Canon’s latest enthusiast compact offers a compelling combination of a long zoom range and a relatively large 1in sensor. Andy Westlake tests it out
Canon PowerShot G3 X review – Introduction
At a glance:
- 20.2-million-pixel, 1in BSI CMOS sensor
- 24-600mm equivalent f/2.8-5.6 lens
- ISO 125-12,800
- 1.62-million-dot tilting touchscreen
- Dustproof and splashproof construction
- 5.9fps continuous shooting
One of the most welcome trends in camera design recently has been the adoption of relatively large sensors in fixed-lens compacts. In particular, the runaway success of Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 series showed that there’s a real appetite for small cameras with much higher image quality than was achievable from small 1/2.3in or 1/1.8in sensors.
Canon was a relatively early player in this game, but its relatively bulky PowerShot G1 X series never quite captured photographers’ imaginations. Last year’s PowerShot G7 X was a rather more successful design, adopting much the same pocket-camera template as the RX100s. Now, with the PowerShot G3 X, Canon is going after a different market, combining a large sensor with a 25-600mm equivalent long zoom lens.
However, this isn’t uncharted territory, as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 do something similar. Both feature relatively long zooms and electronic viewfinders in DSLR-like body designs. But Canon’s approach has two crucial differences – it has a longer zoom lens with a slower maximum aperture, and it sacrifices the built-in viewfinder, apparently to keep the camera as small as possible.
With manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic currently making a point of adding electronic viewfinders to cameras wherever possible, the lack of a viewfinder on the G3 X is a perplexing design decision, and one that I’ve found myself cursing throughout my time with the camera. More on that later, but first let’s take a closer look at what the G3 X has to offer.