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Prosumer Group Digital Camera Review

Prosumer Group Digital Camera Review - Nearly every photographer has a prosumer model to back them up. Either as a camera to take on a day out or for if a full system is just too much to cope with. Now Matt Grayson takes four of the best and pits them against each other.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Canon Powershot G9
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In this in-depth review, we've tested the cameras on many aspects such as noise, macro, speed and even long exposure performance.

Skip to Verdict

Prosumer group: Specification

Canon Powershot G9:
Canon Powershot G9
  • Zoom: 6x optical (35-210mm)
  • Resolution: 12.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/1.7in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Image size: 4000x3000
  • File type: JPEG, RAW
  • Sensitivity: ISO80-1600
  • Storage: SD, SDHC
  • Focus types: TTL- AiAF (face detection, multi), spot (adjustable, face select and track), single, continuous, manual
  • Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity
  • Close focusing: 1cm
  • Metering types: Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: /-2 EV in 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 15sec-1/2500sec
  • Flash: built-in, hotshoe
  • Monitor: 3in TFT LCD 230,000dot (76,000px)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 106.4x71.9x42.5mm
  • Weight: 320g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
  • Zoom: 2.5x optical
  • Resolution: 10.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/1.63in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Image size: 3648x2736
  • File type: JPEG, RAW
  • Sensitivity: ISO80-3200
  • Storage: Internal 50Mb, SD, SDHC
  • Focus types: Auto, macro, quick AF, continuous, manual, one shot, selective, tracking
  • Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity
  • Close focusing: 1cm
  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: /-2 EV in 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 60sec-1/2000sec
  • Flash: built-in, hotshoe
  • Monitor: 3in TFT LCD 100% coverage
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 108.7x59.5x27.1mm
  • Weight: 290g
Ricoh GRD II:
Ricoh GRD II

  • Zoom: 4x digital
  • Resolution: 10.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/1.75in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Image size: 3648x2736
  • File type: JPEG, RAW
  • Sensitivity: ISO80-1600
  • Storage: Internal 54Mb, SD, SDHC
  • Focus types: Multi, spot, manual, snap, infinity
  • Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity
  • Close focusing: 1.5cm
  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: /-2 EV in 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 60sec-1/2000sec
  • Flash: built-in, hotshoe
  • Monitor: 2.7in TFT LCD
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 107x58x25mm
  • Weight: 168g
Sigma DP1:
Sigma DP1
  • Zoom: 3x digital
  • Resolution: 14.06Mp
  • Sensor size: 20.7x13.8mm
  • Sensor type: Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor, CMOS
  • Image size: 2652x1768
  • File type: JPEG, RAW
  • Sensitivity: ISO100-800
  • Storage: SD, SDHC
  • Focus types: Auto, manual
  • Normal focusing: 50cm-infinity
  • Close focusing: 30cm
  • Metering types: Multi, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: /-3 EV
  • Shutter speed: 60sec-1/2000sec
  • Flash: built-in, hotshoe
  • Monitor: 2.5in TFT LCD
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 113.3x59.5x50.3mm
  • Weight: 250g

ePHOTOzine says:
It's difficult to dismiss the popularity of the G9 but that doesn't mean that the other models don't offer something better. At this stage, no conclusions should be made as to which is best overall as they all have their own niche.

The Canon has tried and tested popularity, the largest zoom and is the biggest which is ideal for those of you with large hands. The Panasonic is the newest of the bunch and sports a Leica lens on its vintage body while internally it's got new film simulation modes, three different aspect ratios and multiple exposure.

Meanwhile, the Ricoh offers the slimmest body, it's also the lightest and has a horizon leveler. The Sigma offers the largest resolution on the largest sensor with the highest exposure compensation.

The winner of the specification category is based on the results of a recent question I posted in ePHOTOzine forums here. The most frequent response I got that pertains to the specification was build, zoom range and lens quality. All four cameras are well built while the Canon snags the best zoom and Panasonic takes the award for having the foresight of using Leica.

Winner: Canon Powershot G9, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Prosumer group test: Modes and features
The cameras we have on test are all based around one core objective: To replace a DSLR when it's not viable to take a full system with you. That means that it has to offer all the key features you expect to see on your DSLR without the bulk.

