The Canon PowerShot G7 was announced in September 2006 alongside a raft of new models showcased at Photokina. PowerShot G is Canon’s high-end compact brand and many of the G7s predecessors are rightly considered classics. Several features on previous models were quite unique for compacts and even saw them considered in some respects as serious alternatives to a budget DSLR.
Despite its highly respected heritage though, the G7’s announcement still came as a bit of a shock as many presumed the range had been discontinued in favour of budget DSLRs. After all, while there’s demand for higher-end compacts with decent creative control, it can be hard to compete in a market where a budget DSR may only cost a little more.
Two years have passed since the earlier G6, so what’s new? The PowerShot G7’s headline features include an inevitable increase in resolution from 7.1 to 10 Megapixels, a wider sensitivity range of 80-1600 ISO (along with a 3200 ISO scene preset), face detection, improved movie modes and most welcome of all, a boost in its optical zoom range from 4x to 6x with the inclusion of optical Image Stabilisation. Additionally, while the G7 may be roughly the same size as its predecessor when viewed face-on, Canon’s almost halved its thickness. There’s also still a wealth of manual control along with a proper flash hotshoe, not to mention a new ISO dial for quick access to sensitivity adjustments.
But it’s not all good news. Four advanced features which had become trademarks of the G-Series are now missing: support for RAW file capture, a top LCD status screen, a lens with a fast, bright aperture and a flip-out colour monitor. It’s not surprising the LCD status screen has gone – after all, they’re almost extinct on budget DSLRs – but the lack of the other three is a big disappointment, especially as the cheaper PowerShot A640 shares the same 10 Megapixel sensor and boasts a flexible flip-out screen (albeit with a lower resolution).
So the big questions are whether the G7 remains, like its predecessors, a league ahead of cheaper compacts, not to mention a pocketable alternative to a budget DSLR? We’ll reveal all in our Canon PowerShot G7 review, where we’ll compare it against its 10 Megapixel Canon rivals, the EOS 400D / Rebel XTi and the PowerShot A640. For an overview of the PowerShot G7 and its headline features, check out our video tour
Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test cameras unless otherwise stated, the PowerShot G7 was set Large SuperFine quality, Auto White Balance, Evaluative Metering and with ‘My Colours’ switched off (the default setting for contrast, saturation and sharpening).