Oxford School of Photography

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Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II First Impressions Review

If you are thinking of buying a serious compact camera you really should look at this from Canon, here reviewed on DP Review the go to choice for reviews on cameras, lenses and printers

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One of the most exciting cameras that debuted in 2012 was Canon’s PowerShot G1 X. It featured a 1.5″ sensor (which is only 20% smaller than APS-C), 28-112mm lens (albeit a moderately slow one), fully articulating LCD, and optical viewfinder (a rarity at the time). The G1 X was far from perfect: the lens’ maximum aperture range of F2.8-5.8 wasn’t great, AF performance and the minimum focus distance were disappointing, continuous shooting rates were poor, and battery life was downright lousy.

With the ‘Mark II’ version of the PowerShot G1 X, Canon has addressed many of the shortcomings of its predecessor. For a start, the G1 X II has a faster lens that covers a wider focal range and can shoot much closer to a subject. It also promises a faster, more sophisticated AF system, improved continuous shooting, dual control dials around the lens, and Wi-Fi with NFC. The LCD has also been redesigned: it now tilts upward 180° and downward 45° – instead of flipping out to the side – and touch functionality has been added, as well. The camera is also significantly smaller than its forebear, now looking more like an over-grown S-series, rather than an out-sized G12. Something that got sacrificed in all this was the optical viewfinder, but fear not, you can buy a tilting XGA EVF for $300.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II key features

12.8 megapixel 1.5″-type CMOS sensor
Digic 6 processor
24-120mm equivalent F2.0-3.9 lens with optical IS
Dual (customizable) control rings
Tilting 3″, 1.04M dot touchscreen LCD
5.2 fps continuous shooting
Maintains same angle-of-view at 4:3 and 3:2
Wi-Fi with NFC with remote control via smartphone
1080/30p video recording
Optional XGA electronic viewfinder
The big story remains the G1 X II’s 1.5″-type sensor which is around 5.6 times larger than the one found in Canon’s own PowerShot G16. The result is still a fair bit smaller than the APS-C-sized sensors used in Canon’s DSLRs, but then the camera is quite a bit smaller, too. It’s interesting to compare the EOS-M, which is similar in body size, to the G1 X II. The built-in lens and smaller sensor allow the PowerShot to remain much smaller than the ‘M’ would be, were there an equivalent lens available.

While the total pixel count of 15 million is the same as on the G1 X, the G1 X Mark II only uses around 13 million (versus 14.3).

sensor-diagram

 

The G1 X Mark II’s pixel dimensions show that it’s cropping from a sensor that’s larger than the imaging area, allowing it to offer the same angle-of-view for both the 3:2 and 4:3 aspect ratios – something that the original G1 X could not do.

The 18.7 x 12.4 mm sensor size that Canon has been quoting appears to refer to the 3:2 crop area – the sensor itself is the same size as the one in the original G1 X. To find out more, read our original first look article.

Another significant change on the G1 X II is in the lens department. Gone is the comparatively slow 28-112 equiv. F2.8-5.8 lens on the G1 X – this camera has a much more appealing 24-120mm F2.0-3.9 lens. The use of a smaller sensor area means these numbers aren’t directly comparable, but the new lens is certainly brighter. Where the minimum focus distance on the G1 X was an unhelpful 20cm (and 40cm in most modes), the new lens can be just 5cm away from its subject. Canon has also improved the autofocus system, and claims that the G1 X has the ‘the fastest in Canon compact camera history.’

The combination of the camera’s fast lens and 1.5″ sensor pays big dividends

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