Usability & Ergonomics
Even the best image quality is worthless if the camera isn't very usable. Fortunately, that isn't an issue with the Canon PowerShot G11. Canon boasts one of the most intuitive user interfaces for cameras, and the G11 continues it on.
One way in which the G11 stands out from many point & shoots is its swivel screen capability. This enables photographers to shoot from any number of angles while still being able to view the screen, as well as being able to fold the screen away when not in use to prevent scratches and other damage (more on this later in the G10 comparison section of this review). The screen is also smaller as a result of this design, though certainly still large enough for usability, and also saves on power.
The on-screen menus are clear and easy to understand, allowing you to change between a myriad of options with uncomplicated ease, whether or whether not you've used a Canon camera before. The PowerShot G11 uses a combination of dials and buttons, which leads to less fiddling with on-screen menus on the whole.
You may have some difficulty with the different buttons and dials if you have large hands, though that goes for virtually any camera interface. Its larger design makes it roomier than many point & shoots, however, so you may find it easier to use than many of the alternatives.
The PowerShot G11 is larger and heavier than most point & shoots – you'll need a pretty roomy pocket if you want to fit it in. However, this also means that it's easier to grip, making it feel much more stable in the hands.
For those people who prefer a viewfinder over an LCD screen, they will find it to be optical in nature. This means that you'll be glancing between the LCD screen for changing options such as focus and exposure and the viewfinder for composition. This will strike many photographers as being somewhat awkward to work with, as well as unfaithful to the final image, but that goes for virtually any digital camera that uses an optical viewfinder.