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Any Canon Powershot S5IS or G9 users out there?

George Brown

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George Brown

I have been using an early Canon ELPH (S100 - 2.1 megapixels) for several years and have been holding off purchasing a more powerful digital camera in hopes the SLR’s would come down in price.


On the 35mm side, I have been using a Canon Rebel for about 10 years with two auto-focus Canon zoom lens: a 28-105mm (f1:3.5-4.5) and a 75-300mm (f1:4-5.6). Combined, these two lens meet my needs. I also have a Canon 550EX Speedlight. Having 5 grandchildren, who seem to have frequent school programs, etc, I use the speed light a lot. It really throws the light out.


I had been thinking of buying a digital Rebel XT body only (or, more recently the XTi) and continue to use my lenses. Recently I learned the Rebels do not use a full frame mat and hence a 1.7 conversion factor is required to use the 35mm lenses. Applying the CF turns my 28-105mm lens into a 47-175mm lens thereby eliminating it’s use for wide angle shots. I shoot a lot of wide angle photos for family parties, etc.


So, if I want to stay in the Canon SLR family I either have to buy a Rebel and an additional lens or move up to the EOS level SLR’s, which cost more than I want to spend. To move to another brand's SLR family would mean new lenses and flash.


This has got me looking at the Powershot S5IS or G9. The 35mm film equivalent of S5IS’ lens is 35-432mm and the G9’s is 35-210 mm. The G9 falls short on both ends of the range to what I have now and the S5 exceeds the long end but falls short on the wide angle end. I could probably live with the difference of the S5 as for years I used a 35mm wide angle lens for group shots.


Both the S5 and the G9 have a hot shoe, so I will still be able to use my Speedlight – even though it will weigh more than the camera.


Any thoughts on either of these cameras will be appreciated - especially if anyone has any first hand experience with either of them.



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George I have a G9 that I purchased several months ago. Prior to that I had a G7.


I down-sized from a DSLR (1Ds). The G9 is a nice little camera and capable of taking many fine shots. I was using it with a 550EX, but it would was only fully capatible in the Auto mode, which was a little trying. I prefer to shoot in the manual mode. Here's a link to some recent shots with the G9 ( http://www.pbase.com/bricciphoto/battley_tech_day_08 ). I have the wide angle converter, which is somewhat cumbersome due to its size, particularly when combined with a full size flash.


If you have particular questions, please feel free to ask.

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I ow an S3IS (whose performance is similar) and am very satisfied with it. In short, due to the size of the image sensor and the limitations due to the physical size and cost of the lens it can't compete technically with XTi for pixel peepers, but if expectations are kept reasonable performance is surprisingly good at low-to-moderate ISOs. Forget extreme high ISO settings with this camera but the very effective image stabilization can help compensate for that. If you are looking for 11x14+ prints then you may want to stay with a dSLR, but if cost & size enter into the picture and you want a big zoom (with excellent macro capabilities as well) then the Cannon S cameras are about the best of the bunch. The G9 will have slightly better (if not as versatile) optics and features such as RAW output so at that point in the comparison you need to start to consider what specific features are important to you.

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You're probably already aware, but the kit lens for the XTI is an 18-55mm lens. The price difference between the body only and the kit is something like $80. It's a very decent lens for that money. It's an EF-S lens, so the 18-55 does not have to be converted.


Maybe it's the answer, maybe not. But you've already got $$$ invested in lenses and a flash, so I hate to see you lose the flexibility of an SLR when you're already so close.


Good luck with your decision.


Also, I highly recommend B&H Photo . No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.

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I have a G9 with the 430EX flash. It works great for motorcycling. Small enough to carry and great quality. I use an E-1 for more serious stuff and am considering buying an E-3. Just can't beat an SLR for stuff that is moving fast outdoors. Can't imagine carrying a DSLR plus a lens or two and flash on a motorcycle. They are both good at different things.


HOWEVER, with your investment in Canon lenses I would think it is worth looking at a Canon DSLR with a digital specific lens that gives you the wide angle. Check and make sure that your lenses and flash work completely with the new digital body!


Either way seems to work. I have to think that you are likely to want both in the long run.

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Either way seems to work. I have to think that you are likely to want both in the long run.
Greg called it right...


I have at work Canon D20, Canon D30, and own personally a G9. I LOVE MY G9. Huge display, sharp pictures, hot shoe, great flash for average use. I do find myself wishing it was wider at low end...sometimes. A little noisy in low light, but well exposed photos are tack sharp and well rendered. Beautiful jpegs, raw, and the daytime video capabilities are very good! In the tank bag, or coat pocket. Yes, bigger than a 'little' digital camera, but does SO many things just like a Canon SLR. Auto bracketing, exposure compensations, custom white balances, etc, etc. grin.gif


It ISN'T an SLR. frown.gif


Let me explain. I knew that I wanted to buy a personal SLR in the next few years, but I needed a GREAT digital camera now. Since I don't have any personal Canon SLR, I would have needed to buy lenses and accessories.


The G9 is as close to having an SLR as you will come if you know how to use all the features it has to offer. It's like a digital version of a Leica. It has a great lens. I'm so glad I bought it. Use it ALL the time. But at the end of the day, it's a niche camera for people who know how to use an SLR. thumbsup.gif


In my opinion, you won't be sorry you bought it. At the end of any particular day or trip I can only identify one or two times I thought, "Oh... an SLR would have been better here". I end up with lot's of GREAT photos.


(Side note on the 5IS... I've heard rumors of pop-up flash issues)

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