By Jody L. Gianni

Which is better: improvement where much is needed or where none is needed? Hard to say, but with the new PowerShot G2, a camera that not only betters the previous model but manages to exceed any expectations for a new model, Canon makes everyone happy. With its new 4.1-megapixel CCD and a 2,272 x 1,704-pixel image at its largest resolution, this digicam’s offerings will certainly impress you.

On the surface
Even though it seems hard to top last year’s G1, Canon has made aesthetic and functional changes that truly better its latest model (see Figure A). The most obvious change is the color, which has gone from gunmetal gray to a warm champagne color with metallic-gray accents. The dimensions on the G2 are virtually identical to those of its predecessor, yet the G2 has a more substantial look and feel. The controls and dials are positioned such that you’ll rarely need to take your finger off the shutter, assuring that you’ll always be ready to get the shot. Click here to check the latest prices for this product.

Figure A
Canon PowerShot G2—CNET Rating: 9 out of 10

Just like the G1 and the Pro70 before it, the G2 sports a cleverly designed, flip-out-and-twist LCD monitor. When not in use, the display can be inverted and folded back against the rear of the camera body, thus protecting the screen from fingerprints and damage from bumps and scrapes. When used in the Out position, it can be tilted up or down so that you never have to bring the unit up to your face. You can take creative shots this way by raising the camera high above your head or casually concealing it down low without even having to bend at the waist! Even more fun is the ability to take a perfectly composed self-portrait. The LCD screen itself is quite realistic, revealing clear, crisp previews that are not as blown out as the ones on the G1’s LCD monitor. And with the LCD’s antireflective, matte coating, outdoor shots taken with the G2 are now much easier to compose. However, we did notice a bit of a delay when we tried to focus with the LCD instead of the viewfinder.

Beyond the appeal of its LCD, the G2 also shows off some of the finest images we have seen from any consumer digicam to date. In CNET Labs’ jury tests, the images were wonderfully crisp and appropriately color saturated. They also revealed an impressive dynamic range, even in low-light situations. If nothing else, the G2 excels in image quality where other digicams pale in comparison.

Another view
A noteworthy functional improvement on the G2 is a three-point autofocus system. Now, instead of being locked into one singular point of focus, you can create perfectly focused images no matter where within the frame your subjects are positioned. Just align one of the three white boxes in the viewfinder with your subject, use the thumb dial to choose the appropriate box (turning it green), and press the shutter button halfway to focus. You can also select up to 13 different exposure modes using the rotary dial on top of the camera. The Image Zone modes are fully automatic and should be selected based on the scene you are shooting. New to this mode is Color Effect, allowing users to choose between Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, or Black And White. Even more control can be obtained, however, in the Creative Zone by choosing from Program AE, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, and Manual. The Movie mode has been improved as well, now offering two resolution modes that include sound.

With the $999 list price G2, Canon definitely has the more advanced photographer in mind, but amateurs and first-time digicam users should not shy away. Compared to that of other digital cameras in the same class, such as the Nikon Coolpix 995’s, the G2’s interface is quite welcoming. This camera’s higher resolution, better image quality, and faster signal processing are all well worth the price.

Product specifications


Product type
Digital photo camera

Digital zoom
3.6 x

Sensor resolution (effective)
4,000,000 pixels

Sensor resolution (gross)
4,130,000 pixels

Optical sensor size

Optical sensor type

Light sensitivity
ISO 400

Still image format

EXIF version

Analog video format

Digital video format

Image effects
Black & White, Sepia

Min shutter speed
15 sec

Max shutter speed
1/1000 sec

Continuous shooting speed
2.5 frames per second, 1.5 frames per second

Shooting modes
Frame movie mode

White balance
Custom, automatic, manual

White balance presets
Fluorescent, cloudy, speedlight, tungsten light, daylight


Lens aperture

Optical zoom
3 x

Lens type
Zoom lens

Auto focus
TTL phase detection

Focal length (35mm camera equivalent)
34 – 102 mm

Min focal length
7 mm

Max focal length
21 mm

Focus adjustment
Automatic, manual

Min focus range
27.6 in

Macro focus range
6-70 cm

Zoom adjustment
Motorized drive


Camera flash type

Effective flash range
2.3 ft – 15 ft

Flash modes
Fill-in mode, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction

External flash terminal
Hot shoe


Exposure modes
Program, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority

Exposure metering
Evaluative, center-weighted, spot

Exposure compensation
±2 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps


Media type

Memory included
1 x 32 MB Flash – CompactFlash Card

Image storage
Hi 2272 x 1704 : 4 – with 16MB card, Super-fine 2272 x 1704 : 7 – with 16MB card, Fine 2272 x 1704 : 13 – with 16MB card, Normal 2272 x 1704 : 26 – with 16MB card, Super-fine 1600 x 1200, Fine 1600 x 1200, Normal 1600 x 1200


Display type
LCD display

Diagonal size

TFT active matrix

Display form factor

Optical viewfinder type

Audio input

Audio input

Microphone operation mode

Microphone technology
Electret condenser


Connector type
1 x USB, 1 x composite video, 1 x audio output

Expansion slot(s)
1 x CompactFlash card – Type I/II

Additional features

Additional features
Built-in speaker, auto power save, date/time stamp, DPOF support, AE/FE lock

Software included
Drivers & utilities, Adobe PhotoShop LE, Canon PhotoStitch


1 x Lithium Ion rechargeable battery

Physical characteristics

Enclosure color
Metallic silver

2.5 in

3 in

4.8 in

14.8 oz


One-year warranty

This article was previously published on 9/10/01.