Canon G1X Mark II Review : Canon brings PowerShot G1 X Mark II with a redesigned body
- Very bright 5x zoom
- Fast autofocus, decent continuous shooting rate
- Excellent image quality
- Modest battery life
- Video functions not up to date
- Electronic viewfinder only as accessory
- For a compact camera large and heavy
With the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, Canon is taking the design of the EOS-M to the G-Class. Compared to its predecessor, the G1 X Mark II is much slimmer and handier. However, the optical viewfinder fell victim to the design change, and instead the G1 X Mark II can optionally be equipped with the separately available EVF-DC1 electronic viewfinder. For operation, the G1 X Mark II relies, among other things, on two control rings that enclose the lens barrel.
The image converter used in the G1 X Mark II is a fairly large 1.5-inch sensor with a resolution of around 13 megapixels. Canon has designed the newly developed CMOS sensor in multi-aspect format: It allows you to record in an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 3:2, without the need to trim or significantly change the image resolution when changing the image format.
Canon has significantly revised the lens of the G1 X Mark II. It now covers a zoom range from 24 to 120 millimeters (relative to 35mm) and is quite fast with a maximum aperture of F2.0 to F3.9. An elaborate design with 14 lenses in eleven groups and nine aperture louvres is supposed to provide excellent sharpness or an attractive background sharpness according to Canon. Thanks to the optical image stabilizer, the G1 X Mark II allows up to five times longer exposure times for hand-held shots.
The aluminium housing of the G1 X Mark II is mounted on a stainless steel chassis and has a clearly shaped handle. A 3-inch display, which can be folded up and down and has a very fine resolution of over one million pixels, is used for image control. The display is touch-sensitive and can be operated with a fingertip. Canon has equipped the G1 X Mark II with a small on-board flash, alternatively an external system flash can be connected via the flash shoe. The minimum flash sync time is pleasingly short, which is only 1/4,000 seconds (and thus the shortest possible exposure time of the camera) with an external flash in high-speed mode.
The G1 X Mark II can be controlled fully automatically, drawing on a wide range of 58 motif programs, but is also capable of classic exposure functions. The maximum continuous shooting rate is 5.2 photos per second (fps) without focus tracking, with AF it drops to about 3 fps. The G1 X Mark II records videos in full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) with a maximum of 30 full frames/second. Thanks to its WLAN function, the G1 X Mark II transmits recordings wirelessly and can be controlled remotely from a mobile device. The G1 X Mark II went on sale at the beginning of May 2014 for around 850 euros.
Approximately one year after Canon has upgraded the high-quality G series with the G1 X, this is now replaced by the G1 X Mark II. Contrary to what the model name might suggest, the Mark II is by no means just a lukewarm infusion. Canon has completely redesigned the G flagship, the G1 X II is equipped with a 1.5-inch Multi-Aspect sensor and a 5x bright zoom. Canon has dispensed with an optical viewfinder for the new edition, but the Mark II comes with an optional electronic viewfinder. Furthermore, a Digic 6 image processor takes care of the data processing for the Mark II and enables a very high serial frame rate.
Ergonomics and workmanship
Canon itself calls the G1 X Mark II the “compact camera flagship”. However, the camera is by no means compact and with its weight of over a pound it is anything but a lightweight. In a voluminous coat bag it finds so barely space, but usually you will have the G1 X II in a small photo bag with you. Their housing looks extremely robust and solid. It is made of aluminium, the chassis is made of stainless steel.
Although the G1 X II is anything but small, it’s a bit more compact than its predecessor. This was made possible by the fact that Canon saved the optical viewfinder on the Mark II, which the G1 X still had to offer. As an alternative, the EVF-DC1 electronic viewfinder is now available as an optional accessory, but it costs another 300 euros extra. It is inserted into the accessory shoe and rises very high. The viewfinder image, however, is excellent, very finely resolved and with natural colour and contrast reproduction.
The angular housing does not let the camera lie so well in the hand. Above all, their grip bulge should be even more pronounced in order to be able to hold them securely with one hand. Another obstacle in practice is that the right index finger must reach over the program selector wheel to reach the trigger – this was better solved with the predecessor.
