Quite simply, the Canon PowerShot G3 is an elegant, easy-to-use joy of a digital camera that will satisfy the needs of the most demanding professional or advanced amateur photographer. It boasts an impressive 4-megapixel resolution, a 4x optical zoom, and a bright LCD monitor that swivels off to the side of the camera and tilts up and down as needed. It also provides a bevy of manual creative controls in addition to its fully automatic mode.
Optics and Resolution
The PowerShot G3 owes its brilliantly detailed images to a high-resolution, 4-megapixel CCD that delivers a postcard-size image with no visible pixilation. On-chip primary color filters provide vivid and realistic color without the noisiness associated with other primary-color filters. The G3 can capture images at resolutions of 2,272 x 1,704; 1,600 x 1,200; 1,024 x 768; and 640 x 480. This range allows for prints up to 11 by 14 inches, as well as easy-to-upload images for the Web and e-mail.
The G3's lens features a 4x optical zoom, the first on a PowerShot camera, which moves from wide-angle to extreme telephoto with the touch of a finger. The lens aperture is a large and bright f2.0-f3.0, so you can shoot in low light without flash. The G3 also features a 3.6x digital zoom that when combined with the 4x optical gives you a total zoom of 14x.
Storage and Transfer
Images are stored on Type I or II CompactFlash memory cards. The included 32 MB card will store approximately 27 images at 2,272 x 1,704 pixels (at large/fine settings). Images can be downloaded to either a Mac or PC via USB storage-class connectivity, which means it can be connected to any USB-based Windows Me/2000/XP and Mac OS 8.6 or later computer without installing any software.
In addition to taking still photos, the PowerShot G3 can also record movie clips of up to 3 minutes. You can choose from either 160 x 120 or 320 x 240 pixel video formats.
The G3's electronic dial, with its independent mode dial and lever, replaces the functions of the previous two-stage main dial and mode dial. The control layout is functional and simple to use. The display panel at the top of the large, 1.8-inch LCD monitor has been redesigned for a clear layout of icons, and larger fonts make the menus easy to read.
Exposure metering is selectable among evaluative, center-weighted average, or spot. AE lock and FE lock let you store ideal auto and flash exposures until you're ready to shoot, while the exposure compensation enables you to adjust the exposure up or down as much as two full stops.
You can add power to the PowerShot G3 by adding optional components, from Canon's EX series Speedlight external flashes (which connect easily to the G3's hot shoe) to a variety of converters and conversion lenses.
Power, Size, and Contents
The camera is powered by a proprietary Canon rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included), and measures 4.8 by 3.0 by 2.5 inches and 14.5 ounces. This package includes the PowerShot G3 digital camera, a 32 MB CompactFlash card, a lithium battery (model BP-511), a compact power adapter (model CA-560), a wireless controller, USB and AV cables, neck strap, and a CD-ROM with Photoshop LE imaging software and USB drivers for Windows and Mac.