My current compact camera

Actually, the draft title of this post was “My current pocket camera”, but these days that role is sometimes taken by my iPhone…

Kele Okereke, Bloc Party
Festival Hall, Melbourne
G9, ISO 800 (A2_005003)
Since early 2008 I’ve been using a Canon G9 as my “carry almost everywhere” camera. It’s small, takes photos in RAW, and although it has its limitations (e.g. not good at high ISO) it’s still a camera I’m happy with. When the G10 was released I considered upgrading (and have used borrowed G10s several times) but so far I’ve stuck with the G9. Mind you, if I didn’t already have the G9 it might be a toss-up between the G10 and the Panasonic LX3.
I keep hearing/seeing comments about the G9 and the G10, so I thought I’d add my own into the mix…

Video

Field Hut
Udomxai, Laos
G9, ISO 100 (A2_003779)
Recently I’ve heard several prominent photographers talking about their favourite “pocket” cameras, and the G9 and its replacement G10 has been brought up each time. The G10 has criticised by some people for having less-capable video than the G9. I really wonder if these people have actually used these cameras!
The G9 will take video at 640×480 @30 fps or 1024×768 @ 15 fps, whereas the G10 dropped support for the 1024×768 mode. While I did initially have my G9 recording video at 1024×768, I soon got annoyed by the jerkiness of 15 fps video, and ever since have stuck to 640×480. While the higher pixel-count (some would call it “HD” video) looks good on paper, that’s only until you notice the difference in frame rate.
Upgrading to the G10 would not introduce a video disadvantage for me. I do use the G9 for video clips a bit when travelling, so it’s not an uninformed comment. I don’t expect the same video quality that I get from my 5DmkII, but for web (and even XGA slideshows) it’s good enough.

Paul Weller
The Forum, Melbourne
G9, ISO 400 (A2_001011)
Shooting in RAW
I prefer all my cameras to be able to shoot in RAW (rather than JPEG) whether it’s a DSLR or a pocket camera. It gives me a lot of processing flexibility. For instance in concert photography where the lighting is constantly changing, I find the ability to manipulate the white balance and control the rendering of highlights very important. Both the concert photos shown here were taken handheld from amongst the “mosh” in front of the stage. They have only been processed with Lightroom.

La Boca window
Buenos Aires, Argentina
G9, ISO 200 (A2_005758)
Having a small and robust camera that I can fit in a pocket (ok, not a shirt pocket) and can take decent photos when I don’t have an SLR with me is great. Whether I’m walking around a seedy party of town and don’t want to attract the wrong sort of attention, or whether I just need to travel light, the G9 has its place.
My G9 is fitted with an RRS L-plate, which adds very little to the bulk of the camera, and allows me to quickly and easily attach it to either the monopod or tripod that lives in the boot of my car (or whatever tripod I have with me in the bush). The G9 comes with a neck strap, but I’ve instead fitted a small wrist strap (taken from an older Canon S60).

Bored schoolgirl
Udomxai, Laos
G9, ISO 200 (A2_004274)
There’s one more accessory I’ve invested in, and that’s the Canon WP-DC21 underwater housing for the G9. Not only does this allow me to take the camera underwater, but it also gives me a lot of peace of mind when doing things like kayaking. In the housing it’s no longer a pocket camera, but that trade-off is worth it. And although I need to remove the L-plate to fit the camera in the housing, the wrist-strap neatly tucks inside.

Over and Under
Fish Islands, Antarctica
G9, ISO 400 (A2_013535)
Why haven’t I upgraded to the G10? Just because the G9 does its job well! Presumably one day I’ll replace it, but not yet.

Magellanic Penguin colony
Punta Tomba, Argentina
G9, ISO 80 (A2_005780)

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