap that protects the USB and AV out ports can be found on the right side of the camera when seen from the rear. This flap is located above a convenient mount that can be used to attach a neck or wrist strap. Another strap mount may be found on the left side of the device, just below which is a speaker.

When we turn our attention to the performance of the G9, we see that it turns on in a little under two seconds, with the LCD immediately coming to life and the lens barrel instantly and swiftly stretching to its widest possible setting. In no way deplorable.

If the autofocus is set to continuous mode, all it takes is a quarter of a push on the shutter button for you to hear the sound of the lens searching for the optimal point of focus. In point of fact, it is not quite as irritating as the “bug buzz” that is characteristic of the Nikon Coolpix line, as it is relatively quiet.

That shutter button, on the other hand, is so springy that you have to be reasonably gentle with your half press; however, I found its more tactile nature to be appealing, as it, along with the camera’s other features, enables the user, and not just the camera itself, to feel as though they have a greater degree of control.

In the process of taking a picture, there is no discernible shutter delay; however, as long as you are not taking more than three single shots in quick succession, there is a wait of around a second before you can take the next image and at maximum resolution, superfine JPEG image quality setting as well. If you are taking more than three single shots in quick succession, there is a discernible shutter delay.

The “new” RAW mode performs just as quickly in single-shot mode as it does in continuous shooting mode, which is just 1.5 frames per second (fps) when the LCD monitor is switched off and only half as quickly when it is turned on. The Canon PowerShot G9 is not a camera that is designed for action photographers who want to fire off a large number of shots as soon as they can.

If you keep your finger on the shutter button, the camera will continue to capture images until the memory card is full, however, the rate at which it does so may slow down significantly. The user may show the aforementioned nine-zone compositional grid on the LCD, as well as the number of shots left, the shooting mode that has been selected, the flash setting, and the metering mode.

When you switch out of the point-and-shoot auto mode and into the program mode, shutter speed priority mode, aperture priority mode, or manual shooting mode, the histogram display becomes available to you. This is a really helpful feature.

When you push the button labeled “function set” which is located in the middle of the control dial, an L-shaped toolbar will appear on the screen. This toolbar will stretch from the bottom of the screen all the way up the left-hand side. Scrolling up and down allows you to pick and change a variety of essential functions on the fly, much like you can do with other Canon compacts.

In the auto mode, most of the options are deactivated, and the only thing the user can modify is the file size and quality, with huge and superfine being the options that compress the least amount of data.

However, if you turn the dial on the back of the camera to the program position, you will be given additional options. These include the ability to adjust the white balance, which includes both an underwater and a custom setting; access to the well-known, but frequently underutilized, ‘My Colors’ menu; bracketing options; flash strength; metering mode; and, rather more interestingly, the ability to turn on and off a neutral density (ND) filter for those landscapes with a lot of contrast.

When shooting video clips, various features are obviously removed; however, you are still able to adjust the white balance, My Colors, and use the ND filter if necessary. This adds the possibility of shooting at 320×240 pixels, 640×480 or the new 1024×768 high-resolution mode (15 frames per second only), and either 30 frames per second or 15 frames per second, depending on the end user. These myriad options continue to be available for the other main shooting modes.

After turning the mode dial once again to access the scene modes, a virtual mode dial will appear on the screen, displaying a variety of icon-illustrated alternatives for you to choose from. These include pre-optimized settings for snow (like you, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas), fireworks, aquariums, and underwater, in addition to the aforementioned ISO 3200 mode, the results of which invariably resemble more of a Pointillist painting than a realistic photo. Among the usual suspects, these include pre-optimized settings for snow (like you, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas).

When you press the menu button located on the rear of the G9, you are presented with an option between three Canon folders that are more or less standard. The first one, depicted as a camera icon, gives users the ability to turn on or off the digital zoom, as well as additional flash settings such as flash synch, slow synchro, and red eye reduction that are not otherwise accessible by pressing the dedicated flash button (I don’t understand why the anti-red eye isn’t automatically included on the latter).

You also have the option to turn off the bright green autofocus assist beam and change the autofocus mode from single to continuous, with the latter being the one that performs the hunting action. The new function known as Face Detection may be found somewhat tucked away. You must first choose face detection from the AiAF mode options after pressing the button that is specifically designated for the Menu option.

It seems strange that Canon chose to hide this functionality inside the menu system whereas competing small cameras have a button that is specifically designated for using this function. There is a propensity for the user to pre-focus on the subject and clearly, a face if they are taking a portrait before completely pushing the shutter button, so the new face detection capability won’t make a huge amount of difference for the more skilled photographer.

