The Canon PowerShot G7 X will be remembered as the first Canon compact camera with a 13.2 x 8.8 mm sensor – or 1” if it suits you better. By comparison, in Nikon’s world, such a structure carries the name of Nikon CX, and they are found in mirrorless cameras such as the Nikon 1 V1 / J1, while on Sony compact cameras, the sensor of those dimensions is featured by e.g. the RX100 series. Sony? Oh yeah, since I mentioned it – on purpose actually – how can I fail to mention that the Canon PowerShot G7 X will be remembered for another detail! The sensor inside it is the same as the one in the discussed Sony RX100 III. Not only according to its dimensions, but really – that is a Sony sensor. If we go back some ten years, you’ll remember the situation at the end of 2005 when Canon received a great number of complaints for the A-series compact cameras (PowerShot A60, A70...). For a while, Canon gave free service to flawed models, and the chief culprit was precisely Sony’s CCD sensor, which was at the time installed into the said series. Whether this was the cause, or something else, it doesn’t matter, but for quite a long time we couldn’t see any serious cooperation between these two big brands. The one that’s had effective cooperation with Sony for years is Nikon, so this piece of information triggered an avalanche of speculations whether the cooperation would spread to the DSLR class. However, as things stand, this didn’t happen, and what the future holds we’ll see in the years to come.
Canon PowerShot G7 X – table of specifications
DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
Since this is a direct rival to the superb Sony RX100 III, perhaps it’s best to draw parallels throughout the whole text. The front side is arranged in a spartan manner on both cameras, with conspicuous absence of at least an ordinary grip. So I won’t hesitate to suggest the Flipbac camera grip as a solution. The upper platform is more or less standard, without a viewfinder and a hot shoe connector, but with the presence of pop-up flash. The unavoidable ON/OFF button, shutter release button with a zoom ring and mode selector are expected, while a dial for setting exposure compensation is quite a surprise for me. I think setting the shutter speed would be a little more useful, but let’s not get carried away with criticisms. The rear side is recognizable and organized efficiently. First, I must praise the rear grip intended for the thumb, which directly contributes to more stable handling of the camera. Namely, on the Sony RX100 III, that grip shares its position with the REC button, which really contributes to the impression that the camera is in imbalance. The screen was given as much space as possible, there are no comments there, while the settings menu is typical of Canon, always intuitive – always and forever.
The camera exhibits two control dials - one on the rear side, the other on the front, around the lens. The front one turned out really useful with time, so luckily we meet it more and more often. The front is more programmable, so we can use it as Step zoom, Manual focus, or a change in the aperture or ISO values. Possibilities vary depending on the selected shooting mode.
UNDER 'THE HOOD'
Like I already said, this camera is characterized by two important innovations. Not only it sports the so-called 1” sensor, with the dimensions 13.2 x 8.8 mm, but it is a 20.2MP BSI CMOS one with the maximum 5472 x 3648 pixels. The processor is the current DIGIC 6, while the ISO values range from 125 to 12800. The autofocus is CDAF with 31 points. The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000s, while the continuous drive is 6.5 fps. The camera features built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, which will sometimes facilitate the use of the camera with a corresponding smart phone.
One essential difference between these two cameras is the focal length 24-100mm, which is a lot longer than the Sony’s 24-70mm, while the apertures are identical on both cameras – f/1.8-2.8. It won’t hurt to mention that the Canon’s lens is a little bit quieter when zooming. The minimum focus distance at the initial 24mm is 5mm, while at the maximum 100mm, it’s 40cm. The Canon PowerShot G7 X features an implemented ND filter, which is useful in situations when you want to prolong exposure in stronger light conditions; e.g. if you want to make running water silky, or capture movement of clouds. All in all, it’s a useful thingummy, also featured by the Sony RX100 III. However, on this model, the ND filter has to be activated manually, while the Sony also allows the Auto mode, i.e. it’ll activate when the shutter speed gets close to the maximum limit.
The flash is pop-up and it’s activated by a slider on the right side of the camera. As it’s tough to assess more seriously ergonomics of cameras of these dimensions, so it’s very hard to do something specific for flashes that are found of these classes of cameras. The Canon flash features the range 0.5-7m, while the flash on Sony’s model is slightly stronger with the range 0.4-10.2m.
The screen is a 3” 1,040,000-dot flip-up TFT LCD touch screen. The flip-up screen is very popular nowadays, even though the old vari-angle screen has proven much better in practice. However, it’s a fact that this type of screen occupies less space, so a 3” screen has been packed quite successfully on a camera this small, and it doesn’t interfere with the dial and controls on the right. So the screen can be straightened to the position of 180 degrees, which will especially hit the spot for lovers of selfies.
What I liked very much is something that has to do with the battery charger. It’s found in the box with the Canon camera, while Sony’s model uses a USB port for charging the battery. On the other hand, as much as I appreciate the standard AC (NB-13L) charger, I can’t fail to notice that the battery inside Canon’s camera features weaker autonomy in relation to the Sony. The Canon G7 X manages to pull off 210 shots, in contrast to the Sony RX100 III with 320 shots. This requires buying an additional battery, particularly if you plan to shoot while taking a long stroll or when going on a tour of a city. An interesting piece of information is that both cameras use the same 4.5Wh battery, which unambiguously indicates that here Sony optimized the consumption much better.
Nowadays, Full HD video is an absolute standard when it comes to the video mode, so differences lie in some other details. So, contrary to the Sony RX100 III, the touch screen on this model enables more convenient focus when shooting video. The original name for that is pull-focus and enables you to quickly change focus with a touch of your finger. In relation to the Sony RX100 III, the Canon G7 X isn’t demanding when it comes to the SD card. Even a Class 10 SD card will do the trick, in contrast to the Sony model, which requires a 64GB SDXC card if you record videos in the XAVC S format. The Canon PowerShot G7 X records video in 1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p), in the MPEG-4, H.264 format, with the stereo sound. The speaker is mono.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X came onto the market as a direct rival to the said Sony model, which has captured considerable attention even with its third iteration. As such, in Canon’s offer, it’s positioned between two models - Canon PowerShot G1 X II and Canon PowerShot S120. When a bigger sensor appears in a compact camera with such dimensions, it unmistakably draws attention of those who know how to put this advantage to good use. A 13.2 x 8.8 mm sensor, in combination with the current DIGIC 6 processor, and a 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens, undoubtedly represents a powerful tool that doesn’t take too much space. These two cameras share the identical sensor, and they are similar in many aspects. I could’ve present this camera individually, but for those that are faced with a dilemma, I think it’s better this way. The lack of a viewfinder maybe isn’t such a bad idea, since at this moment, the buyer can choose between the two models, the two different manufacturers. An electronic viewfinder and a focal length are two most important features of a camera, which will receive considerable attention on users’ part. Those who don’t need a viewfinder on such a small camera will be satisfied with a lower price. A touch screen and a control wheel for correcting exposure can also tip the scales in Canon’s favor.
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