Until the arrival of the G7 last September the majority of observers had written off Canon's 'prosumer' G range, presuming that the arrival of affordable digital SLRs had effectively killed the market for high-end compacts such as this. Barely a year later the G7 has been replaced by the G9, a relatively minor update that increases the pixel count from 10MP to 12MP and the screen size from 2.5 to 3.0 inches and - more importantly given the outcry caused by its omission from the G7 - the return of raw shooting capabilities. Other minor tweaks include a better grip and the addition of wireless flash capabilities. Everything else; the 6x stabilized zoom, flash hot shoe, classic all-metal design and solid build, expansive feature set and extensive manual control system is carried over from the G7.

The G7 receive very mixed responses upon its arrival last year, though as we noted at the time, much of this was because it suffered in comparison to its predecessors (such as the G6) - the lack of defining features such as raw mode, remote control, info panel and rotating LCD made the G7 feel very much like a glorified A series model rather than the flagship it was obviously intended to be. Although there's still no vari-angle screen Canon has addressed a couple of the main complaints about the G7 (the lack of raw and difficulty of shooting single-handed due to lack of grip), and the price - around $500 - has stayed the same. So is it enough to return the G series to its former glory? Let's find out.

Note that some sections of this review (feature descriptions where nothing has changed) are reproduced from the G7 review.

Headline features

  • 12.1 Megapixels (1/1.7” sensor) with RAW mode for maximum image control
  • 6x optical zoom lens with optical Image Stabilizer and SR coating
  • DIGIC III and iSAPS for lightning fast response, superb image quality and advanced Noise Reduction
  • Face Detection AF/AE/FE and Red-Eye Correction in playback
  • 3.0” high-resolution, PureColor LCD II with extra wide viewing angle
  • ISO 1600 and Auto ISO Shift
  • Compact body with dedicated ISO and Multi Control dials
  • 25 shooting modes including full manual control and 2 custom settings
  • Extra telephoto reach with Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom
  • Hot shoe support for Canon Speedlite flashes and optional lens accessories

Powershot G9 vs G7: What's changed?

The G9 is an incremental upgrade in the truest sense; externally the body is almost identical, and there are only three really key changes; the raw mode, the screen and the sensor.

  • Higher resolution (12MP vs 10MP)
  • Slightly larger sensor (1/1.7 as opposed to 1/1.8 inch)
  • Redesigned front grip and rear thumb rest
  • Enhanced Face Detection technology
  • Red-eye correction in playback
  • Auto ISO shift
  • Compatibility with ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter
  • Marginally better battery life (240 shots vs 220 shots, CIPA standard)
  • Two custom White Balance settings (as opposed to one)

PowerShot G9 Key specifications

Street price • US: $480
• UK: £330
Body Material Metal/Plastic
Sensor • 1/1.7" Type CCD
• 12.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 4000 x 3000
• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 4000 x 2248 (16:9)
Movie clips • 1024 x 768 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30 / 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• AVI Motion JPEG with WAVE monaural audio

• 35-210mm (35mm equiv)
• F2.8-4.8
• 6x optical zoom


• TTL autofocus
• AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point)
• Single / Continuous AF
• Manual focus
• Focus lock
• 1-point AF (center or flexizone)
• 1 cm minimum focus range (macro)

Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (Linked to center or selected AF point)
Shutter speed

• 15-1/2000 sec

Aperture • F2.8-F8.0 (wide)
• F4.8-F8.0 (tele)
Shooting mode • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom (2 modes)
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
Sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
White Balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Flash
• Underwater
• Custom
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Continuous • Normal: approx 2fps
• AF: approx 0.8fps
Flash • Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• Second curtain sync
• Range: 30cm - 4.0m (wide) / 2.5m (tele)
• Hot shoe
Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC card compatible
• 32 MB card supplied
Viewfinder • Real-image zoom
• Dioptre correction
LCD monitor • 3.0-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
• 100% coverage
Connectivity • USB 2.0 High speed
• A/V out (NTSC/PAL switchable)
Power • Rechargeable Li-ion battery NB-2LH/NB-2L
• Charger included
• Optional AC adapter kit
Other features

Orientation sensor
• PictBridge
• Index view
• Histogram
• 4x digital zoom
• Sound memo
• Direct print (Canon & PictBridge)
• 2 and 10 sec self-timer (plus custom)
• 25 languages

Optional accessories • Speedlite 220EX/ 430EX/ 580EX
• Tele-converter (2.0x) TC-DC58C
• Wide-converter (0.75x) WC-DC58B
• Lens adapter/Hood set LA-DC58H
• Waterproof Case WP-DC11
• Waterproof Case Weight WW-DC1
• Soft Case DCC-600
• High Power Flash HF-DC1
• AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC20
• Rechargeable Li-ION battery pack NB-2LH
• Car Battery Charger CBC-NB2
Weight (no batt) 320 g (11.3 oz)
Dimensions 106.4 x 71.9 x 42.5 mm
(4.2 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

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