Best Buy
  • Price: 382

  • Company: Canon

  • Pros: Optical image stabilizer works well, and the greater zoom range is useful. Discrete and brisk in operation.

  • Cons: Lens distortion is higher than you’d expect, and there’s no RAW file capture option.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Long before entry-level digital SLRs became affordable, prosumer compacts were an attractive proposition. But, with the introduction of budget SLR models around three years ago, a whole new class was born, and the whole prosumer thing has gradually disappeared.

So, it’s a surprise to see Canon re-enter the prosumer compact market. Unashamedly high-end, the G7 replaces the ageing 7mp G6, and features a new magnesium-alloy body, 10mp CCD and an optical stabilized lens with an impressive 6x zoom range.

In exchange for the smaller body, though, the lens isn’t quite as exotic as its predecessor. With its fast maximum aperture, the old 35-140mm f/2.0-3.0 has been replaced with a less ambitious 35-210mm f/2.8-4.8. While the greater reach may be a benefit to some, many will bemoan the light loss of the new optic.

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There isn’t a two-to-three stop advantage seen in the company’s pro EF lens range, but in our tests using a resolution target, the addition of an optical image stabilizer easily offsets the slower lens to reduce blur. 
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The flipside is the compact optical design shows high levels of distortion, and it’s especially noticeable using the 1cm macro. There is a wide-angle converter available, but we can’t help but feel something like a 28-105mm f/2.5-3.5 would have greater all-round appeal.
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Handling is great. The forward-command dial of the G6 has been replaced by a much larger control dial at the rear. This is used for a multitude of functions, and it’s an ergonomic treat. On-screen analog scales of shutter speeds and apertures are slick, as is the dial on the top-plate for ISO settings. 
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