Canon G5 5MP – Return to Canon

icerabbit on May 24th, 2004
Wanting to grow into a more versatile & better digital camera, we
upgraded to a Canon G5 a short while back, and, I have to give
it a failing grade. With over a 1000 exposures, I’ve taken enough time for (a)
the camera to prove itself and (b) for me to grow into it. I made sure I wasn’t
overlooking anything by checking things with the manual. After all it’s a very
capable camera with lots of settings.

I generally know my way around
electronics, cameras & digital cameras, but getting this camera to take a
picture was often a nightmare, and then still it wouldn’t have the right focus!
Day to day I mainly use P mode -1/3 stop down + manual white balance. On this
camera I also used auto mode to complement trying both continuous vs single and
center vs evaluative focus in P mode, because I simply wasn’t getting the
results a camera of this level should produce. (read more)

What were my problems with the Canon G5?

* Auto-focus is slow,
slower than I have experienced with many other (cheaper) cameras. Enabling
continuous focus gives you an advantage in general scenery and more wide shots,
it doesn’t seem to help with telephoto, macro & more creative shots.

* There is only one focus indicator fixed at the center of the
screen. No indication of what the camera focused on or which area of the image
is sharp. Compared to 5 – 9 indicators on other Canon cameras this is a serious
omission, IMO, especially when you take the rest into consideration.

* At the maximum 4x telephoto it simply would not focus. Yes, the
lens was absolutely clean. It drives from close, to distance back to close
without finding focus. Absolutely terrible you can’t use the maximum tele. Zoom
out to 2-3x and you’re in business.

* Macro mode focus is poor. 8/10
times focus will be incorrect or not visible. I could only try to circumvent it
by controlling the focus point manually and/or the absolute the center focus. I
say try, because the result was still not predictable. I always took multiple
shots and/or immediately reviewed using the detail zoom to make sure it got
it.

* Manual focus. The center of the display (about half of the
screen surface?) magnifies to facilitate manual focus, but there is simply not
enough resolution / detail to see when focus is reached. You can wiggle the
camera back & forth a little, or drive the focus by wire a little L & R,
to guess what the best focus is. Or estimate it by the cm/ft indicator.
Certainly take multiple shots.

* Focus and sharpness of images in
general can be better. In reduced size preview the images look fine (~50%) or ok
(~66-75%). At 5MP they appear too fuzzy and not exactly focused.

Since this all relates to focusing, I must believe there is
something wrong with this particular camera. There are plenty of people that
seem happy with their G5. Others advise to take your time, read the manual, …
but honestly, out of all the cameras (35mm point & shoot manual & AF +
SLR manual & AF + digital) I have used, this camera has had the least images
in focus I have ever taken.

Where I manually take a good balanced
and focused shot with an SLR in a matter of seconds; the G5 needs as many as
10-20 tries to take the same shot right. I’ve used my little A70 & EOS SLR side by side to make sure it
wasn’t me. Where the G5 can’t find focus or needs 10 tries, my A70 took the shot
right in one, perhaps 2 attempts. Same for my Canon SLR.

I would
love to love the G5, but I don’t even want to trade it because of my bad
experience.

Some other general thoughts on the Canon
G5:

Positive:
- 5MP
- 4x Telephoto
- small remote
control (though very easy to lose since it’s a mini)
- swivel
screen
- lots of manual settings & creative modes

Negative:
- no 1 sec review (either 0 or 2,3) which is a
general gripe I have with Canon
- big power brick with custom tip to charge
the battery in camera
- Canon OEM protective case prevents safe operation
of access doors & hinders swivel screen
- button layout too close to
where your right thumb rests (I was always pushing one or more buttons)

So, unfortunately I have had much more frustration than I have had
fun with the G5. I’m generally psyched about toys and my fingers were really
itching to blog about it, but, from day 1 those focus problems made me unsure if
I should keep it or not. After much more testing we will not.

Will
there be a replacement for the G5? Sure. Will it be a Canon Pro 1? I don’t think so. Sony CyberShot Pro? Naah! A
*****?

Let’s just say time will tell :) Right now the G5 was a big
enough adventure.

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