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219 of 224 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Camera with Flaws
A few years ago Thom Hogan posted a "Compact Camera Challenge" ([...]) in his excellent blog, in which he lamented the lack of compact cameras with a large sensor. Despite the development of digital photography technology for the past two decades, stated Hogan, "the camera makers simply don't have any idea of what many of their customers really want." In Hogan's view,...
Published on April 14, 2012 by Yang Wang

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133 of 162 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High-end toy which fails as a people photographer's companion
I have been using Canons for decades, film and digital. I have owned a G9 for years, and got this as a replacement. I wanted to love the camera, and originally did, but with use, the clutzy handling (due to poor design/target-market choices by Canon) and the limitations of the lens have me relegating the camera to third stringer.

My angle is this: I used to be...
Published on April 8, 2012 by Ranty


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219 of 224 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Camera with Flaws, April 14, 2012
By 
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
A few years ago Thom Hogan posted a "Compact Camera Challenge" ([...]) in his excellent blog, in which he lamented the lack of compact cameras with a large sensor. Despite the development of digital photography technology for the past two decades, stated Hogan, "the camera makers simply don't have any idea of what many of their customers really want." In Hogan's view, consumers will be well served if there was a compact camera with a larger sensor that met certain standards he deemed essential for a serious photographer.

I stumbled onto Hogan's challenge as I was looking for the same thing. And since that time I have been waiting and hoping for such a camera. I use a DSLR (Canon EOS 10D and EOS Xti) almost exclusively, but grow tired of lugging the camera and those heavy lenses on each trip as well as the lens changing for those casual outings. The end result is that I now don't bother to even bring a camera with me on some of my trips. I know there are those mirror-less cameras, but the prospect of buying a whole new set of lenses and change them during shooting had discouraged me from jumping into them.

The Canon Powershot G1X is exactly the camera I have been waiting for. It has in fact exceeded all the criteria laid out in Hogan's challenge. So I immediately bought it, even though the $800 price tag is on the high side.

After playing around with it in the past few days I have gained a better picture of what this camera is (and isn't). I'm still very pleased with it. In the mean time I also feel that depending on what you use your camera for and what your level of enthusiasm is, there might be better alternatives. I'll try to summarize what I have found below in more details.

1. Image Quality (Sensor). The greatest strength of this camera is its ability to take SUPERB quality images. The lens is very sharp. The quality of images taken under low light situation (which is pretty much the case if you take indoor pictures) is UNSURPASSED by any other compact camera. I have shot several images at ISO 3200, something I had never done even with my DSLR, and the images are completely usable. In fact, up to ISO 1600 the noise level is negligible. Numerous reviews have confirmed this experience. You can find various sample images online, including a large number of them on DPReview. You may also find some of images I have taken at

[...]

2. Lens Quality. So far I'm very pleased with it. It is a very sharp lens. The 28-115mm zoom is practical for most shooting situations. I find the lens to be very sharp overall. However, at the widest setting of 28mm the barrel distortion is quite evident --- in fact it is very pronounced. If you shoot in JPEG at 28mm the images looks far less distorted because it has been corrected in the camera firmware. Of course, this means you do see some softness away from the center of the frame. But when you shoot in raw and open it in Photoshop (after converting it to Adobe dng format), you see the pronounced distortion. This is something most of the "official" reviews have missed.
The lens, other than at its widest setting, is quite slow. I do understand that this is a limitation of the compactness of this camera.

3. Features. As an advanced compact camera, like other Powershot G-series cameras, the G1X comes with all kinds of user controls that are essential for enthusiasts. I will not go into details. DPReview ([...]) has just posted its full review of the camera, and many features are discussed there. There are also a number of features that people who don't care for user controls will find intriguing. For example, there is a "smile detection" setting that will take three pictures automatically if it detects a smile. I have tested this feature, and it seems to work fine. If you want a camera packed with features that suit both novices and professionals, the G1X will not disappoint you. I highly recommend one to go through the full manual (downloadable from Canon website) to get to know all the features.

4. Focus. The G1X has been criticized by just about every review for its slow autofocus. But I find this to be an overreaction. I certainly have not noticed that the focus is slow or inaccurate. If anything, I find it to be quite good. Sure it is no match for an SLR, but I have used many compact cameras, and the G1X stacks up pretty well. In lab testing the G1X is slower than the state of the art compact cameras by a fraction of a second on average, but to most people, even seasoned professionals, I don't believe this is an issue. The G1X also has a very useable manual focus, conveniently controlled with a dial and viewed on the LCD with a digital "magnifying glass."

A bigger problem is its inability to focus in close range, so one must often switch between normal focus and macro focus modes. Fortunately this is not so difficult for the G1X.

5. Macro. Like everyone else had said, this is not made for it.

6. Usability/Performance. The controls are a mixed bag. In some cases they are well designed. I like the exposure compensation dial, making exposure compensations a cinch. The various exposure modes are rather conventional. However, I find myself often inadvertently touching a button and mess up the setting I had. This is extremely annoying. Some of the features take a little practice to get used to. Overall, the usability is good although not exceptional.

If you plan to use this camera to do mainly landscape or scenes that are not moving, such as shooting friends who will pose for you with their contrived smiles, this camera will not disappoint you. I would highly recommend this camera. However, if you are into sports photography this camera is DEFINITELY NOT for you. In fact, even for photographing kids this camera is woefully inadequate, and I say you should forget it. The main problem is that it takes very long to go from one shot to the next. In my test with a moderately fast SD card, shooting in raw+JPEG it takes a whopping 6.5 seconds for the camera to be ready for the next shot (the figure is about 4 seconds in JPEG only, or with a very fast SD card). This is completely UNACCEPTABLE. I don't know why no major reviews had pointed it out. Note that even after 6.5 seconds you will still need to tack on another few seconds to compose your next shot and press the shutter. So overall, from one shot to the next can take 8 seconds easily, which for many photographers is an eternity.

