Wednesday, June 8, 2011

PowerShot G Prediction


G12 CameraIt’s that time again. For the past few years I’ve made my prediction for the next G series camera about this time. I predicted the G10, G11 and G12. This is not to say that my predictions have been particularly accurate; in fact, my predictions have been pretty far off although I have got a few things right. What I’m trying to do here is predict – not wish (although I’ll do a bit of that as well). I have no affiliation with Canon and no secret sources of information. These predictions are simply what I think will happen.  I make these predictions because it is fun to do so.

Previously, in predicting the G12, I began with the G series and mentioned the S series. For this prediction, I would like to first acknowledge the S series – even though I don’t have one -- and move on to the G series. Briefly, the G series will continue for one more year as a variant of the S series – instead of the other way around – because the S series is so popular. Next year, I expect the G series, as we know it, to disappear and be replaced by an entirely new product line -- I think of it as the “GX” -- having a larger sensor. I expect the S series to continue for a few more years. Now back to the next G …

It is a real challenge is to predict the next PowerShot G product name. G13 would be the obvious choice except that Canon appears to be somewhat superstitious about product names. The best example of this superstition is that Canon skipped from the PowerShot G3 to the G5 (although you can easily find discussion of “G4” attributes on some discussion forums!). Canon also skipped “G8” as a product name. Supposedly, G4 and G8 did not sound appealing or invoked unfavorable superstitions in some languages. Noting the numerical sequence of G4 and G8, some thought that G12 would also be skipped but I did not and accurately predicted “G12”. But now I’m thinking of unlucky “13” and am predicting that the next PowerShot G will be labeled G14. While I’m at it, I’ll predict that the new S series camera will be called the S100 even though there was a PowerShot S100 Digital Elph in 2000.

So I think that there will be another PowerShot G and that it will be called the G14. I think that the PowerShot G14 will be announced sometime in late August and available in mid-October 2011. These dates are typical of past announcements and availability and are probably the most accurate of my predictions. What features will be included in this G14?

First, foremost and almost certainly, the PowerShot processor will be updated and called the “Digic V”. The current Digic IV dates to 2008 and it is time for an update. Digic V will be faster, more powerful, etc., etc. than Digic IV. Digic V means that the G14 will be more responsive than the G12. Perhaps the G14 will obtain focus more quickly although it still will not be hyperactive- granddaughter quick.

The G14 will retain the form factor and general appearance of the G12, including the optical viewfinder, articulated display screen and too-small control dial. The back of the G14 will have a few more contours in an attempt to prevent inadvertent button pressing (I hope, I hope).

In addition to the new processor, the G14 will have a new sensor. The S100 will use the same sensor although, as noted previously, the real progression is that the G14 will share the sensor of the S100. That’s an easy prediction because every G series has had a new sensor (although the G12 sensor may be nearly the same as the G11). Canon will be unable to resist the siren call of the Pixels and will increase the G14 pixel count to 12MP. The sensor size, in spite of many wishes to the contrary, will remain the same as the G12 and the sensor will continue to be a CCD – not a CMOS sensor. This is a popular sensor size and Canon outsources it (from Sony according to rumor). Even while increasing pixel density, Canon will claim improved noise and high ISO performance. I hope these claims will be correct.

Features? Yes, the G14 will have additional “features” although most of these will be added with software. Add something, remove something. Most likely, the new features will be so cutesy that I cannot begin to imagine them. Perhaps there will be additional in-camera editing. The Movie Digest Mode from the SX230HS looks interesting and will be added to the G14.

A GPS system, similar to that used in the SX230HS, will be added to the G14. This is a popular feature and many have been wishing for it.

Although tempting to predict that the G14 will have full HD video (1920 x 1080), I think that the 720 HD video limit will remain although I predict that 30 fps will be added. I don’t think that optical zooming or automatic focusing during video will be added. Apparently Canon has serious reservations about noise generation during such mechanical adjustments. I do expect that some sort of audio notes will be included in the G14 – probably like the G3 or G9.

My G12 has some undocumented features (bugs) that have not been addressed with firmware updates and I think these will be corrected in the G14. Most notably, the irritating “screen blanking” when using non-Canon flash accessories will be fixed. Also, once again, the “My Colors” adjustment will be applied to JPEGs generated when shooting RAW + JPEG. On the other hand, long time shortcomings such as the 1 second shutter speed limit in Av mode will not be changed in the G14.

There you have it. I predict a rather boring evolutionary step from the G12 to the G14 except that, when you think about it, the G14 (as predicted) will be quite a nice camera. Will I buy a G14? I don’t know. Nothing in my predictions causes my wallet to vibrate. What would it take for me to get a G14? Oft debated hardware and optical features such as a larger aperture, increased focal length on the long end of the zoom and a larger control dial would be very nice additions to the G14. A really quick auto focus would be irresistible. Sadly, I don’t expect such significant changes.

The G14 will be, I think (once again!), the last of the “G” series although the classic G characteristics will be readily identifiable in the “GX” series to be announced next year. The PowerShot GX (PowerShot G is far too powerful a brand name to drop) will be a compact camera with a larger sensor (and it will be CMOS) than the current G series. The GX will not have an interchangeable lens and will not have an optical viewfinder or an electronic viewfinder. The GX will necessarily be larger than the G. I’m looking forward to the GX!

1 comment:

EP said...

I tried out the G12 at Fry's and discovered that you can zoom and autofocus in standard video mode. Sealed the deal for me!