Canon Powershot G1X Mark II     First Use and Observation

By: Jim Esten

 

 

$799


I wanted to fall in love with this camera but I couldn’t. I do like it, though. It takes good, sharp pictures. I am happy with what I got on my recent trip to Switzerland. I won’t be repacing it. There are, however, some annoyances.


I bought this camera because I wanted something lighter than my DSLR and lenses to carry around while travelling, and sometimes while hiking. These 64-year-old feet get sore. My reason for buying the G1X Mark II was this combination of features: (1) The high quality of the images (2) the aperture range (f/2.0 to f/16) (3) an effective zoom of 24-120mm, (4) the 1.5” CMOS sensor (much bigger than 97% of point-and-shoots), (5) the Digic 6 processor, (6) and the ability to capture RAW.

Other Good Features:

 

The ability to configure the control dial on the back and the 2 rings on the lens for various combinations of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The difficulty is determining which combination of ring and exposure attribute works best for you. Once you get used to these adjustments, using M (manual, Av (aperture priority) or Tv (Shutter priority) modes is much less cumbersome than on other point-and-shoots. P (program) is easiest and quickest, and it easily allows for some exposure adjustment on the rear ring of the lens.

 

If you can happily use an LCD screen for focusing and composing all pictures, well ain’t you lucky. I love the add-on electronic viewfinder, which shows 100% of the scene at 1024x768 pixels, and displays the same exposure information as the LCD does. It snaps into the flash mount. You can see in the picture above that it tilts up when desired. Unfortunately, it’s stupid expensive at $249 (Amazon).

 

The body is a magnesium alloy, which makes it heavier but can take some unintended abuse. I dropped it on the hard floor of a train and it didn’t hiccup.

 

Small feature, but I like the setting for 2 time zones, which makes it easier to revert to your home time zone after travel.

 

The 1.5” sensor and fast lens allow for good shallow depth of field, unlike other P&S cameras.


A tilting, but not fully articulating LCD screen. I found that range of movement was enough for my needs. It did allow for some pathetic selfies (due to the subject matter).


You can easily tilt the flash back with your finger and bounce the light.


There are alot of settings and scene modes. A few of them, like the digital telephoto mode (which is not quite the same as digital zoom), only work in JPG, not RAW.


FAIL:

 

Feature I hate the most: auto-exposure setting in Auto or P modes. The algorithm for this process can be remarkably stupid. It sometimes results in a low ISO and slow shutter, like 1/15th sec., rather than higher ISO and faster shutter. No one can take a sharp picture at 1/15 sec. This issue occurs in all Canon point-and-shoots I’ve seen – I’m not familiar with other brands. I found myself using Av and Tv modes more and more as the trip went on.


Other annoyances:

 

If ISO is set to AUTO, it sometimes doesn’t go back to AUTO after shooting.


It’s much too easy to change certain settings by hitting the Function button by mistake. My first couple of dozen photos had the wrong white balance. Avoiding this will be a matter of practice, I think.


The HDR mode is a joke, resulting in images that are laughably over-saturated.


The batteries are too small to have the capacity I’m used to in other cameras. For a full day of travel photography, I had to be sure of carrying 2 fully charged batteries.


I bought the enhanced grip in order to help me hold the camera steadily. Shame on Canon for not making this standard.


Chateau de Chillon, Montreux

December 17, 2014