6. Movie/HD Video. I don't use this feature much so I don't have anything extensive to say. On a cursory examination it is quite good.

7. Battery. The battery is small, and it gives you about 250 shots. Please be sure to buy one or two extra ones. You can find them on eBay for a fraction of the cost Amazon charges (I bought two for about 7 bucks).

My overall verdict on Powershot G1X is that it is a GREAT camera (with some minor flaws) if you are photographing mainly landscape or people who will pose for you. However, it is completely unsuited for sports, and it is poorly suited for photographing kids or spontaneous scenes because of its ridiculously long lag between shots.

======================================================

Update:

I have just taken the Powershot G1X to Xian, China, to photograph the Terra Cotta Warriors and artifacts in the Shaanxi History Museum. The lighting condition was not ideal at all. In most cases it was very dark. Only in the Terra Cotta Pit 1 the lighting was not extremely dark. I took about 250 photos in those two places. In several places I had to push the ISO to 3200 and use a shutter speed of 1/20th of a second. In the end, almost all images came out tack sharp with little noise! The IS worked superbly. I must say the overall quality of my pictures has gone far beyond my expectation. In fact I went with a friend who carried the latest Sony full frame DSLR, and my G1X held up very well. As far as image quality goes, it does not disappoint.

However, the battery life was really not so great. While Canon claims 250 pictures per charge, I got about 170 (LCD on). So make sure you get at least two extra batteries (on ebay).
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132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You will love the photos from the G1X, March 13, 2012
By 
E. Lacey (Shrewsbury, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
When you pick up the Canon G1X, your first thought will probably be "Wow-- this thing is SOLID." There is a lot of glass and high quality components stuffed inside this little package, and it all adds up to SUPER photos. This camera is a terrific addition to a photographer's arsenal. It is a perfect companion camera to have when you do not want to tote around your DSLR and all of the accessories that comes with that. But, do not think that this is a pocket-sized camera-- while it will fit into a large coat pocket, you will likely be wearing this camera around your neck when you have it out for your day of shooting.

The G1X takes incredibly good photos. It rivals my Canon 60D in that regard. Its low-light sensitivity is top notch for a camera this size, due mainly to the fact that the sensor is nearly as large as the 1.6 crop sensors in many consumer/prosumer DSLRs. I get great photos at ISO 1600, and usable photos all the way up to ISO 6400. (Note that if you shoot RAW, then you will not get as great photos until you apply noise reduction in your software of choice.)

This camera also supports full 1080P digital recording, although I have not yet had a chance to put that through its paces, so I cannot yet comment on the quality and ease of use. However, from the little that I have done, it seems very good. You can record at different aspect ratios (e.g. 16x9), you can zoom while recording, and the camera has a built-in "wind" noise filter.

In addition to the standard set of "creative modes" (portrait, landscape, kids & pets, sports, night, beach, underwater, foliage, snow, fireworks, face-detect) that come with digital cameras these days, the G1X also has numerous digital affects built in such as HDR, miniature, toy camera, fish eye, nostalgic, among others. Additionally, the G1X can also be operated 100% automatically or 100% manually, or somewhere in between, allowing you to shoot in (P)rogram mode, Av, Tv, and M. In my opinion, the camera performs best when you take over most of the decision making. Like most cameras, this camera does not do its best work in 100% Automatic mode.

The knocks on this camera, and the reason it does not get 5 stars from me, are its sluggish auto focus, its poor view finder, and its relatively high price. While the auto-focus is a bit slow, I think it compares reasonably to other compact cameras in this price range, especially if you do use a creative mode so the camera "knows" what to look for in your scene. However, if you want to spend a bit more, you can still get superior performance from something like the Fuji X100. The optical view finder is nearly useless-- you cannot see what the camera is focusing on and the lens obstructs the lower left-hand corner of the view, even when not zoomed. For these reasons, I quickly abandoned using it altogether. Another knock would be the Macro capabilities of the G1X, or lack thereof. While there is a Macro shooting mode, the minimum focusing distance required does not allow you to get anything near Macro images. As far as the price is concerned, the quality warrants the price, but the shortcomings take away from the perceived value. The same camera at $599 would be a no-brainer. Fix the auto-focus speed, viewfinder, and macro ability and charge the $799 and it is also a no-brainer. As it is, you will have to decide if the features warrant the price for yourself.

If you are deciding whether or not to purchase the G1X or a DSLR, I would opt for a DSLR unless your #1 concern is size. The DSLR will offer much more customization that the G1X. However, if you are looking for a camera that allows you to leave your DSLR at home, but still gives you fantastic photos and allows you full control, then this camera may be exactly what you are looking for.
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128 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone but ..., March 8, 2012
By 
David L. Lee (VANCOUVER, WA, US) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
If you want GREAT IQ this is it. MY G1X came in on 2-9-2012 and have taken over 1000 pics with it. If you want a FAST camera then its not for you, the focus is not fast but it does the job, I would not call it slow. Shot to shot is slow and dont even talk about macro. I have a 7D for speed and macro but the funny thing is the G1X has as good if not better IQ at high iso it really is that good.

