148 of 148 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2003
I use a pro model digital SLR for my important work and purchased the G5 for a handy travel camera and for candids at parties,etc. I had previously used the Canon G2 for this purpose,but wanted more resolution in case I got a shot that I wanted to enlarge to 11X14. The Canon G5 fits the bill.It does everything I ask it to do and does it well. I agree that the noise produced above ISO rating 100 is unacceptable,but the ISO setting of 50 for the G5 is equal to 100 on other cameras and the 100 setting is equal to 200. I find that with the availability of f.2 to f.3 speedy aperture I find little need to shoot at any higher ISO. As far as the complaints I've read regarding soft images and poor focus,I have not found this to be the case.After taking around 800 shots with the G5 I can say that the images are very sharp with no focus problems.Perhaps the complaints stem from the users technique. Yes,the shutter lag is a pain,but shutter lag is a problem with all compact digital cameras.If you don't need enlargements beyond 8X10 then go with the less expensive G3,but if you want enlargements up to 16X20 and don't want to invest in a digital SLR I think you'll be more than happy with the G5. Shoot at ISO 50 when possible. Keep in mind that a vast number of the best published 35mm images are shot on Fujifilm Velvia (ISO rating 50).
49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2003
Buying a camera, like buying most things, is a trade-off - there is no single right answer. On one hand, it's "horses for courses" (get something suitable for the type of photography you plan to do). On the other, we each must weigh the features of different models against each other, prioritize our personal wants and preferences against the price, and decide what is best for us. It's subjective and personal.
I had already had a Canon Powershot S20 for a few years when I decided to get a Canon G5. Why should I want to do that? Was I dissatisfied with the S20, with its limited manual operation features, 3MP resolution and 2× optical zoom? No; I had originally planned to keep both, but I have found that the G5 is not so much bigger after all, so I am going to sell the S20. I just don't need both of them.
While the G5 is still a small camera, there are many things it can do that the S20 cannot. Of course, there are still a few things the G5 cannot do, but for the general sort of photography I do, they are not many.
Here are the main issues, chosen partly in the light of other users' (sometimes negative) reviews of this camera:
1 Do I need 5MP resolution? Yes - mainly so I can crop a good chunk of the original image when I need to, which is quite often.
2 Do I need the 4× optical zoom? Yes. I don't have the wide-angle or tele lens converters yet, but I may get them later.
3 Do I need the fully manual control and the many focussing and exposure options? Yes - quite frequently (more often now that I have them, of course).
4 Do I like the ergonomics and aesthetics of the G5. No question. A few minor quibbles, but nothing serious.
5 Good value for money? I think so. Actually I think that most competing products are also good value for money. We get more for our dollar in photography now than ever before.
Comments on some specific complaints that have surfaced in other reviews:
1 Chromatic aberration (manifests itself as purple fringing under certain light conditions): I conducted a very thorough review of reviews before I bought this camera, and I decided to risk it. I am glad I did. The problem exists, but under practical (not test) conditions it is rarely noticeable. You may see it in very contrasty parts of a picture (e.g. bright lights against a dark background) when you are using an aperture wider than about F/4. This problem seems to be somewhat worse in the G5 than in some other cameras partly because it has a faster lens, which I hardly see as a fault. In all other respects this lens is as good as any, and better than most.
2 The noise issue: at higher gain settings (`film speeds'), all digital cameras show increased noise. The G5, according to some reviews, is rather worse in this than some other cameras. However, according to the same reviews, the G5 shows higher gain than most other cameras for any given setting. ISO 400 on the G5 actually seems to be about ISO 700 on other cameras. In the end, I could not really see any difference in normal use. I use ISO 50 most of the time anyway.
3 The viewfinder: to avoid getting part of the lens barrel in the viewfinder at wide angles, the viewfinder would need to be located further from the lens, which would require a bigger body, or else you would have to have a smaller lens. It's just another trade-off. Some cameras avoid this problem by just not having a viewfinder at all. There are times, however, when a viewfinder is the best way to frame the picture, at least for me. I can live with this.
4 The lens cap: lens caps are a necessary evil with any lens that does not retract more or less fully into the camera. The G5 has a simple (but nicely molded, not at all cheap-looking) plastic lens cap that comes off quite easily. This is surely intentional, because if you turn the camera on before removing the lens cap, it gets pushed off by the extending lens without damaging the zoom mechanism.
