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Thread: Sean's G9 Review

  1. #1
    Member kai.e.g.'s Avatar
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    Sean's G9 Review

    Thanks for the review, Sean - interesting reading as always. No doubt, this camera has some useful features others don't - I am especially keen on the built-in ND filter. The GRD2 has an ND filter that only kicks in under certain circumstances, and it would be wonderful to see it liberated for general use in a future firmware update, if possible.

  2. #2
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Thanks, it certainly is true that the G9 includes certain features that other makers could learn from, such as the selectable ND filter, ISO dial and fast RAW file write times. I'd love to see Canon get input from experienced photographers and turn the G10 into a camera that works well in all respects. In the meantime, I certainly realize that many people really like the camera and are getting great results from it.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  3. #3
    Member popum's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Sean

    Thanks as always for the review.

    I'm shooting a GRD1 and noted in the G9 review you stated your preference for higher contrast lenses in small sensor cameras. I was also rereading your GRD1 review and your Daytona essay. In both of these you suggest shooting the GRD1 (jpegs) at the lowest contrast setting. At some level one could see a contradiction here.

    Do you still feel that way about the GRD1 files or have you modified your POV over the last year.

    Thanks as always

    Mike Guthman

  4. #4
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks.

    If you take a look at the GR2 review again, this difference might be clearer. Increasing the contrast of an in-camera JPEG brings up all contrast (noise included) and does so by clipping the highlights and shadows to a degree . Lens contrast is pre-sensor and obviously doesn't exacerbate noise. Let me know if you want to discuss this further after reading the GR2 review. I understand why it could be confusing. There's also never one "best" lens contrast. My preferences vary according to the format and camera and, also, according to the lighting. But the GR2 review gets into this in some detail.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Member popum's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Sean

    Thanks. I do get the distinction between the effect of pre-sensor contrast and that applied by the algorithum.

    Mike

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    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Sean,

    Glad to see that you trust your gut feelings in the review...I think that mine are usually reliable though they might make me prejudiced at times.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

  7. #7
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Hi Bertie,

    What I try to do is to write about both my gut feelings and the performance that I observe, can measure, etc. I think its very important for a reviewer to remember that his or her personal preferences may not be same as those of the reader. So although I myself would not buy a G9 I'm hoping that people will also see, in that review, the reasons why *they* might. I also try to include picture examples for each aspect I test so that people can draw their own conclusions. These are various ways to go beyond subjective impressions. In fact, most of my concerns with the G9 relate to things that can be objectively and reliably observed by a range of people (shutter lag, viewfinder size, brightness and accuracy, lack of step zoom, etc.) The same can also be said of most of the strengths I observed in it. *But* the value one places on those various aspects is subjective and that, I think, is where one should not assume or over-generalize.

    My favorite digital camera, for example, is the Leica M8, but there's no way I would ever imagine that to be *most people's* favorite camera - nor need it be.

    In short, the empirical part is important. How one then weighs the camera, based on the empirical information, can be very much individualized.

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Last edited by Sean_Reid; 2nd February 2008 at 16:26.

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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Thanks for the great G9 review. I'm not shy about buying equipment and I have picked the G7 and G9 up repeatedly in the store but could never get myself to pull the trigger and go for it. I sooo wish there was a magical company out there that could build to order with all the functionality we want (ND and ISO dial, A smart optical viewfinder (with M8 like exposure info), and so on).

    Terry
    Last edited by Terry; 2nd February 2008 at 17:32.

  9. #9
    stnami
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    THe G9 plus Ricoh GRDII reviews confirm my reasons why I draw the line at 2:3 sensor cameras and above at the present technological/availability time

  10. #10
    tt113
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Sean, I like your writing of the review, and I really like your introduction analysis. I totally agree with you that camera company create the so-call "prosumer" by accident, but the form factor of these camera is very good. I personally own the olympus c5050, c7070, c8080, and canon G6, and G7. I often think that if I put the money of buying these camera together, I could had gotten myself a good dslr with a decent lens. But, I really like those camera, especially the olympus c-series with their flip-out lcd. I think the speed is the biggest flaw of these kind of camera, not noise or dynamic range. To my mind, the ricoh GRD is the only small sensor camera that is fast enough, but I just can't get over the fact that it cost more than the rebel XTi.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    Hi Bertie,

    What I try to do is to write about both my gut feelings...

