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First Look: ​Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II: big camera, big lens​ ​, minor disappointment​

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First Look: ​Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II: big camera, big lens​ ​, minor disappointment​

2:38 /

​This update to the company's top enthusiast compact gets major changes

[mmm]. Canon made some major changes to the PowerShot G1 X before throwing the Mark II moniker on it. The improvements include a great new 5x zoom lens with a much better f2 to 3.9 maximum aperture, and a selfie-friendly tilting touch screen. But the not so improvements include a drop-in effective resolution, for it's 1.5-inch sensor, and exchanging the built-in optical view finder for a rather pricey electronic one. I'm Lori Grunin. And, this is the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II. The design of the Mark II sports a more typical look than it's predecessor. And overall, I like it for casual shooting. The touch screen is responsive, big and bright, and pretty easy to use in sunlight. The highlight, though, is the lens, as much for its design as for its specs. It has two rings. One clicky one to which you can assign a lot of different functions, including Step Zoom. And one smoothly turning one to which you can assign a couple of functions. Both have context sensitive uses. It includes a built-in lens cover as well, which I really like. It also has a higher popping up tilting flash. Unfortunately, I really don't like the slender grip. Which doesn't feel sufficient given the camera's weight. It weighs as much as a DSLR body but the grip is a fraction of the size. Canon offers a bigger optional grip but given the high price and size of the camera, well, making it extra cost feels a bit chintzy. Same goes for the optional view finder which will run you about $300 and doesn't even seem to be available everywhere yet. The performance is a bit problematic as well. The auto-focus system is slow, possible because the lens doesn't move all that fast. I occasionally missed shots because it simply took to long to fix on the subject. And in dim light, I got the can't focus icon more often than I'd like. And I couldn't always figure out why. But continuous shooting is reasonable, though. 3.1 frames per second with autofocus. The image quality is very good, though not great as you'd expect for such an expensive camera. Still, depending upon the scene content, you can probably use the full size images up to about ISO 3200. Video's unimpressive with lots of edge artifacts and you have no manual controls. Fine for sharing small clips with friends, though. The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II is a fine camera with a very nice lens with some great design points. But the performance lags and the image quality doesn't quite earn excellent marks. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II.

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