View Full Version : Canon G3
I know some of you are using digital Canon p&s "direct view" cameras, and seek your suggestions. These may be considered "rangefinder" type cameras, or perhaps not. :-)
Anyway, I don't have one, but have developed a "need." Umm, rationalized a need. To document cleanliness and damage in vacated apartments, damage and repairs around the building inside and out, views for ads, picturing things for eBay sale, and general quick images for upload or email. I don't envision myself switching hobby/art use to digital now.
But if I'm going to snap some snaps, they should be good snaps! Researching over a period of time I think I've settled on Canon as having a more mature technology.
And no sooner did I "settle" on the G3 than it appears this model has finally been discontinued. Can't seem to find a new one. Isn't that so often the way... :-(
The reviews seem to show the G3 as having quicker processing and file-write times than the G5, probably because of the smaller file size. And the G5 is said to suffer more noise and purple fringing, perhaps due to the sensor's higher pixel density. And the G3 would be less expensive...
What do you think, RFForumers?
Another nice possibility is the Canon A80, with its articulated screen. And AA batteries. And less cost. But no RAW, and slower lens with a bit more barrel distortion at the wide end. I've been hearing a lot of praise for this little jewel.
What I think may not really matter, cause I haven't been bitten by the digital bug yet.
Still, when reading reviews of digital cameras I'm often left wondering if the reported differences between comparable models like the G3/G5 are real practical obstacles to photography. The differences may be there, but they may also be marginal and put under a magnifying glass to spice up a reviewers story. It's hard to imagine companies releasing updates of models that are truely inferior compared to their predecessors, especially in the face of strong competition.
I don't know much about the G3, but I am enjoying my G5. I have not, so far, experienced the dreaded purple fringing. I am working to overcome the lag in picture taking with pre-focus and hyperfocal distance pre-focusing. I have experienced some modest success with this. You do have the option of shooting at less than max file size, by the way and have the option of greater file size when needed. Anyway, my 2 cents.
You make a good point, Peter. The difference, perhaps minor, may not be noticed by most users. Shoppers are likely to be swayed more by the 5megapixel vs 4megapixel difference. I'm looking for excuses to keep my costs down. :-)
I have concerns too about the user interface. I do know how to use a mechanical camera and don't look forward to having to learn a new computerized interface. The more familiar analog interfaces come at far higher cost, as with the Digilux2 and forthcoming Epson.
I have some hopes with these Canons (A80, G3, G5) that I could assemble my general preferences under one or both of the custom scene settings and from then on ignore the hierarchical menus, and not bother playing back or editing photos until later on the computer.
In fact, it's attractive to avoid all this and rely on local 1-hour processing to provide some fairly quick digital images. I have empty 35mm cameras sitting around, film is cheap, processing with scans but no prints is at reasonable cost too, and there are two minilabs within 8 blocks.
I have actually been doing this, and it works ok. The attractive part of the digital camera is to directly produce a digital image on the spot for immediate use. It might be worth suffering the digital interface, if that can be minimized.
As you can tell, I'm still stirring these thoughts around, and I don't have any personal experience with digital cameras to give me guidance.
Hi Alan --Thanks for your comments. The G5 is said to be virtually identical to the G3 except for the new black color and the greater resolution. So your satisfaction with the G5 should relate equally to the G3.
How does the exposure lag affect you, generally? When is it most bothersome? There's some lag with my Fuji GA645 too, and I've been using the shutter button's exposure/focus lock feature to get prepared for the exposure, then wait for the right moment and the shutter trips immediately when I press the rest of the way.
There is shutter lag on the GA645 as it focuses. The same shutter lag exists on the G5 (and the G3, I did play with one in the store on one occasion). The difference is that it is longer. Perhaps it is just a slower mechanism (though the Fuji can be a little maddening). When I have prefocused, the delay is pretty short and I have liked some of the candid stuff I have come up with. Yet, even with this tactic, the exposure is not instantaneous and, as we have all experienced, people's movements don't take long to change. It is a compromise to be sure. But I do love working with the little machine....I like the waist level viewer and I like its small size and portability. It can be fun to use.
The G3 should do a find job for what your stated purpose is. I have two digital view finder cameras. A Sony S75 3.3Mp and an Olympus 2020 2.2 Mp. I like the Olympus for its superior near infrared ability. (I get shutter speeds in excess of 1/50 sec most of the time with a Hoya R72) And the Sony for its better picture quality. Fact is though, for the internet and to make computer "wall papers", both are more than enough. 1200 X 1600 is about it for the internet and wall papers and that is that the old oly does. I have had a lab produce several very nice 5X7 prints from the Sony. They are not all that bad from the Olympus either. Have not attempted to go larger with the digitals. With my 35mm, if I use fine grain film, a tripod, and good lenses, I get razor sharp prints in excess of 12X18 inches, On the topic of purple fringing, if you keep your images from saturating the CCD you will not get any. Purple fringing is caused when you over expose a pixle and the charge "leaks" into adjacent pixels. Or so that is what I think happens.
