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Author Topic: G7 Postscript  (Read 24828 times)
tgphoto
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« on: November 08, 2006, 08:17:44 AM »
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I found the PostScript to Michael's Canon G7 Review enlightening.  Here is a photographer who is continually at the forefront of digital technology, a clear advocate of digital large format, who has become smitten with a tool incapable of capturing a RAW image.

Michael clearly states his reasoning behind his purchase, and gives the reader insight as to how he intends to use it.  But he also states by purchasing it, "this will mean lower ultimate image quality in some situations than if it had raw mode".

I wonder then, how essential is RAW mode given the purpose of the camera -- to take vacation photos.  There are likely some readers who will read this statement and hold off on the purchase.  But for those who do purchase it, and do so with the intention of using it for their next vacation, is lack of RAW support really an issue?

Yes, yes, I know.  RAW is better, gives you more control over the final image, produces optimum images, etc. However, my guess is, on average, vacation photos are rarely if ever printed larger than 8x10 (maybe 16x20).  These type of shots usually end up on a Flickr or Smugmug page, emailed to grandma and a few co-workers, or sent to a local drugstore or photo lab for printing.  Under these circumstances, isn't JPEG more than adequate?
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Nill Toulme
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 08:57:16 AM »
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There are lots of "adequate" cameras out there.  Why should we be forced to settle for "adequate" in what is ostensibly Canon's flagship small non-DSLR camera ... a camera that instead of just being "adequate" comes so close to being excellent?

Nill
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jimhuber
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 08:57:44 AM »
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There are two main reasons I disagree with settling for JPEG: exposure errors and white balance errors. Both have a lot more latitude for correction in post processing with RAW than JPEG and both happen more often whenever we rush, which is common on vacation.

I'm still going to hang on to my Canon S70 for really lightweight, casual use. Enough resolution at 7 megapixels, RAW capture, and a zoom out to 28mm equivalent does it for me. ISO above 100 or 200 is noisy and no external flash, though. They can still be bought new through Amazon.com, but for about $800 now instead of about $450 when they were common. The prices keep going up: a month ago they were about $700. Someone has figured out that they have a lucrative niche product.

If I want better than that I'm prepared to go to a Rebel XT or XTi with the 17-85 IS zoom.
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 10:33:49 AM »
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Here's a thought for Canon: Issue a G7 SE (special edition) with RAW and appropriate buffer memory at a premium price just below the Rebel and see if a niche market develops. I can dream - in the meantime I'll hold onto my S70 as well.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 10:38:01 AM »
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As I recently discussed in more detail in another recent thread, RAW gives you a couple of stops more dynamic range.  For outdoor vacation-type shots, you'll get a lot fewer ugly blown-out skies (without making the rest of the image overly dark or overly noisy) with a properly tweaked RAW than with jpg.

Lisa
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2006, 10:44:23 AM »
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I found the PostScript to Michael's Canon G7 Review enlightening.  Here is a photographer who is continually at the forefront of digital technology, a clear advocate of digital large format, who has become smitten with a tool incapable of capturing a RAW image.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84134\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

We all watch Hollywod movies, don't we?

Cheers,
Bernard
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image66
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2006, 12:24:54 PM »
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Personally, I'm quite disappointed. It appears that Michael has settled for "pixel counting" over "critical features".  I realize the G7 is good in so many ways, but it still is lacking in a couple critical areas--ones that might come back to haunt him.

I suspect that after this vacation, he'll have dumped the G7 faster than the LONG LINE of cameras he's gone through.  Although a nice shooter, it offers little for him as a professional photographer.

As a nice pocketable "family camera" it's fine--probably quite excellent.  But in reality, for this application, is it any better than the half-dozen other P&S cameras he's owned over the past three or four years?  I dare say that one of the finer cameras he's had, the KM A2, he dispensed with before he could even maximize what it was capable of.

Other than pixel count and a possible cleaner high-iso (severely manipulated by the internal processing engine which is why RAW wasn't possible in the first place) WHY bother with this camera?  It's just another digital disposable aimed at people who count pixels and features.

Or am I being a little rough?
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Ken Tanaka
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2006, 12:59:09 PM »
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Like others, I, too, am disappointed that Canon has pulled RAW mode from its upper-end p&s camera models.  I had no idea that I was "acquiring" a collectors' item when I bought a Powershot S70 two years ago!  (BTW, Pictureline grabbed unsold stocks of S70's and still sells them.)

I've liked the S70 for brighter scenes and I like its wide lens (even with its slight edge fringing).  I also like its compactness and optical viewfinder.  Alas, however, the S70 is noisier than a day care center at ISO 200 and 400.  RAW or cooked, low-light is not pretty with the S70.

