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

Image Performance II

Image Performance II

Something else that's suffered a trade-off as a result of the larger sensor is the fact that the G1 X doesn't come with too bright a lens. At its widest of 28mm, the lens opens up to a decent f/2.8, but at its furthest 4x zoom of 112mm, the lens stops down to f/5.8. Which means you won't get the creamy bokeh (background blur) which could have been possible with such a large sensor, nor will you be able to get quick shutter speeds in lower light. This isn't such a deal-breaker for us, the G1 X's little background blur is sufficient (if not rich) at f/2.8, while its excellent image stabilizer (see the previous page) is enough to compensate for a smaller aperture at longer zooms. 

Comparatively speaking, since the two cameras have nearly similarly sized sensors, the slightly faster G1 X should at approach the bokeh and speed you get from the kit lens of an APS-C DSLR camera, which is usually 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6. Even though some smaller compact cameras boast faster lenses, they might not get much more background blur due to their smaller sensors (but they will be able to shoot faster in low-light thanks to the wider apertures).

G1 X vs. Fast Compact Cameras Lenses
  Canon G1 X Canon S100 Fujifilm X10  Olympus XZ-1  Samsung EX-1 
Optical Zoom  4x 5x 4x 4x 3x
Focal Length (35mm equivalent) 28-112mm  24-120mm 28-112mm 28-112mm 24-72mm
Aperture f/2.8(W)-f/5.8(T) f/2(W)-f/5.9(T) f/2(W)-f/2.8(T) f/1.8(W)-f/2.5(T) f/1.8(W)-f/2.4(T)

Slow to Respond

The G1 X feels slow in comparison to other digital compact cameras. Slow to power-up, slow to lock AF, slow to take the shot, slow to cycle in-between shots. From the time you press the shutter to the time the G1 X takes the shot, it feels slightly slower than other digital compact cameras. We'll admit the lag is time is probably only in the milliseconds, but when you need to grab a decisive moment sometimes that's all you have. In-between shots, the camera takes about three seconds to get ready to shoot again, which is far too long if you're shooting action.

It's not just that the camera feels sluggish, its frame-rates are slow as well. Even continuous shooting mode, where the camera can keep shooting without delay in-between shots, is slow - the G1 X can only capture a maximum of 1.9 shots per second, and that's with auto-focus locked on the first frame. If you activate continuous AF, frame-rates drop to less than a frame a second. The one workaround is to shoot in High-Speed Burst HQ mode where the camera can shoot at 4.5 frames per second, but only up to six frames. The G1 X just isn't made for fast photography, a fact you'll quickly realize when you try to shoot moving subjects with the camera. Instead, it invites more considered shooting, where your subjects won't move around as much, like landscapes or posed shots.

Sharp Across the Corners

We're happy to report that across the G1 X's focal range the lens stays fairly sharp corner to corner. There is slight softness in the corners at the widest and second-widest apertures and usually from f/13 onward, as is par for the course (very few lenses are tack sharp wide open, and most will lose detail at higher apertures from diffraction) and nothing too drastic. There are some tests online where there is extreme softness in the corners, we saw this result ourselves with our usual test scene and we believe this might be due to the camera having difficulty focusing on small objects due to its long minimum focusing distance. When we tested outdoors using a large wall the same problem did not appear.