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Canon PowerShot G1 X
Canon puts a big sensor in a small camera and good things
The 14.3-megapixel Canon PowerShot G1 X is one of the best
compact cameras I’ve ever shot with, though calling it a “
compact” really is a bit of a stretch. This sucker is big. And heavy.
Not to mention, Canon’s latest “flagship” PowerShot is expensive too. For just a little more money than the $800 you’d pay
for the G1 X, you could get the Rebel T3i, Canon’s second-tier
up digital SLR along with an 18-55mm kit lens.
But, of course, you don’t want the Rebel T3i or its mediocre
kit lens since you likely already have a bigger and better DSLR/
lens set-up that does all the professional heavy lifting for you.
The G1 X, on the other hand, is what I like to call a “project”
camera, as in, you might have a particular project you’d like
to shoot that calls for a smaller, less expensive, more discreet
camera. That “project” could be anything from photographing
dishwashers in Indonesia to capturing candids of your kids on
holiday in Florida.
The point is that your big DSLR or medium-format camera feels like work. A camera such as the Canon G1 X and the
many competing high-end compacts out there are designed
for looser assignments, even if those assignments include a
personal project you come up with on vacation.
And in that way, the G1 X succeeds, big time. Its image
quality is on par with most entry-level digital SLRs, in part
because it’s equipped with an image sensor that’s almost the same
size as what’s in those cameras.
But it also has a very good zoom
lens: a 4x optical (28mm to 112mm
equivalent) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization. The fact that it sits on the
front of the camera like a giant
metal doughnut is a bit distracting but only further emphasizes the
seriousness of the big sensor inside
Otherwise the Canon G1 X comes
equipped with many high-end bells
and whistles including 1080p HD
video capture and a flip-out, 3-inch
vari-angle LCD with 922,000 dots of
resolution on back. Let’s take a closer look at Canon’s small-ish wonder.
would go crazy for it. And while the 1.5-inch ( 18. 7 x 14mm)
CMOS imaging chip in the 14.3-megapixel G1 X is just a
smidge smaller than those APS-C sensors in many DSLRs and
some “mirrorless” compact system cameras (CSC), such as
the Sony NEX- 7 and Samsung NX200, it’s pretty darn close.
The G1 X’s sensor is also, it should be noted, slightly bigger
than the Micro Four Thirds sensors you’ll find in Olympus’s
and Panasonic’s mirrorless CSCs. I mention this mostly because Canon, at the time of this writing, has decided to forgo
the whole CSC category in favor of a high-end, all-in-one traditional compact camera (aka the G1 X).
Whether this is a good decision remains to be seen. I was
lukewarm to CSCs when they first emerged a few years ago,
finding them too slow and image quality only a slight improvement over traditional compacts, despite CSCs’ interchangeable lenses and bigger sensors. But CSCs have gotten
a lot better and I’ve tried several that are almost as fast and
with comparable image quality to entry-level DSLRs but in a
Who knows what Canon will do in the future but for now, the
G1 X offers a compelling alternative not just to DSLRs but also
to CSCs. The G1 X is a big ( 4. 6 x 3. 2 x 2. 5 inches), serious-looking
GET TING A SENSE
People—including yours truly—
have been saying for years that if
Canon put a DSLR-size sensor in a
compact camera, photographers
The Canon G1 X is slightly bigger and has a more robust build than the G12 but feels more
professional and is still highly portable despite its nearly DSLR-size sensor.