In the wild and wooly days of 2007, I already had a few compacts on my belt, including the Canon S45, the S70, the Fuji F30 and the Casio Z750. But the camera that was the gateway drug to bigger things was the G7. I'd been shooting with the S70 and F30 for some time, and I loved the S70's colours. In those days I only shot in standard jpeg, never raw, and barely even did any postprocessing. How things have changed. But I get ahead of myself. S70 - Yue Hwa by Archiver, on Flickr The G7 was an excited purchase, and at first I was somewhat dismayed to see it display more luminance noise at base ISO than the S70, which had almost none. The colours were not the same, and the metering made high contrast scenes blow out on a regular basis. It was the first time I'd ever thought I might take a camera back for exchange. But I looked at it, and it was as if it squeaked with a little voice, 'I'll earn my keep!' So I stuck with it. Due to the prominent exposure compensation dial, I began to experiment with EV adjustment and found that things were not as bad as they seemed. As I shot with it and played with the settings, I found that it was quite the capable little thing. G7 - Sunset over Southbank by Archiver, on Flickr G7 - The Illuminated Face by Archiver, on Flickr One of my favourite things to do with a new camera is to put it through its paces in Melbourne's CBD, often at night. A small camera like the G7 is easy to conceal and yet feels reassuringly solid in the hand, like you're holding a 'real camera'. G7 - Magic Hour by Archiver, on Flickr G7 - Curve Bar > > > by Archiver, on Flickr While the G7's wide end was only a 35mm equivalent, the 7x zoom was the longest I'd experienced in a camera so far, and it enabled me to take portraits with blurred backgrounds, something I'd never done before. The G7 was my primary camera on a two week trip to China, and while I would have liked to have taken my Canon 30D, the discreet and reliable G7 handled almost everything I threw at it. G7 - What you talkin' about? by Archiver, on Flickr G7 - Old and New by Archiver, on Flickr G7 - Songshan III by Archiver, on Flickr There's just something comforting and fun about a solid and discreet camera that you can take anywhere and be assured of bringing home the bacon. For me, the Canon G7 was that camera for a good few years. It focused faster and more reliably than the previous Canons I had, and had a much longer zoom, to boot. Totally reliable, I could pull it from my bag and power up, shoot in an instant, and stow it away before anyone noticed. Even the Ricoh GRD III has more operational lag time than the G7. With a bit of patience you could even do rock concert photography with it. G7 - Three Masters by Archiver, on Flickr The G7 was what moved me from pocketable cameras to DSLR's, and what also drew me back to smaller cameras and into rangefinders. After all, the G7 and the later G10 were styled like the rangefinders of old. My G7 has since been passed to my family, but I still have very fond memories of slipping through the city at night, light and free, capturing sights that only I could see and bringing them home to enjoy at my leisure.