By the way, on the G1 X II the selector wheel for the exposure correction is omitted, as is the setting wheel on the front. The function of both dials is now performed by two adjusting rings on the lens. One of the two rings snaps in nicely sensitively, the other one runs steplessly. Both rings can be fitted with a wide range of optional functions – Canon has solved this problem well. The other control elements are a bit crowded together on the right side of the camera back and are naturally quite tiny.
The crooked plastic flap under which the connection sockets for remote control, HDMI and USB are concealed doesn’t quite match the camera’s overall quality impression. The lid of the battery and memory card compartment on the camera base looks much more solid. However, Canon has arranged the tripod thread in direct proximity to the battery bay, so that the access to the energy storage is blocked when the tripod plate is attached. However, the NB-12L battery is a little too weak for the G1 X II, according to CIPA measurements just one charge is enough for 240 shots, in combination with the electronic viewfinder the battery range even drops to 200 shots.
While the display on the first G1 X could still be folded and pivoted very flexibly, on the Mark II it is only hinged with a double folding hinge. It can be tilted downwards by approx. 45 degrees for overhead photography, in the other direction it tilts upwards or forwards by 180 degrees. What is practical is that the display of the G1 X II is touch-sensitive. This makes it possible to focus and trigger the desired motif with just one fingertip. You can also navigate through the menus via touchscreen, but this is not a real pleasure even with this innovation. The main menu of the G1 X II consists of just three registers, in which the commands then crowd into endlessly long lists.
The G1 X II offers recording and playback functions that are almost as good as those of a system camera. Whenever you need a quick shot, the professional compact camera with its clever fully automatic function automatically selects the appropriate shooting mode for the subject. Of course, the desired scene mode program can also be set by hand. The Canon G 1X II offers special shooting modes for taking pictures of a night sky with stars. She also has an HDR program on board that tames particularly high-contrast scenes by taking multiple pictures with different exposures – the effect strength can be selected.
Of course, the Mark II also offers the well-known options for exposure control, such as automatic shutter speed, aperture and program control; manual exposure control is also possible. The latter can be combined with ISO auto, so the G1 X II controls the exposure for a fixed time-aperture combination using ISO sensitivity. It goes without saying that the Mark II also records exposure series. However, the possibility of recording focus rows is not a matter of course. This function provides three shots, two of which have slightly different focus settings. However, it is not possible to influence how far the camera varies the distance settings; the differences between the three shots remain small.
As befits a sophisticated camera, the G1 X II comes with a powerful flash system. The internal flash synchronizes up to the shortest shutter speed of 1/4,000 seconds – a pity that this is not possible with a system flash that can be connected via an accessory shoe. There are also gaps in the editing options in playback mode – these are only available for JPEG recordings, raw files cannot be developed directly in the camera.
Compared to its predecessor, Canon has significantly improved the G1 X’s sprinting capabilities. The Mark II records a good 5 frames/second (fps) in JPEG continuous shooting, but the rate drops to around 1.2 fps in raw shooting. The G1 X II never runs out of breath – it purrs the shots at a constant speed until the finger is removed from the shutter release. The video capabilities, on the other hand, are less impressive. Although the G1 X II records in full HD, the maximum frame rate is 30 fps. The camera follows the focus gently but accurately during film shoots, annoying focus pumping is alien to it. The zoom control, which is significantly slower during video shooting and thus enables pleasantly quiet zoom rides, is also praised.
A new addition to the G1 X II is WiFi connectivity. It allows the camera to be wirelessly connected to a smartphone or tablet – thanks to NFC, pairing the devices is child’s play. Via WiFi, you can remotely control the Mark II from your mobile device, transfer recordings to your smartphone or tablet, or obtain GPS information from it to add location coordinates to photos in the camera.
One of the most important new features of the G1 X II is the lens. While its predecessor still had a 28-112mm/F2.8-5.8, Canon has extended the focal length range of the Mark II and significantly increased the light intensity. The new version now zooms from 24 to 120 millimeters (related to 35mm), the light intensity varies between F2.0 at the short end and F3.9 in the telephoto range. In conjunction with the quite large 1.5-inch sensor, this opens up a significantly higher exemption potential than with its predecessor. This is even true in bright surroundings, with the G1 X II an ND filter can be swivelled into the beam path, which reduces the light by 3 EV and thus allows shots to be taken with the aperture wide open even under unfavourable conditions.
The lens folds up quite a bit when the camera is turned off, but still stands out a good deal.
