Canon Powershot G1X MkII camera review

Price: $825 (street) Fat and lovely

THE LOW-DOWN: This 13-megapixel camera stretches the definition of “compact”. It is big and heavy, but then, it is a camera with heavyweight specifications. The sensor is much larger (1.5-inch, 38mm) than on other compacts and the 24-120mm stabilised lens is fast (bright), meaning that it is big. Some functions can be controlled with a lens-concentric ring. There is a high-resolution touch-sensitive tilting LCD but no eye-level viewfinder. There is limited Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. The pop-up flash is supplemented with a hot shoe. Construction is rugged.

LIKE: The big sensor, small pixel count, modest zoom and optically brilliant lens altogether make for images unlike other compacts can produce. Dynamic range is wide; resolved detail is sparkling and the ISO sensitivity can be set up to 3200 with good results. Auto focus and auto exposure are consistently spot-on. It is a joy to use.

DISLIKE: Does it really need to be this heavy? The Wi-Fi connectivity with a smartphone is pretty crude compared with the competitors’ apps, but you do at least get basic tethering and zoom control.

VERDICT: The G1X is a unique camera. It has fewer pixels on a larger sensor than any other compact, a combination that serious photographers have longed for. Canon has taken a bold step away from the pixel race and selling-by-numbers – good! The relatively short zoom means few optical compromises. Where the G1X might stumble in the market is that it has a fixed lens and it is up against competition from compact system cameras with interchangeable optics. It is a case of convenience versus versatility. And the local price is near as dammit to the US price. Lovely.

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