The little camera that could. The Canon G10
By Seong Kim
Experimenting with a used $100 camera I purchased online 2 weeks ago. The seller of the camera asks “how come you want this old thing?” I told him it’s for experimental purposes as I am in pursuit of creating medium format style images with a point and shoot camera.
With many years of searching for the best system that suits my needs I have come to a realization that most camera’s out there do the exact same thing. My analogy to this statement is this… “A silver pen is a silver pen which could cost $500 or more… and a plastic pen is a plastic pen where you can receive for free from a business with their logo on it. They both do the same thing, however the person that is behind the pen and writes the stories is what truly matters.” Unless you’re using a crayon that’s a completely different story but I won’t get into that here.
When I landed on the famous President Barack Obama’s Inauguration image by David Bergman, totalling in size of an amazing 1474 megapixels (59783 x 24658 pixels) I was blown away to say the least. I said to myself “This camera must be some sort of crazy expensive system…” Excited as I was, I kept reading the details of how this shot was produced. When I saw the words+numbers Canon G10 my jaws dropped and I said to myself… “I MUST DO THIS.” Immediately I searched online for a used Canon G10 and poof, on sale via local resident for $100. Next I pursued to look for the Epic Gigapan system Mr. Bergman used and luck has it, my local camera shop had all three models. Double smile for me as I did not have to wait if I were to have purchased it online… Even better, they had the exact unit I needed as a their floor model and it was on sale… Without hesitation I said to the manager “I’ll take it.”
Back at the studio, I setup the camera and Epic system and after a few test shots and viewing youtube tutorials, I created my first medium format style image consisting of 9 shots.
Using MF systems such as the H4D’s and the classic 500CM’s… also the high res DSLR “D800E” of course these camera’s IQ is far beyond what the little guy can produce… However to the normal eye, and none photo world, people probably won’t realize which is which… But to the avid camera tech enthusiasts and professionals I am sure you’ll see the difference… H4D 40 at $20K and Canon G10 at $100 a big price gap…
So after producing this 9 shot image totalling a 71 mega pixel count… Not even close to Mr. Bergams Obama image of 220 images at 1474 mega pixels you can still see the great IQ at only 71 mega pixels with 9 shots taken with the Canon G10. After stitching the images together, I ran a large format test print 34″ x 35″ at 300 DPI. The results are fantastic.
Without further ADO, below are the results of the Canon G10 + Epic system which produced my first medium format style image. Pretty impressive for a 14.7 Megapixel point and shoot camera… Full size images and virtual view is available for your pleasure.
Thank you kindly,
Seong Kim // www.seongkim.com
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Screen shots at full view + 100% crop + Virtual view of entire image towards the end.
Printed on 54 inch wide format printer // 4 colour process, my printer prints with a tint and did not bother to adjust as this is a test print to view the image quality specifically the resolution not colour. Please excuse the difference you will see between the screen shots and virtual view.
Pretty sharp for a little guy. “This is a photo of the print”
Good experiment and nicely executed.
I liked the fact you can see the oil spot on the paper that protects the carpet underneath the Honda, I thought only British classic motorbikes did that! 😉
Today’s compact cameras are so good that I believe photographers think to be a ‘pro’ camera, the camera must have all the new technology, super chips, big chips, etc, etc. However, I couldn’t agree with you more about the Canon G10. I never had one. I used the Canon G7, 10 MP, and some of its images are still on my website, http://www.TheArtfulToad.com, and I’ve sold quite a few of them, and they continue to sell. Check out “Chickens on a Basket” or “Red Boat” or “Shangri-La” and more, on my website. These are fantastic images and I can print them 11×14 or 13×19 if I wish. The finished product is great. So, can’t you call the G7 a ‘pro’ camera? I often think of this little Canon, its speed, focussing capability, and how simple it was to use, and the telephoto capability extended its range just enough to be extra useful. And it was almost pocketable. It fit in a very small belt pack. I currently own the Sony RX1 and Sony RX100M3, and they are great cameras, but they miss something I really want in my next camera. I want Olympus-style 5-axis IS, not fake ‘optical’ IS. That makes me consider the Olympus OM0-D E-M1. A 4/3 sensor is much larger than the tiny Canon G7 chip, and certainly would produce ‘pro’ images. If Sony doesn’t start producing cameras with true IS, I’m switching. Well, the 7S is certainly intriguing.
