Canon G11 compact loses five megapixels

Canon PowerShot G11 gets resolution down-grade
Canon PowerShot G11 gets resolution down-grade

Canon launched a successor to its flagship PowerShot G10 compact camera today, the Canon PowerShot G11 - with five megapixels less resolution.

It has an October release date and we'll have a Canon G11 review as soon as it is out. The PowerShot G11 uses a 'high sensitivity' 1/1.7-inch 10MP CCD sensor, compared to the 14.7MP chip at the heart of the out-going G10.

Canon claims that the G11's chip will 'increase image quality' and 'greatly improve' noise performance, by up to two stops.

Smaller chip, smaller screen, larger price

The G11 also has a smaller LCD than its predecessor, with the camera squeezing the same 461,000 dots into a 2.8-inch tilt-and-swivel screen, compared to the fixed 3-inch monitor found on the G10. The G11 is fronted by the same, optically stabilised 28-140mm equivalent zoom lens, and continues to offer full manual shooting, RAW image capture and Digic 4 image processing.

The G11 does offer some new features. It has a higher flash synch speed of 1/2000 seconds and adds a mini HDMI connector - although the G11 can still only record video clips at standard def (VGA) resolutions. It also has a Low Light that makes the most of the G11's improved noise performance, offering ISO 12,800 shooting at a resolution of just 2.5MP.

The G11 will cost £570 on its release in October, while the G10 is currently selling for about £360. Whether the semi-pro photographers Canon is aiming at are willing to pay a £200 premium for a camera with fewer pixels and a smaller screen, just to improve noise performance, will be a key indicator of whether the resolution arms race is really over or just taking a breather.

Pocket rocket

Canon also announced the PowerShot S90 today, a return to its 'pocket-sized' S-series PowerShots for serious snappers looking for a compact, lightweight (175g) back-up camera.

The S90 has the same 10MP, 1/1.7-inch CCD, Dual Anti-Noise system and Digic 4 processing, as the G11, but with a 3.75x (28-105mm equivalent) lens that boasts a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture. It has a neat-looking control ring around the lens to adjust various settings by wire and sports a maximum ISO of 3200. It will be available from early October for £450.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.