Wednesday, 17 June 2009

What's your go-to?

This post is a non-technical 'one-year-on' review of sorts, and is essentially a follow-up to
this post.

Our colleagues over in America have a phrase they use to describe any technique or item of kit which is the mainstay of their work; something which is used time and time again - dependable, reliable, guaranteed to get the results they require. The phrase? 'Go-to'.

For all the high-tech 'bells-and-whistles' kit we use on a regular basis here at GBP, I would have to say that my go-to item has come to be the trusty Canon Powershot G9 point-and-shoot camera.

Having used it regularly for just over a year now, I can honestly say it truly is an indispensable tool on a great many assignments. Whether to capture behind-the-scenes snaps and reference shots at a recce, or to film events in real time, this little machine has come up trumps more times than I can remember. Quiet, subtle, unobtrusive - it is small enough to slip easily into a jacket pocket, yet powerful enough to deliver. Clearly a rugged shell of a body, it has done remarkably well in all conditions from rain-soaked moorland to sun-baked car forecourts; even when it suffered a 4-foot drop onto the pavement recently, all that was required was a simple lens realignment - surely testament to its build quality.

The 12.1 megapixels offered is more than enough for our requirements (you already know my thoughts about the issue of resolution). The resulting images have frequently matched the quality produced by the Nikon SLR cameras - to the point where the G9 always accompanies me as a back-up camera, just in case all the SLRs should pack up mid-shoot. With so much manual override available, including two user-defined Custom settings, this camera has proven itself to be just as versatile as the big boys.

When it comes to video, the 640x480 'standard' video quality setting is more than adequate for use here on the GBP Blog; and the time-lapse function (user-defined between capturing one frame every one or two seconds) produces highly effective results. Time-lapse is a great way to capture the events of a shoot from set-up to completion and thanks to silent operation, clients are more comfortable with the G9 in the corner of the room than a regular video camera; they even comment that they'd forgotten it was even there.

My only real gripe concerns ISO/noise levels - specifically, that when you set the G9 to ISO 400 or above, the 'grain' within images is often clearly visible, whereas it is not at the lower sensitivities. This, of course, is not such an issue most of the time, as I very rarely go above 200. And what's more, for web use (for example behind-the-scenes stuff), one can often get away with a slightly lower quality image if the output is, say 400x300 pixels.

Of course, as is so often the case with manufacturers these days, Canon has superceded this model with the Powershot G10 which, as you can imagine has 'a better this, a faster that' and so on. Before you ask - no, I'm not going to rush out and buy one; it's predecessor is still more than capable of doing everything I could ask from it, and I therefore have no need to change it.

Would I recommend this camera? Definitely. And with it now being 'the old model', you just might find yourself a bargain online.

Thoughts, comments, questions gladly welcomed as ever.


Anonymous said...

I am a CANON girl all the way, and I believe your testimony, canon just builds great productive and success cameras..... I own a canon powershot SX30IS..... and I love it!!
Thanks for your share about canon and your success with it.

Giles said...

Yes, the G9 has served me very well.
I cannot fault the build quality - it's been knocked around so much over the years, been repaired a couple of times, and still produces the results I want.

Ok, so it's a little cranky at times now, but I've learned to adapt to the way it operates in its old age!

Thanks commenting :)