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Image Parameters

Like most modern Canon compacts the G7 has a fairly comprehensive set of image parameters that allow you to tweak the contrast, color, saturation and sharpening settings for the JPEG processing. Shown below are some examples of the various options available from the FUNC menu (there are individual options for adjusting red, green, blue and skintones too, not shown here). In the absence of a raw mode the 'Neutral' setting produces clean, fairly 'unprocessed' results suitable for post-processing.

Contrast

25% Crops
Standard Histograms compared
Contrast -2 Contrast -1
Contrast +1 Contrast +2

Saturation

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Saturation -2 Saturation -1
Saturation +1 Saturation +2
 
Standard

Sharpness

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Sharpness -2 Sharpness -1
Sharpness +1 Sharpness +2
 
Standard

Parameter Presets

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Standard 'Neutral'
'Vivid' 'Positive Film '

Image stabilization

The optical image stabilization system used on the G7 works pretty well for most everyday photography - though don't expect miracles. There are three modes: Continuous (IS on all the time), 'Shoot only' (IS is activated at the moment the exposure is made) and Panning (for horizontally panned shots).

The first option makes framing easier - the IS system steadies the preview image, and we found it more consistently effective at extremes (where the shutter speed is more than 3 stops slower than would normally be used for the focal length you're shooting at) than the shoot only mode.

Shoot only - which doesn't steady the preview image, but is theoretically more efficient because it minimizes the amount of corrective movement required by waiting until the instant the picture is taken - is perfectly effective when you're nearer to the correct shutter speed (and once you're within 1 or 2 stops it is actually more reliable). You may find you get different results than me; we have no quantitative tests for stabilization, and every person's 'shake' is different; users often disagree on which mode works best, so you just have to find which best suits your style of shooting.

I certainly found it made handheld shots at 3, 4 or even 5 shutter speeds slower than normal perfectly possible. Impressive stuff (though the reliability is much better if you're within 2 stops), and if you take a couple of 'safety' shots when pushing the system hard (1/15th at 210mm for example), you'll usually get at least one 'keeper'.

Although we've no definitive test for IS systems in real-world use, I was very impressed with the G7's system, though the design of the G7 means it is more prone to camera shake than some of its larger 'SLR-like' competitors, such as the Panasonic FZ50.

These tests are rather extreme - up to five stops slower than you could safely use without IS - and in 'real life' shots - where you are maybe using a shutter speed two stops slower than normal - the system is pretty much 100% effective - as long as you support the camera carefully with two hands and don't try to 'grab' shots too quickly.

IS off IS Continuous IS 'Shoot only'
1/10 sec, 210mm equiv.
IS off IS Continuous IS 'Shoot only'
1/8 sec, 210mm equiv.
IS off IS Continuous IS 'Shoot only'
1/5 sec, 210mm equiv.
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