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Canon PowerShot G11 Hands-on Review

10.0 Megapixels
1/1.7" CCD

The following review is not suppose to be some kind of a professional review. If you are looking for such reviews you will not find it in my homepage. I just plan to write a simple review with my thoughts to assist my friends with the camera they want to buy since most of the time the guy at the electronics department doesn't know much about the camera apart from the price of it by scanning the barcode. If you found my website from the internet then good for you! The reviews are just my thoughts and I am happy to share with anyone. It is possible I will make the occasional mistakes and if I do please let me know about it!



The Canon PowerShot G11 was announced on 19/8/2009. The Canon PowerShot G series was once considered a DSLR on a budget since prices of real DSLRs 8 years ago was too expensive for the average consumer. My first DSLR like camera was the original Canon PowerShot G1 so it was quite a treat to review another G series camera 11 generations later! This is a production copy of the G11 fresh out of the box that I recommended my friend to get. The G11 is almost half the price of the G1 once was so rather than a cheaper alternative to DSLR many users consider the G11 as a feature rich compact camera that does not have the bulk of a DSLR which is great as a travel companion!

As a successor to the G10 which has 15 megapixels it is a bold decision to release the G11 with just 10 megapixels. From what I hear from sales I was told the G11 has the old G7 sensor, there is no HD movie so it it is better to get a compact dc instead such as a the IXUS 200 IS/SD 980 IS. How much of this is true?


Canon PowerShot G11
List Price (body Only) HKD $4,480 (USD $499.95)
Body material Magnesium Alloy
Sensor Size • 1/1.7" (7.60 x 5.70 mm)
• 10.0 million effective pixels

35mm eqiv. 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 IS

AF Mode • 1-point
• Multi AF
• AiAF Face detection
Image ratio

4:3, 16:9

AF Assist AF Assist lamp
AF type AiAF TTL 9-point (with face detection)
File Formats RAW and JPG
Speaker Yes
Image Size

• 3648 x 2048
• 2816 x 2112
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 320 x 240

Sensitivity range

ISO AUTO (ISO80-800)ISO 80
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
ISO 3200

Hotshoe • Yes
Built-in flash modes • Auto
• Forced on
• Slow sync
• Flash off
Light metering

• Evaluative Metering
• Center weighted
• Spot

Continous Drive

1.1 frames

Exposure compensation -2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
Exposure modes • Program automatic
• Aperture priority
• Shutter priority
• Manual
Shutter speed 30 - 1/2000 sec
Self-timer 2 sec, 10 sec
White balance Auto, presets
Rotation sensor Yes
LCD monitor 2.8" 461,000 pixels
Dimensions 112 x 76 x 48 mm (4.4 x 3 x 1.9 in)
Weight 275g
Battery Lithium-Ion NB-7L battery & charger
Storage SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Body finishes Black
Bundled software DPP, Zoombrowser
Brochure Canon PowerShot G11 Manual (English)


The G11 features an optical viewfinder. The viewfinder is not through the lens which means what you see is not 100% representation of what will be in your image but I am greatful of this feature. In very dark places or extreme bright sunlight the LCD is hard to see but with an optical viewfinder it is not a problem at all and is nice to have this alternative.


Viewing from the top the G11 closely resembles its predecessor G10. I loved the analogue look of the G10 and I am glad they kept this design for the G11. The Canon design team took a very conservative approach for the G11 and it is like a refined version of the G10. like the EOS 7D Canon listed to user opinions and made a camera for its users. Users wanted swivel screen, less megapixels, and less noise in the same compact body. Here is the G11!

The G11 comes with a very versatile 35mm equiv 28-140mm 2.8-4.5 IS retractable lens. The retractable lens with automatic lens cover is quite a move from the loose camera lid of the original G1 so well done Canon! Considering the G11 is a camera with so many functionalities I find it pretty slim.
The original G1 I had had a swivel screen and now the G11 has the swivel screen again. Many users wanted this feature which I find kind of weird. I guess we all want what we don't have. I would have to say it is convenient to have a swivel screen but after a few years of use the screen got so loose it wants to fall apart. Whether Canon has improved on the durability of the swivel screen so many years later is yet to be proved.

