Canon’s latest premium compact, the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, sets its sights on improving where the PowerShot G1 X left off. We find out whether the new model is a significantly better camera. Read our Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II review...
In addition to the launch of the recently announced EOS 1200D, Canon’s successor to the PowerShot G1 X has arrived in the form of the G1 X Mark II. Incorporating the same 1.5-inch CMOS sensor from its predecessor, it boasts a 12.8MP resolution (13.1MP in the 4:3 aspect), with the surface area of the sensor working out at more than twice as large as conventional 1.0-type sensors found in competitor models and approximately 20% smaller than APS-C sized sensors.
Ahead of the new sensor lies the G1 X Mark II’s stand out feature – its new 5x optical zoom lens. Providing a variable aperture of f/2.0-3.9 and working out to be equivalent to 24-120mm in film terms, it’s the dual customisable control rings on the barrel that partly contribute to the G1 X Mark II’s bulkier stature. Another contributing factor is the chunky, protruding handgrip and while this does look somewhat like an afterthought, it plays a huge part in making the camera feel more comfortable and better balanced in the hand when you compare it to the original G1 X. Being a fairly bulky compact, it might be possible to squeeze it into a sizeable jacket pocket, but it certainly won’t fit any trouser pocket.
With regard to autofocus, the G1 X Mark II implements an improved AiAF system with a greater array of 31 AF points spanning the frame compared to the G1 X’s nine. Using the camera for the first time in the confines of a dark meeting room revealed a spritely lock-on speed and only a couple of miss focused attempts were noted. Our brief hands on also allowed us to explore its closer focusing capabilities and we’re pleased to report it showed little sign of difficulty focusing on subjects from 5cm.
The inclusion of the latest generation DIGIC 6 image processor is claimed by Canon to deliver cleaner, less noisy JPEG images as well as MP4 movies shot in low-light – something we’re looking forward to testing as soon as our review sample arrives. The other benefit of the new processor is a 56% reduction in shooting lag and the camera did give the sense its more responsive than the G1 X when going about its business.
The addition of the 3-inch tiltable touchscreen at the rear has helped to transform the operation of the G1 X Mark II, but like most tilting displays it doesn’t sit flush to back of the camera and protrudes by a few millimeters. Being the capacitive type it’s on par with the responsiveness of the best smartphones, needing only the softest of touches to reposition the AF point, adjust shooting settings or navigate the uncomplicated menu system.
Having lost its optical viewfinder, Canon hopes to make amends by offering an electronic alternative to its users that clips onto the hotshoe. The 2.3-million-dot resolution is up there with the best EVF’s on the market and the way it tilts by 90degrees will be welcomed by those who prefer to look down into a viewfinder than straight ahead. The Achilles’ heel of the EVF though is its price. It adds £199 to the G1 X Mark II’s already expensive asking price and makes it a particularly expensive proposition by compact terms.
The addition of Wi-fi and NFC helps to bring the G1 X Mark II up to date and we look forward to testing the camera’s remote functionality in connection with Canon’s CameraWindow app.