If you’re looking for a point and shoot camera with some manual controls and can shoot in RAW format, the Canon G9 may be the camera for you. First of all, lets get something straight… the Canon G9 is a point and shoot camera and is not a professional DSLR camera. Do not think that just because it’s a 12 megapixel camera, that it’s comparable it to other high end 12 megapixel DSLRs. I use this as a vacation camera or a camera that I use to snag photos in places where I don’t want to call attention to myself by having lots of pro gear hanging off my shoulder and neck.
Canon Powershot G9 Digital Camera // Front View // Images up to 4000 × 3000
Back View (Notice the large 3 inch LCD Screen)
If you’re planning on adding optional a wide angle, telephoto lens or filters to your G9, you’ll first need to get a Canon LA-DC58H conversion lens adapter. I initially bought mine because I wanted to use a circular polarizer, but as it turns out, I never use it. But what I do use it for is attaching a Hoya R72 infrared filter, which works like a charm.
The tricky thing about using the Hoya R72 filter is that it’s almost completely opaque, so your exposure times are going to be long. I found the best results using the camera set to AWB (auto white balance), 100 ISO, f/5.6 – f/8 for 15 seconds. Obviously your exposure times will vary depending on the lighting conditions, but I would try and keep your f stop above f/5.6. If you shoot at f/2.8 your photos will tend to be on the soft side. I set the lens to shoot at the wide angle setting, so that I would have a better chance of the subject matter being in focus.
Canon G9 infrared images made wtih Hoya R72 filter
Lanai’i Hawaii July 2008
Canon G9 infrared image made wtih Hoya R72 filter
Hana Maui, Hawaii July 2008
A tripod is another accessory that you’ll need as well.
I found this small metal Bogen Manfrotto 709B Digi table top tripod to be the perfect match for this camera. It was small enough to fit in my pocket and was heavy enough to prevent most camera shake. A better option than trying to balance your expensive camera on a rock or laying it directly on the sand or dirt. I also like the fact that it has a ball head on it. This makes for easy vertical or horizontal adjustments. I found that setting the G9′s display to grid view to be helpful making sure my horizon lines were lined up correctly.
OK, if you haven’t ran out of money yet and like to spend time in or around the water, I seriously recommend the Canon WPDC1 underwater housing.
The housing, made by Canon, is specially designed to fit the G7 and G9 cameras. Even when the camera is inside the housing, there are buttons on the outside which will allow you to adjust everything you’ll need underwater. And since the housing is rated to 130 feet, you’ll find it will be ideal for snorkeling, free diving and SCUBA. I recently took mine to Hawaii and was on the most part pleased with the results I got. Again, even though the G9 allows you to crank up the ISO, I would shy away from doing that unless you don’t mind a lot of digital noise in your photos. The housing comes with a flash diffuser. I tried it with and without. I found that the diffuser works best for close up shots. The flash diffuser come with a lanyard that attaches to the camera, so you can take it on and off easily underwater. You might want to experiment with the white balance too, I first set the camera too the “fish” underwater setting, which was suppose to compensate for the blue cast in the water. I found that setting the camera to AWB or flash settings and then color correcting in post, to work better for me. Then again, white balancing underwater without flash can be tricky.
Canon G9 image using WPDC1 underwater housing
Maui, Hawaii 2008
I also found the movie feature of this camera to be a lot of fun. And since I don’t usually create movies with a video camera, the high resolution 1024 movie setting proved to be large enough for my needs.
Overall I found this camera to be a great little companion for traveling without having to lug a lot of expensive camera gear around with you. Granted you’re not going to get the same results you would get from a DSLR, but if you shoot in RAW and have the right settings set, I think you’ll be surprised with the results. I also think you’ll find the next time your headed out to explore, you’re more likely to grab your G9 and small case, than lugging around a large camera and a bag of lenses.
One last thing. If you’re going to be shooting in RAW format with this camera I would suggest getting a SD memory card that is 4 gigabytes or larger. I’ll try and update this post as I discover other using tips for this camera. Also please feel free to ask any question you might have by leaving a comment below.
Since posting this review, Canon announced the next generation of this Camera, the G10. They changed the body style, probably fixed some of the bugs, and increased the megapixels to 14.7.
Copyright 2008 Chris Keeney Photography