Canon G10 – is it the new Leica

So the new Canon G11 has been announced and people are looking – including me! But I have been carrying the G10 in my pocket for the past year or so and it has gotten to be a habit to grab my keys, wallet, a quarter (gotta have some cash) and the G10. Without it now I don’t feel dressed.

Having a camera with you at all times is the beginning of the essence of the old Leica cameras. Probably on the list of the best cameras ever made even on a really short list of 5 cameras. It is a legend in it’s own time, and in a lot of our minds.

Read more of this article after the jump.

The Leica M is probably the ultimate street camera. It was and is built well, has the best lenses, has a following that goes back generations. It has made some of the neatest pictures ever. And it was a camera you can keep with you at all times because of it’s size.

Put a great tool like that into a photographers hands and out the other end is going to come award wining world class photos.

Enter the G10. Coming into the digital age, the G10 is arguably the top tier camera in a point and shoot. While a lot of photographers take it very seriously, recognizing the G10 for what it is or what it could be, it seems that in an ironic twist the maker of the G10 is the one who doesn’t “get it”. While the G10 is a great camera, it has the potential to be an legend. The guys in marketing at Canon Japan need a trip to the woodshed.

On the positive side, the G10 is not going to match the extreme quality of what the Leica can put out, but it is capable of giving astounding pictures, gives a 14 megapixel raw file, feels like it was made out of a solid chunk of metal, and puts out pictures at the lower ISO levels that rival full size dslr cameras and at high ISO levels does better than tri-X. Plus like the Leica, it is easy to work with, close to being a craftman’s camera with it’s abundant controls. Yes, it could and should be better, but it’s good as it is.

A camera that is not with you does you no good. So many times I saw something I really wanted to take a picture of – and no camera handy.

A camera that works with you and IS with you is the essence of the Leica street photography spirit, and the G10 fills that beautifully. Olympus has taken it a step further with it’s EP-1. But having a full time stabilized 28-140 lens already built into the camera along with the ability to shoot raw takes it to the borderline of magical.

Having a macro lens on tap is another convenience allowing a reach of a 14mm stabilized lens down to almost nothing in distance.

I, and many other photographers wish that Canon would take the G10 seriously for what it is – or could be – a modern range finder type camera with serious attention given to real features rather than just to the marketing aspects of the camera. We would pay for a serious camera like that. Silent shutter, small body, superb lens, real access to shooting settings, a focus system that works well in low light without the neon green “I am going to take a picture warning light. Balance a larger sensor with camera size. In fact, Canon is known for their CMOS low noise sensors – where is it???

Still, you can almost make art out of nothing at all with the G10. The macro abilities along with the other abilities make it a sweet spot. The Olympus 5060 had an f/1.8 lens in a pocket camera. Wow, that was another overlooked camera. Actually not, I read of a photographer that used 4 or 5 of those in place of carrying DSLR cameras for his field work.

Looking forward to seeing what the promise of additional stops of low noise on the G11 is going to be about. Will let you know when I get to test one. For now, the G10 is definitely a highly recommended camera – I own it and love it.

Happy shooting and see you online.

Peter Gregg

PS Here is a video featuring Gary Knight who uses the G10 as his field camera where he would have used cameras like the Leica in the past.

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