The G10 is an evolution of the G9 Design, maintaining the metal construction and essentially the same body shape. The exposed body is nearly completely metal (only the battery door and the ports cover are plastic), and the matt-black finish gives it a stealthy, classic look. The new model has been pumping iron (or aluminum) beefing up by 40g (402g up from 362g), retaining the solid 'dense' feel.
Although cosmetically very similar to the G9 there are differences. The LCD is still 3 inches but the resolution has doubled. The metal accents of the G9 have been changed to black, and the handgrip is now textured and feels more secure to hold. Most of the default functions of the buttons are now painted on, and the buttons themselves are mostly raised or tilted to make them easier to press. The dedicated ISO dial has been moved to sit around mode dial; the old ISO dial is now an exposure compensation dial. And the model number of has been moved into the handgrip and inlayed. This now really is SLR junior rather than point and shoot senior.
In your hand
Coming from almost any other compact to this camera will come as a very pleasant surprise. This camera feels very comfortable and secure in the hand. The extra grip texture on the handgrip helps the secure feel. Metering and focus point selection, and AE Lock buttons are all within easy reach of the right thumb, but the location of the exposure compensation dial means it will usually be operated with the left hand. The camera never feels cramped, as long as it is used at arm's length.
Coming from a DSLR the G10 will be a revelation. This is one of the few compacts that feels as well built as a 40D/50D, and certainly feels better made than a 450D/1000D. While the G10 has retained the boxy rangefinder styling, and even the optical viewfinder. The further control enhancements over the G9 makes what was an intuitive camera to use even better for those who buy cameras to take lots of photos.
The G10 uses a new, more powerful, battery (capacity has increased from 720 to 1050 mAh), the NB-7L. The new battery takes around 140 mins to charge using the supplied charger and slots into the base of the camera under the plastic battery/card slot cover door. Unlike the older battery, the new one is a rectangular block and it’s quite easy to put the battery in the wrong way around (a step backwards in usability).
The SD card slot remains in the same location as the two previous G series cameras. The G10 can use SD, SDHC, MMC, micro SD and mini SD (via adaptors).
Since the SD compartment remains unchanged, it is still not possible to take the card out when the camera is on a tripod.
The G10 improves on the already nice screen of the G9 more than doubling the resolution (461K vs 230K). The image while shooting now covers 100% of the frame. While the image looks better than it did before, the screen retains the super glue effect of imprinting everything it comes in contact with. Maybe they should pack a cleaning cloth with the camera. The Canon logo has also been removed from the top of the LCD.
The size of the viewfinder is the same as in the G9, but the markings have been removed. It is still nowhere near 100% (77%), which combined with the tunnel effect makes this almost unusable (for taking pictures). What's worse is that every time you place your eye to the viewfinder, you smudge the LCD more. Is this better than no optical viewfinder at all? At least it is still possible to make believe this is a rangefinder.
The shutter release, now black instead of silver, sits inside a small circular zoom rocker and feels essentially the same as the one on the G9. The now all black power button includes a green power indicator. The mode dial is smaller (retains the two custom memory slots) and sits above the ISO dial. They both click confidently into each setting. The ISO dial now turns the opposite way compared to the G9 (though it is in a different location).
The G10's slim built-in flash has a 4.6m (15 ft) reach at the short end of the zoom, falling to 2.8m (9.2 ft) at full telephoto (this is slightly improved over the G9). There is lots of control, from standard flash modes to front/rear curtain slow synch, flash AE-compensation and three-step output control in manual mode (19 steps when using an external flash).
The G10 sports a new stabilized 28-140mm (equiv.) zoom that sacrifices reach (the G9’s 6x zoom went up to 210mm equiv.) for an arguably more useful wider-angle short end. The maximum aperture range is F2.8(W)-4.5(T), meaning the ISO dial is going to be getting a real workout in darker situations when shooting at longer focal lengths.
The G10 has moved the ISO dial, and replaced it with a exposure compensation dial. The dedicated flash hot shoe is retained, as is compatibility with Canon's 220EX, 430EX and 580EX II guns (and several dedicated flashguns from independent suppliers). With Canon's flashguns you'll get most of the features you would using an SLR, including power zooming.
The zoom retracts fully into the body when powered down. At the wide end of the zoom it extends by just under 3cm, zooming to the long end adds about another 1.5cm.
The rear controls are essentially unchanged from the G9. The default (shooting) function of the each button is now etched onto the buttons themselves. It is a little thing that makes the camera feel more refined. The rear control wheel is the same clicky one in the G9 (which is a good thing), and rotates around the same four way controller and set button.
As well as an AE/FE lock button (not shown) the G10 has a customizable shortcut button that can be assigned to control several useful functions including white balance, ND filter and AF lock. The customized functionality only works in a non auto mode (P, TV, AV, M).
The USB (2.0 high speed) and AV ports are located under a plastic cover on the side of the camera (viewed from the rear). There is no DC-in port (you can use the G10 mains powered, but this requires the purchase of a separate 'dummy battery' type adaptor).
The new deeper textured handgrip. The material feels the same as that which is used in the EOS 40D/50D. It provides a more secure grip than the G9. The deeper hand grip means that there is now a space just below the shutter button for another control dial. How about it, Canon?