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We'll start with the physical bits. The PowerShot G10 is small enough to slip in and out of a pocket or purse, but without feeling flimsy or toy-like. The shape of the camera itself is somewhat blocky, but has something of an old school feel because of it—not to mention a certain ruggedness. The grip is, well, grippy, satisfyingly so, and it fits well in both smaller hands (like my own) and in larger ones as well. (Of course, you should try it for yourself for a good fit before purchase!) The G10 also has a decent 5x optical zoom, enough to get you across the street if not across the valley.
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Where there aren't buttons, there are dials, making the G10 much less LCD menu-dependent than most others in its class—a relief to all those who detest button-mashing and squinting at a poorly lit LCD screen in the sunlight. Despite this proliferation of controls, once you know which one does what, using the camera is fluid and efficient, everything easily accessible with a quick twitch of a finger. That's not to say that the LCD screen is difficult to use—on the contrary, the large, crystal clear image makes post-viewing of pictures a pleasure. The menus are also easy to navigate.
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Like many other Canon cameras, the PowerShot G10 allows for a lot of flexibility in attachments. The tripod mount is standard, and easily amendable for DIY jobs. Despite it being a “mere” point & shoot camera, the PowerShot G10 may also host a number of standard lenses. There is also an external flash attachment on the top of the camera, and two sturdy loops through which one may thread either a neck or wrist strap.
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Now, onto the photographs themselves. The PowerShot G10 allows for a lot of flexibility in composition, including RAW support and some atypical, but by no means unaesthetic, dimension choices. Of course, the G10 is completely manual as well, allowing for control over ISO, f-stop, focus, flash output, and exposure. The sensitivity is respectable, with images up to even ISO 400 being acceptably lacking in noise. There's a lot of software packed into this camera, if you're the sort who enjoys those sorts of bells and whistles, including an “I-contrast” which reduces the extreme contrast between shadow and sunlight, and excellent face recognition software.
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The only real problem with the Canon PowerShot G10, in my mind, is its insistence on using special, especially expensive, Canon rechargeable batteries, as opposed to cheap, universal AAs. Using the special charger and battery and so forth will pose a hassle to those who travel abroad and have to deal with different outlets or even no outlets at all. However, the camera itself does not sap too much power, especially on power-save mode, so this isn't a critical issue. Also, it should be noted that this is a problem shared by most high end cameras.
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However, it should be noted that since the original writing of this article, Canon has come up with a new version of this: the Canon G11. For a review of this new camera, check out this article.