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The General Electric G1 offers seven megapixel resolution, a 2.5" LCD display, and a 3x folded-optical zoom lens to keep the entire lens inside the camera body.

Other G1 features include in-camera panoramic stitching, red-eye removal, 9-point AF with face-tracking, 30 frames-per-second VGA MPEG4 movie mode and SDHC compatibility (up to 4GB). G1 exposure modes include Auto and Macro, plus 12 scene modes including Sport, Kids & Pets, Party/Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Portrait, Night Portrait, Landscape, and Anti-shake.

The GE G1 uses a proprietary lithium-ion battery, offers USB and NTSC / PAL video connectivity, and includes both 26MB of built-in memory and an SD / MMC card slot.


General Electric G1 Brief Overview

by Shawn Barnett

When we first visited the GE booth early in the morning on the first day of PMA 2007, my cameraman and I were surprised to find that none of the demo cameras in the booth were working, including the small G1 digital camera. It took both of us about 15 seconds to realize that the batteries were in backwards, saving the PR team potential embarrassment at the massive company's debut. We found several other models suffered the same misalignment, including the cameras that used AA batteries. It was a bad sign.

Little did we know that it would get worse when the GE G1 arrived for testing.

We typically shoot a standard test series to see how a camera does before we invest hours into shooting our full test suite. Luke didn't even finish shooting the first target before he came and asked if I seriously wanted him to continue. Another bad sign.

ISO 80
ISO 200

Two images. Just two shots from the GE G1 (top) compared to the Canon SD1000, both small, 7-megapixel cameras, tells my story. This is taken from the center of the image, where sharpness is usually at its highest. Both Canon shots are sharper, with better detail than the ISO 80 shot from the G1.

When I looked at the images, it was clear that the GE G1 looks a whole lot better than it works. Digital cameras this small normally produce soft edges and have some noise issues, but the GE G1 takes image quality to new lows. No, it's not horrible. But is that a good recommendation for an item that costs more than $100? Let's just say it's the worst performance we've seen from any digital camera we've tested at this resolution.

Corner softness can be excused, but not when accompanied by such poor sensor demosiacing and chroma noise. There's more, but frankly we're not in the habit of completely trashing cameras that don't measure up. Still, we had to say something.

We'll be happy to test GE's next generation of digital cameras, should any materialize, but for now, we cannot recommend the GE G1. Even if you can get a G1 for under $100, you should think twice. Add $50 and you can get a decent camera at the low end of any camera manufacturer's line that would out-perform the GE G1.

Considering the wide international news coverage that GE's entry into the digital camera market garnered, with lines like, "Maker of aircraft engines enters the digital camera market," their new subsidiary General Imaging really needed to deliver quality. They did not. They're fortunate that the poor quality of this, their flagship style camera, did not garner quite as much attention as their entry into the already crowded digital camera market.