I don't shoot many cooked (JPG) frames at all.  But the availability of Lightroom's RAW-like Develop module controls for JPGs gives me greater confidence with JPGs than I've ever had.  So this, combined with Michael's remarks, sold me on trying this little fellow.  Honestly, I probably would not have paid it any attention otherwise.  (NewEgg.com has them for $539.)  Will report back when I've had a chance to take it for a spin.

Hey, I really like the idea of a "G7 SE" model!  Calling it the "G7 Pro", however, would give it greater snob appeal, perhaps with the body insignia in gold.
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2006, 02:19:50 PM »
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I understand and enjoy and take advantage of how RAW files can be tweaked for better exposure, but I know photographers to have gotten quite lazy when shooting by using the excuse of "well, I'm shooting in RAW, I can fix it later".

There are some of us who, raw or jpg, try to get it as right as we can the first time.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2006, 02:27:40 PM »
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I understand and enjoy and take advantage of how RAW files can be tweaked for better exposure, but I know photographers to have gotten quite lazy when shooting by using the excuse of "well, I'm shooting in RAW, I can fix it later".

There are some of us who, raw or jpg, try to get it as right as we can the first time.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84187\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And even at least one film user.
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opgr
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2006, 03:00:12 PM »
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I understand and enjoy and take advantage of how RAW files can be tweaked for better exposure, but I know photographers to have gotten quite lazy when shooting by using the excuse of "well, I'm shooting in RAW, I can fix it later".

There are some of us who, raw or jpg, try to get it as right as we can the first time.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84187\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

if you want to learn how to take great pictures, a jpg-only option is akin to a fixed 50mm lens. besides, the RAW lattitude and white balance error corrections are extremely exaggerated if you read some of the discussions.

I personally believe the RAW capability of the G7 was left off because it allows them to obscure the relatively bad picture quality of these type of sensors, doesn't have any relation to sales cannibalisation.

As for the postscript: it does seem a bit of a shortcut to burn a camera's RAW capability because it takes 6 seconds to write, and comparing a camera's "feel" based on a few hours on the internet seems a bit far fetched if you'd ask me. I'm not denying that the G7 is the better choice for the situation, I just don't believe the postscriptum is very helpful in revealing the decisive factor.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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michael
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2006, 04:22:29 PM »
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Oscar,

If that six seconds means you can't take another shot, then it can be an eternity. Simply unacceptable to anyone doing more than taking snapshots.

"comparing a camera's "feel" based on a few hours on the internet..."

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I borrowed an e900 from a friendly dealer and shot with it for a half day. That's what my judgement was based on. My comment about browsing the web had to do with a search for alternatives not an evaluation of any particular camera. I thought that my writing was pretty clear in that regard.

I also just spent 5 days at Photokina looking at almost every new offering in the business, so my judgement is based on a somewhat wider perspective than what you imply.

"I personally believe the RAW capability of the G7 was left off because it allows them to obscure the relatively bad picture quality of these type of sensors..."

Sorry, but this is utter nonsense. How can a camera produce better JPGs than its raw files? The JPGs are derived from the raw data. N'est pas? And, as I noted in my review,. the G7's image quality is very good indeed.

Why not wander down to a local dealer and take some frames with a G7 and see for yourself?

Michael
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John Camp
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2006, 04:47:06 PM »
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Essentially what you get is a "film" camera with better resolution, better high ISO and the other advantages of digital, without the ability of being able to change the negative after the fact, right? I lived with film for fifty years, I could probably struggle by a couple more with a good high-res, high ISO .jpg.

Although I wish it had RAW.

JC
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2006, 05:15:23 PM »
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I personally believe the RAW capability of the G7 was left off because it allows them to obscure the relatively bad picture quality of these type of sensors, doesn't have any relation to sales cannibalisation.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84195\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Or, to turn this around, so images straight from the camera can be seen in the best light.

If you look at the trend in the digital camera industry, from low to very high-end, it's to add increasingly more smarts in the camera to correct image quality. You're now seeing lens designs appearing that are totally dependent on firmware/software correction even to look acceptable. Even the M8's offset microlenses are optimal only for a single focal length, hence the lens coding to correct for others.

Personally, I see RAW as merely a transitional stage in camera implementation. In future cases where it's going to be exposed, it will only be after heavy in-camera preprocessing. Also, if you look at the typical camera purchaser, even of DSLRs, most don't want RAW ... no matter how much you explain the benefits. At some point the chip in the camera will give better results than *most* users can achieve with external processing and this is when we'll see a decline in its use. It doesn't surprise me in the least that it's being dropped from P&S cameras. The proportion of the market that want RAW from a G7 is likely minimal and probably not worth Canon bothering about.
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howiesmith
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2006, 05:35:52 PM »
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The proportion of the market [that] want RAW from a G7 is likely minimal and probably not worth Canon bothering about.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84219\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Amen.  I think that is it on a platter.  

