Friday, July 1, 2011

GX: Wishin’ and Hopin’

In my G14 predictions, I emphasized prediction and not wishing. As a result of attempting to be realistic, my prediction is not particularly exciting but I’ll stand by it (even though rumors of the S100 indicate a new lens might be coming). Several readers have let me know that they hope I am wrong and, actually, I do too. I can’t imagine buying the predicted G14 but I could buy a “GX” if it were an innovative expansion and upgrade of the G12. Here’s my wish list.

Thinking in terms of photography, the four basic parameters need upgrading on the G12:

  • 1) Sensitivity – increase ISO, dynamic range plus reduce noise
  • 2) Shutter speed – remove 1 s max in Av, 15 s max otherwise
  • 3) Aperture – one more stop at all focal lengths
  • 4) Optics – wider and longer zoom

Of course, optics, aperture and physical size are linked so these wishes mean the GX would probably be physically larger than the G12. That’s OK with me as long as the GX remains smaller than, say, the old G3. One way to vary the optics would be interchangeable lenses. The GX could come with a small, inexpensive “kit” lens, say 35mme to 70mme at f4, and have three or four optional lenses available – including a small “pancake” design with fixed focal length. Ideally, a lens adapter would allow existing Canon DSLR lenses to be used on the GX. If the GX is to be adaptable to existing Canon DSLR lenses then image stabilization will be a part of the lens design and not the sensor. No doubt someone would reverse engineer the GX adapter so that lenses from other manufacturers could be used as well.

Why do we wish for a larger sensor? OK, I’m aware of all that stuff but my point is that we should ask for sensor features at high quality and not presume the physical size – let the Canon engineers worry about the sensor size. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Canon came out with new technology that produced APS-C results from the current sensor physical size?

And then there’s video. As a believer in the convergence of video and still photography, I almost included video in my basics list. It is easy and obvious to wish for the upgrade from 720p HD to full 1080p HD video as part of the GX feature set but don’t forget about manual controls. Give me an optical zoom, please (but a quiet one) and a plug-in for an external microphone.

Thinking of features, I’d like to see the following on the GX:

  • Dramatic improvements in focus and shutter lag
  • a manual “street” mode (display off, instantaneous response)
  • RAW + adjustable JPEG simultaneous shooting
  • Flash control like Canon DSLRs including master controller
  • Touch screen for menu-like settings (only)
  • Larger and higher resolution screen (articulated)
  • graduated neutral density filter (in addition to existing ND filter)
  • something cutesy that I won’t be able to imagine.

Things I can give up … well, why give up anything?  Maybe the optical viewfinder. 

I’ll accept all this in August but am not expecting it.

Oh, and keep the $500 price tag!

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