Canon Powershot G1

Steve's Digicams

PowerShot G1

First Look posted 9/30/00
Full review posted 10/15/00

Click on the G1 to take a QTVR tour

The Canon PowerShot G1 is equipped with a 3.34 megapixel 1/1.8-inch CCD. Captured images feature a high resolution of up to 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Still images can be saved in standard JPEG format with three levels of quality or as Canon raw format. The RAW file is saved using numerically lossless reversible compression which means that it only takes 2.5MB of space versus the 9.4MB uncompressed TIFF files from most other 3-megapixel cameras. The G1 also records QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) digital movie clips (with sound) at 15 frames per second up to 30 seconds in length.

Thanks to the dedicated digital signal processing IC the images are captured at high speed without losing any detail. In single frame mode the G1 can capture Large/Fine mode images in less than two seconds. The autofocus and exposure is set within 0.7 seconds of pressing the shutter button and the image is captured within 0.07 seconds of pushing the shutter button all the way down from the halfway point. In continuous mode the G1 captures up to 10 Large/Fine JPEGs at a rate of 1.7fps with the LCD and flash off. Users can switch between record and playback modes in an instant, the lens remains extended unless you put it in the Off position for more than 0.8 seconds.

Exposure options abound with full AUTO mode or Program AE, shutter speed priority, aperture priority and full Manual or choose one of the Image Zone pre-programmed modes. ISO sensitivity is adjustable between 50, 100, 200, 400 or automatic. White balance can be automatic, one of five presets or manually customized. The focus can be automatic or manual. Auto exposure bracketing (AEB) captures three exposures, taken with a single shutter release, at stops over and under the targeted exposure. For that perfect exposure under not-so-perfect conditions you can switch to spot metering. A special noise reduction feature virtually eliminates digital "noise" for exposures of 1.3 seconds or longer.

Canon PowerShot G1 with Canon 380EX speedlight

The builtin 5-mode (Auto, Redeye, Slow-sync, On, Off) flash will handle most average picture taking tasks. If you need greater flash range or the much prefered lighting of bounce flash -- the PowerShot G1 functions in full TTL with a Canon Speedlite 380EX (shown above) or the 220EX, 420EX or 550EX.

Images are stored on CompactFlash Type I or II cards which are available in sizes up to 300MB or for the ultimate in storage use an IBM Microdrive (170MB to 1GB.) The G1 is powered by a lithium rechargeable battery pack that's good for 300 to 800 pictures per charge. A high-speed USB port builtin eliminates the need for an external card reader.

Canon PowerShot G1

On the back is a 270-degree swiveling 1.8-inch TFT color LCD with 113,578 pixels of resolution (521 x 218) that can be used for framing, review and menu operations. When framing, approximately 97% of the captured image is shown.

Canon PowerShot G1

This is the same type of swiveling color LCD that was first seen on the Pro 70 almost two years ago. It can can tilt up or down and can be turned all the way around to face forwards...

Canon PowerShot G1

or the LCD can be folded up against the back of the camera with the screen exposed or turned around the other way to protect it.

Canon PowerShot G1

To save battery power switch off the LCD and frame your shots with the eyelevel optical viewfinder. There is a diopter adjustment for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. The LEDs on the side indicate recording, autofocus and flash status. The eyelevel finder shows approximately 87% of the captured image.

The only thing found in the optical viewfinder is a set of cross hairs, no framing or parallax guidelines and no data display. It is definitely time for prosumer cameras to have more sophisticated eyelevel viewfinders whether they be optical or mini-LCD types.

Canon PowerShot G1

On top is the monochrome data LCD, hot shoe flash with TTL contacts for Canon 220EX, 380EX, 420EX or 550EX automatic speedlights, the combination Mode dial and power switch which also sets the Record, Playback and Connect to PC modes, the combination shutter release and zoom control and the Drive mode button.

Canon PowerShot G1

The data LCD lets you know the camera settings without using the color LCD. Shown here with a shutter speed of 1/60 and an aperture of F2.0, Medium/SuperFine image setting, single exposure mode, macro mode enabled, self-timer/remote activated, flash set to On, battery level is full, 486 shots remaining and white balance set to Auto.

Depending on the operational mode other icons are displayed on either the monochrome data display or the color LCD for the various programmed AE modes, drive modes, spot metering, exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, AE lock, manual focus, digital zoom and raw mode. The ISO setting and manual focus distance is not displayed on either LCD.

Canon PowerShot G1

A flat bottom with a metal tripod socket and the battery access door.

Canon PowerShot G1Canon PowerShot G1

Left and right side views.

Canon PowerShot G1

The difference that two years makes... If you've been waiting for a replacement for the Pro 70 -- your ship has arrived. It's not only smaller but now it has nearly twice the resolution and a longer focal length zoom.

Continue on to
Page Two

Canon PowerShot G1 Specifications

Image Capture Device

Type 1/1.8-inch Charge-Coupled Device (CCD)
Total Pixels Approx. 3.34 million
Effective Pixels Approx. 3.24 million


Digital Tele-converter 2x, 4x
(12x digital zoom when combined with optical zoom.)
Focal Length 7 - 21mm (35mm film equivalent: 34 - 102mm)
Focusing Range
(measured from front lens)
Normal AF: 70cm (2.3 ft.) - infinity
Macro AF: 6cm (0.2 ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7 ft.) (telephoto) - 70cm (2.3 ft.)
Manual focus: 6cm (0.2 ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7 ft.) (telephoto) - infinity
Focusing Control System TTL autofocus (Continuous or Single)
AF lock and Manual focus are available.


