The return of the Pixie cameras. My first day out the door with a Canon G10.

The Canon G10 is one of those compact cameras who entire niche seems about to be overwhelmed and relegated to history by the the endless improvement of smart phone cameras, but when it came on to the market back in 2008 it was something special. Compact but incredibly solid it was the first of a series of cameras that pushed the megapixel density of its sensor to the limits. It was an (almost) pocketable camera with a 28-140mm (equivalent) zoom lens and a CCD (as opposed to CMOS) sensor that had great detail and amazingly good color ----- as long as you stayed toward the low side of the ISO settings. I was always happy with the files I got from mine when I stuck to ISO 80 or ISO 100. If I wasn't going to blow up the files much I think I got pretty decent images up to ISO 400 but after that it was pretty much an exercise in Pointillism. Noise in the shadows dominated...

The G10 has a straightforward manual exposure mode, the ability to store two custom white balance settings and, most importantly (for some) the ability to shoot RAW files. The camera takes SDHC memory cards and it even features a hot shoe and an optical finder (not much to praise about that last feature...). The one feature that helps (a bit) to take the sting out of the need to shoot at low ISOs is a very good, in lens image stabilization. 

I got a "like new" G10 yesterday after having not had one for about six years. I can't remember now why I sold my original one but it must have been some rationale about not needing a small camera since I had recently jumped back into the micro four thirds, Olympus cameras. At any rate I spent some time yesterday afternoon reading the owner's manual and re-reading the old review on DPReview.com. I also ran down the battery by shooting endless video with the camera of nothing at all. I just wanted to run the battery down and then do a long charge. I had no idea about the health of the battery but a good charge seemed in order. 

One thing I was thinking about when I got my "new" G10 was the fact that Adobe must have improved the RAW file converters immensely since the launch of the G10 and, perhaps the RAW files would be even better than I remembered them. And, yes, the highlight and shadow sliders really help augment the camera's dynamic range.

I was at loose ends today, just a few e-mails to return and a few props to source for an ad agency assignment we're doing next week. So, after swim practice and breakfast with Studio Dog (the rest of the family long since headed downtown to work in the coal mines of advertising...) I grabbed the camera and one of the many 8 GB SDHC cards I'd been thinking I'd never use again, and headed over to the Blanton Museum, and then to the Humanities Research Center (aka: the Harry Ransom Center) to see just how well I might be able to hand hold the little G10 while shooting in what are, in places, dim interiors. 

I found the automatic white balance and exposure of the camera to be good and worked mostly in the aperture preferred mode but taking an active approach to both ISO changes and EV dial over rides. I could describe the results to you but the world wide web allows me to post samples images instead so I'll spare you what might have been thousands more words. 

So where are we now with this whole retro compact camera enthusiasm? Well, I've got two new batteries coming via UPS tomorrow, along with a new charger. I've also ordered a later model, the G15 as well as two new batteries for that camera. I think I'll charge all the batteries up and pack the two cameras into a small, small backpack and then take them (after swim practice) to Eeyore's Birthday Party at the park tomorrow afternoon. Should be a really long and extensive test of the way I'll be shooting with these cameras. I hope to have some more samples on Sunday or Monday. Stay tuned. 

I love the illustrations of "Mickey Mao" in the third panel from the left.

I know a lot of people in other cities think that their burgs have a lock on great photo collections but UT boasts not only the Gernsheim Collection, the first photograph, and the Magnum Print Collection but apparently about five million other artifacts of photography.....

A most boring show at the HRC. "The craft tradition in the U.S. and England in the 18th century. Mostly "literature about....." 

But just behind this divider is one of my favorite Elliott Erwitt photographs; the photograph of his very pregnant first wife laying in bed with a small kitten sitting next to her belly. 

All in all I think the G10 is a capable little camera. We'll see if I grow to love it again or if I will once again give it up. I'm older now......maybe I'm wiser...

You know the old saying, "With Age Comes Wisdom"? Well, apparently, sometimes age comes along...