With a wealth of physical controls, the Canon PowerShot G5 X is aimed squarely at the enthusiast photographer. Callum McInerney-Riley tests it out
Just as we’ve seen in many compact cameras before it, the Canon PowerShot G5 X has a 20.2-million-pixel BSI CMOS sensor. As we would expect, it’s a solid performer. Being 1in, it’s as big or bigger than that found in the majority of compact cameras, allowing for better signal-to-noise ratio compared to smaller-sensor compacts.
At low ISO sensitivity settings up to around ISO 800 there’s plenty of detail with very little noticeable luminance noise, unless you are looking at pixel level. Detail starts to drop after ISO 1,600, and when reaching ISO 6,400 the pictures are obviously very noisy. While Canon’s in-camera noise processing smooths most of it out, this is at the expense of much of the detail. However, to Canon’s credit JPEGs do tend to give strong, attractive and punchy colour rendition, with well-judged auto white balance.
It should come as no surprise to see that the G5 X gives similar dynamic range results to other cameras that use the same 20.2-million-pixel, 1in sensor, according to our Applied Imaging tests. Values above 12EV at sensitivities of ISO 200 and below are very impressive, meaning that plenty of highlight and shadow detail should still be retained in raw files. Increase the sensitivity further and dynamic range naturally falls further, but it’s only above ISO 1,600 that it drops below 8EV.
When it comes to resolution, the G5 X gets about as much out of its sensor as we could hope for, continuing the trend established by the G7 X and G3 X. At its base sensitivity of ISO 125 it resolves around 3300l/ph and drops only slightly at ISO 400 to 3200l/ph. Beyond this, noise has an increasing impact on resolution, but even at ISO 1,600 results are very credible. However, at higher settings the sensor’s ability to register fine detail deteriorates more quickly, and by ISO 12,800 resolution has dropped to just 2,300l/ph.