With a wealth of physical controls, the Canon PowerShot G5 X is aimed squarely at the enthusiast photographer. Callum McInerney-Riley tests it out

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon PowerShot G5 X

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

Pros:

  • - Large sensor compared to camera size
  • - Fast zoom lens
  • - Great colour rendition in JPEG
  • - Excellent electronic viewfinder

Cons:

  • - Relatively slow autofocus
  • - Slow to write raw files
  • - Not truly a pocketable camera

Product:

Canon PowerShot G5 X review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£585.00

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Image quality

At low ISOs the G5 X records lots of detail with very little noise

100% crop from above; ISO 125, 1/125sec f/4, 35mm equivalent

100% crop from above; ISO 125, 1/125sec f/4, 35mm equivalent

Just as we’ve seen in many compact cameras before it, the Canon PowerShot G5 X has a 20.2-million-pixel BSI CMOS sensor. As we would expect, it’s a solid performer. Being 1in, it’s as big or bigger than that found in the majority of compact cameras, allowing for better signal-to-noise ratio compared to smaller-sensor compacts.

At low ISO sensitivity settings up to around ISO 800 there’s plenty of detail with very little noticeable luminance noise, unless you are looking at pixel level. Detail starts to drop after ISO 1,600, and when reaching ISO 6,400 the pictures are obviously very noisy. While Canon’s in-camera noise processing smooths most of it out, this is at the expense of much of the detail. However, to Canon’s credit JPEGs do tend to give strong, attractive and punchy colour rendition, with well-judged auto white balance.

Dynamic Range

It should come as no surprise to see that the G5 X gives similar dynamic range results to other cameras that use the same 20.2-million-pixel, 1in sensor, according to our Applied Imaging tests. Values above 12EV at sensitivities of ISO 200 and below are very impressive, meaning that plenty of highlight and shadow detail should still be retained in raw files. Increase the sensitivity further and dynamic range naturally falls further, but it’s only above ISO 1,600 that it drops below 8EV.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Dynamic Range

Resolution

When it comes to resolution, the G5 X gets about as much out of its sensor as we could hope for, continuing the trend established by the G7 X and G3 X. At its base sensitivity of ISO 125 it resolves around 3300l/ph and drops only slightly at ISO 400 to 3200l/ph. Beyond this, noise has an increasing impact on resolution, but even at ISO 1,600 results are very credible. However, at higher settings the sensor’s ability to register fine detail deteriorates more quickly, and by ISO 12,800 resolution has dropped to just 2,300l/ph.

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 125 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 125 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 200 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 200 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 400 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 400 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 800 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 800 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 1600 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 1600 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 3200 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 3200 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 6400 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 6400 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 12800 raw

Canon PowerShot G5 X, Resolution, ISO 12800 raw

  1. 1. Canon PowerShot G5 X Review - Introduction
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. LCD and viewfinder
  4. 4. Autofocus
  5. 5. Image quality
  6. 6. ISO sensitivity and Noise
  7. 7. Canon PowerShot G5 X review - Conclusion
  8. 8. Page 8
Page 5 of 8 - Show Full List
  • Amateur One

    Many thanks for a really useful review.

    I’ve seen one report that the lens is soft at wide apertures throughout the zoom range. It would be good if Callum could say if this was a feature in any of the shooting he did with the camera, or in the lab tests. At this price level, it would be disappointing to feel that IQ was (significantly) compromised by lens performance.

    There’s more than one way of defining ‘soft’, of course, (assuming it’s not to a disastrous degree, which seems unlikely to have escaped attention either during the development or the review period).