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INTRODUCING: Travel Tech Thursday

©IBIT/G. Gross

Today, IBIT debuts a new feature to regularly explore the world of gear and gadgetry for you globe-sprinting travelers out there. Why “globe-sprinting?” Because who has time to just trot anymore!

The Canon G15 — Raising the bar or gilding the lily?
If you’re at all into photography, you already know two important things about Canon. The first is that the company has a reputation for making great cameras. The second is that it doesn’t let the grass grow under that rep.

And facing an array of competitors from Sony to Fuji to Nikon and Panasonic, it really can’t afford to.

So scarcely two years after buying and falling madly in love with the compact Canon G12, it comes as no surprise that the boys from Tokyo are already coming at me with its successor, the G15.

If you’re one of those folks who simply must have the “latest and greatest” of everything, an outfit like this will drive you crazy — or bankrupt, whichever comes first.

But first, a little background.

My infatuation with the G12 began with a quest for a travel camera to replace my beloved but aging and bulky Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30. I wanted something versatile, reliable and durable like the FZ30, but small enough to fit in a pocket — which the FZ30 clearly was not.

Enter Canon and its G units.

The PowerShot G series of compact “prosumer” Canon cameras has 12 models (and yes, I know they’re listed G1 through G15. Just take it up with Canon, okay? I’m math-challenged enough already.)

Back in my newspaper days, I worked with photographers who had access to the highest end of Canon’s high-end photo gear. But they also had their own G9s and G10s — and raved over them.

When the pros recommend a prosumer camera, you pay attention.

But by the time I was ready to pull the trigger on a G10 of my own, Canon had already mothballed the G11 and was cranking out the G12.

Not long after buying it, I took it to West Africa, Senegal and the Gambia. It was a tough test…and it passed beautifully.

The G12 is now my only camera. Most every image of mine that appears on this blog was shot with it. The FZ30? Thanks for the memories. Next stop: eBay.

A year or two passes. I hardly have time to look up from the G12 viewfinder or its articulated LCD screen when Canon brings out the G15.

So for those of us who love our little G12s, the question is:

Does the G15 represent a quantum leap in the PowerShot G series, or just an incremental step?

I’ve yet to get my hands on a G15, but there are reviewers who have. Here’s a quick-and-dirty summary of what they found so far:

  • The G15 lens is faster than the G12’s. That could come in handy in low-light situations in which travelers nearly always find themselves.
  • The G15 is smaller and lighter than the G12, which means it now fits in smaller pockets.
  • The G15 now shoots a higher standard of video — 1080p versus 720p for the G12 — and has a separate video button.
  • The G15 has an ISO rating up to 12800, making it four times “faster,” i.e., more light-sensitive, than the G12’s fastest ISO rating of 3200. Another low-light advantage.

Those are the goodies. But with every new camera, there are tradeoffs:

  • To make the G15 smaller and lighter, Canon sacrificed the G12’s articulated LCD screen.
  • Lighter means easier to carry, but also more fragile.
  • Radically higher ISO carry with them the prospect of grainy-looking or “noisy” images.

In conclusion, does the G15 represent an advance over the G12? I would say probably. Does it represent that quantum leap in photo technology that would justify dumping my trusty G12 for the new G15 — and its $500 list price tag?

In my case, probably not.

Okay, here’s the rest of what’s fresh in the travel tech world:

from TNOOZ
ioSafe…when you really, REALLY need to back up your data. A backup hard drive that can take it. Or so its makers claim. Just don’t leave it out overnight on a glacier.

from the New York Times
Just hit town without a reservation? Need a room for the night at the last minute? There’s an app for that. Several, in fact.

from TNOOZ
Do we perpetually late Americans have too many travel apps based on location…and not enough focused on time? This guy thinks so. Then again, us old-school types have always had a low-tech gadget that was perfect for that. It’s called a watch…

from Budget Travel
With 2012 drawing to a close, the BT crew found these ten gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to be hot stuff for travelers. Check out their selections and see if any of these would make a suitable Chritmas gift for your favorite traveler — including maybe yourself. SLIDESHOW

Edited by P.A.Rice

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