Cameras

Canon Unveils PowerShot G9 with RAW Shooting

As the follow-up to last year’s Powershot G7, the G9 adds a slew of upgrades to the compact camera: increased resolution, a redesigned monitor, improved face detection and auto focus, a new Image Inspection Tool, and now RAW shooting capabilities. These

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August 20, 2007 – As part of an overhaul of its digital camera line, Canon unveiled its compact powerhouse, the 12.1-megapixel PowerShot G9. As the follow-up to last year’s G7, the G9 adds multiple upgrades to the compact camera: increased resolution, a redesigned monitor, improved face detection and auto focus, a new Image Inspection Tool, and RAW shooting capabilities. These new features will come at a retail price of $499 when the Canon PowerShot G9 is released next month.

The sophomore version to the G7, the Canon G9 will cost $100 less than its predecessor. As expected, the G9 comes with a higher 12.1-megapixel resolution, up from the G7's 10 megapixels. The Canon G9 is fitted with the same 6x optical zoom lens with Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer. 

The Canon PowerShot G9 will be "very popular for those who don’t want the weight of an SLR," said Canon Director of Media and Customer Relationship Chuck Westfall in an interview with DigitalCameraInfo.com.

Styled somewhere in between a point-and-shoot and an SLR, the G9 offers a number of manual controls. The PowerShot has RAW shooting abilities, a feature the G7 didn't include. For users who want the option to capture high and low resolution images, the camera possesses a RAW + JPEG setting similar to SLR settings that simultaneously writes both file formats to the SDHC memory card. Canon has also updated its included software to support the RAW files.

Canon updated the G9’s monitor with what representatives call the second generation Pure Color II LCD screen, the same used on the professional class EOS-1D Mark III DSLR. The G9 touts a larger 3-inch, 230,000-pixel LCD, compared to the G7’s 2.5-inch, 207,000-pixel monitor. The updated monitor promises brighter and more accurate color and features a wide-angle view for high- or low-angled shooting. In addition, the G9’s LCD screen has a new coating to resist glare, scratches, and fingerprints.

The G9 includes Canon's Genuine Face Detection.** **The prototype version of the PowerShot G9 can detect up to 35 faces in a scene, according to Canon representatives, beyond the standard 10 or 15 faces most current cameras offer. Although the face detection system still requires both eyes in the frame to auto focus on and expose the face, the G9's system can recognize faces at semi-profile shots up to 45 degrees. Even more, using a new function called Face Select and Track, users can select which face from a group will be auto focused and exposed using the rotary dial and Set button. The updated face detection system can also be enabled during movie capture, which wasn’t offered with the earlier G7.

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To aid in portrait photography, the G9 features a new function called the Image Inspection Tool, a post-capture review and magnifying tool. The Image Inspection Tool automatically zooms in on a face captured in Face Detection mode. Users can check for focus or blinking eyes for faster review, Westfall said. The Image Inspection Tool is engaged immediately after capture for instant review, as well as in Playback mode.

Canon has also upgraded the auto focus system. The G7 used a nine-point auto focus system, whereas the newer edition possesses enhanced AiAF controls. The updated AiAF system combines multiple systems of single-point AF, FlexiZone (nine-points) AF, and face detection. Users also have the option to turn the nine-point cluster on and off and change the focus zone to a small portion of the image or the whole image, closer to SLR-type focusing. This allows greater flexibility in focusing on off-center subjects.

"To have all these improvements and reduce the price from last year’s $599 to this year’s $499 is really a big step forward," Westfall said.

The Canon PowerShot G9 is compatible with Canon EOS Speedlite flashes and an optional underwater housing case.

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