Canon Powershot G3 Review

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Canon PowerShot G3

Full Review Posted 11/07/02
First Look posted 9/16/02

Click to take a QTVR tour of the G3

The PowerShot G3 is an updated version of Canon's extremely popular, four-megapixel Powershot G2 camera. Improvements in the new Powershot G3 begin with its exterior. It has a larger handgrip and the control layout was re-designed for easier access to key functions. The zoom lens is now a 4x optical (35-140mm in 35mm equivalent) with a maximum aperture range of f/2.0-3.0, offering the widest zoom range and largest aperture of any current Canon PowerShot model. Inside is a new proprietary dedicated signal processor called "DIGIC" that provides better image quality, increased processing speed and Movie clips up to 3-minutes at 320 x 240 resolution.

Other features include 12 EOS System-based shooting modes for customizing the camera to the user's shooting style; a new Wide-Area FlexiZone AF/AE system which allow users to focus on off-center subjects without repositioning the camera; Spot Metering; and Zoom Playback up to 10X. A new Intelligent Orientation Sensor automatically rotates images for proper viewing during playback. And like other PowerShot-series cameras, the PowerShot G3 has a Direct Print function that is compatible with Canon's CP-10 and CP-100 dye-sublimation printers as well as Bubble Jet Direct photo printers for fast, high-quality photos from wallet size up to letter size (8.5 x 11-inches).

Over the past 60 years, Canon has accumulated a vast amount of photographic data and know-how and used it to create some of the most innovative camera products in the marketplace. Now, using that same data and know-how, Canon has developed a new technology called iSAPS (an acronym for Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) that can "predict" certain camera settings such as focusing distance, exposure and optimum white balance based on zoom focal length, overall light level and tonal distribution data. Canon refers to this collective data as "Photographic Space." By incorporating iSAPS technology into the PowerShot G3, the camera can analyze and calculate a scene just before the image is made and in doing so, increase the speed and precision of the camera's autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

A Neutral Density (ND) filter has been built into the PowerShot G3 allowing numerous shooting opportunities never before possible with a point-and-shoot digital camera. When using the ND filter, for example, a wider aperture can be used in bright light conditions to blur a distracting background or simply create a properly exposed photograph when simple adjustments to aperture and shutter speeds aren't enough. Furthermore, flash photography becomes possible at macro distances, normally difficult due to overexposure.

Three light metering modes can be selected on the PowerShot G3 - Evaluative, Center- Weighted Average, and Spot. When Spot metering is selected, the light metering point can be linked either to the AF frame or fixed to the center of the photo frame. With the G3, an arbitrary subject in the photo frame can be focused without changing the framing of the shot, regardless of where the subject is located in the frame.

Even when the camera is set to record images in one of the JPEG settings, the PowerShot G3 now allows the captured image to be saved as a RAW file before it is recorded. This feature can be accessed at any time during the Review period immediately after the image is captured, and is particularly useful when the white balance or other planned effects were not obtained, or when resolution, contrast, saturation or sharpening needs to be modified in the execution of the final image. RAW images can be processed after storage by means of the bundled software.

Several images and sounds can be customized on the PowerShot G3 using the My Camera function including the start-up image, start-up sound, operation sounds, self-timer sound and shutter sound. Custom images and sounds can be selected from the Solution Disk included with the camera. Additionally, any image created with the G3 can be used as a start-up image.

The PowerShot G3 offers numerous other camera features including a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000 second; built-in flash with five settings including Auto, Auto with Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Flash (fill flash) and Off; an On/Off AF-Assist Beam for proper autofocus in low-light conditions; magnified playback of images up to 10x.; and full support for DPOF-format slideshows and image transfers. Two new Custom mode settings on the Command Dial allow the storage of user-selected shooting parameters for personalized camera control.

Powershot G3 Features:

  • 4-megapixel CCD with RGB primary color filters
  • Image sizes of 2272x1704, 1600x1200, 1024x768 and 640x480
  • 13 image quality settings including 3 JPEG compression modes (Superfine, Fine and Normal) at any resolution
  • JPEG compressed and Canon raw image format
  • Canon 4x optical f/2.0-3.0 zoom lens (35-140mm in 35mm format)
  • 1.8-inch Vari-Angle color LCD viewfinder/monitor
  • ISO 50, 100, 200 or 400
  • Shutter speeds from 15 secs to 1/1250 (1/2000 @ f4 and higher)
  • Noise reduction for 1.3 sec or longer time exposures
  • New 12-bit signal processor that's significantly faster than G2
  • Program AE (with Program Shift), Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and Manual.
  • Image Zone modes: Auto, Pan Focus, Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Color Effect, Stitch Assist, and Movie.
  • Movie mode with sound: QVGA (320x240) and Q2VGA (160x120) up to 180 sec.
  • Three types of Metering: Center-Weighted Average, Spot, and Evaluative
  • Now uses Canon iSAPS scene-analysis for more accurate exposures
  • Manual focus with numerical scale on the LCD and the portion of the image covered by the active focusing point is digitally enlarged while focusing.
  • FlexiZone AF system lets user select the AF point almost anywhere in frame
  • AF assist focusing illuminator for dim to dark environments
  • First digicam to offer Auto Focus bracketing, takes 3 shots with minor variations in the focal distance.
  • User-selectable exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, auto exposure bracketing
  • White balance modes; six preset plus 2 custom settings
  • Playback histogram function with over-exposure warning
  • CompactFlash Type II slot compatible with Microdrives
  • Canon BP-511 lithium rechargeable battery pack
  • Hot Shoe flash for Canon Speedlites
  • Direct print to Canon CP-10, CP-100, S830D and S530D photo printers
  • Exif 2.2 compatible for optimal print quality
  • Optional wide angle, telephoto and closeup lens converters