    Sean
    Sean,

    It's refreshing to see a reviewer who admits to gut feelings!
    I do agree with your post; I was trying to suggest that, for many people, gut feelings - or perhaps first impressions - were important, and that once formed a more objective assessment is difficult. But then, if people trust their gut feelings, they won't feel the need to progress further to objectivity. A sort of if it looks and feels right, then it is right. I suppose that this concept makes life difficult for designers and marketeers. And then, most of us have the luxury of not having to produce an objective report.

    More power to your elbow!
    Sláinte

    Robert.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    I read a scientific paper a couple of years ago which reported the results of a study showing that, on average, peoples gut feeling first decision was better than their following more considered ones. It was to do with choosing the most suitable family car.

  13. #13
    Hypnohare
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Hi Sean:

    I just read your G9 review. Once again a superb job.

    After spending a little time with a G9, a D-Lux 3 and then finally purchasing a GR II, I would like to put in my two cents and suggest what I think would be a perfect mix of features for a small sensor pocket camera.

    I think the size of the GR II (or D-lux 3) is about right. If it's too big like the G9 it ceases to be a pocket camera and if it's too small it is hard to use the controls.

    I would like to see an F/2.0, 28 mm lens.
    A hot shoe with the option of an external optical viewfinder.
    A control wheel in the front for f-Stops and a wheel in the back (like the Digital GR I).
    An ISO knob on the top (like the G9).
    A manual focus ring on the base of the lens with distance markings.
    A rocker arm lever (like the Zoom buttons on the GR II) to manually set the white balance.
    And finally the option to use filters and a tele or wide converter lenses (Like the G9 or GR II).

    Obviously, I would want a good image quality, low noise, etc.

    I just am thinking about this mostly with regard to the user interface.

    I wonder if anybody else out there has any thoughts or opinions about a "perfect pocket camera"?

  14. #14
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    Maggie O's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    A digital version of the Olympus XA rangefinder would be perfect.

  15. #15
    Member kai.e.g.'s Avatar
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    Futuristic Camera Design Idea #143

    To that I'd add my favourite little G9 feature - the built-in ND filter.

    Now my brain is going to dump some nonsense which is probably the result of too much coffee last night...

    Current technology probably isn't quite up to scratch yet, but a thought occurred to me when reading your list item about the ISO wheel. One of the draw-backs of the mechanical ISO wheel on the G9 is that it precludes having ISO as one of the parameters you can save in C1 or C2 (equivalent to My1 My2 on the Ricohs). There is an advantage of having this a "soft setting", implying that the software could change it regardless of the wheel position; for example, like the aperture setting (or in some cases, the shutter speed) is on these cameras.

    So, my thought is: what if something like the G9's ISO wheel were a "soft wheel" - one with a little round LCD (or whatever technology will do this best in the future) screen on it rather than etched markings? Already today, there exist computer keyboards (the "Optimus Maximum" keyboard) where every key has it's own little LCD screen on its surface, and these can be individually "programmed' to display whatever character or icon the user wants. Also, we're just starting to see [expensive] screens that really look like paper with extremely high resolution, allowing for legible small writing.

    If the concept of using a little screen like that were applied to a wheel on top of the camera, it could serve as ISO setting, White Balance setting, exposure compensation setting (like on old manual SLR's), etc - moving many of these things from the rear menu to the wheel. A little button under or in the middle of the wheel would toggle which function is active, and the little screen changes accordingly. What was an ISO wheel now displays, for example, a set of White Balance settings (or perhaps real colour temperature values??). Then, even if you dial in ISO 400 on the wheel, and then switch to one of your Custom modes (C1/C2 - My1/My2) where ISO 200 was saved, it would change ISO, and the little screen would reflect the change.

    If the wheel were made free-spinning rather than click-stopped (and spinnable only when an interlock is pressed), then such a wheel would allow finer granularity of settings - why, it could even serve as a focus wheel, while showing distance markings on it. Where the positions must be more clearly delineated - ie, for ISO - the ISO setting you're closest to would become bold or a different colour so you get some visual feedback in the absense of that click-stop. Or, even better, maybe they could emulate the click-stop feedback with a little mechanical "jolt" for some settings, which would make the click-stop sensation entirely programmable.

    OK, I had better go start up the coffee machine now and get my head out of the clouds....