So is the strong banding part of the image or the print? I would think the rhinocam thing for E-Mount would be more interesting in being a cheap MF camera – Putting a smaller sensor on a MF projection means not having to deal with lens distortions and stitching errors?
I used to do the same thing with a G10, it was a nice camera for it because it had a sharp lens and a remote trigger jack.
Only real downside to the rig was the size/weight of the gigapan head itself, and the batteries it at.
I had lots of plans of hiking it to the top of cool vista’s, but really it tended to just produce gigapixel images of boring “test” subjects.
Hey guys, not so negative.
The optics sure are different from medium format.
It also doesn’t bring the 3D dimensionality of medium and large format photography.
But if you just want a big sharp print -this is normally the territory of larger systems- with this technique you can make it for quite a low price.
Seong, have fun with it!
Thank you very much. It is fun and for me… I believe these processes is the new Dark Room.
The feeling I get is pretty much the same looking at a photo come alive / looking at a stitch come alive.
The process is what is fun and the results is also a bonus…
I’ve been experimenting with getting medium- and large-format results with my micro 4/3 camera using the photomerge function in Photoshop. It’s a brilliant bit of software and generally does an excellent job. I’ve made an album in Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sesquiotic/sets/72157646853706877/ At first I just used it for panoramas, but I realized I could use it for quite a lot of things. I get great results with old Canon 28mm and 50mm lenses on an adapter. Very sharp, minimal distortion.
Great job on the rendering.
I print to that size with my Leica M8 that is “only” 10 megapixels… and i get, hum, quite better results, so i don’t see the point either ?!
Having fun is the point.
BTW, the Canon G10 is a tough little brick. It has hit concrete, been splashed, and mistreated over the years. It has reminders of those mishaps, but works well. All that it needs is for the sensor to be cleaned.
True story Al 🙂
Interesting, as I have a M240 “24MP” and printed and did not get the same results?
Hi POM, my last reply was missing a question for you. Can you please tell me how you printed a 10 mega pixel image at 300 dpi @ 34 inches x 35 inches and got better results in IQ? Always looking to better my skills & knowledge… Looking forward to your response.
Seeing your pictures posted here i see a lot of grain, colors aren’t very clean, there is some banding apparent, the pitch seems perfectible aso…
Well… nothing wow effect (for me).
Printing a M8 file at this size gives quite wonderful results and is a way more simple process, i think…
As for “big” pixels, if that is what you seek… i work with a Fuji 6×9 with 10 000×7000 pixels images when correctly scanned with Imacon scanners. So that will give me your 70 Mpixel prints 🙂 but using good optics and good roll film.
I print that at the same size, at 300dpi this time and even if the pitch is more consistant here… i wouldn’t say my M8 are “bad” compared to that…
I also print MM files and Hasselblad files at this sizes and i find them all revenant with their own signature…
Anyway, as some told you before her, the point is not to get “a lot” of pixels i think… but to use the better optics.
So maybe i don’t see the meaning of all that or should see one good print of you to understand ?
Have “big” fun anyway…
Well, got back to your pictures (to try to understand)…
Now, I understand why we all don’t understand 🙂
The problem is that you show us pictures of a print you made of your picture…
And those pictures aren’t very nice looking in fact.
There is banding on them, colors are muted…
I don’t know if your print is nice/clean or not, but seeing your pictures doesn’t help !
If we want to understand correctly, we have to see your last picture, that is the original digital file and that can be seem at full resolution.
Here, it’s better.
Well, to get a “heavy and not simple” process, it seems to work… 🙂
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. The image’s you see are photos of the picture I have taken with my Fuji XE2, the banding and quality of course is terrible but you can see the original image here at full resolution for download.