However, it will be of more assistance to those who are just starting out with point-and-shoot cameras. Because I did not observe any discernible difference in terms of speed between the AiAF On and the AiAF Face Detection settings, I decided to configure the camera to use the latter option.

When the camera is struggling to offer a fast enough shutter speed for common lighting circumstances, the new ISO Auto Shift function is more beneficial since it provides a rapid means to enhance the ISO speed. This occurs when the camera is taking a picture.

When you turn on this function, the Powershot G9 will flash a blue light on the circular Print/Transfer button located on the back of the camera whenever the LCD screen shows a red symbol representing a camera that has been shaken. When you click this while also pushing and holding down half of the shutter button, the camera will set a significantly faster ISO speed (generally ISO 800), which is normally sufficient to enable you to shoot the photo while minimizing the effects of camera wobble.

A really ingenious and speedy method for gaining access to a more useable ISO speed. Canon has also included a “On” option to the ISO Auto Shift feature on the Powershot G9, which enables the user to prevent the camera from setting an inappropriate ISO speed by pressing the Print/Transfer button. This eliminates the need for any human engagement. However, ISO Auto Shift does have a few significant drawbacks, the most obvious of which is that it cannot be used in conjunction with flash photography.

The image stabilization feature may be triggered at the time of shooting a picture, or it can be configured to operate continuously, just like in Canon’s high-end IXUS models. There is also a panning mode, which may be turned off completely if that is what the user desires. You also have the ability to modify the information that is shown in this menu.

The second folder, which is illustrated by the familiar spanner and mallet, is the set-up menu. Here, operational sounds can be handily muted, LCD brightness can be tweaked, the clock can be set, and memory can be formatted. If someone else has been playing with the camera, all of the settings can be returned to their default state.

The third folder gives you the ability to customize the noises and pictures that play when the camera starts up, which is a function that comes standard on all Canon models but that I feel to be mostly unneeded.

When you press the replay button on the camera, a picture that has been recorded instantly shows on the screen in its full resolution. A further push of the display button gives up fundamental shooting information, such as the file number, the time and date the image was shot, as well as which file size (for example, “L” for Large), and the quality level was selected.

If you press the display button a second time, you will be presented with additional information. This information will include the size of the file in megabytes, the white balance and the metering mode, the aperture and the shutter speed, as well as the shooting mode and a retroactive histogram, just like a baby DSLR.

When you press the Display button a total of four times, you have access to a new screen that displays an expanded portion of the image in addition to a thumbnail version of the image. This is an excellent method for determining whether or not the image is crisp and in focus, and it also enables you to navigate around the image to whatever location you want.

When you press the menu button during playback, you will be presented with a choice of four folders: two for variously tweaking setup and camera sounds and images as before; plus, an initial review folder containing options for slideshows, erasing or protecting images, or adding sound; plus, the second folder of print settings, which is particularly helpful if you are hooking the camera up to one of Canon’s PictBridge-enabled standalone printer ranges.

The menus are bright, clear, thoughtfully laid out, and easy to navigate once you get used to the scroll wheel. Despite the chunky range of options that matches its equally chunky yet still compact frame, everything here seems to be logically placed. Controls fall easily under the finger or thumb, and the menus are bright.

Image Quality

On the large 3-inch screen of the Canon Powershot G9, the images appear sharp, well-exposed, and crystal clear. Thankfully, these qualities are maintained once the images are downloaded to the desktop and examined in greater detail, as one would expect from a model designed specifically for photography enthusiasts.

There is no denying that optical image stabilization is a big help at the longer end of the zoom; as a result, there were very few examples of blurred photos among the test photographs. In this setting, there is an appropriate degree of detail in both the highlights and the shadows.

Disappointingly, but not unexpectedly for a camera with 12 megapixels, image noise is easily discernible in photographs taken at ISO settings of 200 and higher. As a result, I try to avoid shooting at ISO settings of 800 and 1600 (or ISO 3200, which can be selected through the scene modes) as much as possible. Unless you’re trying to create an impressionist-style photograph, that is.

Even though the lens has considerable vignetting at wide-angle focal lengths, the built-in flash performed admirably indoors. There were no instances of red-eye, and the exposure was accurate overall.

Incredible performance in macro photography, with the ability to focus on subjects as near as 1 centimeter distant while still capturing a great deal of information. The Canon Powershot G9 has a maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds, making it an outstanding camera for night photography; in addition, the clarity of the photographs captured after dark is quite high. When left on their default settings and shot in natural light, the colors produced by the Canon G9 are vibrant enough for my liking, with reds, greens, and blues seeming suitably “punchy.”

