Built like a Canon PowerShot G12 on steroids, the new PowerShot G1 X has a large 14.3-million-pixel sensor and a 28-112mm equivalent lens. Could it be the compact camera that finally replaces your DSLR?
This image was taken using the G1 X’s macro mode, which isn’t actually macro and has a minimum focus distance of 20cm. However, a lot of detail can be seen in the snow
There’s little new about the autofocus of the PowerShot G1 X. It incorporates the tried-and-tested contrast-detection AF method, rather than the newly developed on-sensor phase detection that some manufacturers are now using. As such, the focusing system of the G1 X performs exactly as expected.
I found the autofocus to be fast without being ‘snappy’. It performs like the AF in the G12, but should perhaps be faster given that the camera is aimed at a more advanced level of photographer. Those used to a DSLR may expect the G1 X to snap into focus, or at least to perform as fast as the latest generation of contrast-detection AFs in CSCs. However, for those who intend this to be an accompaniment to their DSLR instead of a replacement, this might not be too much of an issue.
That said, I found that for landscapes, portraits and street photography, the focusing of the G1 X is more than adequate. However, as I am used to the close-focusing capabilities of compact cameras, due to the lens construction of the larger sensor, in the G1 X’s macro mode the minimum focus distance is 20cm. This is quite far considering the minimum focus distance of the G12 is just 1cm.
Although this isn’t a huge concern, there were a few times when I went in very close to take a shot, only to find that the camera wouldn’t focus – even at 10cm or 15cm I was simply too close. The term ‘macro’ is quite misleading then, as it is really just a close-focusing mode.