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CNET First Look
Canon PowerShot G1 XA big camera capable of shooting some lovely photographs, the Canon PowerShot G1 X's slow lens disappoints given its high price.
Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, senior editor for CNET and this is the Canon PowerShot G1X. When you think about the G1X depends upon whether you view it as a cheap alternative to the Fujifilm X100 or as an expensive competitor to a lot of other fixed and interchangeable lens models. Because the price of the cam sets it apart form the crowd as much as it's largest sensor and despite delivering on image quality and having a pretty nice shooting design, the lens and to a lesser extensive shooting performance hold it back from being worth the price. It's bigger, heavier and boxier than the G12 and it is a pop-up rather than a front-mounted flash. But the G1X nevertheless looks and feels quite similar to it's older siblings. Overall, I like the design. Those function button behaviors can get a little frustrating. Unlike other cameras which automatically hide the menu when you press the shutter button, Canon's remains until you press the function button again. As a result, I frequently found myself scrolling around the options when I thought I was changing the shutter speed. I like the pull and twist LCD. It's bright and big and though the optical viewfinder is quite small, it is still useful to have. The buttons and dials feel responsive and more laid out. Many of the new features like the multi-area white balance and intelligent image stabilization launched with the F100 and they only work in auto-mode. The intelligent image stabilization auto-detects what type of stabilization is necessary in both still and video modes and the updated white balance does better scene analysis. Canon also introduced face recognition and can store up to 12 faces with some limited associated meta data. We'll also find a bunch of multi-shot modes including a 5-shot HDR mode though I find Canon's implementations just okay. Like the G12, it has a built-in neutral density filter which I like. While the camera gets high marks for photo quality, it's not significant;y better than cheaper ILC's like the Olympus CPL3 or the Sony NEX-5M. One advantage that Canon does retain over it's rivals is it's excellent JPEG processing and noise reduction which allows it to produce extremely clean photos as high at ISO 400. It's seriously useable once up through ISO 3,200. Color and exposure looked great as well. The lens have good center sharpness that's not that great on the edges. Movies look fine for casual shooting. They've got decent sharpness and exposure with minimal rolling shutter but there's quite a bit of aliasing and there's a relatively narrow tunnel range. Unfortunately, the G1X gets relatively low marks for performance and part because of it';s sluggish shot-to-shot speed. It's even slower than the G12 and then part because of some really disappointing lens characteristics. The Canon doesn't feel sluggish to shoot with as the data would imply but also I probably didn't notice because I spent a disproportionate amount of time dealing with the small aperture lens and it's bizarre focusing distance constraints. I really would expect a wider than F2 maximum aperture on an $800-camera but more important, I expect it to be a lot faster than F58 and it's longest telephoto. Not only does that compare poorly with similar focal ranges on the less expensive Olympus XE1 and Fujifilm X10 but it's worst than practice. It's only F28x28 millimeters by about 31.5 mm, it's already jumped to F32 and it narrows about halfway down the focal range and that's it and that's only one problem. The other is the lens is minimum focusing distance. It can only focus as close to 7.9 inches and that's in macro mode. In standard focus, it's more normal 1.3 feet. Also annoying, the camera can only auto-switch between macro and standard focus modes in complete auto. That mean when learning habits about lens settings and spending too much tome jumping in and out of macro modes. A lot of people think that Canon is missing out by lagging in it's interchangeable lens camera development and it is. The G1X targets a growing part of the market which is composed of people who don't really care about changing lenses and just want better photo quality but ironically, it's disappointing lens makes a better case for getting an ILC in this price segment than for buying this fixed-lens option. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Canon PowerShot G1X