The 4 stars and not 5 is for the speed of focus and MFD. I do weddings and portraits and this is now my backup camera to my 7D. Its far from perfect but the reason for a camera is the picture and for this its very very good. The video is good and it will focus while in video mode, you can also zoom in video and its nearly silent. I use raw with my 7D but I am finding that may not be needed with the G1X the jpg's out of the camera are as good as I can get with LR4. The lens hood will not fit the G1x reversed, I use a Lowepro Apex 100aw. It will hold the Gx with the lens hood attached.

Dave

4/16/2012
Adding data on frame rate. Did a bit of testing on how fast you can take continuous shoots. All testing was done while shooting at a clock for 10-11 sec and then counting the number of pictures taken. Also tested with int and ext flash.
AV mode, auto white bal,4:3 large jpg, DR off, 28mm 1/60 @ 2.8.

no flash:
Single shot ~ 5 / 10 about 5 shots in 10 sec, frame rate = (shots - 1) / time = 0.4 shots / sec, 2.5 sec / shot
Cont-with focus ~ 8 / 10 = 0.7 & 1.43
Cont-no focus ~ 18 / 10 = 1.7 & 0.59

int flash
Single shot ~ 4 / 11
Cont-with focus ~ 7 / 10
Cont-no focus ~ 13 / 11

ext flash 320ex
Single shot ~ 4 / 10
Cont-with focus ~ 7 / 10
Cont-no focus ~ 17 / 10

Beause of the faster operation in cont/focus I have changed to that as my std. I would rather have extra shots then miss one. This also shows the huge advantage with an ext flash in faster shooting. The problem with cont/focus is the the screen is black for about 80% of the time :(

Dave

6/11/2102
In my view the 320EX is to big a flash for the G1X, its bigger then the camera. I picked up a 270EXII last week and really like it on the G1X, I think the size is a better match. I wanted to pass on one thing I found that is nice, the 270EXII with Eneloop's in cont-no focus mode the flash would keep up with the camera as fill light AV mode. I stopped at 32 shots with no delay from the flash. Will add more as I do more testing.

I think that most people know that an ext flash helps because of the bounce feature but there are a few other good reasons for an ext flash. One that I like is it has its own battery so you dont use the camera battery. Another is the remote flash you can do with the 270EXII.

One more little thing, the Video Light on the 320ex will work in the auto mode with the G1X. It will turn on when needed in a video and it wont turn off till the end of the video, so it wont be flashing on and off.

Dave

8/31/2012
Wanted to add some data on SD cards. The G1X does NOT support UHS1 sd cards, it can still use a UHS1 card but will not be as fast as the card is rated for. To test this I used a Scandisk Extreme Pro 95 MB/s sd card and had only a 10% better frame rate then the Amazon basics 16g sd class 10 card. I also tested card speed in two different card readers one an older model USB2 and NO UHS1 support, the Scandisk Extreme Pro only did 20MB/s with this reader and the Amazon basics did 17. In a new USB3 & USH1 (USpeed Y3201) reader the Scandisk Extreme Pro did 86MB/s and the Amazon basics did 18.

Dave
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167 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon PowerShot G1 X: An Excellent Advanced Digital Compact Camera, Especially for Low-Light/High-ISO Photographs, March 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
Length:: 1:02 Mins

This is not a 'perfect' camera (what is?). It is not the nicest-looking (best styled) compact camera (in my opinion, the best looking are the Fujifilm X100 12.3 MP APS-C CMOS EXR Digital Camera with 23mm Fujinon Lens and 2.8-Inch LCD and the Leica M9 18MP Digital Range Finder Camera (Black, Body Only). Nor is it the most prestigious. And it is definitely NOT a replacement or a substitute for a DSLR camera.

If it is not any of these things, then what is it?

It is, in my opinion, simply the best designed, the best performing, and the most advanced compact digital camera on the market today and is, again in my opinion, the very finest such camera yet made.

Many people, such as myself, do not want an interchangeable-lens camera for various reasons (including the expense, the inconvenience, and necessity to carry about a rather large array of camera equipment).

Yet some of those people, including myself, want an advanced, highly capable, camera with a high-quality lens, a large sensor, and the ability to take pictures under many varied conditions (including low-light without flash) and have those pictures turn out exactly the way they'd like. In other words, they want pictures the equal of those produced by most DSLRs - and they (and I) want to be able to achieve this quality 'in-camera' rather than having to use computer software afterwards.

There is really no technical reason why such a camera couldn't have been made before but it appears that this one is the first that can actually achieve that goal.

As a preamble, I encourage you to read EVERY review of this camera which appears on Amazon, as well as all of the comments thereto. Plus I also suggest that you read reviews on other sites (including the 'professional' reviews). After all, this is a very expensive camera and you want to make certain that you have obtained every bit of information available to you before you buy it.

Here on Amazon you will see almost as many 'con' reviews and comments as 'pro' ones.

Some writers feel it is too expensive for what you get. Some writers feel it has too many disadvantages, one way or another. Many of the writers, very obviously, do not truly know how to use it. And there are some people who just don't like it.

Some reviewers have purchased the camera and returned it after just a short period of ownership. Frankly, I believe that they did not learn to properly use it. This is a very advanced camera and learning it will take a lot of time. A couple of weeks won't do.

There are also a few reviewers here who, while praising the camera for its abilities, are nevertheless somewhat negative in tone; these appear to be written by people who own DSLR cameras and are looking for a more convenient alternate to be used at certain times.

Unfortunately, it appears to me (and I could be wrong of course) that they want a compact fixed-lens camera which has EXACTLY the same types of design, features, and, especially, controls of their interchangeable-lens camera.