I would even be so bold as to drop the "likely and "probably."

The proportion of the market [that] wants RAW from a G7 is minimal and not worth Canon bothering about.
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giles
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2006, 06:20:45 PM »
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Amen.  I think that is it on a platter. 

I would even be so bold as to drop the "likely and "probably."

The proportion of the market [that] wants RAW from a G7 is minimal and not worth Canon bothering about.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84221\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Except ... that Canon are in a competitive market, and here's another "check box" that they can tick ... or not.  Particularly since there is little loyalty to brands in the digicam market, someone sometime will decide that this is their "edge" to offer if Canon persist in restricting raw mode to their DSLRs.   I hope.

Giles
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2006, 06:21:16 PM »
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"I personally believe the RAW capability of the G7 was left off because it allows them to obscure the relatively bad picture quality of these type of sensors..."

Sorry, but this is utter nonsense. How can a camera produce better JPGs than its raw files? The JPGs are derived from the raw data. N'est pas? And, as I noted in my review,. the G7's image quality is very good indeed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84204\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Michael,

This is of course just guessing and Canon has probably left RAW out for a mix of reasons, but the comment above might not be as stupid as it looks:

1. The jpg of the Nikon D50 at high ISO are clearly better than the RAW produced by Nikon capture on the same file. I know it is surprising, but Thom Hogan says the same thing and a look at his site will convince you that he isn't crazy.

2. Doing all the processing in camera with the right parameters does indeed hide the latent noise problem of the sensor that some users might not tolerate otherwise, especially if they are not using Canon's RAW conversion software, which is most likely for people shooting RAW. This is back on the open/closed system topic, Canon might have decided to close their system (in camera jpeg processing is a form of closure) to control the conversion,

3. Doing all the processing in body does also make it a lot harder to reverse engineer the noise reduction alogs developped by Canon.

Cheers,
Bernard
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howiesmith
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2006, 07:55:29 PM »
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Except ... that Canon are in a competitive market, and here's another "check box" that they can tick ... or not.  Particularly since there is little loyalty to brands in the digicam market, someone sometime will decide that this is their "edge" to offer if Canon persist in restricting raw mode to their DSLRs.   I hope.

Giles
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84228\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Competitive markets and no customer loyality are signs you are not in a niche market.  This type of market requires lower margins (you gotta start giving some stuff away to survive).

I think of Ferarri as a niche market.  Customers usually don't sho for features and price.  They want and buy a Ferarri.
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tnargs
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2006, 08:21:59 PM »
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At last, the discussion on this camera regarding RAW is starting to swing around from "well that's ruined it" to something more pragmatic -- by which I don't mean compromised.

It is obvious from the LL review that the G7 takes great photos without RAW that compete miles above its price point, and that with a little sensible use of the live histogram and *maybe* a little use of manual white balance, would very very rarely need post-camera corrections that are problematic without RAW. The G7 even has exposure bracketing for difficult situations. The absence of RAW does demand more precision and technical knowledge to capture a satisfactory exposure, but I am quite sure that it does not consign an excellent camera to the non-serious-photographer, or holiday-only, cupboard.

I am going to take the opposite approach to those who dismiss it from a distance: I will buy one and use it as much as I can, as widely as I can, and as intelligently as I can, for at *least* six months, then decide if I simply have to get something better, or whether I am delighted with its capabilities in the hand and on the wall. And the decision will be based on examination of actual prints without a loupe and at proper viewing distance, certainly not on pixel peeping. This will be my first digital. My reference standards are based on my current (albeit ancient) film cameras, a Canon T90 with 4 prime lenses and a Minox GT, digitised with Coolpix V film scanner and normally printed at A4 or A3+ on my Canon i9950; so now you know my standards are only 35mm and not that great by Luminous Landscape standards. So, I genuinely expect to be delighted with my forthcoming G7 christmas present, and I think a positive mindset helps.

Michael's review was most helpful and cast my purchase decision in stone, and that was *before* the postscript.    

Arg
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giles
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2006, 08:32:21 PM »
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Competitive markets and no customer loyality are signs you are not in a niche market.  This type of market requires lower margins (you gotta start giving some stuff away to survive).

I think of Ferarri as a niche market.  Customers usually don't sho for features and price.  They want and buy a Ferarri.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84240\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Right.  So if you're one of 20,000 digicam manufacturers and you're finding Canon's volume hard to compete with, paint a model Ferrari red, add raw mode, and add some margin back! Find a niche and hope to prosper.

On the other side of the fence: if you're Canon and wanting to keep a large share of the market, don't leave obvious niches uncovered if you can help it.

Cheers,

Giles
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