The G6 is Canon’s latest top-end model in the PowerShot range. An update of the old G5, the PowerShot G6 offers a versatile package of point and shoot options with a truck load of manual controls and sophisticated options for the enthusiast snapper.

The key kit includes 12 shooting modes (two of which are custom settings so that you can tailor camera control to your preferred way of shooting), a large 2-inch vari-angle LCD screen (it twists, turns and flips so that you can view it at almost any angle), JPEG or RAW capture, (RAW offers complete control of the results on PC, later) and it has Canon’s latest DIGIC processor for fast accurate image processing.

A 9-point AiAF (Artificially intelligent Auto Focus) set up takes care of the focusing while iSAPS, Canon’s proprietary software ‘expert’ system that has thousands of previously saved photo data stored in the camera and which it compares with the scene you’re shooting. The G6 then sets itself up, based on the ‘expert’ analysis of the scene using this data to get the best results.

You also get full PictBridge - direct printing - support (with compatible printers) for easy printing without the need of resorting to a PC; images are stored on CompactFlash Type I/II. Despite the camera’s quite blocky body it has some very nice ergonomics, the handling is very good with all the controls falling neatly under your fingers while menu options are clear and simple to use.

The camera has a neat control layout, key functions have their own external controls and a large mode dial allows you quick access to the main shooting options such as the manual controls; aperture and shutter priority and full manual control. An auto shooting mode and the landscape, portrait, night portrait and scene modes and the 640x480-pixel (max) movie mode complete the ensemble.

The on/off button is of the swing this way or that variety; one way selects capture, the other playback. It’s fast to use but is the only counter intuitive (at first) control on the whole machine.

Image quality is very good thanks to the nice 35-140mm 4x F2.0 zoom lens but things are let down by a lot of noise in the shots at ISO 400. Colours are accurate however and you have plenty of extra settings to increase vividness or shoot in black and white for example should the fancy take you.

Verdict

Although the G6 is not the most compact of digital compacts, is fairly pricey for the resolution and has more noise at higher ISOs than I'd like to see, it still packs in a huge amount of kit and has excellent handling and ergonomics. The superb lens helps record plenty of detail while the camera is particularly flexible thanks to the vari-angle LCD and versatile shooting tools.