Camera Reviews
by Brad Soo on September 6 2009

Hey, I hope everyone’s having a great long weekend. But are you still feeling all excited about Canon’s new cameras? Can’t wait for our Canon PowerShot G11 review? Here’s a little something to temporarily quell your Canon G11 lust (or S90 lust) – a nice and simple comparison of the PowerShot G11’s feature set versus its predecessor (G10) and mini-G partner (S90). Hit the link to read more!

DPInterface Canon PowerShot G11 feature set comparison vs G10 and S90

Brad Soo – September 6th, 2009

Difference Canon PowerShot G10 Canon PowerShot G11 Canon PowerShot S90
Resolution 14.7 megapixels 10.0 megapixels 10.0 megapixels
Sensor size 1/1.7 inch CCD 1/1.7 inch CCD 1/1.7 inch CCD
Lens 28 – 140 mm
F2.8 – F4.5
28 – 140 mm
F2.8 – F4.5
28 – 105 mm
F2.0 – F4.9
LCD screen 3.0 inch (460k pixels) 2.8 inch (460k pixels) 3.0 inch (460k pixels)
Rotating LCD No Yes No
Optical finder Yes Yes No
Shutter speed 1/4000 to 15 seconds 1/4000 to 15 seconds 1/1600 to 15 seconds
ISO range 80-1600 at full-res 80-3200 at full-res 80-3200 at full-res
Flash range
Wide-angle
Telephoto
(Auto ISO)
30 cm to 4.6 m
50 cm to 2.8 m
(Auto ISO)
50 cm to 7.0 m
50 cm to 4.0 m
(Auto ISO)
50 cm to 6.5 m
50 cm to 2.5 m
Flash hotshoe Yes Yes No
Custom mode 2 mode spots 2 mode spots 1 mode spot
Custom WB memory 2 settings 2 settings 1 setting
Low-light mode No Yes Yes
Burst mode
Normal
Continuous AF
1.3 FPS
0.7 FPS
1.1 FPS
0.7 FPS
0.9 FPS
0.6 FPS
Movie mode VGA (640 x 480) at 30 FPS with mono sound VGA (640 x 480) at 30 FPS with mono sound VGA (640 x 480) at 30 FPS with mono sound
Battery life (LCD) 400 shots 390 shots 220 shots
Size (mm) 109.1 x 77.7 x 45.9 112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 100.0 x 58.4 x 30.9
Weight (grams) 350 355 175

Oh, just a few quick words to explain things a bit: the Canon PowerShot G11 uses the same lens as the G10 and the same image sensor as the S90. Both the Canon PowerShot G11 and G10 feature optical viewfinders with identical specifications and dioptric correction (for people who wear glasses).

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39 Comments

  1. Malcolm September 15, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this chart, I for one, am about to buy a digital point and shoot and find this really useful. As for now I’m kinda swaying towards the G11. But i’m also considering the Panasonic LX3, the Leica D-Lux 4 and the Olympus EP-1.

  2. Eric Fleetwood September 26, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for the great chart! I am debating between the G10 and G11. Do you have an opinion as to which would be better for underwater photography? I am concerned that the smaller LCD screen of the G11 will be more difficult to see detail underwater. My close vision is not very good.
    Thanks.

    • Brad September 26, 2009 Reply

      Hi Eric, it depends on how often you’re going to take the camera underwater. The 0.2 inch difference in LCD size isn’t very big, but if you’re planning to take underwater pictures on a frequent basis, you’d probably be better off getting the largest LCD screen you can find.

    • Bruce Schaller January 5, 2010 Reply

      Everything is magnified 33% underwater anyways….

      • Eric Fleetwood January 5, 2010

        True, however there is less available light, which reduces focal length (close vision) due to larger aperture (pupil) opening. If the choice were mine when I started diving (1970) I would certainly pick the G11. Of course I could barely afford a $3 air fill back then. I went with the G-10, and like it very much. I may lose a little in a low light situation, but at least I’ll be able to clearly see what I’m shooting.

