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

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


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


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


Canon PowerShot G3 X review


Price as reviewed:


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 Canon PowerShot G3 X review – Performance

The G3 X takes lovely cat pics, which is one redeeming feature

With its  large sensor and effective image stabilisation. the G3 X gives good image quality in relatively low light. This was shot at 600mm equivalent and 1/320sec f/5.6 ISO 1000.

With such a long zoom, the G3 X looks ideal for subjects such as sports and wildlife where continuous shooting is commonly used, and its headline 6fps shooting speed seems great for the task. Unfortunately, there are a couple of serious caveats.

First, if you want autofocus and exposure adjusting between each frame, the shooting speed drops to 3.3fps, with the camera displaying a strangely low-resolution, out-of-focus-looking preview between frames that’s particularly disconcerting when you use the EVF.

Second, you only get this sort of speed shooting JPEG only – the moment you turn on raw, the camera slows to a crawl, shooting at a miserly 0.6fps, and blanking out the screen and viewfinder between shots. This is inexcusable for a camera costing £800 in 2015.

On a more positive note, the camera’s metering and white balance systems work very well. I rarely found myself having to adjust exposure compensation to any great extent, or switch white balance away from auto. The optical stabilisation of the lens also does a very good job of combating image blur from camera shake, although it visibly struggles to deal with camera movement when shooting at full telephoto using the LCD.

G3 X B&W

Switching the G3 X to anything but the default JPEG processing, such as black and white mode, disables raw capture

In terms of image quality, the 1in sensor behaves much as we’ve come to expect, combining impressive detail at low resolution with relatively low noise at higher sensitivity settings. Not surprisingly for a 25x zoom, the lens is a little compromised, although in truth rather less than I’d expect.

At the wide end of the range the centre of the frame tends to be very sharp, but the corners are visibly soft at the pixel level. Given that you’ve got 20.2 million pixels to play with, this is only likely to show up on prints larger than 12x8in.

The lens actually gives the most even results across the frame at telephoto settings, although at the maximum aperture of f/5.6 image there’s some slight image softening due to diffraction, so images are never quite as crisp as those you get from cameras with faster, shorter zoom lenses like Canon’s own PowerShot G7 X.

Canon’s default JPEG processing gives bright, saturated colours with rich blue skies, but these could be a little overblown for some tastes. Noise reduction is also quite aggressive, blurring away fine detail even at moderate ISO settings. You can tone down colours using the ‘My Colors’ option in the Q Menu, but oddly, not if you’re also shooting raw, as the menu option is then disabled. So if you want to shoot raw+JPEG, with the intention of using JPEGs by default and processing only your favourite shots from raw, you’re stuck with Canon’s somewhat unsubtle processing.

  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.