Expert Recommendation

Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera Overall Under $500 with Manual Controls
By Fotoguy
Expert (27 Recommendations and 7 Compliments)
Send a ComplimentComplimented (Change)
April 24, 2009

If you’ve outgrown that old auto, do-everything-for-you point-n-shoot with its not-really-sharp, noisy images, and are desiring more control over how your pictures are taken and what they look like, but really aren’t ready for the bulkiness, weight and cost of a DSLR, then the feature-rich, prosumer Canon PowerShot G10 might just be the camera for you.

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My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot G10

The Canon PowerShot G10 is the third incarnation of the now famous G-series that was revived when Canon debuted the completely redesigned G7 in 2006. The G’s comfortably filled the gap between the ubiquitous auto-everything point-n-shoots and the entry-level DSLR kits by combining the best features of both. The G10 continues that legacy.

An incremental upgrade to the very popular G9, the G10 sports a new 14.7 megapixel CCD image sensor, a 28-140mm (equiv) f/2.8-4.5 5X zoom lens, and along with the DIGIC IV image processor delivers sharp, finely detailed images that are surprising for a small sensor type camera. Noise is very well controlled being virtually absent at ISOs 80 and 100, and only lightly present at 200 and 400. Even at 800, though noise is readily apparent, images are still usable being sharp with only a slight loss of fine detail. At 1600, the highest ISO, noise is objectionable, sharpness and fine detail significantly reduced, but quite surprisingly images are still usable for small prints or the web.

Besides the improved hardware, the G10 is not lacking in features with ten Shooting modes, twelve Scene modes, six White Balance presets plus Custom, Face Detection autofocus, selectable on/off lens-shift Image Stabilization, three movie clip formats as well as full manual or auto capabilities. Additionally, it has shutter speeds from 15 to 1/4000 second, macro focusing to 1 cm, a built-in flash as well as a hotshoe, an optical viewfinder, a three inch, hi-res 461,000 pixel TFT LCD, and a durable magnesium metal body.

Of course, the G10 is not without its flaws. The primary one being battery life. In average use, the camera barely makes 300 images on a full charge. Well less than the advertised 400. The second is that even though durable and well built, the camera is bulky and heavy for a compact. Lastly, there’s the price. For less than a $100 more, you can buy an entry-level DSLR kit that is vastly superior, but of course bigger and heavier.

Overall, the Canon Powershot G10 is the without peer, all-in-one camera for those who want more camera and are willing to pay a little extra to get it.

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    Full Manual or Auto
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    Finely detailed, low noise images
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    Image stabilization (lens-shift)
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    RAW image format
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    3" Hi-res TFT LCD
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    Build quality
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    Size and weight
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    Average Battery life
Canon PowerShot G10 is the Best Compact Point and Shoot Digital Camera Overall Under $500 with Manual Controls
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot G10
  • Zoom: 5.0x
  • Wide-Angle Lens: 28mm (25% wider)
  • Resolution: 14.7MP
  • Aperture Priority Mode Available: Yes
  • Easy to Use: Yes
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Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices

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Canon PowerShot G10
Customer Rating
Price $879.00
Effective Sensor Resolution
14.7 megapixels
Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
28 mm
Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent)
140 mm
Image Stabilization Type Optical (lens shift)
Manual Focus Available Yes
Min ISO Setting 80
Max ISO Setting 1600
Aperture Priority Mode Available Yes
Shutter Priority Mode Available Yes
Full Manual Exposure Mode Available Yes
Face Detection Available
Viewfinder Type Optical
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in.
LCD Screen Resolution 461000 pixels
Battery Life 300 shots
Size (W x H x D) 4.3 x 3.1 x 1.8 in.
Weight (with batteries) 13.8 oz

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