Canon PowerShot G7

The Canon PowerShot G7 acts as a good second camera for professionals or for those who want to have manual controls on a relatively compact shooter.

CNET Rating
User Rating

View more from Canon »

The Canon PowerShot G7 was announced prior to Photokina 2006 at a time when everyone thought the Japanese company had killed the G-series. To most people's surprise, the G7 was one of the four Canons at the launch graced with the new Digic III imaging processor. One of the main features was the new Face Detection engine. So how revved up is this G7?

The PowerShot G7 looks every bit like that film camera you discarded some years back. The black chassis gives the shooter a classy feel and a retro shutter button reminiscent of the past completes the whole makeup.

The plastic tube holding the extending lens felt like the same material used for a high school telescope project. Click to enlarge.

Clearly, the G7 isn't for everyone, especially those who want to slip it into their pockets. Throw the 106.4mm by 71.9mm by 42.5mm, 356 gram shooter at someone and they might think you're hurling a brick in their direction. That said, the size and build of the G7 does give it a very solid feel and make it one of the smaller prosumer cameras out there. One thing that didn't go down well with us was the plastic tube holding the extending lens. It felt like the same material a high school student would use to make a simple telescope for an astronomy project.

You get two control dials on the top edge -- one for shooting modes and another for ISO selection. There's a hotshoe on the G7 so you can attach an external Speedlight EX flash unit (220EX, 430EX and 580EX) for more light. Like the PowerShot S80 and the EOS 30D, the G7 comes with a scroll wheel to navigate the camera's menu system and settings. All the buttons and controls on the G7 are clearly labelled and responsive. Our only quibble is the four-directional keys within the scroll wheel which are a tad too small. Depending on how you hold your camera, you may end up with accidental presses.

Canon did away with the swivel LCD screen on the G7, so if that's the main reason you're buying a camera you're better off with the PowerShot S3 IS. Otherwise the 2.5-inch panel has a wide-viewing angle and we could still see our pictures even under harsh sunlight. Alternatively, you can peep through the optical viewfinder though it would have been a bonus if we could see camera status information through this window as well.

The AV-out and USB connectors are on the right of the unit behind a hinged lid where your palm rests. Click to enlarge.

You can find the compartment for the Lithium ion battery and memory card on the bottom edge of the G7 like most other shooters. The camera shuts down when the compartment is opened, even if you are in the middle of a shoot. What's interesting is that when reactivated, it returns to whatever state it was in, for example at 6x telephoto setting, so you can continue shooting where you left off.

The new Digic III imaging processor which powers the 10-megapixel PowerShot G7 promises faster processing speeds, lower power consumption, better noise reduction and a new Face Detection function. Other cameras that use Digic III (at the time of review) include the IXUS i7 Zoom, IXUS 900 Ti and IXUS 850 IS. Judging by the buzz, Face Detection could be the Next Big Thing after high ISOs in digital cameras, with Fujifilm already adopting a similar feature in its FinePix F31fd and FinePix S6500fd before Canon. In idle mode, the G7 is able to track up to three faces, nine if you half-press the shutter and keep them in focus.

There are limitations to Face Detection, such as when the faces are too small, large, dark or bright relative to the overall composition, or when your subjects are looking sideways, moving too fast, etc. In a real-world scenario, this feature is more suited for taking posed pictures than impromptu portraits. Amid all the bells and whistles of the new G7, we were disappointed that the 6x optical zoom begins from 38mm (35mm equivalent) where it should have been a 28mm wide-angle lens. Put nine people side-by-side in a room for a group shot and you'll wonder why Canon didn't fit a 28mm lens on this PowerShot instead.

Another quibble we have on the G7 is a slower aperture of F2.8 at wide angle, stopping down to F4.8 at maximum telephoto. Its predecessor, the PowerShot G6, trumps the G7 with a faster F2.0 setting.

The PowerShot G7 features optical image stabilisation and a maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 1,600 -- both of which are becoming de facto standards in most midrange consumer digital cameras. Using a lens-shift system, the image stabilisation can remain on all the time or activated only when the shutter button is pressed. In panning mode, the IS compensates for vertical motion, useful if you are shooting panoramic pictures.

For photographers who want to have more handling control other than the aperture-, shutter-priority and manual options, they can also customise the display options of the LCD. What comes in really handy is the live histogram to make sure the exposure is correct. Dig into the camera's menu and you can further configure individual settings to be saved under C1 and C2 on the mode dial.

There's also a shortcut button on the top left corner at the back of the camera which you can preset to access settings which don't have their own dedicated key. Options include resolution, image quality, white balance and light metering.

Another tiny feature which we found useful is the focus check option. You can toggle the display during image review immediately after a shot to show the magnified area of the autofocus frame and to check whether the image is in focus. You can also navigate to other areas of the picture using the directional keypad. The G7 supports the use of a wide and a teleconverter. The wide converter (WC-DC58B, AU$299) changes the focal length of the camera by a factor of 0.75x, while the teleconverter changes the focal length by a factor of 2x.

Canon includes support for SD high-capacity memory cards up to 4GB. You can record VGA movies at 30 frames per second for up to an hour or until your card runs out of capacity, whichever is earlier. According to the company, the 720mAh Lithium-ion battery pack can provide enough power for approximately 220 shots.

In our tests, we found the PowerShot G7's performance to be good. We disabled the startup themes and the unit powered up in 1.1 seconds. Shutting down was a hair longer at 1.2 seconds. We fired our first shot in 1.8 seconds and managed to shoot thereafter every 1.8 seconds without flash or 2.8 seconds with flash.

