Canon PowerShot G2 Review
The G1's macro abilities could be best described as 'close up', and the same is true of the G2. Canon have a solution in the form of the 250D add-on lens which improves macro performance. With the introduction of the G2 Canon has also given the camera compatibility with the MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite which attaches to the 250D macro lens to produce a complete macro / close-up shooting solution.
Native Macro (no add-on lens)
Without the add-on lens about the best frame coverage was found nearer to the wide angle end of the zoom range and produced approximately 8 cm (about 3 inches) across the frame.
Macro with 250D add-on lens
With the 250D lens attached the best frame coverage was found with the lens set to full telephoto some distance away from the subject. The best coverage I could manage was approximately 5 cm (about 2 inches).
Macro with 250D add-on lens & MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite
The results when you add the MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite are impressive, very even exposures with good colour and detail. The only problem is that highly reflective objects (glass / metal) can create a strong reflection which either make the image unusable or upset the metering system.
The G2's flash has a specified range of 0.7 - 4.5 m (2.3 - 14.8 ft) at wide angle. This is quite a bit more than most digital camera manufacturers quote. The G2 utilizes Canon's E-TTL flash exposure system which put simply takes a brief pre-flash before the main flash which it uses to meter the scene.
The G2 now features two different movie clip modes, both of these modes shoot at 15 frames per second along with audio. Video quality is 'average' (what we normally see from digital camera video clips because of the special mode the CCD is running in). Please only download the sample below if you're REALLY interested, help conserve our bandwidth otherwise.
- 320 x 240, 15 fps, max 30 secs (including audio)
- 160 x 120, 15 fps, max 120 ses (including audio)
|320 x 240; 5,705 KB AVI format|
Long Exposure Noise Reduction
Just like the G1 (and the EOS-D30) the G2 has automatic long exposure noise reduction. This system kicks in for exposure of 1.3 seconds or slower. To test this I took two shots just either side of this exposure. Note that there's no way to disable this automatic noise reduction system.
|1.0 sec, no noise reduction||1.3 sec, noise reduction enabled|
Interesting to note that the hot pixel noise appears as white dots on the 1 second exposure rather than the red / green / blue we're used to seeing of 2 and 3 megapixel digital cameras. As you can see the 1.3 second exposure is much cleaner, the noise reduction system working well. It appears to use dark frame subtraction as exposures take twice as long, however it does appear to be 'filling the gaps' with matching surrounding pixels so we don't get black holes.
Night / Long exposures
The G2 allows long exposures (shutter speeds) of up to 15 seconds, as mentioned above automatic noise reduction is used to remove 'hot pixels' for exposures of 1.3 seconds or longer. The four samples below were all shot at ISO 50 (least 'background noise') and gradually increasing exposure time.
|ISO 50, 2.0 sec, F2.0|
|ISO 50, 4.0 sec, F2.0|
|ISO 50, 8.0 sec, F2.0|
|ISO 50, 15.0 sec, F2.0|
A very impressive performance, there's little noise and very few noticeable 'black pits' which we'd normally associate with basic dark frame subtraction, instead I'll guess that the G2's algorithm is a little more sophisticated, filling the subtracted 'hot pixels' with the colour of nearby pixels. If you download the 15 second exposure you'll be able to see motion blur from stars in the sky.
Low Light Focus
In our low light focus test we're aiming to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away. Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus.
This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast
detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), if
the subject were less easy to focus upon then you would need more light.
- Canon PowerShot G2 best low light focus: <0.5 EV *
The G2's white focus assist lamp enables it to focus in complete darkness at a maximum subject distance of approximately 6 m (20 ft).
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