I have printed many large format prints from M240 and they are pretty “ok” and good at the large format size…, however, they do not compare with the stitched higher res images from the G10… Resolution only! // 3D dept M240 kills even the H4D in my opinion.
M240 “the look is so obvious in the 3d depth and colours… Print and Screen”
H4D “the look is… Well a great friend describes it as “You can see the soul of the person through these images…” // Pretty close I would say… Print and Screen…
G10 “the look is… The look of a point and shoot however, it’s still pretty dam F-ing good.”
Pom, again appreciate your response.
The point is, you spend for the camera, the mount and a tripod a fraction of even body-only of your M8. The rest goes into a travel in wich you’ll shot very interesting things that will be meaningful memories for your future life 🙂
Well said. Memories…
Well, camera + mount + tripod is actually more expensive than my M8 (bought it used for 1000€)… Not speaking about the weight of all this versus a “simple” M8 in your hand.
i trying to get the point..
if to think that main goal of photography are megapixels and huge prints – may be Author is right.
but “megapixels” is the business model for the successful sales of the new stuff.
the real feature of the medium format and FF Dslr cameras (5dmk) is the optic that we can attach and use with the body, ability for full exposure control and decision of the DOF.
Same about the Hasselblad bodies..the Carl Zeiss optical systems are the issue not the MEGApixels.
btw..the price was $100 for G10 + between $500-$1K for the Epic + this need to take 9 images and post processing in PS.
I’m going to have to agree with this one. I’m failing to understand how this is “medium format” style. It just seems like an exercise in packing in the megapixels, which is perfectly find and certainly interesting, but it has nothing to do with medium format photography at all.
Thanks for taking the time in commenting on my post, I guess at the time I was not really thinking about 3D dimensionality so much running my tests, but more on the image quality and sharpness I have achieved when I created my first test print, I immediately thought this has the quality and sharpness of my H4D, not exactly the same but when reviewing the image on print, I must say that it was pretty close in terms of IQ and the feeling you get when seeing a large MF format print.
As I revert back to my words in the article, I have to note that this was a attempt “pursuit” in creating a medium format style image. I believe I have achieved my goal and happy with the results of high IQ and feel of a MF image “We all have a different way of describing MF images, perhaps:”
Victor and Andrew, would you be so kind to give me your own interpretation on the medium format style imaging? also, I’m curious to know if you guys use digital MF systems. I would appreciate your professional explanation and may shed some additional light on my ever growing knowledge and skills on the photography side.
Thank you kindly,
We live in London Ontario Canada Two years ago we visited NYC. I struggled with a decision-take an EOS 1DS Mk2 and 28-70 f2.8 Canon and be forced to take it as a potential carry on or just take a chance at taking the G10 in my pocket. I opted for the latter and did not have a single regret-the images I got were outstanding (quality wise) I have 20×30 prints from this same camera and they’re quite nice. ALL JPEGs. Yes the 1DS would have given me better high ISO quality but fortunately didn’t take many that were needing high ISO. The IS with this camera is VERY good and I hand held (I think) at 1/4 sec at times. The camera was amazing for street photography-I quickly learned to point it without placing the camera to my eye and got real lucky with many attempts.
The custom settings were used with 35mm and 85mm equivalent lens settings-I simply switched back and forth between the two. Beautiful! Also used an old Russian revolving turret finder (switching from 35mm to the occasional 85mm) which was ideal as well-even got a few comments regarding what I was using. An aux viewfinder is a tremendous asset with this camera-the Voigtlander 35mm finder I have is a jewel and gives a really nice view-far superior to the G10 viewfinder
I have 11×14 prints from this G10 that are grainless and FULL of fine detail that is VERY well rendered
I shot 99% of my images at the 35mm setting on the G10. I have since purchased a Fujifilm x100s as it’s the only lens I really need-great camera-great focal length. The focus speed on the newest Canon G is quite quick.
Kudos to Mr. Kim for stretching the limits of the Canon.
Great website guys-I look every day
Neat, I’ve definitely wanted to try a Gigapan out, as well as the Rhino Cam (I could be wrong about that) they made for the NEX cameras.