Let's look at the key features that ePHOTOzine readers consider the most important in a prosumer model, starting with the sensor. In alphabetical order, the Canon offers the second highest resolution of 12.1Mp on a 1/1.7in sensor. This should produce nicely detailed images with lower noise because of the larger sensor but we'll see the proof of that in the performance tests.

Group Prosumer test The Panasonic has the smallest sensor at 1/1.63in but, along with the Ricoh, has a 10Mp resolution. Sigma offers the largest sensor of the four but there's been some controversy over the resolution listing of cameras equipped with the Foveon sensor.

The image size of the Sigma DP1 is 2640x1760, which is only 4.6Mp, but it's the way that the sensor is constructed that Sigma argues over. The Foveon sensor has three layers for each photosite that are individually responsive to red, green and blue. The mosaic Bayer filter sensors used in the other three have one photosite that's sensitive to one colour. This colour is usually determined by corresponding information correlated by surrounding photosites.

This means each photosensor found on a photosite on the Foveon sensor is doing the same job as the entire photosite on a Bayer filter sensor. Technically that means that the number of sites can be multiplied by three taking the resolution to the advertised 14.06Mp. It's personal interpretation and if you're in two minds as to whether you're having the wool pulled over your eyes, then research the sensor before dismissing it.

Only two of the cameras have a zoom and they're the winners of the specification category. The Canon has the largest 6x optical with a wide angle view of 35mm while the Panasonic has 2.5x optical but goes to a wider 24mm.

Both the Ricoh and the Sigma are zoomless, if that's a word, and share the same focal lengths of 28mm.

When it comes to features, the Sigma is going to be left behind. It was designed to be good at taking pictures at its own pace. It has basic functions that you'd find on a DSLR such as PASM and RAW but don't expect exotic modes such as film simulations found on the Panasonic or the image leveler found on the Ricoh. The Canon offers unique features such as the built in ND (neutral density) filter and an underwater setting. Please bear in mind this doesn't make the camera waterproof.

All four models have an optical viewfinder. That is to say they're available. The Canon has it built in which is dead nice of them. Ricoh, Sigma and Panasonic have to get them as separate packages which are more expensive.

Prices vary for the four models with the older Canon Powershot G9 coming in at around £290. The brand new Panasonic is listed at around the £340 mark on warehouse express with the Ricoh at a higher £362. The Sigma tops the charts at £499 or you can get the optical VF for an extra £30.

ePHOTOzine says:
The Sigma has no chance in the features category simply because of its barren menu system. It's designed to take pictures and the rest can go to hell which is a refreshing stand point. It makes you think before you take a photograph which is what it's all about.

This category is all about features and the Panasonic takes a slight lead over Canon. Mainly because it's new but also because I like the silly little ideas such as pinhole mode and the different film types. Not only do they add a different slant to an already feature rich camera, they also allow you to explore different genre in a virtual media.

Winner: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Prosumer group test: Build and handling
The largest camera, the Canon, is also the heaviest and at 320g and is double the weight of the Ricoh which is coming in lightest at 168g.

All cameras are solidly built with the Sigma feeling heavier than it really is. Its lens is consists of 6 elements in 5 groups, the same as the Ricoh while the Canon has Group prosumer test9 elements in 7 groups and the Panasonic has 8 elements in 6 groups.

Of course there's no ignoring that Panasonic have the collaboration with Leica to help matters and the lens fitted to the LX3 is going to be better than the standard lenses found on the other models.

Or are they? That's a matter of opinion since Leica don't make the lenses directly. Actually they're manufactured by Panasonic to Leica's specification and officially certified by Leica.

Canon cameras have always been notoriously easy to use and the G9 is no different. It's got all the main features at your thumb or fingertips. The famous best shot dial is still sitting on the top plate and is joined on the opposite shoulder by a dedicated ISO dial. Both dials are firm but not so much that the spiked grip design tears into your fingers. The others are no less easy to use but are arranged in different ways. The Sigma is the most simple in it's design and borders on primitive. However, that's the concept behind the DP1 as it wasn't developed to carry bells and whistles.

Back to the Canon and I have a bit of trouble with the navigation pad on the rear. I have to use my thumbnail to operate it which is partially because of the size but also because the selector wheel gets in the way. If you were to go on the design of the navigation pad, you'd be inclined to think that the other three were all made by the same company. They all sport the same design which is quite unnerving to look at.