Optical Viewfinder Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
LCD Viewfinder 1.8-inch low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD
LCD Pixels 113.578 dot (521 (H) x 218 (V))
LCD Coverage 97%

Aperture and Shutter

Aperture Range F2.0 (wide-angle) - 2.5 (telephoto)
Shutter Type Mechanical shutter and Electronic shutter
Shutter speed 8 - 1/1,000 sec.
8 sec. shutter is available in Shutter Priority mode or Manual mode.
High speed shutter from 1/500 to 1/1,000 sec. are available only at F8 setting.
Slow shutter of 1.3 sec. and more operates with noise reduction.

Exposure Control

Sensitivity (Equivalent film speed) Auto, ISO50, ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400 equivalent (At Auto setting, camera automatically adjusts sensitivity in the range of from ISO50 to ISO100 equivalent.)
Light Metering Method Center-weighted average metering or Spot metering
Exposure Control Method Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE or Manual exposure control AE lock is available.
Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV (at every 1/3-stop)
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is available.

White Balance

White Balance Control TTL auto white balance, Pre-set white balance (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent or Flash) or Custom white balance


Built-in Flash Operation modes: Auto, Red-eye reduction auto, Red-eye reduction ON, ON or OFF
Flash Range 0.7m (2.3 ft.) - 4.5m.(14.76 ft.) (W) / 0.7m (2.3 ft.) - 3.6m (11.8 ft.) (T)
(When sensitivity is set to ISO 100 equivalent)
Recycling Time Approx. 10 sec. or less
Terminals for External Flash TTL Sync-terminals at accessory shoe for
Canon Speedlite 220EX, 380EX, 420EX and 550EX
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV (at every 1/3-stop)

Shooting Specifications

Shooting Modes Auto
Creative zone: Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual
Image zone: Pan-focus, Portrait, Landscape, Night scene, Black & White, Stitch assist and Movie
Self Timer Operates with approx. 10 seconds countdown.
Wireless Control Shooting and playback are available (Wireless controller is included in the camera kit).
When shooting, image is captured 2 seconds after shutter release operation.
PC-connected Shooting Available (at USB connection only. Exclusive software "RemoteCapture" is included in the camera kit).
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.7 image/sec.
(at Large/Fine mode and LCD viewfinder is OFF)

Image Storage

Storage Media CompactFlash (CF) card (Type I or Type II)
File Format Design rule for Camera File system (DCF*1)
Print Order Format Digital Print Order Format (DPOF)
Image Recording Format Still image: JPEG or CCD-RAW
Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG, Audio data: WAVE [monaural])
JPEG Compression Mode Super Fine, Fine or Normal
Number of Recording Pixels
Still image: Large: 2048 x 1536
Middle: 1024 x 768
Small: 640 x 480
Movie: 320 x 240, at 15 frames/sec., up to approx. 30 sec

Playback Specifications

Playback Modes

Single, Multi (9 thumbnail images), Magnification (approx. 2.5x or 5x on built-in LCD monitor) or Slide show

Erasing Specifications

Erase Modes

Single Image, All Images


Computer Interface Universal Serial Bus (USB), RS-232C/RS-422
Video Out Audio/Video Output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Other CF card slot (compliant with CF Type II standard).

Power Supply

Power Source
1. Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery (type: BP-511) (included in the camera kit)
2. AC adapter (type: CA-560) (included in the camera kit)
3. Car battery adapter (type: CR-560) (option)
Shooting Capacity Approx. 260 images (under Canon's standard conditions*2 with full-charged battery)
Playback Time Approx. 160 minutes (under Canon's standard conditions*3 with full-charged battery)

Physical Specifications

Operating Temperature 32-104oF (0-40oC)
Operating Humidity 10-90%
(W x H x D)
4.7 x 3.0 x 2.5 in.
119.7 x 76.8 x 63.8 mm (excluding protruding parts)
Weight Approx. 0.3 lb. (camera body only)

Computer System Requirements

Mac Requirements Please install the software on a Macintosh computer that meets the following system requirements.
Hardware Power Macintosh, PowerBook, iMac or iBook
OS Mac OS 8.1 through 9.0.4, Quicktime 3.0 or higher
(QuickTime 4.1 is in the CD-ROM "DIGITAL CAMERA Solution Disk" included with the PowerShot G1 standard kit)
Interface USB: Cable connection via camera's USB port is limited to genuine Apple Computer brand models with a built-in USB interface (Power Macintosh NEW G3/G4, PowerBook G3, iMac, iBook). iMac computers running OS 8.1 require installation of "iMac Update 1.0" and "iMac Firmware Update 1.0" or higher.
RS-422 Serial: Requires compatible Power Macintosh with built-in printer port or modem port.
RAM 20MB or more of application memory
PC Requirements Please install the software on a PC computer that meets the following system requirements.
Hardware IBM PC/AT compatible

Windows 95/98 (including the Second Edition)
Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 3 or higher required)
Windows 2000
Windows ME

CPU Pentium 133 MHz or better
Interface USB: Cable connection via camera's USB port is limited to pre-installed Windows 98, Windows 2000 or Windows ME systems.
RS-232C: Serial or COM port.
RAM 32MB or more (Windows 95/98)
64MB or more (Windows NT 4.0/Windows 2000/Windows ME)

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.