In a recent podcast, I included a review of the vintage Canon PowerShot G9. I rediscovered mine in a dresser drawer, pushed all the way to the back with three batteries and a charger.
Originally, I had intended the commentary to be a fun complement to the main discussion about slideshows — you know, the kind we used to assemble on our computers and burn on to DVDs. The G9 was released in 2007, about the same time that all of this was going on. Nostalgia can be a kick.
As part of my reacquaintance with the PowerShot, I took it outside to shoot a few pictures, testing its 12-megapixel, 1/1.7” sensor. Knowing that I couldn’t jack up the ISO with this classic, I set the top dial to 80, used Program mode, and let the camera take care of the rest.
The pictures looked great. I don’t mean that they looked good for a 2007 digital camera. I mean they looked great.
After examining the first round of shots, I sat down on the couch with the camera and explored the menu system. What if I tweaked the settings a bit more? I set the AF to FlexiZone, turned off Auto ISO Shift, set image stabilization to Shoot Only, enabled RAW+Jpeg, and programmed the Shortcut button. Then we went outside for round two.
Darn if they didn’t look even better.
The Canon lens is a high quality 35mm-210mm zoom with a f/2.8 maximum aperture. There are 9 AF points, focus bracketing, face detection, multiple metering modes, and more.
The camera is jacket-pocket compact, so it’s easy to carry around. And I have a fantastic soft case for it that looks nicer than anything I use today. I was feeling sentimental.
“That’s ridiculous!” I said to myself. “What happens next? I buy an old Mustang and start cruising the mall?”
Apparently I wasn’t the only one bitten by the throwback bug. I started receiving mail from podcast listeners who had rummaged through closets looking for their classic Canons. They shared anecdotes of PowerShots now being proudly displayed on desks, in the hands of inquisitive children, and even serving as conversation pieces at parties. (The flash system on these cameras is terrific, making them appropriate for such gatherings.)
I don’t know what I’m going to do now. The more I experiment with the camera, the better I like it. The 2007 PowerShot requires a bit more skill than my current digitals. I’m forced to use different techniques — second-curtain flash, macro mode, and long exposures — that are resulting in unique pictures.
What I do know is that I’m not putting the G9 back in the sock drawer.
Clearly, we have a complicated relationship.
But I just can’t let her go.