The Ricoh is interesting in that it's the only one to have a mode wheel in front of the shutter release similar to what you'd find on a DSLR. This is used to adjust the aperture in aperture-priority while Panasonic uses the Q-menu button on the back which is like a joystick found on older Sony Ericsson mobile phones. The Canon uses the troublesome wheel found around the navigation pad and the Sigma uses the left/right buttons on the navigation pad.

All models have a metal tripod bush for added strength and longevity. The Canon and Sigma have done the right job of placing it in the middle of the camera directly under the lens barrel to give even balance. It also lessens the chance of the camera moving when you're taking a picture or when focusing.

ePHOTOzine says:
Ricoh have built a solid camera in a slim line design but at the expense of a zoom. If that's your bag then you needn't worry. All cameras have a similar build quality making it difficult to distinguish between the four.

I like the Ricoh's antimagnetic shielding from it's skeleton which suppresses electromagnetism. This in turn reduces noise and we all know what a big deal that is on these small sensor cameras.

With all the cameras in the same league I have to look for alternative design and ingenuity such as what Ricoh have delivered.

Winner: Ricoh GRD II

Prosumer group test: Performance
Having a camera that does everything is all well and good, but isn't worth the paper it's printed on if it can't take pictures quickly or nicely.

I tested the camera's shutter lag and the Canon and Ricoh came out with the standard time of 0.08sec. The Panasonic halved this time with a result of 0.04sec while the Sigma extended the time to 0.12sec. This result was with the cameras pre-focused meaning that the Ricoh would fall behind if focusing time was included.

Time between pressing the shutter halfway to the camera locking focus took only a second for the Sigma and Panasonic while the Ricoh took half a second longer. The speediest was the Canon at under a second finding it's target.

Finishing off the speed section was the burst tests and the Sigma managed a "we're not worthy" 3fps. But get off your knees, because the camera only managed three frames in ten seconds as well. It took so long downloading the three images, I'd turned off the stop watch by the time it finished. The Canon managed a respectable 1.6fps but the winners, Ricoh and Panasonic shone through with 2fps.

This all means that from start up to taking your first picture in program mode the Canon will let you take a shot in just under 2.4sec from pressing the power button to the picture being taken.

The Ricoh was twice as slow with a result of 4.9sec while the Sigma took a second longer. The Panasonic, which I expected to be the fastest as it's also the newest, took a middle of the road approach with a final result of 4.1sec. I put this down to the focus scroll it insisted on performing. I'm just glad I had a card in otherwise I would've had a two second display telling me that images would be recorded internally.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 landscape image.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II landscape image.

For the landscape shot, the tripod was set up in the same place and any difference in viewpoint is due to lens and tripod bush positioning on the camera. The cameras all had the same settings of ISO100, the narrowest aperture possible in aperture-priority and the white balance set to cloudy/overcast.

The Canon Powershot G9 has revealed more detail in darker areas suggesting a higher dynamic range and the greens are more lush on the grassy areas. It also suffers from fringing on the white bars and appears to be the only camera to do this.

The image from the Ricoh GRD II appears paler than the others with the exception of the foliage to the left. It seems to have a slight cast to it which is unusual considering the white balance had the same setting as all the others.

The Sigma DP1 has given a nice balanced exposure with no fringing in any areas of the white bars and even the leaves against the sky can have a tinge to them. However in this instance, all traces are gone.

If I was to be ridiculously critical, I would say that I can see a very mild line of purple in the highest contrast area of the white bars from the Panasonic but it is very mild.

Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 landscape image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic DMC-LX3 landscape image.

With a minimum focusing distance of 30cm, the Sigma has already been knocked out of the macro test. The Canon and Panasonic have a close focusing capability of 1cm with the Ricoh only lagging a fraction behind at 1.5cm close focusing. The advantage that the Ricoh has over the other two is that more light can get through because of the distance from the subject and it shows in the picture with a slightly brighter image.

Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II macro image.
Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 macro image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic DMC-LX3 macro image.

This is similar to the landscape image and I wonder if this means that the camera overexposes slightly. Another thing about the Ricoh image is the stone in the corners. The texture looks blurred as though the camera was spinning around when the picture was taken.

The parts in focus are pin sharp and the strands on the leaf can be seen in brilliant detail not only on the Ricoh, but on the Canon and Panasonic.

