Canon G1X II review: Canon’s new premium compact camera is a triumphant return to form. Find out why in our testing team’s new Canon G1X II review video.
The premium compact camera market used to be pretty much owned by Canon. The much-lauded G series was the ultimate in functionality for those who wanted high image quality but didn’t want to lug around a heavy DSLR.
However, in recent times other manufacturers have overtaken Canon’s once unquestionable dominance.
The Sony RX100 II is currently the biggest seller in this area of the market, while products like the Fuji X100S offer something a little more unusual. But could the Canon G1X II upset the current balance?
In her Canon G1X II review video, Amy Davies of our testing team puts this new Canon camera through its paces to see how it performs.
Hi I’m Amy Davies from Future Publishing’s Photography Testing Team and I’m here to take a look at the Canon G1X II.
The Mark II version of this camera is a replacement for the original G1X, which entered the market to mixed reviews back in 2012. Since then, Canon has made a number of notable improvements to the camera to make it a much more appealing prospect.
Compared with its predecessor, the G1X Mark II has a more modern appearance. However, it’s a lot heavier, and bulkier, than some of the other high-end compact cameras currently on the market, such as the Sony RX100 II, but then it has a significantly larger sensor.
This grip on the side of the camera here is found on European models only – Canon says that Japanese and American audiences prefer the flatter look of the camera. I find the grip makes the camera sit comfortably in the hand, but I’m sure it would also sit well if this was missing.
These two rings around the front of the lens are used to change certain shooting parameters. They can be customised to a particular function, for instance you might want to set this one here to control aperture, and this one to shutter speed – if you’re shooting in manual mode.
As you can see, a good proportion of the back of the camera is taken up by the three inch screen. Happily, Canon has chosen to include a touchscreen for the Mark II – and it’s a capacitive device which means it’s very responsive.
It’s easy to change the autofocus point using this screen, you just tap the area of the scene you want to focus on. It’s also useful during playback, allowing you to swipe through images, or pinch to zoom to check critical focus for example.
While the G1X’s screen was fully articulating, the G1X II’s device only tilts, to face downwards, or it can face all the way forwards, which is useful for self-portraits.
Another difference is the lack of a viewfinder. The G1X had an optical finder, which was basically just a hole in the top of the camera. Instead of replacing it with an inbuilt electronic version , Canon has decided to offer it as a separate, optional purchase to slot into the hotshoe here. While, it’s not disappointing to lose the optical version, it adds additional expense if you prefer to work with a viewfinder rather than a screen.
There’s also a decent array of physical buttons, most of which can be found on the back here. Pressing this function button in the middle of the four way navigational pad gives you access to the most commonly used settings, such as white balance and time.
All of the directional keys, also have their own function, here we can see that left accesses macro focusing, while down brings up the sensitivity settings. This button here is a customisable shortcut button, to which you can assign one of 24 different settings.
Two different modes are available which allows you to get creative. First of all, there’s Creative Shot – found here on the mode dial – which will apply five different random effects to an image and save them all along with an unfiltered version of the image.
Secondly, there’s also this filters mode, also found on on the mode dial, which gives you specific control over a range of different filter effects, such as fish-eye or toy camera.
This dedicated button accesses the camera’s Wi-Fi functionality, another one of the camera’s improvements from its predecessor. Whereas previous Wi-Fi enabled Canon compact cameras only allowed you to send across images and videos to a smartphone or tablet, the latest version of the app allows you to remotely control the camera.
Once the camera is connected to the smartphone or tablet, it’s a pretty quick and responsive app to use, although you can’t control a great deal from the app – all you can do is zoom the lens in and out and hit the shutter release, which is a shame.
One of the biggest problems with the original G1X was its macro focusing capability – as it’s nearest focus point is 30cm. This has been vastly improved to 5cm for the Mark II, which helps with general everyday shooting.
The G1X II uses the same sensor as the original G1X, so we were pretty sure that image quality would be good. It now includes a Digic 6 processor though, which has helped to boost the camera’s performance when it comes to low light, high sensitivity shooting.
Images are also bright and punchy directly from the camera, contain lots of detail and are generally well exposed.
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