Canon’s latest enthusiast compact offers a compelling combination of a long zoom range and a relatively large 1in sensor. Andy Westlake tests it out

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Canon PowerShot G3 X

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


  • - Huge lens range covers almost any subject
  • - Good image quality from 1in sensor
  • - Excellent touchscreen interface


  • - No built-in viewfinder
  • - Awkward ergonomics
  • - Poor continuous shooting with raw enabled


Canon PowerShot G3 X review


Price as reviewed:


Canon PowerShot G3 X review – Introduction

The G3 X's lens covers a huge 25x zoom

The G3 X’s lens covers a huge 25x zoom range from 24mm equiv (left) to 600mm (right)

At a glance:

  • 20.2-million-pixel, 1in BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24-600mm equivalent f/2.8-5.6 lens
  • ISO 125-12,800
  • 1.62-million-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Dustproof and splashproof construction
  • 5.9fps continuous shooting
  • £800

One of the most welcome trends in camera design recently has been the adoption of relatively large sensors in fixed-lens compacts. In particular, the runaway success of Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 series showed that there’s a real appetite for small cameras with much higher image quality than was achievable from small 1/2.3in or 1/1.8in sensors.

Canon was a relatively early player in this game, but its relatively bulky PowerShot G1 X series never quite captured photographers’ imaginations. Last year’s PowerShot G7 X was a rather more successful design, adopting much the same pocket-camera template as the RX100s. Now, with the PowerShot G3 X, Canon is going after a different market, combining a large sensor with a 25-600mm equivalent long zoom lens.

Canon G3 X 600mm equivalent

The Canon G3 X’s lens extends considerably when zoomed to the 600mm equivalent position

However, this isn’t uncharted territory, as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 do something similar. Both feature relatively long zooms and electronic viewfinders in DSLR-like body designs. But Canon’s approach has two crucial differences – it has a longer zoom lens with a slower maximum aperture, and it sacrifices the built-in viewfinder, apparently to keep the camera as small as possible.

With manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic currently making a point of adding electronic viewfinders to cameras wherever possible, the lack of a viewfinder on the G3 X is a perplexing design decision, and one that I’ve found myself cursing throughout my time with the camera. More on that later, but first let’s take a closer look at what the G3 X has to offer.

See our Canon PowerShot G3 X sample image gallery 

  1. 1. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Introduction
  2. 2. Canon PowerShot G3 X - Features
  3. 3. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Screen and viewfinder
  4. 4. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Build and handling
  5. 5. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Autofocus
  6. 6.  Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Performance
  7. 7. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Test results
  8. 8. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Dynamic range
  9. 9. Canon PowerShot G3 X review - Verdict
  10. 10. Page 10
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