It 'ain't' going to happen!

I do want to say that all of these people's opinions are, of course, just as valid as mine and are to be respected (and you'll surely want to consider them) - but I disagree with them all.

To begin with, this is a very sophisticated and complicated instrument. In order to derive the maximum benefit from its capabilities, you must be very familiar with the technical fundamentals of photography - or be willing to learn them. Otherwise, if you're not going to teach yourself to use it to its maximum advantage, why pay $800.00 for this camera? If you don't want to take the time to learn these things, feeling perhaps that the effort in obtaining this knowledge is too time-consuming for you personally, or if you just want to take ordinary snapshots and don't really need the capabilities of an advanced camera, in my opinion, you could and should buy a much less expensive one which will suit your needs.

This camera would definitely not be for you and I say that without meaning to be disrespectful to anyone.

If you're still interested, however, I want to tell you right now that this is a VERY long review and, while I do apologize for its length, I hope you will read all of it to understand what I personally like in a camera, why I particularly like and recommend this one, and why I feel that it is worth every penny I paid for it.

Ten years ago, I bought a Canon PowerShot G2 4MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom which, at the time, was one of the best cameras available. It had many good features; it had a nice, bright f/2.0 - 2.5 maximum aperture across its 3:1 zoom ratio but it also had some disadvantages. For example, the smallest f-stop was only f/8 - this, to me, was unsatisfactory (I had not seen that particular specification listed anywhere; had I known about that minimum f-stop, I might not have bought the camera!). In addition, the maximum shutter speed was only 1/1000 second and the ISO range was from 50 to only 400. In other words, this camera did not offer a high dynamic range. As a result of these disadvantages, I missed a number of pictures I would have liked to have had. In addition, it had only 4.0 mega-pixels; though high at the time I bought it, today only cell-phones offer that little.

Since that time I have been looking for something better but I had no luck until now. Every camera I saw (including other models in the Canon PowerShot G line) had various disadvantages which precluded my consideration of them.

I want a fixed-zoom-lens camera with a wide range of ISO settings (the equivalent of slow-to-fast films), the ability to take good, noise-free ("grain-free") pictures at high ISOs (sensitivities) so I can take low-light pictures without using flash, a relatively fast lens which can also stop down to at least f/16, and the ability to take pictures in a wide range of shooting modes (automatic, manual, etc). In other words, I want a camera which has most of the capabilities of a DSLR but without the need to change lenses.

When I read about the Fujifilm X-100, it seemed to be very good but it is clearly out of my price range (as is the Leica - but I can always dream). In addition, though it has a large APS-C-sized sensor (the same as in DSLRs and even larger than the G1 X) and its lens is fast (f/2.0), it is fixed focal length only (no zoom) and it has only a 12.3 mega-pixel sensor (a relatively low figure at its price by today's standards) and, while, if the camera were in my price range, I could accept all of that, most importantly, according to "Popular Photography's," test results, its measured noise figures are mediocre, even at only moderately high ISO settings. I am afraid that that is something I do not want to accept.

There are several Sony cameras which have good noise figures at high ISOs but they have too many other disadvantages, at least for me, to consider them. In addition, though I'm sure that this is not representative, I personally know TWO people whose expensive Sony cameras 'died' shortly after the warranty expired - and Sony would do nothing for them. Please note that I'm sure this is an anomaly - I own many Sony products though not cameras - and I have never had problems with any of them; nonetheless, though I'm certain that most Sony camera owners are completely satisfied, these people's experiences has left a sour taste in my mouth for Sony's cameras.

The Fujifilm X10 12 MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with f2.0-f2.8 4x Optical Zoom Lens and 2.8-Inch LCD, which was introduced recently, IS in my price range and, as soon as I saw it, I put it into my Amazon Wish List.

However, when "Popular Photography" reviewed it in the March 2012 issue and I saw the rather dismal high-ISO noise figures listed for the camera, fast lens or no, I immediately removed it from my Wish List. (I have been reading "Popular Photography" for over fifty years now and I have learned to trust their test figures implicitly.)

Please note that I am sure that the X10 is a fine camera and will please all who buy it but it does not fulfill my requirements. (However, you should keep in mind that the Fujifilm X10 does cost two hundred dollars less than the Canon G1 X.)

I first heard about this new Canon G1 X 14.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 4x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom Lens Full 1080p HD Video and 3.0-inch Vari-Angle LCD in January of this year and last month I received an email from "Popular Photography" about their test results (which now appear in the April 2012 issue).

As soon as I saw their test results figures (and read the entire review to which the email linked), I immediately pre-ordered the camera from Amazon! This is the first camera in ten years to induce me to part with 'coin of the realm' and buy it.

You can find all three of these reviews online at "Popular Photography's" site if you wish to read them.

Of course, when I ordered the camera, I had no idea whether or not I would really like it. I was taking a chance.

But now that I actually have the G1 X, I can only say that I am VERY pleased with it, as pleased as possible.

Among its other attributes, its lens stops down to f/16, something I have sorely missed for the past ten years. Do you know the old photographer's trick? On a bright sunny day set the aperture to f/16 and then set the shutter speed to the speed of the 'film' [the ISO rating you have chosen]. Set the focus either to Infinity or to ten feet [depending on the nature of your main subject]. Exposure will be perfect and everything will be sharp. On cloudy days, set the aperture to f/11, and so forth. The wider the aperture, of course, the more critical focusing becomes. (I always recommend 'bracketing' your shots, both for focus and exposure; it's easy to do with this camera, either automatically or, my own preference, manually.)

