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Thread: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

  1. #1

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    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    I have managed to acquire a Canon Powershot G2 from a well known auction site for a budget price (well, my budget anyway!). It looks to be feature rich so hopefully it will give me a start in digital photography.
    Anyway, I would be interested to hear from you if you own one or previously have owned one. Your experience of using it, good/bad but mostly positive I hope!. It seems to have a pretty good spec. which will allow scope for learning and creativity.

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Hi
    This camera was launched in 2001,4 Megapixels.Good to get used to a digital camera without expecting too much,get to know your equipment really well,features and limitations,then find your niche of interest and later upgrade , you will then know exactly what you are looking for.I started with a Sony with similar specs .Have fun!

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    I had a G10 which is a really nice p & s camera. Just got tired of it not doing as much as I wanted it to. You will like it, but soon want more.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Thanks Liz and Siggy for your replies. I believe I have made the right choice for my current budget and your replies confirm the route I am thinking of. I will try this, see how it goes, find out the good and bad then go from there. I am looking forward to getting some images done with it. Have now got to rely on postal system for delivery!

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Gary,

    Will you get the user's manual for the camera? If so, read it thoroughly and then read it again. if there is anything you don't understand, post a query on CiC and I am sure someone will be able to help you. If you don't have the manual, you can find it online here: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/suppor...s/powershot_g2

    The Canon G2 is a very capable camera. You can get a lot of information regarding its bells and whistles by perusing the Internet and doing a Google search using "Canon G2" as the search parameters. Here is an example of one of the hits from that search: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong2/

    Remember, all cameras are simply light proof boxes with some sort of lens (or even a pinhole) which passes light and film or a digital sensor that records the light. This is true for the G2 or for the latest professional Canon 1Dx camera which costs many thousands of dollars.

    All digital images need some post procesing. If you get the Compact Disks that originally came with the camera, you will have a fairly adequate photo editing program. If you don't get the Canon editing program there are free editing programs such as Picasa and Gimp available to download.

    Now, if you have a memory card, which may come with along with the camera, you are set for absolutely FREE photography. You can shoot hundreds of exposures every day and not have to worry about the cost of film or processing. Those savings will soon repay you for the price of the camera.

    Have fun and start posting images. The tutorials available from above are a great help...

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    I started digital photography with a secondhand G2, Gary. And believe it or not, back in 2002 that camera cost 700; I purchased mine for half that price.

    Actually, I still have it. Found it a couple of days ago while turning out some old equipment. Thought for a few minutes, then put it back in the box as it's still too good to throw away.

    The trouble with mine is that the review screen only works intermittently but everything else is fine.

    A bit low in pixels by today's excessive standards, but I managed reasonable A4 prints.

    It's a fairly good lens although the zoom is possibly a bit on the short side for some people. I did get an extender which screwed onto the front and increased the length by 1.4x; although you then have to use the screen as a viewfinder.

  7. #7

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    The Canon G2 arrived yesterday and all seems as described. No manual though (Thanks to Richard for the link to find this). Its amazing that a camera which is 10 years old has so many features. Geoff, said that its cost price was 700 then. I managed to get it for 20! Canon must have been releasing one every year as I have seen a G9 advertised. It makes you wonder how they improve them. Lighter, faster I guess!!

    I noticed in one of the camera magazines a new fully featured compact was being reviewed and that is around 700. So, things, I guess haven't changed much.

    I can also see that the points made by Siggi and Liz are certainly true. It provides a good starting point but I can also see that potentially it could have limitations. The immediate one is the size of the LCD which gives only limited feedback and is quite difficult to judge the composition. But, hey I can't complain for the price I have got more than enough features to try.
    My initial moves will be to you use the Auto mode and see what happens from there.

    There is one thing that maybe someone can help me with. I think the setting is under compression it offers, I think normal, fine and superfine? Can anyone enlighten me what difference these make to the final image?

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Those settings refer to the quality of the image. With Superfine representing the smoothest edge, although at the cost of more pixels and fewer images per card.

    But things have also changed with regard to CF card sizes. When I upgraded my card to 512 Mb I was accused of getting something excessive!

    And that camera also shoots Raw so with a much bigger card that is certainly something to consider.

  9. #9

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    I am beginning to find my way around the camera now and have found in the settings menu a number of defaults. One of these is the ISO. Its default is 50. I was wondering if as a starting point I would be better off using something higher say 200? I say this as from some of my notes that I have written down is that ISO 200 is suitable for a wide range of subjects and light conditions. Whereas below 100 is for brightly lit subjects and still life's. I will change it upto 200 and see what results that brings. But, would be interested in anyone's views.

    **addition**
    From some further reading it seems as though above 100 on the G2 it gets 'noisy' so perhaps I might make that the limit for the moment.

    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 17th January 2012 at 02:38 PM. Reason: additional info.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Noisy imagery

    One of the biggest faults resulting in noise is underexposure.

