I recently picked up the Canon Powershot G11 second-hand. Don't get me wrong, I love my 1D MkIII, its a brilliant camera, but it is something of a brick. It is perfect for shoots, for gigs, for taking sweeping landscapes from the foothills of the Himalayas, but its something of a burden to carry around on a casual walk to the park or every day on the tube to work.
I've wanted to pick up a "compact" for a while, but have some criteria. I have two regular compacts, the Olympus Mju (which a fab, tough underwater camera) and a cheap AA battery powered one for emergencies. I wanted something that was responsive when the shutter was pressed, as well as something that has a decent battery life. I don't expect SLR like performance, but more than the afternoon most compacts seemed to manage. Ideally I wanted a view finder and interchangeable lenses. I've been waiting, with baited breath, for the Canon answer to the Nikon 1 and the Sony NEX-5. Unfortunately, Canon don't seem to be interested in entering the EVIL arena (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens). They have just announced the G1X, the latest and most fancy in their 'compacts' I decided the time had come to bite the bullet and drop the interchangeable lens requirement.
I managed to pick up a Canon Powershot G11 second-hand for a very reasonable price and I've been playing with it over the weekend in a few different situations. I've been really impressed. The fact it shoots in raw is brilliant, and the exposure and ISO dials being easily available is a big plus. I'm not sure I'll ever really use the flash shoe, and to be frank, it is a little ridiculous looking with a Speed light perched on top of it.
I've been impressed with the size of it, nice and chunky, but small enough to go in a coat pocket. The camera is quick, the viewfinder is handy bright sunlight and the images that are produced are vibrant and of good quality.
I understand why so many professional photographers end up buying the G range as their compact option.