Sunday, May 11, 2014

G1 X Mark II - Did Canon Nail It?

The Power Shot G1X Mk2! There has not been so much excitement over a new compact point n shoot for a while, wait! It is NOT even NEW, it is Canon REPLACEMENT for the lacklustre G1 X, Mk none ;)

In my last posting, I concluded with "May be, finally; Canon have got their compact act together?"

"Well, DID THEY?"

Some of my friends asked me, a few were thinking of getting this "new" kid on the mirrorless block...

I cannot give them an honest opinion, unless I have try one out myself!

Yes; I have been warned... by you know who ;)  "NO MORE NEW CAMERA!"

Not wanting to just go and buy one, not without knowing if the NZD 998.00 is WORTH risking my personal safety, I got in touch with the good person at our local PHOTO WAREHOUSE where I purchase all my gears.

I was ecstatic when Ben, my contact at Photo Warehouse told me I can test one out for a full day! Thanks Ben! You are my hero!  :)

The first time when I actually hold this Canon, I was shocked how BIG and HEAVY it is!  Not that it is a bad thing, but I was a bit disappointed that a COMPACT has to be that big and heavy.

For goodness sake, the G1X Mk2 is almost as big and heavy as my Olympus OM-D E-M5!

But, "The all-new PowerShot flagship, the PowerShot G1 X Mark II raises performance and quality to new heights in a compact, brilliant design." said Canon.

Maybe that is why it is so big and heavy?

Personally, I think it is because of the NEW zoom lens that come with the camera.

 Canon continues..

"all-new 5x wide-angle optical zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer and a circular, 9-blade aperture for stunning blurred backgrounds, the PowerShot G1 X Mark II delivers the outstanding image quality you would expect with a digital SLR camera but in a portable, Wi-Fi® and NFC enabled package."

The zoom lens sticks out quite a bit when the camera is switch on.
After reading Canon's "Story Of The PowerShot G1X Mark II Development", I was very impressed with this six group zoom lens construction (total of 11 groups); the MOST optical elements in a Canon compact camera! It better be good!

The hind end of the camera, nothing to shout about; the layout is like most compacts.

The innovative twin ring on the lens barrel can perform various functions, I do not have enough time to play with them, but I found out the inside ring is able to set aperture setting when I am on aperture priority mode! Cool!

Another cool feature I like about this "overweigh" compact is the tiltable rear touchscreen!

 The screen can even flip around to make selfie easier!

Enough of the features sets... you can find out everything by reading the hundreds of reviews in the net. I won't bore you, let's go to the tests!

To make sense of how good the G1X-2 is, I am comparing it to my favorite compact, the tiny Lumix GM1!

This will be a reasonably fair comparison since both cameras cost nearly the same price.

The Canon is selling at NZD 998.00 and the Lumix, $1,049.00.

Both came with a 24mm zoom (at the wide end), the Canon with a "brighter, longer" 24-120mm f/2-3.9 and the Lumix only manage with a 24-64mm f/3.5-5.6 (35mm Equivalent).

More important, both compacts possessed the same size sensors, the Lumix however, max out at 16 MP while the Canon manages at 12.8!

Top, Canon G1X-2 and bottom, GM1, both at 12mm f.56

Again..Top, Canon G1X-2 and bottom, GM1, both at 32mm f5.6. I notice the Canon gave a more contrasty and cleaner result. I expect the HUGE zoom with all those exotic glass should perform better than the tiny kit zoom on the miniature GM1 ;)

Cropped from the two pictures shot at 32mm, top G1X-2 and bottom, GM1. The G1X look a bit sharper but exhibit more chromatic aberration (purple fringes), obviously Canon do not do "in camera correction"? 

Another simple test targets to test the sharpness of both zooms

Canon, on the top, Lumix, below. Both were shot at f5.6, cropped. Both zooms look just as sharp. But look at the different colour rendering! Both cameras were on AWT (auto white balance).

To test the G1X Mark2 movie and tracking abilities in lower light condition, I took the new camera to the Chinese Sports Cultural Center in Newtown where my wife was having her line dancing.


This is one of the many frames that I try out the G1X-2's 5.2 fps continuous shooting capability.

When I did it with the little GM1, it just go "click-click-click-click", you know it is going like a machine gun because you can see the LCD refreshes in fast blinks.

With the oversized Canon, after the first click, even with your finger still pressing on the release; there were nothing! No sound, no view! Silent! What?!?!

It was not until later when I check the previews that I realise the Canon was actually firing away at a blazing 5 frames per second, but it did it in total SILENCE!  I find that rather UNERVING, with the LCD screen blank out at the same time; you are like, shooting blind!

Come on Canon, you can do better than that!!

However, the AF tracking of the big Canon is fast and accurate, sure beat the GM1 :)  Check out the video below!


Wellington and Newtown as seen from the Chinese Cultural Center. Taken with G1X Mk2

The large aperture (f2) of the G1X-2 zoom lens allows for effective background blur.  A perfect lens for foodie shots!

The large f2 aperture and a wide 24mm (equivalent) is excellent for available light shot!  This picture of the crowded Dragon Chinese Resturant where we have our "yum char" is a good example.. the colourful, detailed snap was exposed at 1/20 second at full f2, ISO 200.

It was at The Dragon that I discovered (after I came home previewing the shots) something weird about these shots, but that is another story ;)

Famous Last Words...

The Canon G1X Mk2 is a solidly build camera, that, may be is its downfall as a "compact".  It is just too HEAVY and to me, a big BIG too.

If you don't mind a bit of heft, the G1X Mk2 came with a great f2 24mm (wide end) zoom lens and not forgetting the LARGE 1.5", M43 size sensor.

The large compact deserved a thicker grip, I was told that you can get one for NZD40.00. Oh.. you can also attach an EVF on the hot-shoe to enable thru-the-lens viewing, but that will set you back another $500.00!

That, will bring the price of this heavy compact to NZD 1,540.00!

With the same amount of money you can buy some really nice small DSLR!

Did Canon nail it?

Sadly, I don't think so.  :(

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