The Ricoh appears to have chosen a much shallower depth of field than the other two running the image at f/2.4 compared to the f/3.5 aperture rating of the Canon and Panasonic.

All the cameras have a built in flash and all but the Canon have it hidden in the left shoulder as a pop up type. The four also have a hotshoe for external flash systems to be fitted which broadens the range of light available. Bear in mind that the three that have attachable viewfinders will use the hotshoe to affix the accessory. If you're using the viewfinder, you won't be using the flash and only Canon doesn't ask this of you.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 flash image.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II flash image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 flash image.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 flash image.

Calibration is spot on with the direction of light aimed towards the centre of the frame. The Ricoh and Canon give a slight preference towards the lower portion. The Canon gives the most even spread of light while the Sigma has a sharp fall off giving an almost vignetting appearance.

Before conducting the proper noise tests, I wanted to test the cameras at long exposures to see how they coped with the information being processed and the increased noise that comes with this type of shot.

I had a lot of trouble with the white balance on all the cameras because of the street lights that are over the road. I had the worst time with the Canon and had to perform some colour balance processing when I got back, to make sure it was balanced.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon image is actually quite settled but noise is noticeable on the edges of the light streaks and I had to mess with the colours to get this away from a sickly colour.

The Ricoh GRD II has a built-in noise reduction facility so I've included a shot with it on and off to see how effective it really is. All shots were taken in manual mode for eight seconds at f/9. The white balance was set to custom and the sensitivity was ISO100.

The Canon hasn't provided a bad result apart from the messing around I had to do to get the balance right. Even curves and colour balance couldn't get a balanced image that I wanted on the Sigma although the yellow tone it's recorded is the nearest to what the colours actually were.

I like the result of the Panasonic the best with its balanced tones and evenly exposed light trails. While I was shooting I was also impressed with the little extra feature of the camera counting down when the image would be processed.

Ricoh GRD II
With the Ricoh's noise reduction switched on, a definite difference can be seen from when it's deactivated.
Ricoh GRD II
I would accuse Ricoh of smoothing the image to reduce noise but that doesn't appear to have happened.
Sigma DP1
I used AWB with the Sigma because the custom one came out nearly black & white. The colours here are close to the actual colours of the lights. The boosted image is on the right and shows significant noise underlying the image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
Despite the colour difference to reality, I prefer the balanced colours of the Panasonic and I like the light trails not being quite so over exposed. Some noise is noticeable in the sky on the edges of the lights.

Portraits should be easy for all these cameras and they all certainly seemed to cope in their own special way. All images were shot in the default portrait mode with the exception of the Sigma which doesn't have one. The flash has also been used to fill in shadows as well as add detail and catchlights.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 portrait image.
Canon Powershot G9
The Canon portrait image with flash.

I like the warmth of the Canon image and the softness of the Sigma. I think the result from the Ricoh is the softest, but I feel they've over cooked it a little as it borders on hazy. The Panasonic has produced the most evenly lit image while the Canon and Ricoh have left shadows on the right side of the face.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic DMC-LX3 portrait image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic portrait image with flash.

Adding a fill-in flash has given detail to the hair and darker areas of the image with the Panasonic getting the most detail in there. It looks nice but compared to the others seems a little over done. The highlights on the cheeks are a bit too strong, the band of light can be seen reflected in the hair and there's a relatively strong shadow on the wall behind.

Ricoh GRD II The Ricoh GRD II portrait image. Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh portrait image with flash.

While this does happen on the Canon and the Ricoh, it's not as bad as the Panasonic and the Sigma avoids the problem altogether while still retaining catchlights and filling in the shadows. I'm happiest with Sigma's handling of the test but it's benefitted from not having a portrait mode taking over everything.

Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 portrait image.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma portrait image with flash.

All four cameras offer a RAW recording facility and if you're unsure about what RAW does, well it does what it says on the tin. RAW images are exactly that. No compression, colour boosts or any other interference from a meddling processor. This means an overall flatter picture but the detail is higher thanks to RAW being a lossless file type.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 RAW image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic DMC-LX3 RAW image.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II RAW image.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 RAW image.

In my test I converted the images using Adobe Bridge from CS4. The images were fine from the Canon and Ricoh but neither the Panasonic nor the Sigma would be recognised. The Panasonic is a very new camera so I can understand that Photoshop may not support it at this time but the Sigma has been around for a while now yet it wasn't supported.

