Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

Seven is less than Six

I've had a Canon G6 digital camera since last year and have been generally happy with it. The lens is a fast f2.0-3.0, the rotating LCD lets me take photos at odd angles, and the available RAW file format gives me some latitude when working with my photos in Adobe Photoshop CS.

Canon has discontinued the G6 and replaced it with the G7. You would assume a new camera would be better than the one it is replacing, wouldn't you? Unfortunately Canon has decided to release a decidedly degraded model for reasons that I am unable to fathom.

The lens is a slower f2.8-f4.8. There is no rotating LCD. There is no RAW mode. DPReview.com's Phil Askey speculates that RAW mode "appears to have been completely dropped by Canon for its compact models - presumably to protect the sales of entry-level digital SLRs."

In that case, I'm going to have to completely drop Canon from consideration when it comes time to replace the G6. Hopefully that won't be for a couple of years. By then perhaps Panasonic will have its Lumix line perfected and I can get one of those.

Why is RAW mode important? The tonal variation in this G6 image from Ireland would have been impossible without it. If this shot had been taken with JPG, the sky would have been a washed-out blob with no detail. RAW preserves more information than JPG.


Ireland

I sent the following email to Canon:

I just wanted to say how incredibly disappointed I am in the announcement of the G7 camera. In many significant ways it is inferior to the G6, which I currently own. In particular, I will not purchase a camera that does not have RAW mode. I'm also baffled by the slower lens and lack of a rotating screen. If you are crippling your Powershots to protect your low-end DSLRs, in my opinion it is a short-sighted and idiotic mistake. I currently own a Canon 1D Mark II, and the G6 is a SUPPLEMENT to the DSLR. I also own a Canon S45, and I was disappointed when the successor S80 came out without RAW mode. In the past eight years I have bought seven Canon cameras to the exclusion of all other brands, but I am dismayed by the crippling of your recent Powershot models and will have no choice but to consider other brands when the time comes to replace the G6.

Please stop doing these stupid things.
Thank you.

Canon replied:

Dear Mr. O'Neil:

Thank you for contacting Canon product support. We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you. Your comments are noted and will be passed along to the appropriate party. Thank you for taking the time to write. Please feel free to contact us again if you have any other questions or concerns. Thank you for choosing Canon.

Sincerely,
Erik
Technical Support Representative

Well that certainly clears things up! Thanks for taking the time to send me a form letter. I'm still going to buy Canon DSLR equipment for the foreseeable future, but it looks as though my last Powershot is the G6. I've got to get out of the habit of dropping it so it will last forever.


Comments:
Hmm, interesting post. I have heard a lot of complaints about the lack of Raw support, but you actually went and illustrated why it is so important. With the cost of the G7 being what it is, almost as much as an SLR, you think they would include it. The reason I'm looking into the G7 is because it is compact. I want to take great pictures, but I know with the larger SLR's I would just end up leaving it at home.
 
Keep in mind that to get the sky detail, I had to do different RAW conversions, one for the sky and one for the foreground, and combine them in Photoshop CS. The people who say RAW isn't necessary don't want to spend any time processing their images, ever. That's fine. If they only want snapshots, a camera that only takes JPGs will suite them very well. I don't spend time custom processing every image, but when I run across one like this I want the ability to do so.

I'm often asked for recommendations on which camera to buy. Because Canon has so many models I haven't followed other brands, so I always recommended Canons. Now I don't know what to recommend, particularly in this niche. I'm going to have to broaden my horizons.
 

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