Although the G11 appears to be a G10 with a swivel screen, it has actually changed more fundamentally - handle it on a cold morning and you'll notice it no longer has that lovely alloy coldness to it - the rear body panel is now made of plastic, albeit with the same surface finish as before. The result is a camera that weighs just 5g more than its predecessor, despite the additional complexity of the fold-out screen.
In every other respect, the camera has changed very little, which is no bad thing, since the G10's handling (itself an evolution of two previous models), was one of its major selling points - particularly to people who've previously owned, or lusted-after, 1960s rangefinders. By offering both ISO and exposure compensation dials, it offers a shooting experience much more like a classic film camera.
In your hand
The most recent G-series cameras have been unapologetically substantial cameras and the G11 is no exception - there's plenty to get your hands on, though it comes at the expense of pocketability. The G11 inherits the G10's slight but appreciable rubberized hand grip. Its size also lends itself to a steady, near-symmetrical two-handed grip that presents the exposure compensation dial readily to finger-tips. And it's this slightly unusual way of shooting that lends the G11 much of its appeal - quite simply it makes you feel like a Photographer (with a capital 'P').
The G11 uses the same NB-7L battery as the G10 did - it lives under the same door as the SD card. Its 7.8Wh capacity (1050mAh at 7.4W), gives the camera a life span of around 390 shots, according to CIPA standard tests. These numbers are more useful for comparing between cameras than as a guide to how many shots you could expect to get out. Even so, that would be considered a good number for an entry-level DSLR, so this should be a camera you don't have to keep topping-up.
The G11's screen is slightly smaller than the G10's (though they use the same 461,000 dots). However, the G11 has the distinct advantage that its 2.8" unit is hinged and can flip out for more flexible shooting, which the G10's 3" unit lacked.
The G11 has the same 77% viewfinder as its predecessor. It's pretty small and only gives an approximate idea of framing but in bright, direct sunlight it can be useful.
The top corner of the camera is unchanged in comparison to the G10 - power and shutter buttons nestle next to the two-tier mode/ISO dials. There's also a zoom rocker surrounding the shutter (this is a compact camera, after all).
There's also no change up-front, with the same 5x, 28-140mm F2.8-4.5 image stabilized lens as the G10. This, along with the lovely metal dials, is one of the camera's major selling points. Those strong lens specifications contribute greatly to the G11's flexibility.
And here it is: our favorite feature on the G11 - the exposure compensation dial. That may seem an odd thing to get excited about (and it is), but it's the thing that sets the G11 apart from every other compact on the market and that makes the most significant difference to how quickly you can get involved in the shooting process.
The back of the camera offers still more control - there's a four-way controller with commonly-used features on it. Surrounding this is a control dial that is used to adjust shutter speed or aperture in the shutter or aperture priority modes, or for general navigation of menus and on-screen options. There's also a dedicated 'AF point' button and a metering button that is also used to switch between aperture, shutter speed and metering in Manual shooting mode.
In addition to these, there's a * button (AE/AF Lock) on the top right-hand corner and a customizable 'Shortcut' button on the left-hand corner. This Shortcut button can be configured to give direct access to functions such as white balance, manual white balance or i-Contrast.
The battery/card door itself is hinged directly next to the tripod mount (which is in the center of the camera, away from the lens axis), so there's no way of getting at either once the camera is on a tripod.