I had to download Sigma's Photo Pro converter which is easy enough to use but I can't understand why they won't allow conversion from another program.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 JPEG image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic DMC-LX3 JPEG image.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II JPEG image.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 JPEG image.

It was worth it though, because the RAW image from the DP1 has brought out the most detail in the image. The Ricoh is soft in comparison while the Panasonic gives the second best performance of the four. Most interesting was the Sigma using a larger range of pixels on the RAW file of 4573x3048 (13.9Mp). Does this mean that the Sigma utilises the layers on the photosites as individual pixels on a RAW image? I asked Paul Reynolds at Sigma Imaging UK if the image records all three layers as individiual photosites givingh it the 14Mp resolution and he replied: "It's an industry standard that all photo detectors in an image sensor are classed as pixels. With Foveon of course, pixels are stacked in 3 layers to allow full colour capture as opposed to a Bayer sensor where it takes 4 pixels to capture the full colour spectrum. Software which opens a RAW file will take this into account and measure X, Y and Z locations (2652×1768×3 layers) however when saved as a JPEG, the software will measure just the X and Y locations (2652×1768). This is not to say two of the layers have been lost, it's just the full colour information has been compressed into a single layer."

I also asked about the difficulties with RAW conversion on new programs such as Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 and he said: "To get the best image quality from X3F RAW files, we always recommend using the supplied Sigma PhotoPro software. This software has been designed for the exact characteristics of the Foveon RAW image. At present, Adobe will open X3F files from previous Sigma cameras but an update should soon be available which will allow DP1 files to be opened."

Contrasty areas aren't a problem with any of the cameras though the Sigma and Panasonic do have a mild halo when the image is blown up past full size. At full size, none of the images show chromatic aberration which backs up what I discovered in the landscape test. I wanted to get a contrast shot in sunlight when it does it's worst.

It's fair to say that the Sigma DP1 gives the most definite black and white results on the shot with the Panasonic giving a slight blue cast to the white of the letter.

The white on the Ricoh and Canon are good but the blue toned black paint is a put off for me.

Canon Powershot G9
Canon Powershot G9 contrast image.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
Panasonic DMC-LX3 contrast image.
Ricoh GRD II
Ricoh GRD II contrast image.
Sigma DP1
Sigma DP1 contrast image.

ePHOTOzine says:
The Sigma DP1 gives consistently good image results throughout the performance test and that's what taking pictures is all about so it has to be the winner of the category.

It doesn't get off lightly though, because the lack of basic functions and the overall slowness of it made it a chore to work with.

Panasonic were let down by the over sharpening on JPEG images although this did help on the JPEG/RAW test as it showed more detail on the JPEG.

I can't dismiss the Canon or Ricoh either because the results they gave were good. Some of the images were simply too soft to allow them to win.

Winner: Sigma DP1

Prosumer group test: Noise test
We'll take a look at the ISO100 setting and the maximum size rating that all cameras possess. Seeing as the Sigma has a maximum sensitivity of ISO800, then that's the one we'll use to compare for the top end.

At ISO100, the Canon Powershot G9 shows considerable detail in the petals with no visible noise and if I was to find any faults, the Ricoh has produced a slightly soft image while the Sigma has got the colour of the petals completely wrong opting for a red tone.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 ISO100 test.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO100 test.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II ISO100 test.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 ISO100 test.

If I was to be really cruel, I'd mention the mild sharpening on the G9 at ISO200, but I don't think its serious enough to consider a threat to the detail of your images. The Ricoh has retained a lot of detail in the petals while the Panasonic has started to deteriorate. I'm worried about the Sigma's performance as I was expecting much better results than this from it's large sensor.

At ISO800, while the Canon, Panasonic and Ricoh are struggling to hold onto some detail in the image, the Sigma has given up and is a kaleidoscope blizzard of pixels. That's where the Sigma ends which is a wise idea and should've been incorporated by other cameras such as the LX3. The higher settings on this are pretty useless and a waste of the processor's time.

