Canon G7 Review

 
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Canon PowerShot G7 Operation

Like most Canon PowerShots, the G7's user interface is quite friendly and easy to navigate. Improved graphic displays of exposure settings and playback maneuvers make the user interface a little more fun than on previous models, with virtual dials and meter-like displays. The Mode dial on top of the camera quickly sets the main exposure mode, and the Shortcut button on the rear panel is excellent for skipping the menu screen on a frequently-accessed setting. Most of the camera's control buttons are multi-functional, and there's a generous selection of user-custimization options, making the G7 very easy to set up to your own preferences. Overall, expect to spend about an hour with the manual in-hand, but after that, camera operation becomes very intuitive (especially considering all of the custom options).

Record Mode Display
In Record mode, the Canon PowerShot G7's LCD display shows the standard display by default, which is essentially no information (the exposure compensation option does appear in the bottom of the screen, however). Half-pressing the Shutter button reports the aperture and shutter speed settings, in all modes except Manual. (Aperture and shutter speed are displayed continuously in Manual mode, whether the Shutter button is pressed or not.) Pressing the Display button cycles through the available display modes, including the image with no information, the image with detailed information, and the image only. Through the menu system, you can enable a gridline display, histogram, a 3:2 ratio guideline, or a very detailed shooting information screen.


Playback Mode Display
In Playback mode, the LCD's main display mode is the image with no information. Pressing the Display button cycles through the standard and detailed information displays. As with Record mode, you can enable a histogram display in addition to the information and image. The telephoto side of the zoom toggle lets you zoom in on a portion of the image (up to 10x), while the wide-angle side backs you out again, and lets you step out to an "index" view of captured images, displayed as nine thumbnails at a time. Zooming out one step past the point at which the index display appears adds a "jump" bar to the bottom of the screen, letting you jump forward or back nine images at a time, rather than scrolling from each image to the next individually.


Canon PowerShot G7 Modes and Menus

Auto Record: Marked on the Mode dial with the word "Auto" in green, this mode puts the camera in control of everything about the exposure, except for Flash and Macro modes, and image size and quality settings.

Program AE (P): A white "P" indicates this mode on the Mode dial, which places the camera in control of shutter speed and lens aperture, while you maintain control over everything else (i.e., white balance, ISO, metering, exposure compensation, flash, etc.). Turning the Command dial in this mode cycles through a range of equivalent exposure settings.

Shutter-Speed Priority AE (Tv): This mode allows you to control the shutter speed settings from 1/2,500 to 15 seconds, while the camera controls the aperture. All other exposure settings are available.

Aperture Priority AE (Av): In this mode, you set the lens aperture from f/2.8 to f/8.0 (depending on the zoom setting), while the camera controls the shutter speed. The user maintains control over all other exposure variables.

Manual (M): Manual mode provides complete control over all exposure settings, including shutter speed and lens aperture (available shutter speeds depend on the aperture and lens zoom settings).

Custom Modes (C1 and C2): Indicated on the Mode dial simply as C1 and C2, these modes recall a set of user-defined camera settings, created through the Record menu.

Scene (SCN): Marked "SCN" on the Mode dial, this mode accesses the available preset Scene modes, including Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3,200, Color Accent, and Color Swap.

Stitch-Assist: An icon of a panorama sequence indicates this mode on the Mode dial, which allows you to record a series of images, either horizontally or vertically, to be "stitched" together into one large image or panorama on a computer.

Movie: A film camera icon denotes this mode on the Mode dial. Here, you can record moving images and sound at resolutions as high as 640 x 480 pixels at either 30 or 15 frames per second while space remains on the memory card.

Playback Mode: The Playback button on the rear panel accesses Playback mode, where you can review captured images and movie files. You can enlarge images, view them as an index display, crop or rotate files, edit movies, or add sound recordings, among other options.