If you zoom to the longest telephoto focal length, the plastic tube is about three times longer, the whole thing looks a bit filigree. The shortest focus distance of only five centimeters at the shortest focal length and 40 centimeters at the long end of the telephoto is pleasingly short. In addition, Canon has equipped the lens with nine aperture fins, which ensure a very pleasant bokeh.
Canon has improved the autofocus of the Mark II. Not only has the number of focus fields been increased to 31, the G1 X II also focuses about twice as fast as its predecessor. At a focal length of 24 millimeters, it focused and triggered in the test laboratory of digitalkamera.de after just under 0.3 seconds, at 120 millimeters it took about 0.4 seconds. An optical image stabilizer helps to avoid blurred images, and the viewfinder image is also stabilized.
With the G1 X II, Canon relies on a newly developed image sensor that always takes full advantage of the image circle of the lens, regardless of the 3:2 or 4:3 recording format. With this “Multi-Aspect” sensor, photos have approximately the same resolution, regardless of which of the two page formats they were taken in. Depending on the selected aspect ratio, the usable area of the image converter is between 234 mm2 and 240 mm2 and is thus slightly larger than with the Four-Thirds format (225 mm2). This extremely large sensor area for a compact camera, coupled with the current DIGIC 6 image processor and the very moderate resolution of around 13 megapixels, raises high expectations for the image quality of the G1 X II.
When it comes to image noise, the PowerShot G1 X Mark II is by no means a nuisance. Their signal-to-noise ratio is high and only reaches the critical 35 dB mark at ISO 3,200. Brightness noise is only visible from ISO 6.400, the especially annoying color noise remains very low over the entire sensitivity range up to ISO 12.800. However, the powerful image processing also contributes to this very pleasing result. The texture sharpness is only very high up to ISO 400, then it drops quickly – a clear indication that the noise reduction has a strong effect. And so JPEG shots with ISO 3.200 appear practically noiseless, but also much smoother and less detailed than raw files recorded in parallel. It doesn’t help much for the Mark II to re-sharpen vigorously, the artefact rate is somewhat high, but in practice sharpness artifacts just remain inconspicuous.
Up to ISO 3.200, the G1 X II processes a high dynamic range of a good 10 EV, with higher sensitivity the input dynamic breaks down. The output dynamic already decreases continuously from ISO 400, but also remains good up to ISO 3,200. The professional compact camera does not measure the colour fidelity so precisely. Visually, however, the recordings are quite convincing, with a penchant for a rather reddish reproduction of skin tones.
From the sensor side, the image quality of the G1 X II is more than okay. But what does it look like when the lens comes into play? First of all, it is impressive that the 5x zoom shows practically no distortion. Likewise, no drop in sharpness from the center to the edges of the image can be measured. But with these very impressive results, an electronic correction also has its hands in the game, as Adobe Camera Raw 8.5 unmistakably reports. The usable resolution of the G1 X II, which is a maximum of around 40 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in the image center, may not be quite as good. In the telephoto range, the resolution hardly decreases towards the edge of the picture, but it does at the shortest focal length. At a focal length of 24 millimetres, 30 lp/mm are just reached – a somewhat weak value. Canon has chromatic aberrations well under control, colour fringes on contrasting edges are only very weakly pronounced.
With the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, Canon delivers an all-round successful camera, which at best has weaknesses in detail and video functions. In any case, the extremely bright 5x zoom was successful, not only in practice, but also in the test laboratory. The large “multi-aspect” image converter with a moderate 13 megapixel resolution is in no way inferior, up to ISO 3,200, the camera is very good to use with only slight compromises in image quality. Compared to its predecessor, Canon has also accelerated the continuous shooting rate and the autofocus, both of which deliver a convincing performance in practice. However, the new operating concept, which uses two control rings on the lens at the same time and dispenses with a classic front or thumbwheel, was not entirely convincing. Canon has also said goodbye to the optical viewfinder of its predecessor, a recommendable electronic viewfinder is only available as an optional accessory for the G1 X II, which drives up its total price. The high image quality as well as the good features of the Mark II are bought with a camera that is no longer really “compact”. A small system camera is just as suitable as a travel or reportage camera. The video capabilities of the G1 X II don’t cause any storms of enthusiasm. The frame rate is limited to 30 fps, manual focusing is not possible during video shooting.
