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.
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.
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.
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.
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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