The reviews received for the first PowerShot G1 X left a tough outlook for its successor. It was not an easy task, but Canon made note of all the comments received and, with this new revision G1 X Mark II, has blown the rest. We must talk about our experience with it and its features.
A few weeks ago, we had the exclusive opportunity to unbox the new G1 Mark II, the new Canon trademark vessel in the PowerShot range. Now, we must put to the test its final version, a model that promises to give a lot to talk about in the next few months. These were our impressions on it.
Two years of work and a lot to improve on
The PowerShot G1 X, introduced in 2012 as the first of the G kind with a CMOS sensor, measured an inch and a half, only 20% smaller than an APS-C that low-end reflex cameras have.
That model consisted of a 28-112 mm optic (equivalent 35 mm) with a brightness of 1:2,5-5,8. However, price-wise, it competed with the mid-range reflex cameras and with interchangeable-objective compact models. Its zoom range and brightness were modest for a model of its category, its AF precision needed improvement, and its flash performance was limited to 6 pictures at 4.5 fps. There was a lot of criticism about this camera, but it seems that Canon was listening to the consumers.
Image quality improved
The new Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a mounted CMOS sensor like its predecessor, but, in this case, it is a multi-format 3:2 and 4:3, with 12.8 and 13.1 effective pixels, respectively. It has a new Digic 6 image processor and its optic has an angular maximum opening of 1:2.
All these features have dramatically improved the image quality. With them, the noise level was significantly reduced to ISO values of 3.200, similar to what its preceding version could obtain if it was fixed an ISO of 800 (in a 100 ISO, the figures are very similar).
Furthermore, because its lens quality was improved, the vignette tests on the G1 Mark II yield very optimized angular and tele values. Its image distortion is barely noticeable at short distances with a 50 mm, and is very mild when the 120 mm is used.
Another quality that must not be overlooked on the new PowerShot model is the reduced minimum focus distance from 20 cm to just 5 cm.
If we sum up all the improvements, the decrease in resolution is not considered important. Nevertheless, the definition is very high and this camera doesn’t have to envy the lower-end compact cameras with twice the number of pixels.
Wider and brighter optic
Composed of 14 elements divided into 11 groups (1 two-faced spherical UA lens and 2 two-faced spherical elements), the new G1 X Mark II incorporates a much wider optic than its predecessor. It has a slightly shorter angular of 24 mm, and a tele that reaches 120 mm, or an equivalent optical zoom of 5X. However, the biggest strength of this new optic is the brightness that it offers, with an enviable maximum opening of 2 and 3.9 at its limit.
Composed of 14 items divided into 11 groups (1 aspherical UA lens sided and 2 double-sided aspherical elements), the new G1 X Mark II incorporates a wider than its predecessor optics. It has a slightly shorter-angle 24 mm and a TV that reaches 120 mm, or what is the same, a 5X optical zoom. However, the strength of this new perspective is the luminosity, with an enviable maximum aperture of 2 and 3.9 at the ends offered.
And it is not even because it has a better passage of light, but because it can limit the lens aperture to maintain a good opening, or for being able to play with the field depth to produce a beautiful bokeh effect. It also distinguishes itself by its minimum distance, which surpasses the initial model’s 20 cm angular and 85 cm tele, with only 5 cm and 40 cm in the new G1 X Mark II version.
Fast, very fast
A flash limited to a maximum of 6 photos is not worthy of a camera like the first G1 X. So Canon went to work and the new Mark II reaches a cadence of 5.23 fps and is only limited by the memory card storage capacity (analyzed with a UHS-1 card).
The shutter delay was also improved to be practically imperceptible, and the lighting speed was reduced to 0.7 s. Nonetheless, the flash continues to have a shoot delay.
Adapting to new needs
In an attempt to adapt to the new times, the new Mark II doesn’t have an optic viewfinder, and instead has an electronic one (it is optional or can be installed in the upper wedge…and is relatively expensive), with the added benefit of being able to control the camera via a smartphone with the aid of the Canon CameraWindow app. In this way, the camera has NFC and WiFi support, but it doesn’t have a built-in GPS to mark the photo locations.
With respect to the screen, the new PowerShot G1X Mark II has a 180º folding screen on the top part to be able to, for example, take selfies, and a 45º in the bottom to be able to take pictures with your arm raised. Additionally, it has a touch-pad, thus it no longer has the actual controls (dials and buttons).
In fact, it has been equipped with a double control ring (one for steps and a continuous one) that, depending on the mode of use, allows one to vary several parameters. A true luxury.