Canon Pow­erShot G1 X Mark III

Andy West­lake takes a first look at Canon’s ground­break­ing APS-C-sen­sor zoom com­pact

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

andy west­lake takes a first look at Canon’s new aps-C zoom com­pact

IN THE early days of dig­i­tal, Canon’s Pow­erShot G series cam­eras were hugely pop­u­lar with en­thu­si­ast pho­tog­ra­phers. Canon was also the first to put a large sen­sor into a rea­son­ably pock­etable zoom com­pact, with its orig­i­nal Pow­erShot G1 X in early 2012. But less than six months later Sony re­leased its pocket-sized Cy­ber-shot RX100 with a 20MP 1in sen­sor, leav­ing the com­pe­ti­tion play­ing catch- up ever since. Canon’s fol­low-up G1 X Mark II never quite caught the imag­i­na­tion in com­par­i­son, with a bulky de­sign but no built-in viewfinder.

Now, though, Canon has upped the ante con­sid­er­ably, by plac­ing a 24MP APS-C sen­sor into a re­mark­ably com­pact body. In prin­ci­ple, this means the new G1 X Mark III should of­fer bet­ter im­age qual­ity than any other zoom com­pact on the mar­ket, and the equal of many DSLRs. The lat­est model also es­chews the unin­spired boxy de­signs of its pre­de­ces­sors, and in­stead is based on the SLR-like Pow­erShot G5 X, with a cen­tral built-in elec­tronic viewfinder and fully ar­tic­u­lated touch­screen. As a re­sult, it prom­ises a rare mar­riage be­tween im­age qual­ity and us­abil­ity.

Nat­u­rally, there are some com­pro­mises to be made for this feat of minia­tur­i­sa­tion, with the most ob­vi­ous be­ing the lens: its 24-72mm equiv­a­lent range and f/2.8-5.6 max­i­mum aper­ture look mod­est com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sors or the large-aper­ture zooms now com­monly found on pock­etable en­thu­si­ast com­pacts. Its 200 shots-per- charge stamina is also well be­low par, es­pe­cially given the £1,149 price tag.


The G1 X III’s key fea­ture is un­doubt­edly its sen­sor. Canon says that the 24.2MP APS- C CMOS is sim­i­lar to that used in its pop­u­lar EOS 80D DSLR, with a sen­si­tiv­ity range of ISO 100-25,600. The firm’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF tech­nol­ogy is on­board en­abling on- chip phase de­tec­tion, and even from my short time us­ing of the cam­era, it’s clear that aut­o­fo­cus is im­pres­sively quick.

Thanks to Canon’s lat­est Digic 7 pro­ces­sor, con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is avail­able at 7 frames per sec­ond with aut­o­fo­cus be­tween frames, or 9 fps with the fo­cus fixed at the start of a burst. Buf­fer­ing is also quite re­spectable, with 24 JPEG or 19 raw frames record­able be­fore the cam­era slows down.

Canon says that the 15- 45mm f/2.8-5.6 lens has been specif­i­cally matched to the sen­sor for op­ti­mal im­age qual­ity. It in­cludes optical im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion promis­ing 4 stops ben­e­fit, a switch­able 3-stop neu­tral- den­sity fil­ter, and a 9-bladed aper­ture di­aphragm. How­ever, de­spite the large sen­sor the f/5.6 max­i­mum aper­ture means that the G1 X III’s lens won’t give any greater back­ground blur than those on 1in sen­sor cam­eras like the Sony RX100 V and Pana­sonic LX15 that have f/2.8 aper­tures at the 70mm equiv­a­lent set­ting.

When it comes to video, Canon has again dis­ap­pointed any fans hop­ing that it might fi­nally in­clude 4K record­ing in an af­ford­able cam­era. In­stead, you only get Full HD at 60fps, and there’s no mi­cro­phone socket, although in- cam­era time-lapse movie cre­ation is avail­able.

Body and de­sign

In terms of de­sign the Mark III rep­re­sents a com­plete about-turn for the G1 X series. The DSLR-like body de­sign gives a very pleas­ant shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, par­tic­u­larly in com­par­i­son to pocket cam­eras such as Sony’s cramped RX100-series mod­els. De­spite its com­pact size, the G1 X III feels un­ex­pect­edly se­cure in your hand, thanks to its rub­berised fin­ger­grip and pro­nounced thumb hook. The key shoot­ing con­trols are all well-placed too.

Canon has in­cluded an EOS-like com­mand dial for chang­ing ex­po­sure set­tings, placed ver­ti­cally on the front-plate for op­er­a­tion by your fore­fin­ger. The top-plate ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion dial falls nat­u­rally un­der­neath your thumb, while a rocker around the shut­ter but­ton con­trols the zoom. A smoothly ro­tat­ing dial around the lens can be used for man­ual fo­cus, and there’s an­other small dial on the back, although this is only re­ally needed in man­ual- ex­po­sure mode.

The EVF is a 2.36-mil­lion- dot OLED unit, placed cen­trally above the lens. While this de­sign means that the cam­era is bulkier than other zoom com­pacts with built-in EVFs, the ad­van­tage is that the viewfinder it­self is much bet­ter. Im­me­di­ately be­low is the 1.04-mil­lion­dot full-ar­tic­u­lated touch­screen, which can be set to point in vir­tu­ally any di­rec­tion: up, down, or for­wards for self­ies. Canon has in­cluded its well-im­ple­mented touch in­ter­face, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to use the touch­screen to move the fo­cus point with the cam­era held to your eye.

Dust and drip-proof­ing Rarely found in com­pact cam­eras, this al­lows out­door use in dif­fi­cult weather con­di­tions Pop-up flash The small built-in flash lifts up from the front of the viewfinder hous­ing. The hot­shoe above it al­lows con­nec­tion of more pow­er­ful ex­ter­nal units.

Con­nec­tiv­ity Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth and Dy­namic NFC are all built in, en­abling easy con­nec­tion to smart­phones, tablets, Wi-Fi print­ers and smart TVs. Bat­tery The small NB-13L bat­tery of­fers just 200 shots per charge, or 250 in Eco mode, ac­cord­ing to CIPA stan­dard tests. USB charg­ing is avail­able.

Canon has in­cluded plenty of con­trols on the small, slim­line cam­era body, in­clud­ing top-plate di­als and a ring aound the lens

The cam­era’s fully ar­tic­u­lated touch screen is ideal for shoot­ing at un­usual an­gles

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