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Design

The G6 has a much squarer front profile than the G5, and is in fact approximately the same height, Canon has clearly managed to save some internal space to make the camera a little more manageable. The new deeper and thicker hand grip dominates the front of the camera and has a nice soft rubber coating giving it an expensive feel. Honestly I would have preferred the G6 in black just like the G5, silver always makes the camera look larger than it is, black gives a camera a more professional appearance.

Just like the G5 the G6 is is half metal, half plastic. The front and top of the camera as well as the back of the LCD monitor are made from a metal alloy, the rear, half of the base and hand grip are plastic.

Side by side

Here you can more clearly see the size difference between the G6 and the camera it replaces. From a body design point of view Canon has simply enlarged the hand grip and removed a portion of the right side of the camera. Side by side like this I have to say that the G6 does actually look better (and would look even better if it were all black).

Below you can see the complete line up of $700 seven megapixel digital cameras available now (at the end of 2004). All of these cameras feature a 1/1.8" seven megapixel CCD sensor, have four times or better zoom lenses and manual control features. There's a clear split between the Casio, Pentax and Olympus and the larger Sony and Canon. Indeed from a weight point of view the G6 is the heaviest by a fair margin and has the most body volume.

Camera
Dimensions
Volume (approx.)
Body weight
(inc. batt & card)
Casio Exilim EX-P700 98 x 68 x 45 mm (3.8 x 2.7 x 1.8 in) 299 cm³ 261 g (9.2 oz)
Pentax Optio 750Z 100 x 62 x 42 mm (3.9 x 2.4 x 1.7 in) 260 cm³ 254 g (9.0 oz)
Olympus C-7000 Z 102 x 59 x 43 mm (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.7 in) 258 cm³ 254 g (9.0 oz)
Sony DSC-V3 120 x 63 x 72 mm (4.7 x 2.5 x 2.8 in) 415 cm³ 401 g (14.1 oz)
Canon PowerShot G6 105 x 73 x 73 mm (4.1 x 2.9 x 2.9 in) 432 cm³ 465 g (16.4 oz)

In your hand

The enlarged hand grip does make a noticeable difference, it now fills your entire hand and the combination of a soft rubber inside half and a finger 'hook' just below the shutter release provide a much more comfortable and obvious hold position. Around the back an enlarged thumb grip also improves matters.

Status Panel

On the top right side of the camera is the status panel LCD which provides a multitude of information on the current photographic and digital settings such as shutter speed, aperture, frames remaining, exposure adjustment, white balance etc. New to the G6 is an orange backlight which can be turned on by pressing the new backlight button on top of the camera. A detailed breakdown of displayed information can be found on the diagrams below.


LCD Monitor

A Canon G camera wouldn't be the same without a flip-out and twist LCD monitor, and so we have one on the G6. The entire display can be folded away (screen in) when not in use, protecting the screen. You can also flip it out and use it away from the camera body or twist 180 degrees and fold it back into the body just like any other digital camera. In an improvement to this design Canon has now molded the rear of the camera so that the display fits flush when folded in.

The now larger 2.0" LCD monitor has an anti-reflective coating, and appears to be bright (although better on the 'Bright' setting in the setup menu) . The flip-out and twist design of the LCD is perfect for the studio, out in the field, for protecting the LCD when it's not in use, taking waist level shots, overhead shots, self portraits, etc. etc. The LCD provides 100% frame coverage.

Viewfinder

As with most digital cameras the G6's viewfinder is the standard 'optical tunnel' type. Not really satisfactory for primary use, Canon clearly knows that most people will use the LCD monitor to frame the scene. I'm happy to report that Canon has fixed the problem which dogged the G3 and G5, the lens barrel is no longer visible through the viewfinder. The viewfinder offers just 84% frame coverage and features no parallax correction lines (despite having a noticeable parallax error).

The two lights beside the viewfinder indicate the following:

Green Steady Good AF Lock, sufficient light
Green Flashing CF Card activity
Yellow Steady Macro focus / Manual focus mode
Yellow Flashing AF difficulty, cannot lock focus
Orange Steady Flash charged and will fire with next shot
Orange Flashing Shot may suffer from shake blur (slow exp.)
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