Overall rating? I'm giving it 5 stars, partly to offset some of the absurdly low ratings given by other reviewers. Otherwise I'd have given it about four-and-a-half.
132 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
I recently bought the G5 and I am extremely happy with it. When deciding which camera to buy, I was initially put off by the numerous negative comments (especially on here). But when I compared the G5 with its competition (Nikon, Sony, Olympus etc) it was clearly a hands-down winner in terms of overall features and image quality.
So why the bad reviews? Because this is a series, G1, G2, G3 and some reviewers here are comparing this camera against its predecessors. So yes, G3 users may be disappointed with the G5, but only because they've been spoilt with the G3. Giving the Canon G5 1 or 2 stars is plain silly.
This is a 5 star camera, and it knocks the socks off its competiton. When reviewers give ratings, they ought to rate the camera on its own merits, or compare it to its competitors, but to give it a low rating becase it doesn't live up to elevated expectations is wrong.
It is also very unhelpful to potential buyers who may be put off by the low rating, buy another brand, and end up with a camera that is "surprisingly good" and "surpassed expectations", but which is sadly inferior.
Disappointment noted, but the G5 is clearly the best in its class, and well deserving of 5 stars.
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
I love my 2 Megapixel Canon Elph. Small, sharp and reliable - during its time, it was all I could ask for. I even sold a couple of its pictures to magazines, so what's not to love? While I have not discarded my Elph, I recently moved up to the G5 because it's better in every way. With a fast 4X optical zoom (all the way out to a 35mm-camera-equivalent of 140MM) and 5 megapixel chip, it could easily become my new favorite camera. The manual is thick but it uses a lot of illustrations and the text is surprisingly clear and simple so the reader should not be intimidated. Not being one to read manuals, I was able to take the G5 out of the box and immediately shoot pictures without cracking the book (the battery came out of the box with a decent charge too - how cool is that?) That's how simple and intuitive the camera is. I have already made a few 8X10 prints on my Canon color printer and they are sharp, show excellent contrast and have good color balance too. Like most auto-focus digital cameras there is a brief shutter lag. It's not too bad but the shutter release is certainly not as quick as one of my 35mm Leicas. Speaking of Leica, the shape and size of the G5 is very close to that of the classic Leica M series cameras. And the clever design of the battery case allows it to serve as a grip - I found it comfortable and secure. (Note: a similar grip is a [$$$]option on a 35mm rangefinder Leica!) I don't like the fact that you can't screw a UV, skylight or other kind of filter on the front of the lens. I like to have a good quality filter on the front of my lenses for protection - but that's me. For the average camera user, there are 2 auto exposure settings that should cover the vast majority of shooting situations. (I used "P" and got an "included in the box" 32mb compact flash card full of great exposures.) For the advanced photographer, the G5 comes with just about every manual control you could need or want - similar to those on their excellent EOS 1V pro camera. One cool feature is the ability to capture a shot in both RAW and JPEG at the same time. This feature will give you a "pure" file with no data loss due to compression and will allow you to make the largest, sharpest print possible. (The manual says that the RAW file is compressed, but there is no data loss - must be a new form of Japanese magic!) Bottom line, the RAW format will give you the biggest file with the most information. I suspect that a RAW file will allow the careful user (i.e., one who is fussy about focus, exposure and camera shake) to make an 11X14 inch print that is as good as any 35mm camera (maybe better!) When compared against the many excellent digital cameras out there, the Canon is a stand out. Its size, resolution, simplicity, and Canon's excellent reputation for reliability made it and easy choice for me.
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2003
I got my Canon G5 on 7-23-03 and I love it. I took some photos as a test to compare it to my Canon G1. WOW, what a difference.
