The Power PRO Series is the top of the line of the cameras General Electric (GE) offers through its arm General Imaging, and the G100 is the top of that line.
The General Imaging Full-HD Digital Camera with 14.4MP, CMOS, 15X Optical Zoom, 28mm Wide Angle Lens, 3-Inch LCD and HDMI can capture 14 megapixels in a single photo, which is more density of information than most people need or want. You can dial it down in size and quality in these increments: 14, 12, 10, 8, 5, 3, 2, and VGA. You can also control something called "Quality," which is not explained, to Best, Fine or Normal. The extremes, then, are 14 megapixels at best quality and VGA at normal quality.
You can fit this little camera, which also records video with audio (but see below), into the back pocket of your jeans but you probably shouldn't.
It offers simple point-and-shoot options with variations. The most interesting choice is Auto Scene (ASCN), which analyzes the various elements presented to the camera lens and decides which of a couple dozen particular settings of flash and aperture and speed -- beach, glass, portrait, dog, cat (no kidding) -- is best. As you move the lens from place to place or the elements otherwise change you can watch how the ASCN setting tries to predict what you want to do. For example, if you move the lens close enough to a surface, the camera in ASCN mode will switch to its macro settings. It's not always right, but it's a good starting poiint.
Not surprisingly, the microphones -- in the front at the bottom, the left being separated by 2-1/16 inches from the right -- do not do a good job of recording anything far away. The G100 does not offer a mic input, so whatever audio you get into your video will have to come from pretty close up and with the camera pointed at the maker of the noise. If you mistakenly cover one or both microphones, needless to say that input's gain will drop to pretty much zero.
The lens elements work out to a zoom of 15X, and at that level you need to hold the camera pretty darned steady to get a crisp photo. The zoom from 15X out is digital, and even at the full 90X you can get a decent shot. The jpg file I've added to this product's description page is simply a photo taken by the camera under review at 90X magnification. I think it would be legible at half again that distance, don't you? Needless to say, I used a tripod.
You will immediately want to acquire and insert a Secure Digital (SD) card into the camera, because its internal memory is only 15 megabytes, which you'll burn up in no time. The G100 allows SD cards ranging in capacity from 64 megabytes up to 128 gigabytes. Unless you have one lying around anyway, anything smaller than 2 gigabytes is probably not a good idea, just in case you want to record more than you expected and you would run out of room. A good example is when you realize you're looking at alien spacecraft in the sky and you fire up your GE G100 camera and set it to Movie mode and start shooting and the aliens do something really weird just AFTER your camera runs out of storage space. The larger is your SD card the less likely this is to happen.
The significant points in the SD card range are 1-gig, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128. 64-gig SD cards are so large that you're unlikely to use up that much space unless you're a professional photographer, in which case you certainly won't be using this camera, because it is much closer to the point-and-shoot end of the range than the full-on, interchangeable-lens, DSLR end of the range. 128-gig SD cards are twice as unnecessarily large and crazy expensive. According to my skew on Moore's Law, though, SD space per dollar will double in 18 months, so if you can make do for a while with a smaller size than you'd like, maybe the price for the size you really want will come down.
Considering the pricing of SD cards per byte and how much space a single 14 megapixel photo can use up, my recommendation is that you shop around for at least an 8-gig card. Note that SD cards are rated not only by size but also by a Class number, typically 4, 6, and 10. Class 10s are faster to read and write than Class 4s, which affects how fast the camera can take the next shot. I stumbled into a bargain and got a no-name 32-gig Class 10 SD card for $22. An example search term if you want to shop on Amazon is "32g SDHC Class 10."
The HC part of SDHC I threw in there means high capacity. Confusingly, SD cards are also classified by the last two letters of their name, their being SDSC, SDHC, and SDXC. SDSC means standard capacity and is used for cards up to 2 gigabytes. SDHC means high capacity and is typically used for SD cards from 4 up to 32 gigabytes. SDXC means extended capacity and includes SD cards from 64 gigabytes up to an astonishing 2 terabytes. The G100 camera, as stated, will accept SD cards up to 128 gigabytes.