    Noise can be reduced with noise reduction software. Although I have not used any of these free programs, here are some free noise reduction softwars programs available for downloading...

    http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...n-software.htm

    http://download.cnet.com/Hi-ISO-Nois...-10860557.html


    Perhaps some of the CiC members are better acquainted with free noise reduction software...

  11. #11

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    Re: Noisy imagery

    The maximum ISO for that camera is 400 so 100 would be ideal although 200 should be possible under good conditions.

    There are normally two reasons for requiring a high ISO. Either the light is poor or you need a very high shutter speed/narrow aperture under good light.

    With the first category, you are likely to have some problems with noise particularly in the shadow area with high ISO numbers. However, you can get away with higher ISO, to some extent, when the light is reasonable.

    There is an Auto ISO setting but the danger with this is that it will always choose the lowest possible setting which can be at the expense of shutter speed/aperture.

    I would always prefer to risk a little background noise than to compromise the shutter speed which would result in blurred shots anyway.

    Incidentally, I have found my old G2 instruction manual. What shooting modes have you tried? I quickly abandoned the auto settings and mostly used Tv or Av but occasionally M or P.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgreygary View Post
    .... I think the setting is under compression it offers, I think normal, fine and superfine? Can anyone enlighten me what difference these make to the final image?
    The tradeoff of these settings is the amount of JPEG compression that's applied to the image. The scale is from most compression (normal) to least (superfine). The more compression you use, the smaller the resulting file will be, but the more color data will be discarded.

    JPEG compression works by a "nearest neighbor" algorithm. When neighboring colors are very similar, the difference is discarded, and the same color value is used for both. The amount of compression determines how wide an amount of color difference you're willing to discard. So, essentially, Normal will also yield the fewest different colors, while "superfine" will yield the most. Chances are good, you may not notice anything different at all between the compression levels if you deliver at small sizes and don't do much post-processing manipulation.

    However. Once you start to manipulate the colors, as you would in post-processing, that's when you can start to see some really weird side effects of JPEG's 'lossy' compression scheme. And that's why a lot of us choose to shoot RAW (raw data dump from the sensor), rather than use a compressed JPEG file, or if we shoot JPEG, we'll typically do it at L-superfine (larger size, least compression) to retain as much data as possible.

    You can always discard additional data. You can almost never recover it.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Thanks Kathy and Geoff for your replies. The defaults for the camera were L and fine. I did change the fine to superfine without knowing what it really did. So, thanks Kathy for clarifying that. There is an option to create the image in RAW so I will try that option as well. I have found a 'plugin' that works with GIMP software to process RAW files as well so I am looking forward to try this option.

    Geoff, I started out by using the 'Auto' mode. Initially, I wanted to get a 'feel' for the camera and I thought this would be the best option. The resulting images were mixed, although I cannot blame the camera as I suspect it is more down to my own knowledge and experience. They seemed ok when the light was even but when it was mixed and created contrasting dark and light then I got both under and over exposure.

    So my next move was to use aperture priority. I set it to f/8 (max. available) WB was set to auto. When doing this the shutter speeds were slow 1/3, 1/2 and 1 sec. The images again were a mixed bag. One consistent problem was overexposed skies which came out the majority of times white! Again, can't blame the camera I think it's down to my knowledge and experience. One of the reasons I posed the question about ISO was I thought that this might offer higher shutter speeds and might help the over exposure problem. I did also try the different metering options Matrix, centered and spot. At the moment this is all spinning round in my head as I try to understand what's happening and what I need to do to improve the quality of the image.

    The camera came with a 2GB card so I have plenty of room to experiment! I like to go out with some sort of plan to try and then adjust as necessary (not confident enough yet to do in the field!). I tend to analyse when I get back and then form another plan. So, if anyone would like to contribute thoughts/ideas to help then I will be very interested to hear them.

    *addition*

    I have added the image which might make it easier to see what I am describing. There was a frost on the ground so perhaps that might have been part of the problem? I have only resized it with no other processing.

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2


    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 18th January 2012 at 01:58 PM.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Today, I had a look back at some images which I shot with my G2 and found that many were suffering from camera shake caused by using too low a shutter speed. Over exposed areas was another frequent problem.

    I started off by mostly using the P setting and didn't fully understand the necessity of checking the shutter speed carefully. I assumed that this relatively small digital lens wouldn't need so much speed as larger film lenses. And in those days, I hadn't fully understood the importance of subject (or photographer) movement; particularly as many of my shots were taken on my fishing boat.

    It seems that you really need to think about your shooting position with that lens. It isn't as forgiving of difficult lighting conditions as modern dslr equipment. My shots with the light correctly behind me worked a lot better than when it was from the side, or worst of all, in front of me.

    But some scenes like your example, Gary, would be a struggle for expensive equipment to fully capture with just one shot. Often, you have no option except allowing the sky to over expose a little or meter and shoot for the highlights then try to recover the darker areas with post processing tweaks.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    The "white skies" thing is because of dynamic range. You often run into this when you shoot into the light source, rather than having it behind you.