Image Management Software

The Canon PowerShot G3 is fully compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X. It comes with Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 LE and Apple QuickTime 6.0, ZoomBrowser EX 4.0 (for Windows) and ImageBrowser 2.7 (for Mac); PhotoRecord 1.6 (Windows only); PhotoStitch 3.1, File Viewer Utility 1.1, and RemoteCapture 2.6 (for Windows and Mac). RemoteCapture enables a USB-connected Canon G3 camera to be controlled by a compatible personal computer. In addition to all of these software applications, the G3 is supplied with a TWAIN driver for Windows 98SE/2000 as well as a WIA driver for Windows XP/Me and a Plug-in Module as well as a USB Mounter for Mac OS 9.x. The WIA driver and USB mounter allow a compatible PC to mount the camera as a hard drive on the desktop and display thumbnails to facilitate simplified image data transfers.

System Accessories

The Canon PowerShot G3 provides even greater creative flexibility with optional lens converters and adapters. The WC-DC58N Wide Angle Converter shortens the focal length of the camera's lens by approximately 0.7x, resulting in an effective focal length of 24mm. The TC-DC58N Tele Converter extends the camera's longest focal length from 140mm to 240mm. Last but not least, the Canon PowerShot G3 is compatible with all Canon EX-series Speedlite flash units including the 220EX, 420EX, 550EX as well as Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. The use of optional Speedlites provides tremendous creative control over lighting quality.

Download and view or print the

Powershot G3 sales brochure (.pdf)

Physical Views

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

Canon Powershot G3

The Powershot G3 compared in size to a CD

Continue on to
Page Two

Canon Powershot G3 Specifications

Camera effective pixels : Approx. 4 million
Image sensor : 1/1.8 inch CCD (Total number of pixels: approx. 4.1 million)
Lens : 7.2 (W) - 28.8 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 35 - 140mm)
F 2.0 (W) - 3.0 (T)
Digital zoom : Up to approx. 3.6 X (Up to approximately 14 times in combination with the optical zoom)
Optical viewfinder : Real-image zoom viewfinder
Field of view approx. 83%
Dioptric adjustment -3 to +1m -1 (dpt equivalent)
LCD monitor : 1.8 inch, low-temp polycrystalline silicon TFT color
LCD/Field of view 100%
Autofocus method : TTL autofocus (continuous or single)
Focus lock and Manual focus are available
Focusing point : 1 focusing point (Any position is available)
Shooting distance :
(from tip of the lens barrel)
Normal AF : 50 cm (1.6 ft.) - infinity
Macro AF : 5 cm (W) / 15 cm (T) - 50 cm
(0.16 ft. (W) / 0.49 ft. (T) - 1.6 ft.)
Manual focus : 5 cm (W) / 15 cm (T) -infinity
(0.16 ft. (W) / 0.49 ft. (T) -infinity)
Shutter : Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter speeds : 15 - 1 / 2000 sec.
1.3 sec. or slower shutter speeds are available in Shutter-Priority mode or Manual mode
Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or more operates with noise reduction
Light metering system : Evaluative, Center-Weighted Averaging or Spot (Center or AF Point)
Exposure control method : Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE or Manual exposure control
AE lock is available
Exposure compensation : ± 2.0 stops (in 1/3-stop increments)
Auto exposure bracketing (AEB) is available
(equivalent film speed) :
Auto, ISO 50, ISO 100, ISO 200 and ISO 400 equivalent
White balance : TTL auto white balance, pre-set white balance (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H or Flash) or Custom white balance (Custom1/ Custom2)
Built-in flash : Auto, On, Off
Red-eye reduction On: Red-eye reduction auto / Red-eye reduction On / Off
Red-eye reduction Off: On / Off
Flash range : 70 cm - 5.0 m (2.3 - 16.5 ft.) (W), 70 cm - 4.0 m (2.3 - 13.1 ft.) (T)
(When sensitivity is set to ISO 100 equivalent)
Terminals for external flash : Sync-terminals at accessory shoe
Use of following external flashes is recommended:
Canon Speedlite 220EX, 380EX, 420EX, 550EX, Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX and Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX
Flash exposure compensation : ±2.0 stops (in 1/3-stop increments), FE lock, Slow-sync and 1st-curtain / 2nd curtain flash are available
Shooting modes :
Creative zone : Program, Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Custom1 and Custom2
Image zone : Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Stitch Assist and Movie
Continuous shooting :
High-Speed continuous shooting : Approx. 2.5 image/sec.
Standard continuous shooting : Approx. 1.5 image/sec.
(Large / Fine mode with LCD viewfinder off)
Self-timer : Activates shutter after a 2-sec. / 10-sec. delay
Wireless control : Shooting and playback are available (wireless controller is included in the camera kit)
When shooting, image is captured ontime / 2-sec. / 10-sec. after shutter button pressed
PC-connected shooting : Available (Exclusive software program is included in the camera kit)
Recording media : CompactFlashTM (CF) card (Type I and Type II)
File format : Design rule for Camera File system, DPOF-compliant
Image recording format :
Still images : JPEG (Exif 2.2)*1 or RAW
Movies : AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG, Audio data: WAVE [monaural])
JPEG compression mode : Super fine, Fine or Normal
Number of recording pixels :
Still images :
Large : 2272 x 1704 pixels
Medium 1 : 1600 x 1200 pixels
Medium 2 : 1024 x 768 pixels
Small : 640 x 480 pixels
Movies :
320 x 240 pixels (approx. 3 min.)*
160 x 120 pixels (approx. 3 min.)*
Approx. 15 frames/second

