Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent resolution, one of the best performances of a four megapixel
  • Good metering, good tonal balance which maintains shadow detail
  • Good natural light white balance, strong and balanced colours
  • Control over cameras internal processing algorithms (saturation, tone, sharpness)
  • Low noise at ISO 50, not as clean at ISO 100, more sensitive than rated value
  • Good build quality, better overall design and control layout than the G2
  • Shooting priority play mode (a half-press of the shutter release always returns to shooting)
  • Excellent range of manual controls
  • Good shot-to-shot times, startup time compromised by four second lens extension
  • Superb fold-out and twist LCD, bright and assisted by anti-reflective coating
  • Manual focus has magnified loupe and ruler readout
  • Flexible continuous shooting modes (buffer after processing)
  • RAW file format maintains 12-bits of data
  • Ability to turn JPEG shot into RAW during record review
  • Compact Flash Type I or II and official Microdrive support
  • Flash hot-shoe, manual flash power, flash sync control (slow / curtain)
  • Voice annotation feature
  • Orientation sensor, although JPEG's are only tagged not rotated
  • Built-in ND filter useful for bright outdoor / flash shots
  • Intervalometer (time lapse)
  • Excellent night exposures, should allow exposures longer than 15 seconds
  • AF assist lamp works well
  • Included Infrared remote control
  • Superb battery life, the best we've seen of any prosumer digital camera
  • Excellent included software suite including remote capture software with live viewfinder
  • Good accessory support (quality wide angle and telephoto lenses, chargers, case)

Conclusion - Cons

  • Some chromatic aberrations at or around maximum aperture
  • Noise at ISO 100 worse than the competition
  • 'Shallow angle jaggies' visible on resolution chart, although not yet seen in 'every day' shots
  • Viewfinder partially obstructed by lens barrel
  • Control dial doesn't work well if rotated too quickly
  • Average macro performance
  • No nine-point AiAF as seen in the PowerShot S45
  • Zoom controller does not have enough steps / multiple zoom speed
  • Status panel is not backlit
  • Manual mode limits in relation to combinations of aperture and shutter speed (although better than the G2 and most other prosumer digital cameras)

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon PowerShot G3: (4 megapixel prosumer)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 9
Features 9
Image quality 8.5
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 9
Value for money 9

The PowerShot G2 has been hugely popular, it graced the number one position in our 'clicks table' for many months. Not surprising because it offered the best combination of image quality, manual flexibility, features and included kit (good battery etc.). People liked the G2 because you could use it as a snapshot camera or get more creative and nearly always get excellent results.

The G3 appears to be no different, indeed Canon have built on the strengths of the G2. The new features added with the improvements made now make the G3 a formidable player in the four megapixel prosumer market. Canon have also worked hard to ensure that the G3 remains competitive (four times optical zoom lens) as well as keeping it ahead of the competition in many other respects; ND filter, orientation sensor, one-button RAW creation, Intervalometer, fully functional hot-shoe, AF assist lamp, included infrared remote, excellent battery life.

That's not to say all is perfect, the lens does exhibit some chromatic aberrations at or near to maximum aperture, although to be honest it's nowhere near as bad as CA we've seen in the past (go and read my G1 review!) and isolated to a particular set of circumstances. Noise levels are good at ISO 50 but yet again (as per the G2) not as good at ISO 100, and although the camera is more sensitive than the indicated ISO rating it's not quite as sensitive as the Coolpix 4500 we used for comparison.

All things considered, the G3 does offer the best overall package for the aspiring shutterbug, seasoned prosumer digital camera owner and even as a backup for a D-SLR owner. Absolutely highly recommended.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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