The G11 has analogue mode dials for scene mode, ISO settings, and exposure compensation on the top. Compared to the mode dial of the G1 and Rebel cameras I would have to say the knobs are quite tight. It's hard to turn the knob but it is also serves as a safty switch feature.

This is the back of the G11 and it closey resembles the Back of the G10. However, the ability to flip the screen over is nice since you can protect the LCD screen when on the move.
Like all G series cameras the built-in flash is located in the top corner of the camera. I'd expect red-eye to be a problem but so far I have not noticed any particular problems with the flash on the G11. In fact I think it performs pretty well with no blown highlights.

The G11 has a focus assist lamp just like the original G1. I personally prefer the focus assist lamp of the G11 over the strobe assist of the Canon Rebel cameras. People tend to stay and wait for a flash with the focus assist lamp. With the strobe assist function Rebel cameras, the AF performs better but all my subjects tend to think the photo is taken once they see the first strobe. (yes you can explain to them but you would have quite a bit of explaining to do for the evening...)



The Canon PowerShot G11 is 76mm in height and 112mm in width. The G11 only weighs 375g and is a much lighter alternative to the EOS 1000D for carry around party photography.


ISO Sensitivity and Noise levels

ISO Sensitivity on a digital camera is the ability of the camera to increase light sensitivity of the image sensor. As ISO is increased, the sensor's digital input signal is amplied but at a cost. Noise increases as ISO is increased and its side effects are usually seen in a form of a grainy texture. Low noise at high ISO does not necessary mean the sensor is good since many modern cameras employ noise reducation at higher ISO settings, which may be degrading to image detail. Pictures speak louder than my words at least...so heres some photos for you to compare and judge!

ISO 80

ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
ISO 3200

Built-in flash test

The photo on the left is taken with natural lighting and the photo on the right is a photo taken with the built-in flash. In my opinion the performance of this flash is beyond my expectation.


Pros Cons
  • Sort of range finder style camera which is good for framing in low lighting
  • Pretty good noise till ISO 800 for a compact camera.
  • Extremely lightweight for such a feature rich camera
  • Very diverse zoom range (28-140mm)
  • Solid build quality and handling
  • Simple user-interface
  • Built in ND filter
  • Accurate Rangefinder
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Great built-in flash
  • Exposure compensation, and ISO very accessible via external mode dial
  • Swivel LCD screen
  • Use of SDHC card is quite user friendly for many netbooks with build in SDHC card reader
  • Slow lens (small aperture)
  • Poor AWB performance in indoor lighting
  • No HD recording

I have always loved the G series camears. It is compact and it has the flexibility of an SLR. It's compact and light for travel use. I am hoping to see an optional leather case as well as underwater housing as an optional accessory in the future. The G11 comes with an oversized sensor of 1/1.7" for reduced noise so unlike what some sales say it does not have the same 1/1.8" sensor as the G7 with both at 10 megapixels.

I usually prefer to talk about the cons of a camera and try to explain why its not too bad so here are my thoughts. The G11 does not have HD recording but I don't think G11 users will miss this feature that much. 4GB will only yield 12minutes of Full HD recording so if you plan to take photos with the G11 the extra memory space from regular clips would be of great help. The AF ability for DC as well as EOS cameras in HD is not as smooth as HDR camears and the hunting is quite annoying and we should give more time for this technology to mature. The lens is considered slow by some(not af speed...aperture openning) but f/2.8 is pretty good. This camera has optical image stabilization and noise control is pretty good up to ISO 800 so the lens is not that big of a problem if you think it will hinder you from taking great images. AWB is pretty bad in indoor lighting but the performance is just as bad even if you use the 1Ds in auto mode so its just something to get use to.

Overall I think this is a very good camera. It feels solid and has great features. I love the design of it and I would recommend any friend to get this camera!

  Rating (out of 5)  
Build quality



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ISO 800



ISO 200



ISO 1600



ISO 3200


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