* The data in parentheses refer to the maximum movie length per shooting.
Replay modes : Single (Histogram displayable), Index (9 thumbnail images), Magnified (approx. 10x (max.) in LCD monitor), Sound annotations (up to 60 sec.), Slide Show or Image output to direct Printer (CP-100 / CP-10 and Bubble Jet Printer with the direct print function)
My Camera Settings (customizing) : The Start-up Image, Start-up Sound, Shutter Sound, Operation Sound and Selftimer Sound can be customized using the following methods.
  1. Using the images and sounds recorded on the camera.
  2. Using downloaded data from your computer using the supplied software.
Interface : USB (mini-B) (Normal or PTP selectable), Audio/Video Output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Power Source :
  1. Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (type: BP-511) (included in the camera kit/optional)
  2. Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (type: BP-512) (optional)
  3. Compact Power Adapter (CA-560) (included in the camera kit)
  4. Car battery adapter (Optional Charge Adapter/Car Battery Cable Kit CR-560 is required)
Operating temperatures : 0 - 40ºC (32 - 104ºF)
Operating humidity : 10 - 90 %
Dimensions (w x h x d) : 121.0 x 73.9 x 69.9 mm (4.8 x 3.0 x 2.5 in.) excluding protrusions
Weight : Approx. 410 g (14.5 oz.) (camera body only)

* 1 This digital camera supports Exif 2.2 (also called "Exif Print"). Exif Print is a standard for enhancing the communication between digital cameras and printers. By connecting to an Exif Print-compliant printer, the camera's image data at the time of shooting is used and optimized, yielding extremely high quality prints.

Battery Pack 511/ Battery Pack BP-512 (Optional)

Type : Rechargeable lithium ion cell
Nominal voltage : 7.4 V
Nominal capacity : 1100 mAh
Charge cycles : Approx. 300
Operating temperatures : 0 - 40ºC (32 - 104ºF)
Dimensions (w x h x d) : 38 x 55 x 21 mm (1.5 x 2.2 x 0.8 in.)
Weight : Approx. 70 g (2.5 oz.)

Compact Power Adapter CA-560

Input voltage : AC 100-240 V (50/60 Hz)
60 VA (100 V) - 75 VA (240 V)
Rated output : 9.5 V / 2.7 A
Operating temperatures : 0 - 40ºC (32 - 104 104ºF)
Dimensions (w x h x d) : 57 x 28 x 104 mm (2.2 x 1.1 x 4.1 in.)
Weight : Approx. 180 g (6.3 oz.)

Wireless Controller WL-DC100

Power supply : Lithium button battery CR2025
Operating temperatures : 0 - 40ºC (32 - 104ºF)
Dimensions (w x h x d) : 35 x 6.5 x 56.6 mm (1.4 x 0.3 x 2.2 in.)
Weight : Approx. 10 g (0.4 oz.)

All data is based on Canon's standard testing methods.
Subject to change without notice.

The Canon Powershot G3 kit includes:

  • Digital Camera
  • Lens Cap
  • Neck Strap NS-DC1
  • Compact Power Adapter CA-560
  • AC Cable (for CA-560)
  • Battery Pack BP-511
  • Terminal Cover (for Battery Pack BP-511)
  • CompactFlash™ Card FC-32M
  • Case for CompactFlash Card
  • Canon Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
  • Adobe Photoshop® LE CD-ROM
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-300PCU
  • AV Cable AVC-DC100
  • Wireless Controller WL-DC100
  • Lithium Battery CR2025 (for Wireless Controller WL-DC100)
  • User Guides

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