The depth of field has improved a LOT. Now, you can photograph the same road, and see a 1/2 mile down the road in clear focus rather than a blurry end. You can pick out license plate #s two blocks away from where you took the photo. Ever taken a photo of a purple flower and had it come out blue and awful? I took photos of some purple flowers and they came out crisp and gorgeous deep color purple. Like to photograph insects? WOW, you get to see them CLOSE UP. The macro function is astounding. You can see the detail of fly eyes and misquito wing structure. The detail on my cats teeth is totally awesome using the macro function. I can see every bit of smile and every little scale on his tongue. Like photographing nighttime views over a moonlit water? MAN, it is so awesome using the night scene mode. You can get moonlight over the ocean and buildings lit up over the bay in clear focus with no pixelation. They must have fixed that.
About the fringing and the noise - if you take photos with a film camera, you know how tough it is to get a good photo at dusk or in shadow. The digital camera is doing what you tell it to, if it isn't coming out right, try a different time of day or use the flash! If you are photographing a building against the sun, DUH, it's going to have fringing around the edges. The sky will look white if you photograph an object with the sun behind it. Try using the white balance controls - this camera has so much you can test and try out. Read the manual. Try every function on the camera before you give up. Having trouble focusing? The dumb Conversion Lens Adapter LA-DC58B made especially for the Canon G5 is to blame, in my opinion, because when I take it off, WOW, OMG, the photos are perfect. I think the adapter blocks the focusing beam.
Pros - quality, crisp, clear closeup/macro photos, great depth of field in focus, rich color tones, tons of functions
Cons - a lot to learn in order to use it properly , but the best things in life require work, time, and dedication.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
I've been using this camera for 3 months, and have clicked about 1600 photos as of yesterday. Here's my take on it.
- The lens is amazing. Fast and crystal clear. In digital cameras, the lens quality is more important than the mega-pixels beyond a certain point - for me personally that's 3.2MP
- The battery lasts forever compared to other cameras in this range.
- Tons of features, with amazing customization and configurability. I've taken beautiful photos in extremely low light conditions to very still pictures in high motion environments.
- Very capable.
- The package comes with everything you need. All the cables, remote control, charger, ac adapter etc... The only thing you have to buy is a big memory card.
- The software drivers are nice, but the rest of the software is pretty useless. Download picasa ([...]) - it's better than iPhoto and is now free.
- It is big and bulky (smaller than an SLR, but bigger than the S50). I bought this instead of the small S500 - at the time they cost the same; and have no regrets. The capabilities are worth the extra bulk.
Read all the reviews of the purple fringing and chromatic aberrations. Here's my take
- all cameras have them
- personally, I've never noticed it.
- the pictures look great when printed out or on the screen.
- if you really want, you can fix them using software.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2003
I bought this camera knowing its drawbacks, and would still buy it again, but just so you know, here are the issues: (1) the wonderful lens is completely exposed w/o the lens cap and the lens cap falls off very easily--it has to, because if you press "on" without removing the lens cap, if the lens cap didn't fall off as the lens extended, the gears would strip. (2) to fix the first issue, you can buy the lens adapter and screw on a 58mm filter but this adapter is so large that it interferes with internal flash coverage, creating a black cast in the bottom right of pictures and also, it makes the optical viewfinder unusable. (3) even w/o the adapter, when using the optical viewfinder, the lens blocks a small corner of the view on widest angle. Why use the viewfinder? If you're following action, LCD displays may not have quick enough response from picture to picture. You might want to wait until the replacement for this camera comes along, sometime in the Spring I hear. (Addendum Feb-04. Check out the new Canon Pro-1!
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2003
Bought the G5 after an intensive search, comparing w comparably priced Nikon, Sony, Olympus, among others, having owned the Olympus 3040 for several years.
The G5 has a few quirks that some enjoy beating Canon up over: yes, on wide angle shots looking through the viewfinder you see a (small) piece of the lens; yes, the G5's major enhancement over the G3 is a mere megapixel; and some speak of noise at higher ISOs and chromatic aberration in some pics that one would not expect in a $600 digital.
I haven't seen a hint of noise (shooting primarily at 50 or 100 ISO) or chromatic aberration after hundreds of pictures, and one quickly adapts to the tiny piece of lens one sees in the viewfinder at the wide angle.
How about what's right?
1) great pics--vibrant, detailed and sharp
2) a fabulously flexible LCD that makes taking pictures from any angle a breeze (not to mention the delight my 5 year old gets in seeing herself as I take the pic.