The skin tones are warm and healthy looking, without seeming to be unnaturally so. There is some very tiny fringing between regions of high contrast, such as the bright sky and the foreground, but it is only evident upon extremely close inspection, and it is not noticeable at all on an A3 print. Overall, the Canon G9 performs rather admirably in the category that matters the most, with noise at ISO 400 and above being the only significant issue that can be brought up.

Canon PowerShot G9 specifications

Body MaterialMetal/Plastic
Sensor• 1/1.7″ Type CCD
• 12.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes• 4000 x 3000
• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 4000 x 2248 (16:9)
Movie clips• 1024 x 768 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30 / 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• AVI Motion JPEG with WAVE monaural audio
Lens• 35-210mm (35mm Equiv)
• F2.8-4.8
• 6x optical zoom
Focus• TTL autofocus
• AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point)
• Single / Continuous AF
• Manual focus
• Focus lock
• 1-point AF (center or flexion)
• 1 cm minimum focus range (macro)
Metering• Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (Linked to the center or selected AF point)
Shutter speed• 15-1/2000 sec
Aperture• F2.8-F8.0 (wide)
• F4.8-F8.0 (tele)
Shooting mode• Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom (2 modes)
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
Sensitivity• Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
White Balance• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Flash
• Underwater
• Custom
Image parametersMy Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Continuous• Normal: approx 2fps
• AF: approx 0.8fps
Flash• Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• Second curtain sync
• Range: 30cm – 4.0m (wide) / 2.5m (tele)
• Hot shoe
Storage• SD / SDHC / MMC card compatible
• 32 MB card supplied
Viewfinder• Real-image zoom
• Dioptre correction
LCD monitor• 3.0-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
• 100% coverage
Connectivity• USB 2.0 High speed
• A/V out (NTSC/PAL switchable)
Power• Rechargeable Li-ion battery NB-2LH/NB-2L
• Charger included
• Optional AC adapter kit
Other features• Orientation sensor
• PictBridge
• Index view
• Histogram
• 4x digital zoom
• Sound memo
• Direct print (Canon & PictBridge)
• 2 and 10-sec self-timer (plus custom)
• 25 languages
Optional accessories• Speedlite 220EX/ 430EX/ 580EX
• Tele-converter (2.0x) TC-DC58C
• Wide-converter (0.75x) WC-DC58B
• Lens adapter/Hood set LA-DC58H
• Waterproof Case WP-DC11
• Waterproof Case Weight WW-DC1
• Soft Case DCC-600
• High Power Flash HF-DC1
• AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC20
• Rechargeable Li-ION battery pack NB-2LH
• Car Battery Charger CBC-NB2
Weight (no batt)320 g (11.3 oz)
Dimensions106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5 mm
(4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)

More: Best Point and Shoot Camera | Best Point and Shoot Camera for Travel | Best Budget Vlogging Camera


The Canon Powershot G9 is a worthy advance to the previous model, the G7, and it is also a true alternative or backup to an entry-level DSLR camera. This is primarily because of the return of RAW mode, which was absent from the G7.

It provides the highest level of control over the image quality for users who are willing to spend time enhancing their photographs after they have been captured, as well as a plethora of sophisticated features that will suit the requirements of the majority of photographers.

At the same time, a photographer with less skill may select the Auto mode and JPEG compression and still obtain fantastic images, and the camera will still be ready to explore when the photographer is feeling more daring.

The Canon Powershot G9 is the kind of camera that not only makes you feel like a better photographer but also helps you become one. It combines both comprehensive and happily reliable hand-holding features with a plethora of real photographic controls that, at times, exceeds that which is offered by many if not most budget DSLRs. The build quality of the camera also exceeds that of the competition.

This model is easy to maneuver and gives the impression that it was constructed to survive longer than six months. In fact, it is one of the heaviest and most brick-like compacts that are available on the market for the amateur market. However, you can still slip it easily into an inner coat pocket, which means that, unlike a DSLR, it is still a camera that you can bring with you wherever.

Canon PowerShot G9 Price

Pros & cons

Good For
  • Connectivity through NFC
  • Integrated wireless technology (Wi-fi)
  • A Touch Screen Device
  • Full HD Video
  • Image Stabilization
Need Improvements
  • There is no external flash shoe.
  • Lack of a Screen That Articulates
  • Lack of Protection for the Environment
  • Low remaining battery capacity: 220 shots
  • No Built-in Viewfinder
Image Quality

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This year's Canon PowerShot G9 is essentially identical in appearance to its predecessor, the G7. With the exception of the optical viewfinder being decreased to make space for a bigger 3-inch LCD, the only other modifications are that the lens ring and release button...Canon PowerShot G9 Review