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

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon PowerShot G3 X

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • - Huge lens range covers almost any subject
  • - Good image quality from 1in sensor
  • - Excellent touchscreen interface

Cons:

  • - No built-in viewfinder
  • - Awkward ergonomics
  • - Poor continuous shooting with raw enabled

Product:

Canon PowerShot G3 X review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£799.00

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Canon PowerShot G3 X – Features

Canon G3 X battery

The NB-10L Li-ion battery is good for 300 shots per charge, by CIPA standard tests

To capture images, the G3 X uses a 20.2MP, 1in BSI CMOS sensor, which is likely the same Sony unit as that used in cameras like the Panasonic FZ1000, Sony RX10 and Canon’s own G7 X. Like most of those cameras, the sensitivity range covers ISO 125-12,800. Shutter speeds run from 30secs-1/2000sec, which isn’t especially fast by modern standards, and continuous shooting is available at 5.9 frames per second, although this drops to 3.2fps if you want the camera to refocus between shots.

However, there’s no doubting the G3 X’s headline feature – its 24-600mm equivalent optically stabilised zoom lens covers a vast wideangle to ultra-telephoto range, making it suitable for a huge array of subjects from landscapes to wildlife. The minimum focus distance is a mere 5cm from the front of the lens at wideangle, extending to 85cm at full telephoto, so it’s quite handy for close-ups too. But while the maximum aperture starts at f/2.8 at wideangle, it drops off pretty quickly, to f/4 at 50mm equivalent, f/5 at 85mm equivalent and f/5.6 all the way from 200mm equivalent through to its full telephoto setting. Canon has limited the minimum aperture to f/11 throughout, which is perfectly sensible to avoid excessive diffraction softening on this sensor format.

Additional exposure control is provided by a built-in 3-stop neutral density filter, which allows shooting wide open in bright sunlight. This is fortunate, as the lens doesn’t have a filter thread itself, although it’s possible to use 67mm-threaded attachments via the optional FA-DC67B filter adapter. This costs £40 in a kit with the LH-DC100 hood.

Canon G3 X flash up

The built-in flash pops up from the top-plate, released by a sliding switch on the camera’s side

A small built-in flash pops up from the top of the camera, which is released by a sliding switch on the side. Canon specifies an optimistic-sounding 6.8m range at wideangle and 3.1m at telephoto, but this likely assumes use of a high ISO setting. For more creative lighting, a hotshoe accepts Canon’s EX-series flashguns and third-party Canon-dedicated units, but sadly the internal flash can’t be used to control external units wirelessly.

Canon describes the G3 X as a ‘stills and video powerhouse’, and to this end it can record full HD 1,920×1,800-pixel movies at a full range of frame rates comrpsing 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24fps. Sound is recorded by a built-in stereo microphone, and the camera has a pair of 3.5mm stereo sockets for an external microphone and, more unusually, headphones. There’s a configurable peaking display to aid manual focus, but no overexposure warning. This counts as a quite respectable video specification, but it is easily trumped by the 4K-capable FZ1000 and Sony’s new but expensive RX10 II.

As we’d expect, the camera has built-in Wi-Fi, and as usual for Canon it has a wider range of applications than most. Images can be transferred between cameras, copied to a computer or output to a Wi-Fi-enabled printer. Naturally, the camera can also connect to a smartphone or tablet, with built-in NFC for easy pairing to a compatible device. Canon’s new Camera Connect app for iOS and Android allows both image sharing and remote operation of the camera, with plenty of manual control. A small button behind the mode dial activates Wi-Fi for connection to your smartphone or tablet.

  1. 1. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Introduction
  2. 2. Canon PowerShot G3 X - Features
  3. 3. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Screen and viewfinder
  4. 4. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Build and handling
  5. 5. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Autofocus
  6. 6.  Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Performance
  7. 7. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Test results
  8. 8. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Dynamic range
  9. 9. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Verdict
  10. 10. Page 10
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  • John Russell

    This reviewer states ‘no where else to put your left hand other than below the lens’
    Duh, that is the only place to put your left hand, you want to stabilize the camera. Where else would you put your left hand, you certainly don’t hold the camera body with it or play pocket pool.
    To stabilize a camera whether it has an EVF or not you always tuck your elbows in to your sides. Never hold your elbows out away from your body. So who cares if it has an EVF or not. At least the Canon is versatile and if you want to put one on you can.
    Ergonomics is a all up to what the individual person is used to or feels comfortable with. If you use a camera enough then the buttons become second nature whether you own another camera or not. That is the great benefit to being human.
    Why in the world would a company put master capability in their silly little flash. These cameras are not meant for professional studio work. They are an updated point and shoot holiday cameras, nothing else.
    Constant 2.8 at 200mm can be replaced with 5.6 200mm. But you cannot replace 600mm 5.6 with a 200mm 2.8. You can digitally zoom all you want and all you get is a blurred mess.
    I believe Sony saves all their photos at 11bits, Panasonic saves at 12bits and Canon saves at 14bits. How big a difference does this make? for size of file, quality and manipulation of the file?
    People reading reviews and people writing reviews should do a bit of research on optics and learn how big a 600mm 2.8 lens would have to be on a 1inch sensor. Maybe just maybe they would realize how big a camera would be with a fixed lens at 24mm to 600mm 2.8. So the comment a rather slow 600mm is nothing but stupidity!!!!
    4k video is nothing but media hype and to sell more TVs. Do regular people really need 4K video, NO, 1080p is good enough. 4K video wastes good hard drive space.
    Should Canon have put in 4K video, Yes, it is an industry standard now.
    Should Canon have put in a built-in EVF, yes, it is an industry standard.

  • Tina Edwards

    Most negative comments focus on the lack of 4K video and an in-built EVF. The camera (apparently) has good image quality, weather sealing, a reasonably good aperture range, long zoom range and, even with the optional (and admittedly expensive but high quality) EVF, weighs less than the Sony RX10, the Sony RX10 II and the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. Perhaps I’m not in my ‘right mind’ but I think this could actually be a versatile camera for quite a few people.

  • entoman

    Nice looking camera and probably takes nice images, but no one in their right mind would buy it. Get rid of the silly and fragile little pop-up flash and fit the camera with an EVF. Panasonic are blowing you into the dust Canon. Change or die.