Digital Cameras Guide

Canon PowerShot G1 X review

Canon PowerShot G1 X - The Mighty Tank

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Overall rating 9/10
Superb image clarity
Excellent low-noise performance
Excellent image stabilizer
Well-designed controls
Sluggish response
Not able to shoot macro

Design & Handling

Design & Handling

The G1 X isn't a pocket camera. The image above will give you an idea of how much bigger it is when compared to your average compact, as well as compared to the G12. The camera weighs half a kilogram at 534g with batteries, more than 100g heavier than the G12, and you'll feel it when you hold it. Luckily, the camera feels right. The bigger grip gives you a comfortable purchase on the camera, and everything feels like it's placed where it should be. Controls are easily accessed, and nothing really gets in your way. Looks-wise, the G1 X looks cleaner and more modern than the G12.

You'll notice an optical viewfinder on top of the lens, the same as it was on the G12. Like the G12's, the G1 X's isn't so useful, it's small, hard to see through and not connected to the lens in any way, so you don't see exactly what you shoot. What's more useful is the 3" vari-angle LCD, which twists and turns to let you shoot with more freedom. With a resolution of 920k dots, the screen is brilliant and is almost comparable to the 3" screens in Canon's entry-level DSLRs, like the 600D's 3" screen which has 1.04 million dots.

Like Canon's DSLR cameras, the G1 X offers manual control using the front control dial and the back control wheel, which will take over aperture and shutter speed settings. A large exposure compensation dial sitting below the Mode dial lets you dial settings physically, a digital meter will display on-screen when you twist the dial so you don't always have to be looking at it.

The d-pad inside of the control wheel offers dedicated controls to commonly used commands like ISO and Macro mode, pressing the center Function button brings up a quick command list of additional controls overlaid on the display. There is a customizable Shortcut button on the top left, below the flash, which you can program to activate your command of choice. Everything a manual shooter needs is a few comfortable clicks away and operating the camera always feels smooth.

Because the camera's lens is so big, the G1 X doesn't have a built-in retractable lens cover like the G12. You have to take the lens cover off yourself, much like on a DSLR camera (you can string the cover to the camera so you don't lose it). We were surprised that, for a camera built for experienced users, you cannot define a minimum shutter speed when setting ISO sensitivity to Auto, and the maximum ISO Auto setting available is only ISO1600, when manually you can set ISO to a maximum of ISO12,800.


The Trouble with AF Frames

The G1 X, like the PowerShot S100, doesn't have a 'pure' multi-frame AF mode, rather, it has a Face AiAF mode which operates as multi-frame AF when faces aren't in the shot. This can sometimes produce problems, especially when you're shooting a shot where you don't want to have the faces be the center of focus but the camera will continue to focus on them, like people in a landscape shot. The other AF mode options are FlexiZone AF, where you determine the AF point yourself, and Tracking AF, where it will lock on to a subject and track it as it moves across the frame. In FlexiZone AF mode, it's relatively easy to position the AF point by pressing the AF Frame Selector button on top of the control wheel and using the wheel or d-pad to move the point.

Buy an Extra Battery

Like the Canon S100, the G1 X's battery is woefully short, much shorter than the G12's. The battery is rated for 250 shots, and we managed around 240 in a day of shooting on a full charge before the camera kept flashing a low-battery warning. We highly recommend you buy an extra battery if you get the G1 X.