This camera, with its relatively large, relatively fast lens (at the wide angle setting; the range is f/2.8 to f/16), its wide range of shutter speeds (60 seconds to 1/4000 of a second), and its ability to create superb pictures even when using a high ISO setting, thus offers a VERY high dynamic range. This means that you will be able to take pictures in just about any lighting condition (and without using flash if that is your preference, as it is mine) and the pictures will turn out exactly the way you want them.

I have uploaded some pictures along with the information about the parameters. Other people have uploaded even better pictures than mine and I hope you will look at all of them. You will see just what this camera can achieve under many varied conditions.

I have also uploaded a (rather pathetic - sorry about that) 1-minute video which, bad as it is, does show the image capabilities of this camera under some trying conditions (and, if you see any noise, it is solely due to the fact that I had to compress the original video to conform to Amazon's requirements; there is absolutely NO noise in the original video).

And in the still images, I see hardly any 'noise' ('grain') no matter under what conditions I take a picture. While the lens is not as fast as I should like (f/2.8 [moderately fast - but I really wish it were f/2.0] at its wide-angle setting to f/5.8 [very slow - and I really wish it were faster] at its maximum telephoto setting), the fact that you can easily use high ISO settings (the range is ISO 100 to ISO 12,800) with little or no loss of image quality (unlike the Fujifilm models) MORE THAN MAKES UP for the lack of lens brightness (and, as a trade-off, slower lenses can produce sharper pictures as focus is not as critical as it is with fast lenses).

In other words, you can use a sensitivity rating of ISO 6400 (and sometimes, depending upon the nature of the subject, even ISO 12,800) with hardly any visible noise in the picture! As far as I know, there is no other compact camera on the market which can achieve that!

Why does this camera have this capability while other competitors do not? It is because of the sensor size in it. Its sensor is 1.5 inches (the Fujifilm X-10's sensor s only 2/3 inch), it has 14.1 mega-pixels, plus it has Canon's very advanced design for noise reduction (which, by the way, is user-adjustable). A 1.5 inch sensor is almost the same size as the APS-C-sized sensors used in most DSLR cameras. I believe that no other compact fixed-zoom-lens camera has such a large sensor.

Naturally a larger sensor requires a larger (and heavier) lens yet Canon has managed to design the lens to a fairly reasonable size and weight (and the camera's overall weight is also quite reasonable - plus it is well-balanced).

This absolutely first-rate lens (there can be no other description for it) has a 4:1 zoom range; this may be an inadequate zoom range for some people (especially those who favor 'superzooms') but note that, everything else being equal, the lower the zoom ratio the sharper the lens ("prime" lenses being the sharpest of all) and the lower the zoom ratio, the lower the lens distortion. This lens's zoom ratio is certainly adequate for me!

And it's the large sensor and the large sharp lens which allow for the truly superb pictures this camera produces.

A large sensor coupled with a relatively large lens has another major advantage: the ability to make excellent closeup 'portrait' photos (which allow the main subject to be in sharp focus while the background is blurred). Yes, this can be done with post-processing software but here it can be done in-camera. DSLRs can do this routinely but few compact cameras can. (You can also get the same results using fully manual aperture/shutter settings and manual focus.)

As with most other digital cameras, there are various scene settings (Kids & Pets, Fireworks, Sports, etc.) which I have not yet used but which will probably come in handy at various times.

Multiple facial recognition (as well as red-eye reduction, both prevention before and fixing after taking a flash picture) is also offered as is blink indication. Regarding flash (which I myself use only rarely and then I use only the built-in flash), the camera does have a 'hot-shoe' so that, with an optional bracket, very sophisticated flash attachments (Canon Speedlights for example) can be used.

In addition, the built-in flash can be physically lowered into the body when you're not using it, a nice touch. In the 'P' Program setting, I leave the flash in the 'on' position but with the flash body lowered into the camera so it won't fire. Then, when I occasionally do wish to use flash, all I have to do is to raise the flash body and it's ready to go.

Naturally burst shooting is present and it appears to be very sophisticated. Automatic bracketing is another feature and, using the available HDR setting, three images can be combined automatically to allow for a high dynamic range (note that the subject must not move; this is primarily for landscapes or cityscapes).

This camera has a myriad of possible adjustments; to obtain maximum benefit from them will frankly require a long learning curve (I have just scratched the surface!).

However - and this is a BIG however - right out of the box you can use its Auto setting and probably 95+% of your pictures will come out fine (and they will be of far higher quality than almost all other compact fixed-lens cameras and on a par with any produced by DSLRs). If and when you desire to be a bit more creative (in camera), well you can 'play' with the menu adjustments and set the camera to do what you like. (And you need not worry about messing up the settings: there is a quick Reset All option which sets everything back to factory defaults.)

Just as on a DSLR, there are options to take pictures in several ways: fully automatically; aperture-priority (you set the lens opening, the camera decides the shutter speed); shutter-priority (you set the shutter speed and the camera decides the aperture); and full manual (you set everything). (This is what I use most of the time.) Note that the camera will show you "correct" settings (what it thinks is correct) and you can reset your settings to what the camera has decided or you can ignore that altogether.

This model also features a terrific articulating LCD screen. So did my G2 but its size (about an inch diagonal) and its brightness were severely wanting. Not so with this G1 X; the LCD screen is big and bright and I have to tell you that it is my opinion that an articulating LCD screen is the only way to go. The advantages of having one of these becomes very apparent as you use it. As a matter of fact, I would not, under any circumstances, purchase an expensive camera which did not have one.

