REFRESHED AND IMPROVED
Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II
The general compact camera market may be heading on a downward trend, but premium compacts are showing signs of growth, and many camera companies have been quick to capitalize on this.
Sony has their Cybershot RX100, Panasonic has their Lumix LX7 and Canon has their PowerShot G1 X. When launched in 2012, the G1 X looked to be a major compact camera powerhouse that could rival a mirrorless system camera with its 1.5-inch sensor, optical viewfinder and articulating display. Unfortunately, it suffered from sluggish autofocus and an inability to handle close focus, relegating it to be somewhat of a niche camera.
Two years later, we now get to play with the G1 X Mark II, a semi-portable compact that’s only slightly smaller than its predecessor. Its build quality is good, and does not feel cheap or plasticky. However, its size and heft still means you’ll want to use two hands for stability. The G1X Mark II now comes with step zoom, which just means that the camera features preset focal lengths (24, 28, 35, 50, 85, 100, 120mm) that you can jump straight to without fiddling with the zoom lever.
Gone is the lens cover found on the original G1 X. Instead, there’s a retractable lens cover, which means one less thing to lose. The camera will appeal to those familiar with manual controls and it now comes with two control rings on the lens barrel, a shortcut button and a scroll wheel. All of which, you can assign functions to, which makes it easier to adjust shooting variables without having to access the menu system.
We like that the control rings function differently. One turns smoothly, while the other provides tactile feedback. Knowing this, you could for example assign step zoom functionality to
CONCLUSION A better all-round camera compared to the original that would even compare well against mirrorless system cameras.
the smooth control ring and aperture control to the stepped control ring while in aperture priority mode, and adjust both variables without having to access any menus.
The optical viewfinder on the original PowerShot G1 X has been removed from the Mark II, though you can purchase an optional electronic viewfinder (EVF) which mounts onto the hotshoe. Beside the hotshoe is a pop-up flash which can be tilted, giving you a bit more leeway when it comes to using the flash instead of having it fire straight-ahead all the time.
While the display on the G1 X Mark II cannot be rotated out, it can still be tilted up or down, which lets you take selfies. The display is also touch-enabled, so you can tap to focus, or tap to snap a sshot.ot In terms oof connectivity, the G1 X Mark II comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, with the NFC contact area found on the right of the camera.
One of the main complaints about the original G1 X was its sluggish autofocus speed, and it’s safe to say the issue is “mostly” fixed. We say mostly because the G1 X Mark II still occasionally struggles in low light; there were times the camera took longer than usual to focus, or on rare occasions, would not focus at all.
In terms of resolution the G1 X Mark II did very well, considering that it’s still a compact camera (albeit a larger one). And images shot at ISO 1600 still show a lot of detail and none of the smudging that you commonly see in lesser compact cameras.
The G1 X Mark II features a rated minimum focusing distance of 5cm, and comes with a ND filter to help with overexposure when you’re shooting wide open in bright environments. Its lens is not only brighter (F/2.0-3.9 compared to F/2.8-5.8) than the original, it also reaches further (120mm compared to 112mm) and focuses faster with a shorter minimum focusing distance (5cm compared to 20cm).
With all the improvements found in the G1 X Mark II, it’s disappointing to see that battery life remains an issue. And actually, the Mark II’s battery life is inferior to the original—which is already considered a weak performer—at just 240 shots, down from 250 shots.
That said, the number of physical controls you can now customize and the sheer image quality and noise control shown by the PowerShot G1 X Mark II places it above its predecessor as a better all-around camera. It also doesn’t have many equals in the compact camera category. What begets a question is its $1,099 price tag, putting it close to an entry-level mirrorless system camera. And the question you want to ask yourself is whether you still enjoy the convenience of a compact or are looking to venture into system cameras.
The built-in EVF on the original G1 X has now been replaced by a hotshoe mount.