    Basically, your eye can see more shades of light-to-dark than your camera sensor can or your computer monitor can display. The sky is "blown", or brighter than the sensor can record, so everything ends up as white.

    One technique that's used to darken skies is to put a circular polarizing filter in front of the lens. Some of the light from the sky is polarized, so you can cut it down with a polarizer. Another technique is to use a graduated neutral density filter. An ND filter is one that's color-neutral (gray), and a graduated one is one where you have a gradient of darkness. A graduated ND will be dark on the top and light on the bottom, and there's a gradual fade over in the middle. You put the dark part over the sky. You can also do this digitally in some software packages.

    Another technique you can use is HDR or exposure fusing, where you take bracketed images at different exposures with the camera on a tripod, then combine the exposures digitally using specialized software. With HDR software, colors are digitally represented by a larger set of values than standard graphic file formats can encompass, and the exposure are shifted numerically so the entire black-to-white dynamic range can be represented. This file is then "tone-mapped" out and compressed down into what is visible in standard file formats and monitors. This can result in some interesting effects. With exposure fusing, pixels are selected based on specific criteria, so, say, the pixels that represent the sky of the underexposed shot are used in a final image. You can also do it manually with masks and layers.

    I use exposure blending with an open source tool called enfuse via a Lightroom plugin, or the open-source panostitching package, Hugin:

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Thanks again Kathy for your post. Lots of interesting things to explore. After reading the dynamic range tutorial this part was interesting:

    Technical Note: In some digital cameras, there is an extended low ISO setting which produces less noise, but also decreases dynamic range. This is because the setting in effect overexposes the image by a full f-stop, but then later truncates the highlights thereby increasing the light signal. An example of this is many of the Canon cameras, which have an ISO-50 speed below the ordinary ISO-100.

    I have read a couple of other articles that suggest overexposure might be an issue with this camera. But, as they say not a problem but a challenge!

    The default on the G2 is ISO-50, so I will try using ISO-100 to see what effect that has. I will also try the AEB (auto exposure bracketing) function as well. The open source software I use is called Digikam which has an option to blend images which uses the enfuse plugin. So, I will definitely give that a try.

    Unfortunately, at the moment tripod, filters are not an option as I don't have the funds. But, they are on my list for future purchase.

    It's going to be great fun trying these options and seeing the results! I will post an image when I get to that point. As always comments and input welcomed!!!

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Hi Gary,
    You are where I was 2 years ago, I started with a Kodak Z8612 (still use it occasionally) until a few months ago when my kids got me a Nikon D5000 dSLR.
    You'll have oodles of fun, exploring all the features of the G2.
    There's not much I can contribute, others have done a better job of that. But I will most certainly follow your progress.
    Good luck and go take some pictures
    Last edited by Kris V; 19th January 2012 at 02:52 PM.

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Don't worry about filters, Gary, they aren't available for this camera. Using the bracketed exposure settings to create HDR photos could work providing you have suitable editing software and a tripod. Even one of the cheap tripods would help.

    Today, I turned out my old G2 and got a new date battery for it. The main battery is the same as on some of my other cameras. So I had a little play around with it although the light was very poor.

    Shooting into the light, in my garden, produced the same results as you found and although I was able to try a shot which was correctly exposed for the sky everything else was so dark that I was unable to recover sufficient details to make the shot usable.

    However, a few other shots, where the light was more uniform produced some interesting results.

    Here are a few quick shots, which were taken in poor conditions, with my old G2 and also with a camera and lens which cost around 2,000. I think you may find the results encouraging. Both with Tv setting at 1/125. The G2 had ISO 100.

    Both handheld. The G2 was large superfine jpeg setting while the better equipment was Raw. Some basic editing applied.

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    The G2 on Auto White Balance was decidedly on the blue side but this is relatively easy to improve with a little editing. The colour range of the more expensive equipment is a little smoother but I didn't think there was that much difference between the two cameras.

    In each case, the G2 is the first image.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 19th January 2012 at 05:54 PM. Reason: photos added

  19. #19

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Hello Kris,

    Thanks for your encouraging words. I am at the bottom of the hill at the moment but looking forward to working my way upwards!

    Cheers for now

    Gary

  20. #20

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    Re: Digital on a budget - Canon Powershot G2

    Hello Geoff,

    I certainly do find the images very encouraging!! I agree that it is difficult to differentiate between the two. But, I would suspect that the more expensive camera allows a great deal more flexibility than the G2. But, I think that as I am finding out that it gives me more than enough to think about! I would like to get a tripod as it does get mentioned as a straightforward way to improve images. I will have to see what I can do.

    As with Kathy I use open source software and the software options she suggested exist in Digikam which offer an opportunity to blend images together. I think it is labelled as 'psuedo HDR'. Definitely worth a try. Without some sort of filtering I think that shooting into the light will be problematic with the G2.

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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