        I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. They let me factor in the various preferences and weigh them against my own needs. My current situation, and this discussion page remind me of a time, probably in high school, when I read a poem about an old man “whose eyes have grown dim.” I didn’t really understand it. Now I do. Older people need more light in order to see or read. Even with corrective lenses. It may well be that the dividing line on this page falls around age 45, with those younger preferring the G-11, and those older going for the larger screen.

  3. David October 2, 2009 Reply

    Brad I disagree being a diver. Low light ability is more important than screen size…especially when we are talking about 0.2″ (grin). Both have the improved low light ability (and ISO 3200 which will me too grainy but gives you options), but the G11 will be easier for underwater housing companies (i.e., Ikelite) to engineer. Both will be great cameras, but think about the engineering in the housings. How are you going to change those manual settings using the ring underwater? Maybe some kind of rubber belt or clock wheel contraption…who knows. They will eventually figure it out, but for scuba you will see a G11 housing months before you see a S90 housing. Think about it, the G10 has been out for awhile and the G11 isn’t that different, so you will see underwater housings on the easiest to design: G11. You will also have a lot more housing options from different manufacturers too. You mentioned diving…shall we talk about flash (i.e., TTL)? dSLR’s don’t change to a new model as quickly as do point-and-shoots, so if you are going to spend $600 to $1400 for a housing, you better get the housing ASAP to get the maximum life out of your scuba setup. Hope that helps and have provoked additional questions.

  4. Eric Fleetwood October 2, 2009 Reply

    Thanks to both Brad and David. I should have mentioned that I am 59 years old, with presbyopia. I wear contact lenses for the loss of close vision, but still, the .2 inches may make a difference. Do either of you have experience with the G10 shooting moving subjects (e.g., fish)? Does the G10 focus and shoot quick enough to capture moving sea creatures?

    I only get to dive once per year, for about 10 days, so a DSLR set up for $4,500+ is not justified (plus I can’t afford it). My Canon SD790IS is great for documenting what I see, but the lack of depth of field is obvious. I’m hoping that a G10 would give me increased depth of field without having to cough up $5K.

    Thanks again.

    • Dustin November 16, 2009 Reply

      I was told by a canon rep that the G11 went down to 10 MP due to the difficulty processing the 14.7 in low light conditions. Diving as you know is generally low light and the G11 is supposedly superior to the G10 in low light and should therefore be better in underwater scenerios. I am also comparing the two and I think I will go with the G11. The G10 is a nice point and shoot though and would be hard to go wrong with.

    • Bruce Grebeldinger December 18, 2009 Reply

      I have a G10 in the Canon housing and shot several thousand photos underwater.
      The G10 was spectacular and absolutely floored my dive buddies shooting housed SLR’s.
      In particular the set up is nice and small allowing you to get into tight spots the big guys couldn’t. As well the zoom allowed some great closeups from distance.
      I just gave the rig to my daughter, a scientific diver, and she has taken great shots as well.

      The only issue is strobe lighting, I had to use an optical link to fire the strobe which wasn’t as handy as TTL but worked very nicely.

      The G11 with enhanced low light capability should be even better.
      If you want to shoot good UW video then so far you have to go with a vid camera, these don’t hack it. As far as fish in motion, the G10 at least can shoot burst and that saved many a shot.

      Take a look here at some of my pics, the early ones are film this is G10: http://lineareagle.smugmug.com/Underwater/Diving/2404780_BjTTu#543975672_Fxphj

      • Eric Fleetwood December 20, 2009

        Thanks for the valuable feedback, and the link to the fabulous photos! I have purchased a G10 (I need the larger display more than I need enhanced low light capability) and look forward to diving with it next year, probably from Ambergris Caye, Belize.

        Your comment about buddies with SLR’s is especially helpful. I was using a Canon SD790IS, and my wife, who uses a Nikonos always complained about the lack of depth of field, or crushed blacks. One reason for stepping up to the G10 was to convince her that underwater digital photography can be first rate. And the ability to quickly shoot multiple shots is always useful underwater. I find many of the fish to be rudely uncooperative.

        I already have an Inon D2000-3 strobe, and will use it with the G10, with optical link. I was glad to hear that it works nicely.

        Again, thanks for the post and the link to your great photos.

  5. Marco October 2, 2009 Reply

    I’m also considering the Panasonic LX3. It would be nice if you would include a comparison between G11 and LX3.