Canon Powershot G9
The Canon Powershot G9 ISO800 test.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 ISO800 test.
Ricoh GRD II
The Ricoh GRD II ISO800 test.
Sigma DP1
The Sigma DP1 ISO800 test.

ePHOTOzine says:
With a sensor that's over six times the size of its competitors in this test, I'm surprised the Sigma doesn't do better at noise control. When I first tested it I thought I had put a setting wrong and tried it again but it seems that the DP1 simply can't cope with high ISO.

Unfortunately, the Panasonic suffers from over sharpening which I think is a victim of an over eager programmer and the Ricoh has a tendency to pale out.

However, it's a close result between all three but I think the Canon has to take the pole position for the noise tests.

Winner: Canon Powershot G9

Prosumer group test: Verdict
What a journey of discovery! I tested the cameras as much as I could through the tests we normally put them through and some we don't.

It's interesting to see the information all in one place and that's what these tests are all about. Remember as a photographer your number one priority is image quality. However, that's not enough to make a camera win.

Like a knight is the best of men, the winner of a group test must be the best of cameras. All four of these are very similar in specification and worthy contenders for the title.

Canon Powershot G9

Counting up the tally at the end and it's a tie between the Canon Powershot G9 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. I can't judge on price because of the age difference and maybe the Canon should win because of that? Interestingly, image result wise they're poles apart with the Canon giving slightly soft images and the Panasonic using an over-zealous sharpener.

The only concern now is that Canon have just announced the G10 as the replacement to the G9. Sigma have also announced the DP2 at Photokina in Cologne. With this news, I can't offer the Canon or Sigma as a highly recommended as they're technically out of date.

However, it's not all a bleak outlook. If you were thinking of getting either of these models, you will be paying less soon enough as the price drops to clear stock. Just because I can't offer either of these models as a highly recommended, they can be the best of the group on trial.

Well done Canon.

Prosumer group test: Plus points

Canon Powershot G9:
Most sought after specification
Tonnes of features normally found on a DSLR
Easy to use
Good macro
Even flash distribution
Good portrait result
Handles noise well
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3:
Leica lens
Nice design
Wide angle field of view
Fast frame rate
Best result in long exposure
Nice landscape colours
Quirky film styles
Ricoh GRD II:
Slim design
Noise reduction technology
Hyperfocal style focusing
Horizon leveler
Mode dial for adjustments
Sigma DP1:
Larger sensor
Balanced landscape
Nice portrait results
Excellent detail in RAW
Best black & white result

Prosumer group test: Minus points

Canon Powershot G9:
Design of wheel on back isn't the best
Soft images
White balance trouble in strong coloured areas
Not true balck on contrast image
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3:
Small zoom
Flash overcooks slightly
Over sharpening on images
Overly long messages on menu
Ricoh GRD II:
Noisy motors
No zoom
No true black on contrast image
Slight cast on some images
Sigma DP1:
No zoom
Bad noise preformance
Vignetting on flash test
No macro mode
Canon Powershot G9:
FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3:
FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL
Ricoh GRD II:
FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL
Sigma DP1:
FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL

The Canon Powershot G9 costs around £291 and is available from Warehouse Express here.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 costs around £339 and is available from Warehouse Express here.

The Ricoh GRD II costs around £362 and is available from Warehouse Express here.

The Sigma DP1 costs around £499 (£529 with the optical VF) and is available from Warehouse Express here.

 

 

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Comments


chasney 11 138 United Kingdom
26 Sep 2008 5:42PM
very interesting review, wonder how the recently announced DP2 and G10 will fare? Looking forward to a postscript showdown.

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26 Sep 2008 6:18PM
G-9 has Optiical zoom 6x,ie , 35-210mm. NOT 35-120mm, pl correct ur review. And it s a fantastic camera.
MattGrayson 7 622 3 England
27 Sep 2008 12:11AM

Quote:G-9 has Optiical zoom 6x,ie , 35-210mm. NOT 35-120mm, pl correct ur review. And it s a fantastic camera.


Despite my athletic body and winning smile, I'm only human. Wink
Paul Morgan e2
13 15.7k 6 England
27 Sep 2008 2:38PM
Having no brand loyalty if I was in the market for a new prosumer either the Canon or Lumix would be my choice.

Could never understand why Canon have not continued using 2/3" size sensors, not shown in your drawing.
riprap007 10 1.6k 37 England
7 May 2009 11:05AM
comparing two cameras with built in zoom lens to two without seems a little odd

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