With minimum-quality settings, which would be appropriate for, say, text messages, a simple photo generated by this camera used only 40 kilobytes whereas the highest-quality settings for that same simple photo used up 10,785% more, or around 4,354 kilobytes.
I know you're wondering about how many low-quality images could be stored on one of those 2-terabyte SD cards of the future, and the equation is simply this:
2 terabytes divided by 40 kilobytes
Now, I'd like to impress you with all the mathematical gyrations one could go through to arrive at the answer, as I have been known to try to do in certain Amazon reviews, but the truth is I simply entered the exact text above into Google and it gave me the answer. Using the lowest-quality settings on this camera, you wouldn't fill an 2-terabyte SDXC card till you'd shot over 53 million pictures.
How many is 53 million pictures? If someone hires you on January 1, 2013, to shoot that many images at an average rate of one every five seconds for a solid eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that's 2,000 hours, which is 7,200,000 seconds, which divided by 5 seconds per picture is 1,440,000 pictures per year. 53 million pictures divided by 1,440,000 pictures per year means you can expect to remain on the payroll till sometime in September of the year 2049. You can't expect a lot of career advancement, but it's steady work.
JSYK, the designations SDSC, SDHC, and SDXC refer mainly to which devices can READ them, not which devices can WRITE to them. Some older devices that can read an SDSC card (up to 2 gigabytes) cannot read an SDHC card (up to 32 gigabytes). Many devices cannot yet read SDXC cards. One option if you're running out of room on any given SD card you choose to use in the camera is simply to copy some or all of the images that are on there, using the supplied and very short (only 24 inches) USB cable, to somewhere else such as a flash drive or a hard drive, which also eliminates the problem of no forward compatibility, because the camera's "reader" is always going to be compatible, of course.
The manual, which you can find online as a PDF at the maker's site, is imperfect. For instance, under the Camera Notes part of the Safety Precautions section it says:
"Do not store or use the camera in the following types of locations: In rain . . . or in a place where the camera can be exposed directly to sunlight."
These safety precautions go overboard in both directions. To port they tell us not to use the camera where it can be exposed directly to sunlight, which is silly. There's even a specific setting for taking pictures on the beach. To starboard they tell us not to store the camera in the rain. Sheesh. Why not tell us not to set it on fire or run over it with a steamroller or shoot it with a .22 rifle from ten yards away?
As another example, the diagram of the camera showing the top stupidly shows it as though you had spun it around so the lens is facing you, which is the opposite of what you would expect. Someone screwed up at General Imaging and no one caught it.
Here's a quote from the User Manual: "Note that when you perform the Format Memory function, it only formats the active memory. If an SD memory card is inserted, the SD memory card is active and will be formatted. If there is no SD memory card, the internal memory is active and the internal memory will be formatted. Formatting the SD memory card will not automatically format the internal memory."
This is just lazy coding. The software surely could have been written so that the user can make the choice whether to format the internal memory or the SD card or both, for which I subtract half a star. If you had irreplaceable photos on your 15 megabytes of internal memory and they got irretrievably erased because you didn't foresee this unexpected result, you'd be just as eager to sue GE as I am because you mistakenly deleted the photos proving indisputably 100% beyond any possible doubt whatsoever that the Loch Ness Monster and yetis exist. And aliens.
And of course ghosts. They're everywhere.
The battery does not last as long as I expected. If you're planning to rely on this camera for possibly critical photos and video, you might want to carry a spare battery, which you should also not store in the rain, I'm sure.
You can change focus during a movie recording, but you can't be sure the sound of the motor and the sound of the lens elements changing will be inaudible. Sometimes there is an obvious clicking noise on playback that results from use of the zoom control ring that surrounds the Go button. For this I subtract another half a star.
There is a disappointingly long lag between when you press the shutter button all the way down and when the picture is taken. At long shutter speeds you would expect that, but it happens too much at too short exposure times.
And here's an interesting discovery. This camera will not take a photograph of Dick Cheney. Twice I shot him at a press conference with the G100 and both times all I got was a message saying, "Contents controlled. Go to CIA.org."
I find this to be a remarkably sophisticated camera for the price asked, but it is flod.