Do you like to shoot in RAW (or RAW + JPEG) mode? It's easy with this camera (and fast too if you have a fast-writing card) and you do NOT need to use Canon's software to process and edit RAW images. [You can view a picture I took in RAW mode and adjusted via software - both done very quickly - in the uploaded photo section.]

Are there any possible disadvantages? Sure there are! Automatic focusing in low-light situations is perhaps very slightly slower than I should like but, in fact, I use manual focus for the most part (I use manual aperture and shutter settings most of the time too) and the auto focus is not nearly as slow as some people suggest; obviously it is much faster in bright conditions but it seems adequately fast in most low-light situations too. I know that some people would rather have the ability to turn a lens ring to manually adjust focus (I would too) but such an option is probably not possible at this time with a lens such as this one. In any case, as I have been manually focusing via a menu option for the last ten years, this is no problem for me. (And outdoors I use the 'trick' I mentioned so I generally do not need to focus the lens at all. This 'trick' can be used for high-speed outdoor sports photography.)

I also wish there were a "Bulb" setting for long exposures but, unfortunately, this camera does not support that. (Truth to tell, in my well over 50 years of taking pictures, I have used the "Bulb" setting only two or three times and that was with 35mm film cameras.)

Some people have commented on the fact that the optical viewfinder does not display any information (even about focusing, as in true rangefinder cameras) as well as the fact that, at the wide-angle setting, the necessarily large lens obscures the lower left portion (the lens disappears when setting it to telephoto). Though they are correct, and this is one of the few really valid complaints about this camera, at least for me, this is not too significant: I use the optical viewfinder rarely, only when I am taking pictures outdoors under very bright light (and the 3-inch LCD on this camera is so bright - so far I have used it only at its default brightness, 50% - that it may not even be necessary to use the optical viewfinder as often as I did with my older G2, if at all). Nonetheless, the camera really should have an EVF rather than an optical viewfinder. As we're unlikely to see any more reasonably-priced true rangefinder cameras, I believe that the day of the optical viewfinder has passed.

So if an optical viewfinder is of major importance to you, you may wish to look elsewhere. However, the mediocrity of this feature is not enough to sway my opinion or enjoyment of the camera.

One disadvantage of this particular large lens and large sensor is that it cannot focus very closely (7 inches is about as close as you can get). If you do a LOT of Macro shooting, and do not wish to buy auxiliary lenses, this may not be the camera for you. I only rarely wish to use Macro so this is not a disadvantage for me personally. [But see my uploaded Macro picture of an Iris flower within the "View and share related images" section; if you know what you're doing, you can indeed take ultra-closeups with the G1 X.]

I have to say that, though it is acceptable, I generally do not care for a 'press and click on' (or 'center-pinch') type of lens cap, much preferring the old-fashioned kind which just slips on (of course I want a cord attachment; this one has it). The internal mechanism of 'press and click on' types can break if not handled carefully. Just my opinion.

And regarding the lens, WHY OH WHY do manufacturers of advanced compact cameras NOT put filter threads within their lenses? Canon makes you buy a Canon FADC58C 58mm Filter Adapter for G1 X which, like the adapter I had to use on my G2, is cumbersome and a plain pain to have to use every time you want to attach a filter. You must remove the lens surround ring (and put it somewhere), attach the filter adapter, and then attach the filter. You can't leave this Canon filter adapter mounted full-time because the lens cap won't work with it. So, when you're done shooting using a filter, you must reverse the procedure by retrieving the surround ring, removing the filter and the filter adapter, and then reattaching the surround ring in order to use the lens cap. This is BRILLIANT(?!?) design! [But please see my May 6 update about an inexpensive and complete remedy for this.]

However you can see that these 'disadvantages' are QUITE minor (they could be called 'nit-picking') and have no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the pictures you will get or even the ease of taking them.

This Canon has many individual and well-designed physical controls (thus minimizing the necessity for using menu options when actually taking pictures) yet very strangely this model does not offer one additional button (which it should have): it would have been nice had Canon included a white balance button to quickly adjust the setting. But the camera does have an 'assignable' button and I assigned white balance to it (so that takes care of that problem!). And, if a situation requires you to change the assignable button, even temporarily, to something else, that is quick and easy to do.

The rest of the controls are, again in my opinion, exemplary in design.

Of course, in the final analysis the question is: how good are the pictures? I have to say that, based on my own use of the camera, they are, in a word, SUPERB. If you look at the pictures (and the video) I and others have posted here, you can judge for yourself.

Color in the 'standard' setting is positively beautiful, vivid and accurate. And, for certain circumstances, there are many color adjustments available (assuming you are shooting JPEG; if shooting RAW, you adjust the color via your RAW processing program). Black-and-White photos are luminous; I can think of no other word to describe them. Sepia-toned pictures are also very, very beautiful.

If one were to try to compare pictures made with this model with similar ones made with much more expensive DSLRs, and one did it 'blind' (in other words he/she did not know which photos were made with which camera), I do not think anyone could distinguish between them. That's how high in quality pictures taken with this camera are.

I hope that you have found this somewhat lengthy review to be of some value to you (sorry, there's still some more to go!). I have tried to explain my thought processes in the decision to replace my ten-year-old G2 (which I'm still keeping, however) with this new one (which is a much more advanced, sophisticated, and capable model) and, if your wishes are similar to mine, then I am certain that you will be as pleased with the G1 X as I am.

