Saturday, 16 December 2017
News Tech

Canon adds a DSLR-size sensor to its most stylish pocket camera


Canon is taking the image sensor used in its best prosumer camera — the 80D — and putting it in an all new, more portable shooter called the Powershot G1X Mark III. Featuring a built-in 24-72mm, f2.8-5.6 zoom lens, the new camera hits the shelves in November and will cost $1,299.

The G1X Mark III is simultaneously an evolution of the Powershot G1X lineup as well as a spiritual successor to 2015’s G5X. The G1X Mark I and II were some of the better slim compacts Canon released in the last half decade, but slim compacts are a much harder sell in this age of abundant and wonderful smartphone cameras.

The G5X, meanwhile, was a slightly smaller but more distinct camera that stood out for its style and feature-heavy approach. It seemed like it was made to satisfy only those customers who wanted as much immediate manual control as could be fit on a compact camera, so much so that it felt like it was destined to be a one-off.

With the G1X Mark III, Canon’s ditched the flat profile in favor of that more baroque knob-and-dial style of the G5X, with a few touches of red serving as the only distinguishing features. The company’s essentially merged the two compacts while adding in the 80D’s 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor with dual pixel autofocus — an image sensor that Canon is apparently so proud of it’s also been used in the M5 and M6 mirrorless cameras as well. (The G1X Mark III uses the same DIGIC 7 image processor, too.)

Borrowing the G5X’s slightly smaller metal and plastic frame means the camera is about 150 grams lighter than the G1X Mark II (which weighed 553 grams versus the Mark III’s 399). But the new G1X still offers a few notable upgrades over the last one, like an electronic viewfinder, which uses a high resolution 2.36-million dot OLED screen. The G1X Mark III also has a 3-inch LCD touchscreen that flips out and around 270 degrees. (That screen also offers one of my favorite features from the M5, which is the ability to drag your thumb across it to pick an AF point as you look through the viewfinder.)

The G1X Mark III is relatively speedy for a compact. It shoots 7 frames per second with continuous AF or 9 fps without — a far cry from the 24 fps capability of the Sony RX100 V, sure, but plenty fast enough for most people. And it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

An ISO range of 100-25,600 means the G1X Mark III should help the camera handle itself well in low light, though it has a shorter zoom range and slower aperture. The G1X Mark II used a 24-120mm lens with a f2.0-3.9 aperture, and so it will take some time to see how much of a difference that tradeoff makes when paired with the new image sensor and processor.

But the most glaring omission is something you’ve probably already noticed if you’ve been following Canon closely enough the last few years: no, the G1X Mark III doesn’t shoot video in 4K. It tops out at 1080p at 60 frames per second.

Do most (or even many?) people need to shoot 4K video? I think the answer is still, broadly, no. But there are plenty of creative and future-proofing reasons to want to shoot in 4K, both now and across the next few years that it will inevitably take for a G1X Mark IV — or something like it — to be released. Canon’s obviously thinks it’s fine to slow play 4K in its compacts, mirrorless cameras, and DSLRs under $3,000. But with a $1,299 price tag, it really doesn’t seem like it would have been too much to ask on the G1X Mark III.



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