Canon’s Fast and Pre­cise High-end Com­pact Cam­era

Scuba Diver Australasia + Ocean Planet - - Contents - By: Ace Wu

As an un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­pher, aut­o­fo­cus speed and ac­cu­racy are vi­tal qual­i­ties to con­sider when pur­chas­ing a cam­era. So when Canon in­tro­duced the Pow­erShot G1 X Mark III, the first com­pact to fea­ture the Dual Pixel

CMOS AF sys­tem from its DSLR line, I was in­trigued to know if this pock­et­sized cam­era would be fast enough for my pur­poses.

For­tu­nately, dur­ing a re­cent dive trip to the Egyp­tian Red Sea, I had the op­por­tu­nity to find out.

As well as test­ing the aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, I wanted to chal­lenge the big­gest lim­i­ta­tion that all com­pact cam­eras have in un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy: wide an­gle shoot­ing. At 24mm equiv­a­lent fo­cal length at its widest, the typ­i­cal built-in zoom lens on a com­pact isn’t wide enough to al­low you to get close to big sub­jects in or­der to light them with flash.

One way of com­pen­sat­ing for this short­com­ing is sim­ply to shoot from fur­ther away, but that means in­creas­ing ISO so that the light from your strobes has a longer reach.

My wide-an­gle sub­ject of choice was the oceanic whitetip shark. Com­monly sighted in the Red Sea, th­ese dark knights of the ocean are known to be swift and ag­ile, and they of­ten ap­proach divers out of cu­rios­ity. Th­ese sharks are usu­ally found in shal­low wa­ters of around three to five me­tres, and it’s best to use a nar­row aper­ture, prefer­ably f/9 or smaller, for eye-catch­ing images with a rich blue back­ground. I was hop­ing to cap­ture some great shots, but in such a dy­namic and chal­leng­ing shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion, would I re­ally be able to use a com­pact cam­era to cap­ture this speedy shark?

I was amazed to see the re­sults with the Pow­erShot G1 X Mark III. Not only were the oceanic whitetips and their pi­lot fish en­tourage cap­tured in per­fect fo­cus ev­ery time, the images had vi­brant colours and stun­ning de­tail, thanks to the cam­era’s 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sen­sor, much larger than those found on other com­pacts. I couldn’t be­lieve that this was the work of a com­pact cam­era!

While I love div­ing around the world, car­ry­ing all my gear has al­ways been the big­gest headache. But with the small and light­weight Pow­erShot

G1 X Mark III in Canon’s com­pact ded­i­cated WP-DC56 un­der­wa­ter hous­ing, my life has been made much eas­ier. This im­pres­sive cam­era is def­i­nitely a boon for both be­gin­ners and en­thu­si­asts, and it makes an ex­cel­lent backup for the more ad­vanced un­der­wa­ter shooter.

An oceanic whitetip pho­tographed with the Canon Pow­erShot G1 X Mark III, f/11, 1/160s, ISO400

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