Andy Westlake tries out Canon’s slim, stylish compact with a 1in sensor - the G9 X.
Canon PowerShot G9 X review – Autofocus
The G9 X utilises on-chip contrast detection for autofocus, and in good light it’s fast, quiet and accurate. The desired focus point can be selected by tapping the touchscreen, and indeed in the absence of a D-pad on the camera’s back, there’s no other way to specify an off-centre subject. Alternatively you can use face detection, or defer focus area selection to the camera’s judgement if you’re feeling lucky.
Where the camera falters, though, is when trying to autofocus at night or in low light. Focus speed slows right down, especially when shooting towards the telephoto end of the lens, and the camera has a bad habit of confirming focus and taking a picture when it simply hasn’t hit the mark. It gets especially confused by bright point light sources, rarely focusing correctly on night cityscapes where they tend to be prevalent. Enabling the bright orange AF illuminator can improve things, but at the cost of temporarily blinding your subjects.
If you prefer, manual focus is also available, although rather counter-intuitively it’s accessed by tapping a button labelled ‘AF’ on the touchscreen. Focus can be adjusted using either the lens ring or touch buttons, with an onscreen scale to display the current subject distance and both focus peaking and magnified display modes to help judge correct focus. But while this sounds like it ticks all the right boxes, in practice I found manual focusing on the G9 X to be a slow and unsatisfactory experience, and stuck with auto instead.