Canon’s excellent PowerShot G10 has been my default compact camera choice since June last year. Its combination of superb image quality, RAW capture, effective manual mode and rugged construction made it unbeatable in the sub-DSLR sector.
The only problem is that the G10 is a fairly big camera, definitely not something you slip in a pocket. So when I needed a camera, it was just as easy to chuck my Nikon D200 over my shoulder as it was to take the G10 in its leather ever-ready case. Turns out it had taken a mere 588 shots since I bought it, which is a pretty feeble effort (the D200 has taken over 5,000 in about the same period).
Up on Trade Me it went and it sold quickly because it was absolutely mint. There was no point in upgrading to the even better (much better) G11 or G12 because they would just languish unused. I assumed that I’d just live without a compact camera but then I got to thinking that I could have my cake and eat it too with a PowerShot S95.
I’ve just reviewed the S95 for a local photography magazine and I was vastly impressed. With the same 10MP sensor that’s found in the G11/G12, the S95 is an astonishingly capable camera. It doesn’t have the G10’s solid body or external dials but it will fit in a pocket, it’s great in manual mode and it can take pictures that are unfeasibly good, even in low light where the sensor shows why it’s the best in the industry at the moment.
I’d still prefer owning a G11/G12 because the design is a modern classic, where the S95 is “just” a great compact camera. Ken Rockwell called the S95 the “World’s Best Compact Camera”. He’s wrong. The G11/G12 would be the world’s best compact camera (assuming you knock the Leica M9 out of the contest based on its typical crazy Leica pricing) but the S95 is definitely the World’s Best Pocket Camera.
It’s already getting a fair amount of use and while I feel a little lost without the G10, at least I’ve now got a camera with me almost all of the time.