New Canon PowerShot G1 X
The new Canon PowerShot G1 X offers advanced technologies that make this camera behave like it’s much larger than it really is. The compact G1 X is armed with a new 1.5-inch High Sensitivity CMOS sensor, which is larger than a 4/3" sensor, and nearly as big as the APS-C-sized sensors found in professional DSLRs. This gives you a light-sensitive area which is nearly 6.3 times larger than the last generation of G-Series digital cameras, and delivers a quality level that’s unheard of in a compact, pocket-friendly camera.
The lens on the G1 X was designed to take full advantage of its oversized 14.3-Megapixel sensor. And a powerful DIGIC 5 Image Processor has been employed to improve noise reduction, allowing this little camera to achieve an ISO up to 12800, ultimately enabling you to photograph in low light with less blur and shorter exposure times. The f/2.8 lens has 4x optical zoom, which utilizes Canon’s UA Lens technology to suppress aberration throughout the zoom range. With a 35mm equivalent focal length of 28-112mm, this lens will capture any scene, from portraiture to landscapes.
Whether you’ve been photographing for years and desire a compact camera that doesn’t compromise on image quality and features, or you’re a beginner who needs an excellent camera that can be used immediately and with which you can grow, the new Canon PowerShot G1 X is a formidable and exciting new option. There’s a lot more to dig into on this camera: full 1080p HD video with a dedicated movie button and stereo sound, an optical viewfinder, a variable-angle 922,000 dot 3-inch LCD screen, 14-bit RAW shooting, HDR, tracking auto focus—and a heck of a lot more.
To really get a taste of the PowerShot G1 X, just keep on reading.
When I was given the chance to take at look at Canon’s latest permutation in the PowerShot lineup—the G1 X—I jumped on it. I immediately went to work, soaking up everything I could about the camera in order to tell you what’s new, what’s improved, and why the G1 X is the pinnacle of the PowerShot lineup. I’m happy to report that there’s plenty of excitement to be found in Canon’s latest baby. All the features and enhancements I’ve written about here are exciting on a number of levels—but really, they all go back to what it’s all about, which is making the resulting image better.
One of the first things to note: this camera has heft. Not that it’s heavy, but when I picked it up I could tell I was holding a well-made camera. The feeling is sort of like when you pick up a crystal goblet after holding a simple flint-glass tumbler. The camera’s lines are smooth and elegant, not comically rounded or intentionally futuristic. Basically, it looks the way a camera should and that’s a very good thing, indeed.
I noted that the G1 X now has a 1.5” 14.3Mp CMOS sensor. It’s nearly the same size as an APS-C DSLR sensor and it dwarfs the 10Mp chip in the G12! That is quite a significant bump in performance. Additionally, this sensor is hooked up to Canon’s new DIGIC 5 image processor. Some of this dynamic duo’s highlights: speedier image processing, greater flexibility in difficult lighting, a higher noise floor for better handling of low light/high-ISO scenarios, faster shooting capability and multi-area white balance adjustments. Working in tandem, this sensor/processor combination is the foundation for Canon’s HS System. One additional tech-speak point of interest: the G1 X features 14-bit signal processing, the same as found in an EOS D-SLR. While 12-bit processing is standard fare for most cameras, and it is certainly capable of producing fine images, 14-bit processing does provide an edge that can make a huge difference in the final product. The additional data from those extra 2 bits provides smoother tonal gradations, greater detail in both highlights and shadows, and a more pleasing and natural looking edge-to-edge rendering of every image. With an ISO ceiling of 12800, and all that refined processing behind it, Canon really hit the ball out of the park here!
The LCD appeared to be slightly larger that the one on the G12 as well, so I got out my trusty ruler. This new Vari-Angle LCD measures a sweet 3.0 inches. Now the difference between this and the G12’s 2.8-inch screen might seem trivial, but in practical use it’s a pretty significant change that you have to see for yourself. The screen swivels and rotates, and it also tilts up/down. This means you can pull off hail-Marys or worm's-eye shots with ease, not to mention the inevitable self portrait.
Gaining a huge pixel-count bump, the G1 X’s LCD boasts a whopping 922,000 pixels. Having written such praise, I have to admit that I prefer to use an optical finder. Well, guess what? The G1 X has one! And while I prefer composing through a finder over on an LCD, having both is pretty sweet. Plus, the optical finder zooms in/out along with the lens, so what you see is in fact what you get!
Navigating through the menus, while reading some of the official literature on hand, I found that there’s a wealth of shooting modes that span the steps from fully automatic to fully manual. The G1 X has a brain, and it’s one smart camera too! It can recognize 32 shooting situations and it automatically optimizes the in-camera settings for the highest quality images possible. Being somewhat on the move most of the time, this is a huge bonus. But wait—there’s more! I can still put my foot down and tell the camera what I want it to do, which is another huge plus. Sometimes it's good to blow out a highlight or to bury distractions in a shadow.
You know what else I really like about this brand new powerhouse from Canon? The full-res high-speed burst that delivers 6 fps. Let's not forget that regular continuous shooting is pretty speedy also, at 4 fps. Capturing fast-breaking action with a point-and-shoot? Definitely!
Video. Ah,video. Yes, there’s plenty of video capability to be found in the G1 X also. Most of the time I think in still-image mode, but for those YouTube moments, the G1 X can record Full HD movies in stunning 1080p at 24 fps, or 720p at 30 fps; both with stereo sound. There’s a new, and very conveniently placed, button on the back of the camera—a dedicated movie button that enables you to instantly shoot movies without having to set anything else. Just press to start recording. Brilliant!
Late-breaking news! There’s an electronic wind filter, and you can rack the lens across the entire zoom range when you’re shooting a video! Awesome!
Now, on to the lens: the integral 4x f/2.8 optic starts at the wide end at 28mm (35mm equivalent) and it’ll reach all the way out to a spectacular 112mm (also 35mm equivalent). For me, this is a perfect range; wide enough for dramatic breadth and scope, long enough for intimate portraits or compressing perspective. By incorporating Canon’s UA lens technology, lens aberration is suppressed and image quality is constant across the entire zoom range. Zooming the lens is smooth and predictable; there were no fast spots, or any of that jerky hesitation that drives photographers crazy. Moving from wide to tele went quickly, and the motor hummed effortlessly and without distraction.
For those moments when additional stability is needed, Canon’s newest version of its legendary Optical Image Stabilization—Intelligent IS—saves the day. It analyzes the camera’s movement and it then applies the best shake correction for the situation. There are several modes to select, depending on whether you’re shooting stills or video.
Like its predecessor, the G1 X is also compatible with the range of Speedlite flashes, making every shooting experience one you can tailor to your own needs. You’ll be happy to know that the optical viewfinder, the dual top dials, front dial, diopter adjustment, hot shoe and the myriad shooting modes and photo effects didn’t go anywhere either. With nothing lacking and much gained, the G1 X is definitely a camera that’s an improvement over what was already great! Whether you’re a PowerShot devotee, or new to the series, the G1 X has much to offer you—pro, amateur, or anywhere in-between. So, hats off to Canon, and enjoy all the new technology that's packed into this little beauty.