I have never written a review about a piece of hardware, ever. This Camera has me stoked to shoot and has become an accessory to my persona. By no means is this a replacement for the big guns, but as the cliché goes: “the right tool for the job”. A point and shoot that saves Raw filesI like to call point and shoot cameras, the “drunk cam”. The idea being that some great personality shots, lifestyle, the real deal images happen while you are out there living life. Point and shoots are convienient cameras and non-intrusive means to capture these moments, however, the average 5meg jpeg leaves a lot to be desired for professional use. I am sure you have all been in that situation where something amazing has happened in front of you, a sunset, car crash, crazy lady at the bus stop, that warrants a shot and there you are without a camera. If you were going to shoot it, wouldn’t it make sense to shoot at a high enough resolution to be included in your quiver of professional work? 12.1 mega pixel RAW seems plenty for reproduction. ISO The 12.1 (why .1 I have no idea, marketing?) mega pixel RAW function of this camera made it interesting to me. As with many point and shoots it has its limitations on the ISO setting. The noise is fine at ISO 200 and less, but gets noisier as you roll up the dial, (the manual dial on the left side is killer). Nothing new here. I world argue that when locking down for a time exposure at night, it isn’t the worse quality image on the market. Add a little Noise Ninja and BAM, all better. I hope in the next evolution they increase the size of the sensor to help minimize the noise. For $500, it’s fine! PriceWhich brings me to price… $500, I can make that back on one stock photo sale. They become disposable at that price and with that in mind, I don’t mind putting my G9 thru a harsh work out. It lives in my coat pocket and travels with me wherever I go. If it gets stolen, I would be more emotionally scarred, than financial strapped, as the little G9 becomes your little buddy, a friend. Size Does Matter This is a feature I love. Granted it is larger than other point and shot cameras but this has to be the smallest camera with the ability to shoot RAW images. I thought I wanted a smaller rig but when you actually use it the size and weight make sense. It has a metal body and the added weight helps stabilize the camera in low light situations. For the size they were able to squeeze some larger SLR features onto it to be convenient, like the ISO dial. The big plus is that I will actually take it with me, so in turn I will actually shoot. I like to compose the images and pull the trigger, but lets be honest, to drag out the full SLR kit, feels like work. In candid situations the larger SLR is also intimidating to folks that are not models. The G9 makes them feel more relaxed. The final images feel more candid. StealthThe small size also doesn’t set off red flags for security officers at concerts and professional sporting events. It is small and inconspicuous and people are not alarmed. You can blend in like a tourist and act like you don’t know what the rules are. The larger 3 inch screen helps compose the image as you use one hand to get a sneaky angle. Short lens, low shutter speedsI coach at a photo workshop at High Cascade Snowboard Camp each summer and one of the simple lessons we learn is the rule of thumb on what speed to use in conjunction with the focal length of the camera’s lens. The G9 lens is a 7.5mm to 44, f2.8-4.8. To convert that into real time 35m lens numbers, the lens shoots like a 35mm-210mm. The shorter 7.5 m lens means speeds at a 15th of a second can be used to get sharp images handheld. The camera has a built in stabilizer that helps to focus the image. The manual focus feature is also handy. It is more intuitive than most point and shoots and does allows creative freedom in composition. FlashThe G9 has a built-in flash that has a manual override. It is convenient and comes in handy in a pinch. The hot shoe on top also is a nice feature. It works in sync with the Canon Speedlite 220EX, 430EX, 580EX and 580EX II. I have not use a speed lite but the thought is that if the SLR goes down on a location I can jump in and use my Pocket Wizards to keep shooting. SD cardsSD cards are a standard feature and not worth talking about, but one issue here is that the 4meg SD card is “buggy” and I prefer the 2 meg. Since switching to the 2meg cards I have not had a glitch. The camera has USB sync; I think the card reader is faster. BatteryAnother standard feature that is not exciting. The key here is to buy a couple of back-up batteries. The camera processes the larger RAW images pretty fast but the added speed requires more energy. A back up is the easiest solution. Movie ModeMany point and shoots have a movie mode. Some limit the capture time to 30 seconds, which is so dumb. The G9 rolls! The G9 can record movies at 640×480 at 30 frames per second. It can also record 640×480 LP and 320×240 both also at 30fps. At 640×480 G9 movies are roughly 100mb per minute. This means that a 2GB card can store a 20 minutes 640×480 G9 movie. Not bad at all. The G9 saves movies in AVI format. QuickTime and RealPlayer (among other software) can open AVI files. I have fun making blog style videos that I cut in IMovie to add to a blogs and entertain the friends. The time-lapse mode shoots at 1-second intervals or 2 and is great to illustrate a work in process. The audio isn’t half bad either, but you can’t zoom while the camera is recording.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaRVYDUwRPo] Lets face it, we are all in a fast-paced world, and anything to make our lives easier and increases the quality of life is welcomed. The G9 has saved my life. OK, maybe not that far. Situations and events that I would have not normally carried a larger SLR are not fair game because I am excited to put my little G9 buddy in my pocket to get shots. It does not replace the SLR workhorse, but the quality of images, the versatility and simplicity make the $500 investment well worth it.