I have a couple of small 'point-and-shoots:' the Fujifilm FinePix T300 14 MP Digital Camera with Fujinon 10x Wide Angle Optical Zoom Lens (Black) and the Kodak Easyshare Touch M5370 16 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom, HD Video Capture and 3.0-Inch Capacitive Touchscreen LCD (Silver). For what they are they are nice, and my wife and I take them along wherever we go.

But, regarding quality of pictures produced, they're not even in the same ballpark as this Canon model. (I gave them 5-stars each but that is within their category, the only fair way, I think, to rate a product.)

And you can, if you wish when you first obtain it, just set this camera to its full Auto setting and it will be as easy and as quick as any of those 'point-and-shoots' and, of course, the pictures will be vastly superior. I suggest that you start off that way and, as you become more familiar with it, you'll want to start trying some of the more advanced features. You will never 'outgrow' this camera. Obviously, if you have someone else take a picture, you would merely set the camera to Auto.

And as further proof of ease of use (with the caveat that you know what you're doing!), please note that I took all of the pictures (and the video) after just a couple of hours of 'playing' with the camera and WITHOUT reading the instruction manual. Of course operation is rather straightforward and it's quite similar to that of my PowerShot G2. If you have ever used any advanced compact digital camera (including Superzooms, etc.), you should have no difficulty with this one. If you have never used such a camera, the voluminous (242 page) instruction manual found on the included CD-ROM will answer any and all of your questions about this particular camera.

My 10-year old Canon PowerShot G2 featured construction of the absolute highest quality; it is still functioning as it did when new (and it still looks new!). This new Canon PowerShot G1 X appears to be constructed with the same integrity (and its body is made of metal, not plastic).

In conclusion, it is my belief that, with this camera, no matter what you do or how "poor" a photographer you are (and I'm afraid I'm one of the most mediocre, at least aesthetically-speaking), you just can't help but get really fine pictures, something you can't always say with many other models.

If you are in the market for a camera such as this, I recommend that, after you investigate this one carefully, if it appeals to you, just buy it.

Is it expensive? It most certainly is! But (assuming you have sufficient financial resources), the question to ask is do you get good value for money? In my opinion, the answer is a most resounding 'yes!'

However, if, for some reason, you do not like it, and, if you have bought it from Amazon (something I strongly recommend), you merely contact them and they will arrange it such that you can return the camera at no cost to you (and you'll get a refund quickly!). Just make certain that you have given the camera a fair chance over an appropriately lengthy (as necessary) period of intensive study and experimentation.

This camera or even this type of camera (essentially very expensive 'point-and-shoot' cameras, albeit extremely advanced) is not for everyone. It's not even for the majority of people. But I believe that there are enough people who would rather have this type than a DSLR such that Canon will sell a significant number of them. The fact that this camera seems to be in relatively short supply confirms my thoughts.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, I and some other people desire an advanced, highly capable, camera with a high-quality fixed-zoom-lens, a large sensor, and the ability to take pictures under many varied conditions (including low-light without flash) and have those pictures turn out exactly as desired (and at the same, or at the very least practically the same, high image quality as those which can be obtained with much more expensive DSLRs). In my opinion, this one is IT!

Thus I give this camera my highest possible recommendation and, if you buy one, I hope you like it as much as I do.

Thank you for reading all of this (perhaps the "War and Peace" of camera reviews?) and for considering my opinions.

Lawrence H. Bulk

==================================================================================================================================

Update: May 6, 2012

Back when I bought that PowerShot G2, Canon included a 32 MB 'starter' Compact Flash card. No such luck with this one. Canon included NO card - plus the camera has NO internal memory. That means that you MUST buy a card at the same time you buy the camera; I bought two (I always like backups) SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB, SDHC, UHS-1 Flash Memory Card SDSDXPA-016G-X46,Black, a very good one - and it writes and reads very fast; the 16 GB size is sufficient for me as I download pictures to my computer (and back them up to external hard drives) at least once a day (and with two cards, I have plenty of capacity).

There are some other accessories I recommend that you buy (in addition to an SD card): this Power 2000 PT72 Replacement Recharger for Canon NB-10L Battery or P2K ACD-347 and two (2) Power2000 1200Mah Lithium Battery Replacement For Canon NB-10L Battery (For Canon SX40 HS Camera). (Why two spare batteries? Because, while this camera is not a 'battery hog,' nonetheless, its battery does not last quite as long as I should like. Anyway, that is my recommendation.) Fortunately, neither of these two accessories are expensive.

I bought this COSMOS ® Brown Leather Case Cover Bag For Canon Powershot G1X Digital Camera DC G1 X + Cosmos cable tie which, at the time, was the only non-OEM case being offered by Amazon. While its price is good, Amazon now has other cases (which look almost the same as mine) for much less money; you'll want to investigate them.

==================================================================================================================================

Update: June 8, 2014

While still an excellent camera, this unit has now been superseded in my estimation by the Fujifilm X-S1 12MP EXR CMOS Digital Camera with Fujinon F2.8 to F5.6 Telephoto Lens and Ultra-Smooth 26x Manual Zoom (24-624mm).

Though the Fujifilm does not have nearly as large a sensor nor the ISO range that the Canon does, and thus cannot produce such wonderful low-light high-ISO photographs as can the Canon, overall, at least for the kind of photos I take, it is a far superior camera. Its versatility and ease-of-use make it my "go-to" camera. On our last vacation, I did not even bother to take the Canon along, relying completely on the Fujifilm for still pictures. And believe me, the quality of the photos it produced requires no apologies. Having many dedicated settings buttons, as opposed to the Canon's menu-driven ones (buttons are faster and easier to use in the field), and having a very high zoom-ratio lens (of very high quality) as opposed to the limited zoom range on the Canon, trump the Canon's advantages, in my opinion.

