The big surprise with Canon’s new G-series compact is the inclusion of an APS-C sized sensor. A DSLR-style sensor in a truly pocketable form factor should appeal to any photographer looking for a small, light and inconspicuous camera.
Posted March 3,2018 in Science and Technology.
It would suit travel shooters in particular, but also anyone else looking for a high-quality, carry anywhere camera. A large sensor immediately suggests better lightgathering abilities (so better low-light photographs and lower noise), but the PowerShot G1 X MkIII is a clear example where sensor size isn’t the whole story.
The ﬁrst thing to note is that although the newcomer has a physically larger sensor than its predecessor, it also has a much higher resolution (24.2MP compared to 13.1MP), so the actual size of the pixels is smaller than those on the G1 X MkII.
Another key ingredient to stunning low-light performance is the lens, and here, the designers of the G1 X MkIII came up against the somewhat inﬂ exible laws of physics. Fast zoom lenses for larger sensors have to be big and bulky (deﬁ nitely not pocketfriendly), so some compromises had to be made. While the lens covers a useful 24-72mm equivalent zoom range, it has a relatively slow maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of the range.
But what does all this mean when it comes to real-world use? Well, the camera is certainly compact, and it’s empowering to know you’ve got an APS-C sized sensor in your jacket pocket. It’s also a nice-looking camera, with a modestly sized grip and familiar layout of mode dial on the left and exposure compensation dial on the right.
There’s a control wheel on the front, just below the shutter-release button, a multi-controller thumb wheel on the back and the crucial dials are easy to ﬁ nd without taking your eye away from the viewﬁ nder. The zoom control sits around the shutter release, while the lens ring can be customised to control a range of functions, including zoom, focus and aperture. In a nutshell, it is well laid out, with a good range of customisation options.
However, I ﬁ nd the rear buttons are so ﬂ ush with the back of the camera that it is hard to ﬁ nd them, particularly in semi-darkness with cold ﬁ ngers, and for my own style of shooting I would like to see a dedicated ISO button. Possibly as a result of the small form factor and large sensor combination, I also ﬁ nd the battery life is a touch on the short side, so if you’re planning a busy day of shooting you will need to take an extra battery or two.
A few minor handling niggles aside, things improve when it comes to the camera’s performance. Canon is well known for its outstanding Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology and it’s great to see it implemented very eﬀ ectively here. You can use the touchscreen LCD to select a subject for focus tracking or, if you’re using the electronic viewﬁ nder, you can move the focus point with your thumb on the rear LCD (although watch out for accidental activation with your nose). I tried it out with a subject walking towards me in very dull, overcast, pre-dawn light and the little Canon did a great job of tracking and focusing smoothly. In video mode you can also produce quite eﬀ ective focus pulls using the touchscreen AF.
The 24MP sensor in the G1 X MkIII appears to be the same as the chip found in the EOS 80D DSLR and the mirrorless EOS M5. As such, the small PowerShot is a very capable performer, producing images that reveal great detail, dynamic range and colour. High ISO performance is also excellent for a camera of this small form factor, and I was able to shoot very acceptable star shots at ISO 3200. Although the limitations of the small lens show from time to time in the form of a little bit of softness and chromatic aberration, this can generally be remedied during processing, and for much of the time the images are hard to distinguish from those taken on a mid-range DSLR.
A neat feature that many outdoor photographers will appreciate is a built-in three-stop ND ﬁ lter. I used it at the coast to add some motion blur to the sea without the need to use a screw-on ﬁ lter, but videographers will also appreciate the extra control it provides over the aperture. Talking of video, the G1 X MkIII shoots at a maximum resolution of 1080p, at up to 60 fps. The articulating rear LCD is a nice feature to have, but the lack of a microphone socket limits its appeal to serious videographers. The image stabilisation is pretty eﬀ ective, too, both in video and photography modes.
Price £1,149, Contact: canon.co.uk