  6. Chris October 17, 2009 Reply

    Guy’s,

    i’m from Holland and for underwater shooting i would go with the G11. A great lens and best in class low light shooting. It even has a underwater setting on it!!

    Have a lot of fun and shooting (foto shooting of course 😉

    Chris

  7. Chris October 17, 2009 Reply

    Ps. for the underwater setting, see the user guide (downloadable from canon.com)

  8. Craig October 25, 2009 Reply

    Well guys, I am a still photographer and my understanding is the screen won’t make that much of a difference on the G10 but what will make a bigger impact underwater because of dimmer light would be the G11. I would imagine that the reason they dropped the resolution in the G11 is, if you have the same size sensor and more pixels you will have more noise in low light. You can use bigger pixels which gather more light than the smaller ones. So my guess is the G11 would be better in low light because of the larger pixels in it.

    • Brad October 25, 2009 Reply

      Yes, what you have just said is correct. The G11’s sensor, which is of the same size as the G10’s but with less pixels, will in theory produce better pictures (lower noise overall, doesn’t have to be specifically low-light but it helps).
      Eric’s situation above is different, however, as he would want a screen as large as possible due to his eyesight.

  9. [edit] andy October 26, 2009 Reply

    I have found the comparison of new canon powershots S90 vs G11 check it out its also cool

  10. Rebecca November 22, 2009 Reply

    Not planning to dive with it but I am a novice photographer wanting to take some great shots of my 2 year old. Of the g10 and g11, which do you recommend?

    • Brad November 22, 2009 Reply

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for writing in. I would recommend the PowerShot G11 for your purpose – the new ‘low noise’ image sensor of the G11 (also shared by the Canon S90) will allow you to take photos at higher ISO with less noise (good for capturing children in motion) and the flip-out and swivel LCD might come in handy for angled shots. If price is a factor, then the G10 is a cheaper but still a great camera, or you consider the S90 which shares the same image sensor as the G11 with some features cut down but it’s cheaper and a lot smaller than the G10/G11 cameras. Hope this helps

  11. Florida Student November 27, 2009 Reply

    THANKS to you all- Brad, Chris, Craig, and David for the most helpful inputs yall have provided. I am a college student that is taking a couple of trips (off-seasons, of course) to Mexico and Thailand very soon. I am also an avid scuba diver. After nearly 3 months of research of learning all about cameras (and still am), I believe the camera for me would be the G11 over the S90, seeing how it will also help in the cases of shuttle launches, scuba/surfing shots.
    I really do appreciate all of your inputs and hopefully in the future will be able to read more comments over different cameras. But for now, this should last me for 5years or so. LoL. My funding is quite ‘tight’ 😉
    Again, Thank you all!!!
    -Student-

  12. BL December 14, 2009 Reply

    I am about to go to a game park in South Africa. I would prefer not to take my DSLR — Canon XTI. I have a 70-200 lens but that’s too big to carry. So I’m debating between the G10 or G11, and getting the Tamron 18-270 lens and take the DSLR. My preference would be the smaller camera. But with a 5x zoom I fear I will be disappointed by the inability to get “closer” with the bigger zoom on the Tamron lens. So I’m curious your thoughts about the use of the G10 or G11 for this purpose. And, if you do think the 5x is a legitimate concern, what about using an extender — perhaps a 2x extender?

    • Brad December 14, 2009 Reply

      Hi BL, thanks for writing in. Yes indeed I feel that the 5X lens is something to be concerned about – 140 mm at max telephoto would barely be close enough for many wildlife and landscape shots, unless you can get within a 100 feet or less from your subject. As an owner of a 70-200 lens myself, I do agree that it’s a hassle to carry, plus you’d need a supplementary lens to cover the wide-angle side. I think getting the Tamron lens you mentioned would be a good choice; at least you’ll be covering both wide-angle to extreme telephoto using one (relatively compact lens). You’re also lucky in the sense that the XTi body itself is smaller than most mid-range/full size digital SLRs.
      -Brad

  13. Marsha December 21, 2009 Reply

    Do both have a RAW option? I know the G 11 does

  14. Lindsay December 23, 2009 Reply

    Hi guys,

    I have found all your advice and info super helpful. However i am still confused as to whether to buy the G11 or S90. I am an amateur with hopes of learning more about photography and manipulating manual settings and i am wondering, with all the manual features of the S90, if this might actually be an okay camera to start learning more on with the intention of progressing to a SLR once i have the nack…? I like the fact that its so compact, small and light and that you can see your adjustments as made with the manual ring on the front of the camera. Do you think it has a large downgrade in functionality to warrant me rather opting for the G11 as this early stage…?

