The Canon G9 is an obsolete camera, having been replaced by the G10, which has more mega-pixels but a smaller zoom factor, though a nicer 28mm lens. We got our G9 refurbished through the little known Canon Customer Loyalty Program for $250, which is a fantastic deal and another reason why Canon has me as a customer for life (we traded in an 8 year old 3 mega-pixel camera!).
The Canon takes amazing pictures. The results from our Turkey Sailing Trip where we had both cameras showed that whenever we shot the same picture with both the G9 and our 3 year old SD500, the G9 won. The camera is bulky, but not so much so that I couldn't carry it in a cycling jersey pocket, though I wouldn't do that for more than a few hours. It does fit in a handlebar bag, however.
The picture quality is one thing, but the camera has a great stitch assist mode that's a pleasure to use because of the dial. The other modes are pretty good as well, giving you aperture priority, shutter priority, and even full manual mode, which is admittedly a lot less usable than a real digital SLR, but hey, it's $250! The lens is very nice though I found that 35mm is not wide enough. Then again, with stich-assist, you can make your own wide angle after the fact.
We're so impressed by this camera that we bought an underwater housing for it, despite already having one for the SD500. The downsides: the shutter lag is noticeable, and the inter-frame wait (time between shutter press intervals) is longer than I want it to be. Nevertheless, the last few trips (including the Radstadt/Salzburg Tour in Munich were all shot using the G9 --- the pictures wouldn't have looked at nice on the SD500.
All in all, however, this is the camera that substitutes for a range finder as far as I'm concerned. The zoom lens is good enough, and for $250, it's an excellent value. Recommended. If I can't get a Canon 5D Mk II in time for our trip to Australia, I will still be very happy with this camera. Recommended.