Compared to...

Since there are few cameras offering a directly comparable selection of features to the G11, here we'll compare it to a series of other cameras that offer some overlap with its skill set. The Canon G10 is an obvious comparison to make, since the two cameras share so many features - the big difference is the G11's lower resolution but supposedly more sensitive sensor. Meanwhile, the Panasonic LX3 with its smaller form factor and excellent low-light performance is another camera people are likely to consider along the G11 - its lens offers much less in the way of reach but is wider and faster. Finally we compare the G11 to the Panasonic GF1, one of a new generation of large sensor, interchangeable lens cameras - it has a sensor 5.6 times larger than that of the G11 in a body of similar size (though adding lenses instantly makes it larger and it offers no optical viewfinder). Whether you consider each of these to be a competitor depends on whether you're prioritizing size, lens range or image quality.

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 80)

  • Canon PowerShot G11: Manual mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance

  • Canon PowerShot G10: Manual mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.33 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon PowerShot G11
Canon PowerShot G10
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4
2.5 MB JPEG (3648 x 2736)
3.6 MB JPEG (4416 x 3312)

The G10 remains the most impressive small-sensor camera we've seen, at low ISO settings. The level of detail it renders is very impressive and is enough to put some entry-level DSLRs to shame. Its worth noting that both these shots were taken at F4 (the camera's widest aperture at this point in the zoom), which is small enough for diffraction to limit the maximum resolution that can be captured. This is the areas in which you'd expect the G10 to make the most of its resolution advantage - at low ISO in good light. The question is how the two compare at higher sensitivities. However, the G11 is doing a very good job and your prints would have to be pretty big to identify these resolution differences.