    • Brad December 23, 2009 Reply

      Hi Lindsay, it depends if you need to attach an external flash, swivel LCD function (taking photos at odd angles), better battery life and more direct access controls (physical buttons and dials). If you think you’ll need them, go for the G11; otherwise, the S90 is a smaller, cheaper and better pick. Feature-set wise, the G11 and S90 are almost identical. It’s just the G11 offers several additional options that bring you a bit closer to the “SLR experience” than the S90 (ie dedicated exposure compensation/ISO dials, AE lock button, etc). If you’re looking to pick up a camera to learn up the basics of photography/manual settings, but want a pocket sized camera, then the S90 is just as good in your process to transition to a digital SLR.

  15. Stacey February 7, 2010 Reply

    I need help on what camera to purchase. I have been looking at the G10 and G11. Screen size isn’t a big deal to me, but capturing my children in sporting activities is. I had a powershot A530…….and was thrilled with the quality of pictures, although not when trying to capture and action shot or one of them on the field at a distance. The picture would be dark and fuzzy. Please help me in deciding which is a better camera for my needs. Quality and clarity are greatly important, as well as taking pictures at a distance…

    • Brad February 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Stacey, I would recommend going for the Canon PowerShot G11 in your case, since it is able to produce cleaner, slightly less grainy photos with its lower resolution sensor. I would recommend turning off the flash for capturing distant shots, as the common issue if you do not (Turn off the flash) is that pictures will turn out ‘dark and fuzzy’ as you mentioned

  16. Becca March 18, 2010 Reply

    Hi there. I was wondering which camera to get as well. I am upgrading from a Kodak Easy Share 5mp so I know that either a G10 or G11 would be more than perfect. I take a lot of scenery pictures as well as portraits. I also need a camera that takes really good pictures in low-light. I tested the G10 before and loved it, but I haven’t used the G11 so I’m not sure how it is like. The only thing that I didn’t like about the G10 was that the low-light pictures were not as bright as I wanted (which I know I shouldn’t complain about because it IS a P&S afterall). So for a causal photographer, which one would your recommand?

    • Brad April 5, 2010 Reply

      Hi Becca, I would recommend the G10 if price is a factor for you, seeing it’s “almost” the same camera (albeit an older model). If you need the swivel screen or very slightly better noise levels of the G11 (along with some extra controls here and there, like advanced white balance control), then the G11 would be a better choice

  17. ted March 23, 2010 Reply

    Have an A80 that takes great quality photos but with the wide angle attachment get shadows with flash doing architectural interiors. ok with exteriors or natural light interiors. need 28mm. would you recommend S90 or G11 for architectural use? will print up to 8×10, maybe 11×13.Also have considered the larger Nikon d5000, hoping to use some of my old FTN lenses.also like the 5000 grid view function for architectural shots.Do any P&S have this?

    • Brad April 5, 2010 Reply

      Hi Ted, in fact, both the S90 and G11 are decent enough cameras for architectural shots – both have 28 mm lenses and ‘grid views’ on their display (via a setting in the camera menu) – see our review of the Canon S90 here. The S90 has a feature set that’s almost identical to the G11’s, save for the extra custom positions and options the G11 has. If you’re going for small size, the S90 is a much smaller camera that will easily fit into your pocket. However, the G11 does have the advantage of having a hotshoe (For external flash, so harsh shadows can be reduced) and a flip out and swivel screen (For any weird/high/low angles when shooting indoors)

  18. Steven Spowart April 2, 2010 Reply

    Hi,
    I am veering towards the g11 as a good underwater camera, however I also want to be able to take pictures of wildlife out of the water particularly birds which may be perched some distance away.
    any idea how good this camera is to get the best of both worlds.
    Thought about buying 2 cameras, an underwater such as a sea and sea 1200hd, and a DSLR for the birds, but this would be expensive, and bulky when I fly off abroad with 2 cameras.
    I need something that is relatively compact, but still takes great shots both in and out of the water.

