Let’s face it. Chances are slim that someone’s gonna drop 400 bucks on you this holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up that camera you’ve been eyeing while you’re already out braving the malls. Here’s a good shortlist (in three posts) for you to pick from this season:
If you really want a DSLR but need something more portable, get the Canon PowerShot G9. This 12.1-megapixel model with a 6x optical zoom offers the serious enthusiast or professional all the manual controls they could want, RAW format support, wireless flash capabilities, and a flash hot shoe. But it also has enough automatic controls that even a newbie could use it effectively. 25 shooting modes, including scene modes like Portrait, Night Scene, Indoor, and more, make it easy to snap a great shot in any situation and Canon’s new Face Select and Track lets you automatically detect and select an individual’s face to track on as the primary focus.
The G9, which can be found for about $450 to $500, gets high marks across the board from reviewers for performance and image quality. While Steve’s Digicams did find "colors almost a bit oversaturated," Lori Grunin at CNET points out "relatively significant distortion at the widest angle of view," and DPReview calls it out for poor performance in low light, everyone acknowledges that image quality is generally excellent and really as good as it gets in a camera this size. Throw in functional and appealing retro design, a bright 3-inch LCD, the latest DIGIC III image processor, and an Optical Image Stabilizer based on technology developed for Canon’s high-end professional SLRs, and you won’t walk away disappointed.