Record Menu: Pressing the Menu button in Record mode pulls up the following options (not all options are available in all modes):

  • Digital Zoom: Disables digital zoom or sets it to Standard (up to 4x), 1.4x, or 2.3x mode, the latter two permitting faster shutter speeds. In Movie mode, options are simply On or Off.
  • Flash Sync: Sets flash sync to either 1st-curtain (when the shutter opens) or 2nd-curtain (just before it closes) to handle the effects of ambient light.
  • Slow Synchro: Turns flash slow synchro on to capture more of the ambient light, or disables it.
  • Flash Adjust: You can set the flash so that it fires without any automatic adjustments in any of the automatic exposure modes. Options here are Auto and Manual.
  • Red-Eye Reduction: Turns the Red-Eye Reduction pre-flash on or off, which works with all flash modes.
  • Safety FE: In Program, Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority exposure modes, activating Safety FE automatically changes the shutter speed or aperture value if necessary when the flash fires, to avoid overexposure and blown highlights.
  • Self-Timer: Sets the duration of the self-timer to 10 seconds, two seconds, or Custom (anywhere from 1-10, 15, 20, or 30 seconds). You can also set the number of exposures from one to 10.
  • Spot AE Point: If set to Center, the spot AE point frame appears at the center of the LCD monitor. If set to AF Point, it appears inside the selected AF frame.
  • Safety Shift: If enabled in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority modes, this function will automatically adjust the shutter speed or aperture setting to obtain the correct exposure.
  • MF-Point Zoom: Turns the MF Point zoom option on or off. If on, the center of the frame is enlarged on the LCD display for better viewing while adjusting the manual focus.
  • AF Mode: Sets autofocus to Continuous or Single modes.
  • AF Assist Beam: Turns the AF Assist light on or off. If on, the light automatically illuminates in dark shooting conditions.
  • Review: Turns the instant image review function on or off, with available image display times from two to 10 seconds in one second steps, and a Hold option.
  • Save Original: When shooting in Color Swap or Color Accent modes, you can opt to save an original copy of the recorded image in addition to the edited color version. Choices here are On or Off.
  • Auto Category: If enabled, this option automatically classifies images into user-defined categories.
  • IS Mode: Sets the image stabilization mode to Continuous, Shoot Only, Panning or Off. The Continuous setting displays the effect of image stabilization at all times in the LCD monitor, while Shoot Only enables IS only when the Shutter button is half pressed. Panning mode employs image stabilization only for up and down movements.
  • Converter: Lets you inform the camera which, if any, lens converter you've attached.
  • Custom Display Settings: Sets the display options for the LCD monitor. You can enable Shooting Info, Grid Lines, Histogram, and 3:2 Guide. You can also select between three available LCD information display modes to correspond to the function of the Display button.
  • Set Shortcut Button: Sets the function of the Shortcut button on the rear panel. Choices are No Function, Resolution, Compression, White Balance, My Colors, Light Metering, ND Filter, Digital Tele-converter, IS Mode, AF Lock, Create Folder, and Display Off.
  • Save Settings: Lets you save as many as two sets of camera settings, for quick recall on the C1 and C2 Mode dial positions.

Playback Mode: This mode lets you review captured images and movies on the memory card, as well as erase them, protect them, or tag them for printing and transfer. The Playback button on the rear panel activates this mode, and pressing the Menu button displays the following options:

  • Slide Show: Automatically plays all captured images in a slide show. You can specify whether the camera plays all images on the memory card, only those with a specific date, those in a specific category or folder, only movie files, only still images, or lets you create as many as three custom sets of images for playback.
  • My Category: Lets you organize images into categories, including People, Scenery, Events, To Do, or one of three user-set options.
  • Erase: Displays the Erase menu, which lets you select specific images for deletion, erase all images, or erase images based on date, category, or folder.
  • Protect: Marks the current image or all images for write-protection, or removes write-protection. You can also protect based on date, category, or folder. Protected images cannot be deleted or manipulated, except through card formatting, which erases all files.
  • My Colors: Adds any of the My Colors effects to a captured image. Options are Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, or Vivid Red.
  • Sound Recorder: Records a short sound clip to accompany a captured image.
  • Rotate: Rotates the current image 90 or 270 degrees clockwise, or returns to the original orientation.
  • Transfer Order: Marks images on the memory card to be transferred to a computer later.
  • Transition: Offers a handful of transition effects for slide shows and image playback.