- Very bright 5x zoom
- Fast autofocus, decent continuous shooting rate
- Excellent image quality
- Modest battery life
- Video functions not up to date
- Electronic viewfinder only as accessory
- For a compact camera, it is large and heavy
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II Datasheet
|Sensor||CMOS sensor 1.5″ 18.7 x 14.0 mm (crop factor 1.9
)13.1 megapixels (physical), 12.8 megapixels (effective)
|Pixel pitch||4.5 µm|
|Picture formats||JPG, RAW|
|Color depth||42 bits (14 bits per color channel)|
|Metadata||Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard|
|Maximum recording time||29 min 59 sec|
|Audio format (video)||WAV|
|Focal length||24 to 120 mm (35mm equivalent
.5 to 62.5 mm (physical)
Digital zoom 4x
|Focus range||5 cm to infinity (wide angle)|
|ND filter||ND filter (3.0 EV levels)|
|Autofocus mode||Contrast autofocus with 31 measuring fields|
|Autofocus Functions||Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light, Focus Peaking|
|Filter threads||58 mm|
Viewfinder and Monitor
|Monitor||3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, touchscreen, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, tiltable 180° upwards to 45° downwards|
|Exposure metering||Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement|
|Exposure times||1/4,000 to 60 s (automatic)|
|Exposure control||Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Aperture automatic, Manual, Motif automatic|
|Bracketing function||HDR function|
|Exposure compensation||-3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV|
|Sensitivity to light||ISO 100 to ISO 12.800 (manual
)ISO 6.400 to ISO 12.800 (with reduced resolution)
|Scene modes||Automatic, fireworks, skin, night scene, beach/snow, 53 other scene mode programs|
|Picture effects||Fisheye, HDR effect, miniature effect, monochrome, retro, toy camera, blur, “My Colors” function with a total of 9 settings, 3 additional image effects|
|White balance||Auto, Cloudy, Sun, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 2 presets, Incandescent light, Manual 2 memory locations|
|Continuous shooting||5.2 frames/s at highest resolution, approx. 3 fps with AF|
|Self-timer||Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)|
|Shooting functions||AEL function, AFL function, live histogram|
|Flash||built-in flash shoe
: Canon, standard center contact
|Flash range||0.5 to 6.8 m at wide angle0
.5 to 3.5 m at teleflash range
at ISO autoflash sync time
|Flash functions||Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, Slow sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Manual flash output (3 levels), Red-eye reduction, Flash exposure compensation from 2.0 EV to +-2.0 EV|
|Image stabilizer||optical image stabilizer|
SD (UHS I, SDXC, SDHC)
|GPS function||GPS external (Smartphone as GPS-Logger)|
|Power supply||Power supply connection|
|Power supply||1 x Canon NB-12L (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V
)240 CIPA standard images
|Playback Functions||Red-eye retouching, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 10.0x magnification, image index, zoom out|
|Voice memo||Voice memo (WAV format)|
|Face recognition||Face recognition|
|Picture parameters||Contrast, Noise Reduction|
|Special functions||Orientation sensor, Live View, user profiles|
|Ports||Data interfaces: USBUSB Type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio Output: noAudio Input
: noVideo Output
: yes (HDMI Output Micro (Type D))
|Supported direct printing methods||Canon Direct Print, PictBridge|
|Features and Miscellaneous||DIGIC-6 Signal Processor Dual
6.400 and 12.8
00 at 2.5 Megapixels ResolutionSAPS-Intelligent
with Face DetectionAF mode
Size and weight
|Weight||558 g (ready for operation)|
|Dimensions W x H x D||116 x 74 x 66 mm|
|included accessories||Canon CB-2LGE Charger for special batteriesCanon
IFC-400PCU USB cableCanon
NB-12L special batteryNB-12L
(Li-Ion)-AccuUSB connection cableAV cableAVC-DC400STRising strapCamera software
|optional accessory||Canon ACK-DC100 Power AdapterCanon
EVF-DC1 (Electronic Viewfinder)
Canon FA-DC58C Attachment Lens AdapterCanon
HTC-100 Audio / Video CableCanon
LH-DC80 (Lens Hood)
Canon RS-60E3 Cable Remote ControlCanon
WP-DC53 Underwater Housing