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?
LCD, Viewfinder & Video
With a 3in PureColor II LCD screen, the display on the PowerShot G1 X is fractionally larger than the 2.8in screen of the G12. The screen on the new camera also has a far higher resolution, with 920,000 dots as opposed to the 461,000-dot display of the G12.
This makes it easy to see some of the finer details of images when using the G1 X, although the camera does appear to be reading a large preview file when reviewing images, rather than the actual image itself. I say this because the images look critically sharper when examined at 100% on a computer screen than they do when viewed on the camera.
The G1 X’s optical viewfinder (OVF) is paired with the zoom lens, but it is small and only offers around an 80% field of view. When this is combined with the fact that the viewfinder is offset, it can be difficult to frame images at the edges. Added to this is the fact that the zoom lens can be seen at the bottom of the viewfinder frame, even when at its widest focal length.
That said, the humble OVF does have advantages compared to using the rear screen. Holding the G1 X up to the eye offers more support, which is useful at longer focal lengths. Using an OVF is also easier than using the 3in screen in bright sunlight.
An area where Canon has excelled in recent years is incorporating HD video capture into its cameras. The G1 X continues this trend, with video capture at full HD (1920×1080-pixel resolution) at 24fps, using H.264 compression and with stereo sound.
Sadly, there is not too much in the way of exposure control when using the camera’s video mode, although it will automatically change exposure very gradually if the brightness of a scene changes. The gradual transition looks natural and smooth. Similarly, the focusing adjusts very smoothly when the subject changes, and there are no jerky movements.
In fact, fairly professional-looking results can be achieved, particularly as the image stabilisation works superbly in video mode. When slowly panning while shooting video, I noticed that the footage kept panning for a fraction of a second after I had stopped. This is the stabilisation reacting to the movements, making sure that the footage stops smoothly. It is a very nice touch.
Those wishing to shoot solely video would be better looking for another model elsewhere, but for excellent footage of a holiday or an event, the G1 X will satisfy the needs of most people. Added to this is the fact that all the picture styles work when recording video, along with a range of basic special image effects, such as a miniature effect.