Shooting Waterfalls with Canon’s G10

One incredibly useful feature often overlooked in Canon’s G10 and G11 cameras is the built-in 3-stop neutral density filter. Landscape photographers know the creative potential a neutral density filter can offer when shooting flowing water and now that creative potential can be found in a point & shoot camera.

I took this shot last Saturday evening just before sunset with my G10 mounted on a light-weight Gitzo tripod. Using an aperture of f/8 and the internal neutral density filter allowed me to capture this image at 1/3rd of a second, which was just slow enough to create a wonderful smoothing effect in the flowing water. At ISO 80, the G10’s 14.7 MP sensor offers very acceptable noise which Nik Software’s Dfine had no trouble eliminating in post.

As a backup to my Canon 5D Mark II, the Powershot G10 continues to amaze me with it’s image quality, versatility and ease of use. Not bad for less than $500 (USD). I can’t wait to get my hands on the new G11 to test!


Flow – Pedernales Falls near Johnson City, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) and tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 30mm, f/8 for 1/3rd of a second using the built-in neutral density filter at ISO 80 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Comparing the Canon G10 and G11


As most of you know by now, Canon has introduced a new “G” series model, the PowerShot G11 to replace their flagship model the G10. In the coming days there will be reviews galore posted on the various industry watching blogs with in depth discussions of this new model’s features and benefits. Folks that recently purchased the G10 will start to feel “buyers remorse” and “upgraders envy” over the perceived differences between their G10 and the new G11. The amount of forum traffic on will jump as folks begin to post their rants and raves about this new camera.

To help cut through some of the rhetoric I thought I’d post a quick and dirty comparison of the G10 and G11 cameras based upon the information currently available. Right off the bat let me state that this comparison is from a still photographer’s perspective only. The video capabilities of both cameras are cool but not my cup of tea.

According to Canon, the “i-Contrast” system in the PowerShot G10 has been enhanced in the G11 to deliver better coverage from low light shadow details to highlights with minimized blow out. This sounds very similar to their “highlight tone priority” setting found in Canon’s DSLR line. Canon also claims that the DIGIC 4 processor carries out image processing in-camera and in combination with the high-sensitivity 10.0 Megapixel sensor to deliver exceptional performance in all lighting conditions up to ISO 3200. They state that they have “improved the signal-to-noise ratio by around two stops when compared to the G10 camera”.

G10 – AUTO, High ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
G11 – AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

G10 – 14.7 MP
G11 – 10.0 MP

Processor: Same (DIGIC 4)
Lens: Same
Focusing: Same
Exposure Control: Same
Shutter: Same
White Balance: Same
Viewfinder: Same

G10 – 3.0″ PureColor LCD II, 461,000 dots
G11 – 2.8″ Vari-Angle LCD II, 461,000 dots

Image Size:
G10 – 4416 x 3312
G11 – 3648 x 2736

G10 – A/V Out
G11 – HDMI, A/V Out

Flash Sync:
G10 – 1/500th
G11 – 1/2000th

Continuous Shooting:
G10 – Approx. 1.3 shots/second
G11 – Approx. 1.1 shots/second

Sound memo:
G10 – Up to 60 sec per image
G11 – Missing ???

If all this preliminary information is correct then there are really two primary differences between these two excellent cameras; the low light / high ISO performance and the articulating LCD screen. I certainly hope the low light / high ISO performance (lower noise) of the new G11 is better than the G10 which is really poor. Especially since this improved performance comes at the expense of image resolution (which I really like for landscape and nature photography).

To be honest, I’m having trouble understanding the benefits of an articulating LCD screen, especially in outdoor conditions. Will this screen be easier to see in bright sunlight if it’s tilted somehow? Does this feature make composition easier? Is this feature aimed at videographers using the G11? Personally I’d have preferred a higher resolution 3″ LCD like that found on the new EOS 50D and 5D Mark II, which is much easier to see outdoors.

Some Final Thoughts:
I think the G9/G10/G11 are superb cameras capable of delivering exception results under the right conditions. I do think that Canon has done the right thing in concentrating on improving the sensor in these cameras, rather than on just adding more megapixels with each new model. As a nature and landscape photographer I think the G10 fits my needs very well and I personally have no use for the G11’s articulating LCD, especially since it’s smaller that the LCD on the G10. I just don’t see many G10 owners rushing out to buy a G11 but for new owners its a pretty impressive point & shoot camera.

Here’s another good review from photographer Bill Lockhart: Canon Announces Powershot G11