Camera lovers, I have some exciting news for you. Canon has released the new PowerShot G1X camera. It is completely redesigned from its predecessor, the PowerShot G12. I am happy that the G1X has kept a ton of manual controls. I am a photographer who uses them constantly for creative freedom. Here’s a quick run down of the improved features:
14MP 1.5″ CMOS sensor, 28-112mm F2.8-5.8 lens, Optical viewfinder, ISO 100-12,800, 3.0″ swivelling LCD, 14-bit Raw shooting, 4.5fps continuous shooting, 1929 x 1080p full HD Video in stereo sound.
There are times that it is impractical to travel with my bulky DSLR and heavy lenses. I see the G1X as a suitable substitute. I received mine on March 5, and stayed up until 2:30 a.m. setting it up and making test shots. I can report it is a HUGE improvement over the PowerShot G12. Miles superior in low light conditions and clarity of images. I can hand hold it at much slower shutter speeds than the G12.
Take a look at the test shots and video below. Keep in mind my test shots are not attempting to be beautiful. Quite the opposite; I purposely pick bad lighting conditions to see just what a camera can handle. The photograph below was taken with Pattern Metering. No flash was used, and there was no HDR in post processing. I am pleased with the way the G1X reads the extreme lighting contrasts. This image was taken hand-held with an aperture of f13, at 1/10 sec, ISO of 400. Note I said hand-held. There is no way I could have hand-held the PowerShot G12 at 1/10 sec. The f13 aperture kept detail from front to back sharp. A note – all images were uploaded in 72 dpi, for web sharing, so unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the high res quality.
Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X test shot with pattern meter mode
The next photo was taken at the height of the day. Terrible lighting conditions from straight up above. The G1X came through once again. I used the built-in ND filter to block out some light. I expected the sky to look more washed out, but the G1X captured the pale blue just fine. Aperture Priority of f16 hand-held at 1/30 sec, ISO at 100. The front-to-back sharpness is quite good. Once again, there is absolutely no editing. This is exactly what the camera can do on its own. Keep in mind that you can use any of the wonderful color booster settings in JPG mode to give a punch to your images, but for this shot, I wanted to see how the camera does without any of the extra settings.
Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X unedited test shot of very bright light on a landscape.
Below is a shot along the same creek, but taken late in the day with better lighting conditions. I used the camera’s Vivid color mode to boost the saturation. Aperture was at f11 with a shutter speed of 1/125 sec, ISO 400. You can see the punch it gave the greens and added a bit of warm tone to the dirt.
Unedited Canon G1X test shot using camera’s Vivid color mode
The next image displays how great the PowerShot G1X is in low light conditions. I tried this kind of shot many times with a PowerShot G12, and it just couldn’t make an image without a lot of noise and needing a tripod. The PowerShot G1X has no problem getting a clear shot in very dim light. This room was completely dark except for the light from the TV. I used Program mode that set itself to f4.5, at 1/60 sec. ISO was at 400. I used the pop up flash and set the flash exposure compensation to -2. The camera was hand-held. The resulting shot is clear and noise free.
Unedited Canon PowerShot G1X test shot of low light conditions
Next is an example of the accurate color you can get with the G1X’s White Balance settings. I took this shot in a horribly lit shower stall at a public pool. I used the Tungsten white balance setting, and you can see the clean whites & cool grays of the tiles, and vivid oranges in the swim suit. Shot hand-held with an Aperture of f2.8, at 1/40 sec, ISO 400. I am very happy with the white balance results in the PowerShot G1X.
Canon PowerShot G1X test shot using Tungsten white balance
Click here to see a short G1X test video on YouTube. This video was shot using the video setting mode, and no other adjustments. It is as if you handed the camera to your 6 year old. The results are nice considering I did absolutely nothing to enhance the video. Imagine what you can do when you utilize the advanced settings. The sound is better than expected. You can hear the whistling sound of the strong wind in places. After making this video, I added the furry gray Windjammers over the mic holes, and it stopped the whistling.
Now click here to see a video of my layover in the Atlanta Airport after editing images and using iMovie to put it together. This is a more advanced result.
If you are into nature photos and videos, click here to view a video that includes stills as well as video. This also, is a more advanced result after editing images and using iMovie.
I must say, carrying this compact beauty around was a pleasant experience compared to the heavy DSLR I normally have breaking my back. I walked 4 miles without even noticing I had a camera with me until I aimed it at a subject.
Check out the Powershot G1X and see if it is right for you. If so, here’s a link to order yours. For your information, I also ordered the following items for my G1X kit:
Extra Battery – highly recommended, as I found the battery life when using video is less that I expected.
Flash – although the pop up flash is adequate in certain circumstances, I find a hot shoe mounted flash gives much better results. This one is small and lightweight.
16 gig SDHC Card – You will need at least 16 gigs of a fast writing card for all of the photos and videos you will be taking.
Wireless Shutter Release – I use this wireless shutter release a lot. I like it because operates with radio frequency (RF), so you don’t have to have a direct line of sight. Radio waves pass through objects such as windows and walls. Be aware that there is a bit of lag time with this release, though.
Travel Tripod – This tripod is essential for travel or hiking. Very light, and folds up to fit inside a carry-on suitcase. It is designed to use for still and video. Important feature for those of us who want to shoot both without having to have two ballheads. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive tripod. It is not as sturdy or constructed as heartily as an expensive one. I recommend it for times you do not want to carry your heavy, sturdy tripod with you.
Audio Windjammers – These cut down the wind noise when you are shooting video. I shoot outdoors a lot. When it is windy, the whistling sound of the wind going into the camera’s microphone is annoying when you watch the video. Windjammers stop that sound.
Card Reader – I like this card reader to transfer my images to my computer. It reads any type of memory card out there. You don’t need to use up your camera’s battery with the USB cord if you use this card reader.
There are two things I would like to see changed. First, the battery/SD card slot is on the bottom of the camera. I use my G1X on a tripod quite often. When I need to change the battery or SD card, I have to take it off the tripod, unscrew the tripod plate, change the card or battery, screw the plate back on, then put the camera back on the tripod. Kind of a pain in the neck. Second, it would be nice if Canon bumped up the volume control play back feature for video. Sometimes I need to check what I just shot to see if there is undesired noise, like an airplane flying overhead or a car alarm going off. The volume is too low in play back mode when you are outdoors with other noises around you.
An in-depth review and lab test can be seen at Popular Photography by clicking this link.
The price is $699 USD.
Thanks for reading this review, and keep your shutter clicking.