Thanks for the input, LionFlyer. I think 4Mp is plenty for my purposes; indeed 3Mp would probably be ok too. My wife has been using a Nikon 990 ("swivel") and it has 3Mp.
We did a test of the various combinations of resolution and compression a few years ago, had 8x12 prints made, and were impressed at how well it did. My only concern for resolution is that details and textures be sharp enough to clearly document the damages and cleanliness of rental premises.
I see B&H suddenly dropped their price of the A80 model a few days ago to $315, making eBay auctions much less attractive. Anyway, most of the auctions are for package deals with a lot of high-markup extras. But eBay might be the best bet for a G3, which seem to be going for $350-450 there. But not sure I want to pay the extra! Is it worth it?
Well, fate has spoken, and it looks like I have a G3 coming my way. $400 including a 256Mb CF card worth about $50.
I was really tempted by the sudden appearance on KEH of a near-mint G5 for $449. And even while intending to bid on the G3 I thought an A80 would be fine too.
Assuming no glitches in payment and delivery, I'm looking forward to exporing the G3, and expect it will do what I want, and more! Thanks for your helpful comments!
I've been using a G3 for over a year now and I'm quite happy with it. For documentary purposes it is ideal. When shooting at max resolution, the images are phenomenal. I often print them at 13" x 19" and the detail is just incredible. You could do a lot worse, and for the price nowdays you can't do much better.
I took the attached photo with both an Olympus XA and a Canon G3. The G3 vimage is better because I set the ISO to 50 and the XA was loaded with Fuji CZ Press 800.
Wow, that's an unsual viewpoint of a ship! And it would fit the May theme of "red" too, if it was shot this past month.
Pretty difficult to assess camera, film, or lens sharpness at low online resolutions, though some characteristics often show through. This one looks real good!
doug you are going to like the G3. i've been impressed with images up to 8x10 with mine, and the operation is very intuitive with some nice features.
the shutter lag is bothersome but that is a "feature" of all digital cameras except digital SLRs. also, i keep ISO set at 50 which is not as versatile as 400 or 800 with film. so i'm currently looking for a film rangefinder camera as an addition to my arsenal.
if your G3 deal falls through for any reason, take a look at the reviews at www.dpreview.com. this info was a major factor in my picking the G3.
Thanks tm! I have read the interesting and detailed reviews there. It led me to think the G3 was preferable. Peter suggested above that the differences between the G3 and G5 might have been exaggerated for journalistic reasons. :-)
I'm glad that you consider the operation intuitive, as this inteface issue has been my #1 reservation against the whole idea. I have downloaded pdf files of the G3 manuals from Canon's website, and I'm definitely paying attention to the ease-of-use.
The low sensitivity of the sensor is a concern too, and the resultant noise when the ISO setting is raised to some more useful value. Fortunately, the subjects I have in mine for this camera are generally stationary, so a tripod or monopod is an answer.
Good luck on your search for a film RF rig; as you've seen on this forum there are lots of interesting possibilities! You might pick a film format, then ponder whether you want auto exposure, and any other special features such as lens interchangeability.
It seems odd, but after a great enthusiastic build-up of a system camera, enough to fill a large camera bag, some of us find that virtually all of what we want to do can be accomplished with a simple rig with fixed 40mm lens. So, after all that gethering of gear, we may come right back to our origins with something like a Konica Hexar AF, Olympus 35RC, or Canonet!
I started with a simple 35mm RF, acquired a pile of Pentaxes over the years, and now favor a couple of 645 format RF cameras.
Thanks again for your comments.
Considering how you're going to use it, find the cheapest one you can. You're not going after fine art -- you just need usable shots.
Any 3MP camera should be fine.
doug using the G3 on a tripod makes me think your are going to love it rather than just like it! i didn't think much about the fold out, swivelling viewfinder before i made the purchase but it now is one of my favorite features. i don't understand why digital SLR's don't follow suit.
i appreciate your comments on finding an RF. i'm digging thru old posts here as well as other forums trying to educate myself. since i wear glasses and favor the nikon high-eyepoint finders, it looks like a leica M with the 0.58 finder would be ideal for me :-) reality however will probably be a canonet or similar, if i can get over my reluctance to take the gamble on used camera gear!
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