3) excellent, easy-to-use software, light years ahead of the Olympus software I had been using
4) coherent, reasonably well written and helpful manuals
5) wealth of exciting and genuinely useful features--including ability to convert a shot to RAW after you've taken it, 4X optical zoom (35-140), easy menus to navigate, controls that make sense on the camera body, great panorama function (with excellent software--it works!), strong flash (for a compact), and a whole lot more.
This camera delivers high quality pics, sophisticated features, a well-designed body at a size that still fits in the pocket and all at a reasonable price, given what you get. Highly recommended!
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2004
If I could give this 4 1/2 stars, I would, but I can't. The G5 is a great digital camera for all kinds of users, however is simply too much camera for most people that will want to take snapshots; many people won't even touch on using or even understanding all of the features the G5 has unless they have some photography experience.
The lens is quite good, it's very sharp no matter the aperature used, the autofocus is of average speed, and the zoom is roughly equivalent to a 35-140mm on a film SLR - you get a pretty good range of focal lengths as long as you don't need wide angle or extreme telephoto shots. Bokeh is okay at wide aperatures, but don't expect it to compare with a good SLR lens, because it won't. Macro shots are very good, with little distortion, sharp focus, and decent bokeh.
Image quality of the pictures is excellent - colors are balanced and realistic, and edges aren't oversharpened at all, 8x10s look fantastic but I have yet to print anything larger (The G5 should be able to make a nice 11x14 print).
Featurewise, the G5 is very well rounded - it has a full auto mode, which works quite well, except the auto exposure for shots using the flash tends to overexpose the picture (This does not bug me since I usually use manual or priority modes), it had a program mode which gives you some control over the camera settings, and various manual modes including full manual, aperature priority, shutter priority, and also several scene modes for taking portraits, night landscapes, and more.
My biggest complaint with the G5 is that it takes very noisy pictures at a given ISO - ISO 400 is utterly useless for taking shots because they are so grainy, ISO 200 is usable but I wouldn't print an 8x10 with it, and ISO 50 and 100 are okay - this camera is great for outdoor shots but if you need something to work with inside without a flash, you are better off with a D-SLR of some sort.
Ergonomically, the G5 is great, it's well built, easy to hold, and all of the controls are easy to reach and intuitive. There are numerous functions however, and it will take most people a while to become accustomed to and comfortable with all of the camera's features. The flip out LCD is a very useful feature, and it has helped me take many shots that I couldn't have made otherwise.
Overall, it is a very good all around digicam, but for some people with specific needs (Long zoom, wide angle, indoor shots without flash), there are better choices. I strongly reccomend this for people with photography experience, but it is complete and total overkill for someone that wants to take snapshots.
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2003
It is simple. Nikon makes the best SLRs. Canon makes the best digital cameras. This is particularly true in the prosumer range, where Canon's Powershot Gx series beats them all with its ease of use (both hardware and software), in looks and holding comfort (which is a subjective opinion, and this is mine), in the sheer realism of the pictures etc etc.
I own both the G2 and the G3, the latter being a upgrade more for the purposes of competitive response than anything else -- different bodyline, somewhat higher pixel ratio etc. Now, G5 may come across as the same with little to show for, except its black paintjob and the insiginficantly higher pixel ratio. A tad disappointing for us Canon aficianados who were expecting a bit more from the next in the series.
(1) Black body. Personally, I have gotten used to the silver finish, which appeals to me. I hope Canon doesn't standardize on black and makes the next cam available in both colors.
(2) More "megapixels" (of course). Which doesn't really mean squat unless you wish to print your photographs on 20 x 30 photopaper.
(3) Video recording with sound for 3 minutes (actually G3 can manage about the same).
(4) This could be an important factor to some of you who believe digicams haven't yet reached their prime given how pathetic their focus speeds are -- G5 rocks in terms of instant clicking. G2 was painfully slow and effectively useless for sports photography for instance, G3 was a remarkable improvement, and G5 now is almost as good as EOS in its response time.
Summary: what can I say. Great camera from Canon, but falls short of being spectacular as an upgrade. If you already own G2 or G3, wait for the next in the series by when let's hope the clicking response times should match EOS and other digital SLRs.
But if you are in the market for a new digicam, this is easily the best on offer in the semipro category (as are G2, G3 etc if Canon does not make them obsolete).