The zoom mechanism on the G7 was quiet and autofocusing in conditions with adequate lighting averaged a second, or less. Canon claims a continuous shooting rate of two frames per second but we managed to clock only 1.7fps using our Imation 1GB SD card at 10 megapixels (Fine compression).

Image Quality
Granted that most people don't shoot in RAW, it was still a disappointment that the PowerShot G7 records only in JPEG. That said, image quality from the G7 was generally acceptable. We began to see noise only from ISO 400, though that's still barely noticeable until you scrutinise the shot. At ISO 800, noise was clearly visible but it's at the camera's maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 1,600 that you find your pictures looking like they're coated with a layer of sand. Unless you intended it to be that way, we don't recommend that you shoot at ISO 1,600.

The camera's auto white balance worked fine under most lighting conditions except for tungsten where our pictures turned out with an orangey shade. Switching to the Tungsten preset solved the issue. In addition, we also noticed slight barrel distortion at the wide end.

Previous Story

Kodak EasyShare Z710

Digital Cameras
Next Story

Olympus FE-190

Add Your Review 9

* Below fields optional

Post comment as

dragons posted a review   

The Good:solid design. easy ot use

The Bad:no power cord to plug in while downloading

i have had this camera for a few years now and love it. last week i dropped it off a grandstand. it fell 10 m onto ashfelt and sat in the pouring rain for at least one minute. when i finally got it it still worked just a bit of damage on the case. now that is tough!


khandakar posted a review   

The Good:Very Compact and nice manual functionality.
Long lasting battery and built in reasonable compact flashlight.
Solid body build.

The Bad:No battery life indicator.
No RAW support.
Not nearly smart as EOS 20/30 at auto focuses mode.
Plastic tube holder killed the design

G7 is a very good DSLR camera for beginners and professionals.

<a href=>canon eos 30d</a>

canon eos 30d posted a review   

The Good:Stylish body.
Fast functions.
Large lens.

The Bad:Lens in a plastic cover is bad for photo results.

Canon Power Shot G7 brings average results. One main problem i see in this camera is a plastic cover holds a lens. Which decreases its quality and grace. All over results are good. Fast and easy functions.


kara posted a review   

The Good:Quick start up time, and fast between photos. great macro shots. Takes crisp and clear photos. 10megapixle means I can crop my photo's A LOT.

The Bad:wider apature range would be nice, and longer shutter speed. screen would be good if it was a swivel like the other powershot models.

I am in love with my G7. I have had it for 9months now and still love it.
Originally this was the choice for me as I love photography, yet not enough to spend thousands. Plus I wanted a camera I could take anywhere and not have to carry it in a separate bag, this one fits nicely in my handbag.


User1 posted a review   

The Good:Solid, functional, unlike DSLR allows to follow the main rule for getting a great picture: having the camera with you at the right moment (I carry it with me in my jacket's pocket).

The Bad:None really, given for what it is (no point to compare to dSLR, although folks say it matches the pics quality of entry level dSLRs anyway).

This is my first digital camera and I am quite impressed with the built and picture quality. It feels like you have a real thing in your hands (unlike SD800, which I bought initially).
I bought G7 amongst other to see, if I would be enthusiastic enough about the digital photography to buy a DSLR (if serious hobbyists buy it, as a second digicam, why not go the other way around). IMHO it is well worth the extra USD 150-200 comparing to some other similar products, given the extra features, ease of use, built quality, etc.


ashenhav posted a review   

The Good:Quality video. I can just leave the camera alone to take pictures for hrs by itself. I can zoom far and still get 10 megap. shots.

The Bad:No power cord suplied with the camera that you can plug and use instead of the battery.

Just purchased one in the mail. I was reading Reviews and this one is a perfect choice for me. I cant understand why anyone would pay so much more for the SLR that has much less fitures.


DSIPS88 posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use. Fairly fast. Lighter than a SLR and more likely to be used by ordinary folk, a good "in-between".

The Bad:Image quaility isn't the greatest in my opinion but it's ease of use will make you want to get out there and take lots of photos!

Great camera! The LCD is nice, viewfinder though is pretty much useless in my opinion, definitely try before you buy if you use it. Front part when closed (where the lens is) seems a bit delicate making picking up the camera somewhat awkward. Using the camera is pretty simple to be honest, especially if you're familiar with Canon cameras - haven't had the need to refer to the manual! Just the right weight and size for my big hands and as an amateur would recommend getting this instead of an SLR to other novices. SLR's are just too heavy after a while.

graham chow

graham chow posted a review   

The Good:Small enough to carry informally.
Serious and sophisticated.
Street Cred+.

The Bad:Hard to haggle for a good price.

This camera is way cool. Certainly this is the hotest camera on the market this christmas.

This camera definitely would please anyone wanting a digital camera for chiristmas.


"Love the analog feel"

Dallefia posted a review   

The Good:Very easy to use. The weight of the camera makes it feel steady. Having the program and ISO functions plus a lot of others on the camera instead of inside a menu simplifies very much, and speeds up the way you use it. Have compared test shots with Nikon D80 and G7 is sharper.No purple fringing.

The Bad:So far can´t find any.

Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Canon PowerShot G7

  • dragons



    "i have had this camera for a few years now and love it. last week i dropped it off a grandstand. it fell 10 m onto ashfelt and sat in the pouring rain for at least one minute. when i finally got it..."

  • khandakar



    "G7 is a very good DSLR camera for beginners and professionals."

  • <a href=>canon eos 30d</a>

    canon eos 30d


    "Canon Power Shot G7 brings average results. One main problem i see in this camera is a plastic cover holds a lens. Which decreases its quality and grace. All over results are good. Fast and easy fu..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products