  19. Ninian Beall April 12, 2010 Reply

    I need to replace my Canon Powershot A540, which has been well used since I bought it in 2006. The forward button doesn’t work anymore and the lens cover doesn’t always open all the way. I have an upcoming trip to the Western US, where I would like to have a long distance zoom. The Canon Powershot SX120IS’ 10x optical zoom is attractive from that point of view. But I’m afraid to buy a camera without an optical viewfinder. I couldn’t use the A540’s digital screen in sunlight at all, even with an added pop-up hood. I’d prefer to use the screen because I would be seeing exactly the picture I was taking, as far as boundaries is concerned. With the viewfinder I’ve learned that the scene will always be somewhat larger than what I’m seeing. I know an SLR would solve that problem, but I don’t want to go that big. I’ve noticed that some of the new cameras have several brightness selections for the digital screen. Does this really solve the problem?

    I like to have the camera on my belt at all times when I’m traveling, so I want something comparable in size to the A540, but with as long a zoom as possible. I think I need one with a viewfinder and one that uses batteries off the drugstore shelf, since I’ll be on the road. I’m an amateur who rarely uses any setting except Automatic, but I would like to have the manual option. It’s also nice to have video, although the large part of my shooting is stills. I also need something that’s good in low light, unless there’s such a thing as a built-in flash on which you can vary the intensity. I can spend around $500. What do you suggest?

    Thanks.

    Ninian

  20. Sergio Leal June 14, 2010 Reply

    I recently lost my beloved G10 but I still have the brand new underwater housing (WP DC-28).
    I wonder if my underwater housing can still be used if I purchase a G11.
    Could anybody give me a hand in this issue ??
    Thanks.

  21. Ivana June 30, 2010 Reply

    Than…witch is better camera ? G10 or G11 pleas help.Thanks

  22. guy manners July 10, 2010 Reply

    Hi sergio
    unfortunately, almost 100% not. I jhave a g9 housing, wp dc-21, and am wondering whether to buiy a another g9… or upgrade to a s90 whioch many people prefer for underwater. I’d love to hear opinions about the comp[arison!

  23. Eric Fleetwood July 14, 2010 Reply

    I have taken the G-10 diving, 3 times in April without a strobe (fiber optic cable broke) and about 20 times in late June, with Inon D2000 Type 3 strobe. Shooting on Auto setting, the photos are terrific. Good depth of field, the colors are accurate, and there is a good range of black. I shot 3 videos, which are pretty good, the limitation being a lack of light for color. On the other hand, using the Underwater SCN setting, the pictures could only be described as washed out, or overlit. Blue waters appear white. I quickly abandoned Underwater, and returned to Auto mode. I’m not sure why this is, as my Canon SD-790IS worked perfectly in Underwater mode, using the same Inon strobe. I don’t know how/whether this information transfers to the G11 or S90. Perhaps someone who has experience with either underwater could report on their experience underwater. Also, I don’t think the G10 will shoot RAW in Auto mode.

  24. johnjohn July 26, 2010 Reply

    wich would be better for underwater video the g10 or the g11??

  25. Shirley July 29, 2010 Reply

    Hi, I’m looking for a camera that can take good pictures in low light of moving subjects. What I want is to be able to take pictures of a live show where flash photography is not permitted. Subjects on the stage would be moving around (dancing) so need to be able to get clear shots. I also want a good zoom. I have a sports feature on my current camera but when the flash is off the pictures are very dark. Thanks.

  26. Laura August 2, 2010 Reply

    Hi, I am going to Las Vegas/Grand Canyon/San Francisco in September and want to be able to take good night photos – especially in Vegas, and the sunset at the Grand Canyon.
    I have been advised to buy the S90 – does anyone know if this is one of the best cameras to buy for night photos?
    I travel a lot and need to stick with a smaller camera, but at the same time want to have some nice photos to remember places by!
    Thanks.

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