  16. #16
    tt113
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    My wish list for the next Gxx will be:
    1. Allow the LCD to be turned off while still maintain manual focus;
    2. Allow user to disable the flash switch. If you put a external viewfinder on the G7/9, the camera will think you have put a flash on it, and the shutter lag increase significantly. It is only going to be a few more line in the firmware, just let user to turn that feature off. I end up have to cut the switch out just so I can put a voigtlander mini finder on my G7.
    3. Give us one more custom setting, just so I can set c1 to be 35mm, c2 to be 50mm, c3 to be 75mm.
    4. Get rid of the optical viewfinder. The viewfinder of the G7 is so much worse than that of the G6. It is next to useless. Why not get rid of it all together and properly set up the hot shoe so user can put an external viewfinder on it. It will make the camera smaller too.
    5. Reduce the shutter lag on manual focus, and give it a bigger buffer so the shot-to-shot time can be reduce to 1 second (that will put it almost in the slr territory).

  17. #17
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Campbell View Post
    Sean,

    It's refreshing to see a reviewer who admits to gut feelings!
    I do agree with your post; I was trying to suggest that, for many people, gut feelings - or perhaps first impressions - were important, and that once formed a more objective assessment is difficult. But then, if people trust their gut feelings, they won't feel the need to progress further to objectivity. A sort of if it looks and feels right, then it is right. I suppose that this concept makes life difficult for designers and marketeers. And then, most of us have the luxury of not having to produce an objective report.

    More power to your elbow!
    The core difference for me, lies in generalizability. The evaluation that comes from measuring, observing, etc. is likely to generalize for many photographers. The gut response, while it will often be accurate for myself, may or may not generalize to other photographers. So, as I say, I always try to keep the two distinct: my description of the camera as, in Szarkowski's words, "The Thing Itself" and my *personal* sense of it. The latter may be interesting to read but the former is perhaps even more important to a reader who wants to know how the camera might work for *him or her*.

    The danger reviewers must be wary of, and some are not as wary as they should be, lies in assuming that's one's impressions of a camera, lens, etc. will generalize to many or all photographers. That's mistaken. So there need to be touchstones that are as objective, as possible, as well.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  18. #18
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    I read a scientific paper a couple of years ago which reported the results of a study showing that, on average, peoples gut feeling first decision was better than their following more considered ones. It was to do with choosing the most suitable family car.
    That's interesting.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  19. #19
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by stnami View Post
    THe G9 plus Ricoh GRDII reviews confirm my reasons why I draw the line at 2:3 sensor cameras and above at the present technological/availability time
    Hi Imants,

    I can understand that.

    Cheers,

    Sean

  20. #20
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    ...The danger reviewers must be wary of, and some are not as wary as they should be, lies in assuming that's one's impressions of a camera, lens, etc. will generalize to many or all photographers. That's mistaken. So there need to be touchstones that are as objective, as possible, as well...
    Good point, Sean. When posting conclusions on cameras or lenses I'm always posting my own views for my own work, but I'm not sure whether I always make that clear enough, although I realize that other people may have other interests or priorities — perhaps because of my aversion to pixel-peeping, concerning which you strike a good balance in your reviews.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  21. #21
    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean_Reid View Post
    The core difference for me, lies in generalizability...

    The danger reviewers must be wary of, and some are not as wary as they should be, lies in assuming that's one's impressions of a camera, lens, etc. will generalize to many or all photographers. That's mistaken. So there need to be touchstones that are as objective, as possible, as well.

    Cheers,

    Sean
    Sean,

    I quite agree with you. If you were to look at reviews in some of the german photo mags, you would see points for various attributes given to two places of decimals - but for all its apparent objectivity, this is also quite subjective in say points for 'image quality' or 'handling'.

    I would far prefer to read of a reviewer's 'gut feelings' and then their report - I would feel that a real person had written the review.
    Sláinte

    Robert.

  22. #22
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Hi Bertie,

    There's a widespread acceptance, it seems, of the illusion that is something is expressed in numbers, it must be objective. I always find this troubling because it overlooks the fact that before there can be numbers assigned to anything, there must be assumptions and those assumptions can be not only subjective but also, often, misguided. I hold with Voltaire:

    "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    "There are lies, damn lies and statistics!"- usually attributed to Mark Twain

  24. #24
    Senior Member Robert Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    "There are lies, damn lies and statistics!"- usually attributed to Mark Twain
    Or Benjamin Disraeli, or others..
    Sláinte

    Robert.

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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    "There are lies, damn lies, statistics and quotations."- Maggie Osterberg

  26. #26
    Member kai.e.g.'s Avatar
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Meanwhile, I hear the sound of biting tongues... was my crazy brainstorm about morphing control wheels too outlandish even for here?

  27. #27
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    Re: Sean's G9 Review

    Sean very informative review, as always.
    I liked also your link to Neville's review at Luminous Landscape.
    Not many reviewers would give such a link and you are to be commended.
    "Fair and Balanced'; like a certain news organization claims.
    In your case very accurate

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