Canon’s new PowerShot G11 is a versatile camera aimed at users looking for a top-drawer, do-it-all snapping solution. But then again so was its predecessor, the Canon G10 – and the G11 comes with a 10-megapixel sensor instead of the G10’s 14.7-megapixel number? What gives?

Well, the first rule when judging a camera is to basically disregard its megapixel count. The Canon G11’s sensor may be shorter on the pixel count, but it’s a better performer – a high-sensitivity CCD for better low-light shooting. More on that later.

Separated at birth

Outwardly the G10 and G11 could almost be twins. The G11 retains its predecessor’s chunky all-metal exterior (too big for most pockets), built-in flash, hotshoe, optical viewfinder and 5x stabilised optical zoom lens, but the 3in LCD has been swapped out for a 2.8-incher that can be flipped out and rotated. That makes it easier to frame shots from unusual angles or take self-portraits.

Thankfully the G11 also rocks the same plethora of buttons and dials as the G10. This setup is a dream for the clued-up photog, letting you adjust ISO, exposure and more in moments, without having to dip into the menus. Everything’s at hand. It might look a bit daunting for newbies, mind.

Hot shot

The Canon G11 can produce some fantastic shots. We’re not a huge fan of the lens at its widest (28mm equivalent), because of the pronounced barrel distortion that makes shots curvier than Beth Ditto. But it’s always sharp and exhibits far less distortion at other focal lengths (it goes to the equivalent of 140mm).

JPEG shots come bursting with vibrant colours and a punchy dynamic range, plus low noise even at higher ISO settings (ISO starts at 80 and goes up to 3200, although we wouldn’t recommend you use it at that unless you really have to). You also have the option to shoot in RAW, allowing more scope for tweaking in post-production.

No HD video

The Canon G11 can capture video too, but unlike many of its peers, this doesn’t extend to HD quality. It’s limited to a resolution of 640 x480 at 30fps – not too shabby, but not the eyeball-slicingly sharp quality HD offers.

All in all, the Canon G11 is a marked step up from the G10 and one of the finest compact cameras on the market. It’s not really the right choice for photography greenhorns or those looking for a pocket-sized camera, but as a versatile, powerful small snapper it’s up there with the very best.

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Canon PowerShot G11 review

The most serious compact has taken a step forward by taking a megapixel step back. It could be smaller, but it’s still beautiful