The sole differences are an optical viewfinder shrunk to make way for a larger 76mm (3-inch) LCD and the lens ring and release button darkened from silver to black. Its price tag is also quite a bit higher, at around £430.
Many of the components are identical as well. It incorporates the same f/2.8-4.8, 35 by 210mm-equivalent, optically stabilised 6x zoom lens and uses the same Digic III image processor. In fact, the only significant updates are a bump to a 12-megapixel CCD from a 10-megapixel version, and the much-wished-for return of raw format support.
Weighing about 6g more than its predecessor -- probably the result of the larger LCD -- the G9 nevertheless still comes in at just around 370g.
Controls are scattered around the areas of the top and back of the camera not covered by the LCD or the optical viewfinder, leaving just enough space for a decent handhold. It's still true that those with large hands may find it difficult to firmly grip the G9 without accidentally covering one button or another. We also wished that the shutter button and zoom switches were just a little larger.
Though most of the G9's menu interface and navigation is consistent and easy to follow, there is the occasional bewildering design choice. For instance, the high-resolution -- 1,024x768-pixel, 15 frames per second -- movie mode isn't a resolution option under the Func menu, where you'd expect to find it. It's considered a different movie mode, and you must cycle via the scroll wheel through mode selections of Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Time Lapse, Compact and Standard to find it. Sensible from an engineering standpoint, but not so good for users.
Like its predecessor, the G9 offers all of the exposure, focus and shooting controls any enthusiast would want. They include a spot meter, user-selectable focus zones, two custom settings modes, continuous or shot-only IS settings, manual ISO settings up to 1,600 -- plus a High mode that reaches up to 3,200, voice annotation and a hot shoe.
Performance remains essentially unchanged from the G7. Time to first shot is a quick 1.7 seconds, though not quite as fast as the G7's 1.5-second start. In bright light, a relatively quick focus helps keep the shutter lag to a manageable 0.5 seconds. In dim light, that increases to a second.
Two shots in a row have a decent two-second gap between, and adding flash recycle bumps that to only 2.3 seconds. Continuous shooting is down from 36 in the G7 to somewhere between 17 and 19 frames but it's faster -- 2.3fps at a low resolution but more typically 1.7fps.