As a bit of an impulse buy this week, I picked up a Canon G10 while in London. I've only shot a few hundred frames with it so far, but I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
I mainly bought it because I was so frustrated with the small/ super-compact Panasonic DMC-LX1 that I was using. I like the form factor of the DMC-LX1 but I'm almost always disappointed by the images I get from it, even when shooting in the RAW mode. The pixels are just a bit too muddy, the colours a bit off and everything just annoying enough to not be satisfying. I'd heard good things from friends with the G9 and the exchange rate was such that the UK prices weren't too bad. I wanted something to take pictures with while in London so didn't want to wait until I got home.
Before buying, I spent a bit of time holding the G10. It feels good in the hand. I big, bright LCD screen at the back and a useless viewfinder. Plenty of physical control dials - ISO, exposure compensation all right there on the top. The camera is reasonably responsive too. Maybe takes a bit too long to Auto Focus but the shutter lag isn't terrible. Far from a Canon 1D in responsiveness, but still much better than the DMC-LX1 and most other compact cameras I've used. The menu system and controls all were very straight forward for me, but I've used and owned several Canon cameras so I'm used to their conventions.
Image quality so far has been excellent, when shooting in RAW mode. Adobe Lightroom 2.2 does a great job with the files and I've been happy with the results. ISO 80 through 200 are very useable but things start to fall apart quite quickly above those levels. The wide angle lens has some quite noticeable barrel distortion going on, but I'm happy they made it wider than the G9 - it suits what I use a compact camera like this for. It is for the times I don't want to carry my heavy SLR, typically when traveling in cities or hiking, so the wider the better as far as I'm concerned.
The other thing I'm excited about is the waterproof case that's available. For a reasonable price I'll have a 14+MP camera that I can shoot underwater with. The case lets all of the functions of the camera still be used and costs less than $200. About a twentieth of the price of a waterproof case for a 1DII. High speed sync with an off camera flash also seems to be a real possibility.
I haven't tried video, haven't done anything too fancy other than shoot in Av and M mode (there are a ridiculous amount of 'scene' modes that I doubt I'll ever even use). So far at least, I'm happy with the quality and performance. It isn't a DSLR replacement, but that's probably obvious from the price point and size. Seems to be a great walk about option.