Print Menu: This menu is available in Playback mode, simply by pressing the Menu button and selecting the Print tab. The bottom line of the display shows how many images are selected for printing and the print method that is active.

  • Print: Sends images tagged for printing to the printer.
  • Select Images & Quantity: Allows you select images for printing and set the number of prints for each image selected.
  • Select by Date: Lets you select image for printing based on the date of capture.
  • Select by Category: Selects images based on any specified category.
  • Select by Folder: Selects images based on folder.
  • Select All Images: Selects all images on the memory card for printing.
  • Clear All Selections: Clears all print selections.
  • Print Settings: Brings up a menu of these options:
    • Print Type: You can specify whether to print one image per page, an index of the images, or both.
    • Date: Set printing of the date and time on or off.
    • File No.: Set printing of the file number on or off.
    • Clear DPOF data: Set the option to clear the DPOF tag on or off.

Setup Menu: This menu is available in all exposure modes, simply by pressing the Menu button and selecting the Setup tab.

  • Mute: Turns the camera's start-up, operation, self-time, shutter and playback sounds on and off.
  • Volume: Displays the volume settings for the camera's start-up, operation, self-timer, shutter, and playback sounds. (Disabled if Mute option is active.)
  • Audio: Controls the camera's sound recording.
    • Mic Level: Auto or Manual adjustment. If set to Manual, you can adjust the recording level (below) manually by pressing the down arrow key and then using the right and left arrows to adjust the volume.
    • Recording Level: When Manual is selected above, you can adjust the recording level from -40 to 0 db.
    • Wind Filter: Turns the wind filter on or off. If on, the filter attempts to compensate for wind noise.
  • LCD Brightness: Controls the brightness of the LCD display, in 15 arbitrary steps from -7 to +7.
  • Power Saving: Accesses the camera's Auto Power Down and Display Off settings. Auto Power Down can be enabled or disabled, and Display Off can be set to 10, 20, or 30 seconds, or 1, 2, or 3 minutes.
  • Time Zone: Sets the time zone for World or Home, so you can see the difference in time between destinations.
  • Date/Time: Sets the camera's internal calendar and clock.
  • Clock Display: Controls the length of time the clock is displayed when enabled either by pressing the Func./Set button in conjunction with the Power button, or by holding down the Func./Set button for more than one second. Display times are 0, 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds, or 1, 2, or 3 minutes.
  • Format: Formats the SD/MMC card, erasing all files (even those marked for write-protection). You can also select a low-level format, which attempts to preserve recording speed on cards whose speed has dropped.
  • File Numbering: Specifies whether to reset file numbering with each new SD/MMC card or continue numbering in sequence, regardless of memory card.
  • Create Folder: Specifies whether to capture new images in a new folder or to create a new folder for new images after a certain time.
  • Auto Rotate: Specifies whether images appear vertically in the LCD monitor when the camera is held vertically.
  • Distance Units: Sets the manual focus indicator to Meters/Centimeters or Feet/Inches.
  • Lens Retract: Specifies whether or not to retract the lens after one minute.
  • Language: Sets the camera's menu language to one of 25 choices. English is the default setting.
  • Video System: Designates the camera's video-out signal as NTSC or PAL.
  • Print Method: Specify either Auto or PictBridge as the print method.
  • Reset All: Restores factory default settings.

My Camera Menu: This is the last menu tab on the menu screen, and appears in every mode.

  • Theme: Sets a theme for the camera, which automatically adjusts the following settings. Or, you can adjust each of the following individually. Available themes are No Theme, Canon Standard, Canon Modern, or Nature.
  • Startup Image: Sets whether to display either or two Canon logo startup images when you turn on the camera, or an image of a bird, or no image at all.
  • Startup Sound: Sets whether to play the startup sound when you turn on the camera, with a choice of three sounds.
  • Operation Sound: Sets whether to play a sound when any control or switch is use (except the Shutter button), with a choice of three sounds.
  • Self-Timer Sound: Sets whether to play a sound that signals you when the shutter release is two seconds away, one of three sounds or no sound.
  • Shutter Sound: Sets whether to play the shutter sound when you depress the Shutter button (there is no shutter sound in Movie mode). You can choose between two shutter clicks or a dog barking, or disable the sound.

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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