Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Smallest Digital Camera vs. Cheapest Digital Camera

I’ve been spending a lot of time praising my favorite digital camera, the Canon S5. But I’ve been reading many and digital camera ratings and reviews praising the Canon G9. The internet seems to really love this small digital camera (OK it's not the smallest Canon). I like the cheaper Canon S5 (OK it's not the cheapest.) Let’s put the 2 powershots head to head and talk about their advantages and disadvantages.

Canon certainly makes a lot of fine camera products (even dental cameras i think). The most popular right now are the SD400, SD450, SD600, etc, Canon XTI (expensive), Canon A710, and the newest G9. The G9 appears to be a favorite in most camera review sites I’ve seen. So, is the g9 or s5is better? Based on the press and digital camera ratings out there, you most likely would conclude the G9 is the best cannon powershot on the market right now. I disagree.

Advantages of the Canon G9
This new and popular darling Canon surely has some great features. Immediate noticeable is the huge LCD screen. This 3 inch screen is most impressive. The smaller screen on the S5 is a disadvantage, but it swivels! This is a great feature if you want to photograph yourself. No more guessing ...am I in the shot? No clear winner here.

RAW Image Format
The Powershot G9 has Raw image format. The Canon S5 does not. For me, I don’t care. RAW image format is for professional photographers who want to deal with huge file sizes. I don’t. When rating cameras I don’t consider this capability an adavantage and I think the average consumer will never use RAW format. More likely they will accidentally use it and wind up with oversized, unwieldy image files. Cannon is receiving kudos for including the RAW capability on the latest digital camera, but for me, and the average consumer, it’s no big deal.

Digital camera batteries can be a love hate affair. The Powershot G9 has a custom battery. The S5 has off the shelf AA batteries. The G9 gets 240 shots with a fully charged battery. The S5 get 170 shots with a set of batteries. Replacing AA batteries gets expensive and annoying. Waiting for your rechargeable digital camera battery to recharge is annoying. No clear winner here.

Memory Cards
When comparing cameras we should talk about memory cards. The Canon G9 has a slight advantage when it comes to memory since it has more options. The G9 can accept SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card, and HC MMC Plus Card. The Powershot S5 can only take the SD/SDHC Memory Card or the MultiMediaCard. The G9 wins this one although it’s not a terribly big deal in my book.

Who is the Smaller Digital Camera?
Everyone loves small digital cameras. Clearly the G9 wins the size battle. However the G9 is not really a pocket-sized camera. It weighs less than the S5 which weighs 15.9 oz; but still the G9 weighs 11.26 oz. That’s a bit bulky for a pocket, even a coat pocket. The G9 wins this one because the S5 is just not even close to being a pocket size camera. And the S5IS is larger in every dimension. Again however, the G9 is only slightly better in this regard.

Here we start to get into the strength of the S5: a 12x optical zoom. The G9 is clearly at a disadvantage with 6x optical zoom. Additionally the S5IS can optically zoom while shooting video. The G9 cannot. This is a huge advantage for the Canon S5 over the G9.

Again the S5 has the advantage in the Macro Mode category. The g9 can get within a centimeter of its subject in macro mode. The Powershot S5 can get right up against its subject – 0 centimeters. The s5 has super macro mode which provides this ultra close-up capability.

Which is the Cheapest Digital Camera?
Sorry G9. The Canon Powershot S5 IS is much cheaper than the G9. The Powershot G9 retails for $500. $437 on amazon. The S5 is only $320 on amazon.com. The cheapest digital camera is the S5.

Without a doubt I give a higher rating to S5IS. Go to a place where digital cameras are for sale and try out both cameras. Compare digital camera prices. I think when comparing the two cameras you will choose the S5. Small cameras are nice, but the superior features belong to the S5.