In addition, the Fujifilm is much less expensive. I strongly suggest that anyone reading this carefully investigate the Fujifilm X-S1 Digital Camera.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest advanced point & shoot on the planet, March 30, 2012
By 
T. Campbell (Dearborn, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
After declaring that this is "the finest point & shoot on the planet" - I should follow up by saying this camera is NOT for everyone. This camera was designed with specific goals and targeted to a specific kind of customer. It achieves its goals in that regard... but since not everyone wants a camera with these capabilities, this camera MAY not be for you.

The G series from Canon are their most advanced point & shoots. The G1 X, specifically, was designed for customers who ALREADY OWN A DSLR but need a 2nd camera. If you do own a DSLR, you may already be aware that there are some places where you can't take your DSLR (e.g. places that don't allow "professional cameras" -- defined as any camera with a removable lens) and/or places where, while you COULD take your DLSR... it might not be the best idea.

If you're familiar with the G series, this camera looks very much like the rest of them. So close, actually, that you might not notice the size difference unless you put a prior G series camera next to this one. Sitting next to a G12, the G1 X is just a tiny bit bigger. The size difference is due to the sensor and the lens. While this camera is just a tiny bit bigger on the outside, it's HUGE on the inside... it has a sensor which is 6 times larger than a G12. It actually uses the SAME sensor as the 7D, except it's been cropped down to 80% of the size (but the photo-site density and size are identical.) When you grow the sensor by that much, you've GOT to grow the lens to match. The lens barrel diameter is significantly larger. If you were hoping for a camera that you can slip in your pocket... keep moving, this camera is not for you (unless you have really bulky pockets.)

Keep in mind that lens design is essentially a game of trade offs. The highest quality lenses do not zoom... at all. As soon as a lens can "zoom" the compromises start adding up (barrel distortion, chromatic aberration (fringing), contrast & resolution, vignetting, etc.). You can control optical quality on lenses that just zoom a little (e.g. 3-5x zoom usually can control optical qualities fairly well). As you get into lenses that can zoom a LOT (e.g. 10x or greater) than the lens becomes all about convenience and NOT about the optical quality. As the G1 X was made to keep the pro shooters happy, this "point & shoot" camera is all about the optical quality and NOT about the zoom. If you're looking for a 10x, 14x, or bigger zoom... move along... this is not the camera you are looking for. Don't ding the camera for limiting itself to a 4x zoom. That is absolutely intentional -- again, lens design is a game of trade-offs.

The body is metal and, as I've already managed to drop mine (long story), I can vouch for the fact that it is durable.

It has a hot-shoe for dedicated speedlites. I have actually used it with my Speedlite 430EX II and 580EX II. While they work perfectly... you look a bit silly when the flash gun is larger than the camera. So I keep a Speedlite 270EX with the camera when I need supplemental lighting or fill flash. The 270EX has no controls other than an on-off switch, but the G1 X can control the flash from on-camera menus (so I can dial flash exposure compensation up & down.) The 270 can "bounce", but since it's not nearly as powerful as the larger speedlites (but significantly more powerful than the built-in pop-up flash) I realize that there are limits to what it can do (but again... if you seriously need more, you CAN connect any Canon speetlite. It fully supports Canon E-TTL and E-TTL II ... just like the DSLR bodies.)

There are two advantages of the larger sensor and lens... physical larger photo-sites on the sensor mean that they are better at collecting light. This camera's ISO performance is 4 times better than what you'd get from a G12 (the previous flagship advanced point & shoot from Canon). And of course optically the camera also performs better. Issues such as diffraction limits and much easier to deal with as the sensor and lens size increase. The optical performance of this camera, considering it a point & shoot, is amazing.

One drawback of the physically larger sensor and lens is that it does make it a bit more difficult to take close-up shots. I've adapted to this and refined some technique that works pretty well, and you could always crop in tight (you have the megapixels to spare). But if you want the best close-ups, then buy a Canon 250D 58mm Close-up Lens for A700, A710IS, G1, G2, G3, G5, G6 & EOS SLR Cameras. This is a close-up diopter, but whereas a typical budget diopter is subject to chromatic aberration (aka color fringing) around the edges, the 250D is a dual-element diopter. It's an achromatic doublet so it combats the chromatic aberration of a budget close-up filter (at a premium cost... but then if you're buying an $800 point & shoot to supplement your DSLR which might cost a few thousand, then you're probably not too worried about buying an achromatic doublet version of a close-up filter that captures much higher quality images.) You'll need the Canon FA-DC58C "filter adapter" (and as I write this review... they are VERY hard to find in stock anywhere.) The camera lens doesn't have filter threads... the adapter connects like a lens-hoods (put it on and give it a quarter twist to lock) and provides 58mm diameter threads so you can thread-on any filter you want.

I've taken several detailed shots comparing the performance of my 5D II to the G1 X and, while the G1 X doesn't outperform a 5D II, I have to say that it comes a lot closer than I was expecting.

As a G series camera, it allows for much of the same shooting modes found on a DSLR... full-auto, program (P), shutter priority (Tv), aperture priority (Av), and of course manual (M). It allows for two custom modes where you can configure the camera and recall all your settings instantly but switching to that mode. There's a front and back selection wheel and these work pretty much the same as they would on a professional body DSLR (e.g. In manual mode I can control the shutter speed with the front wheel and aperture with the back wheel -- exactly the way it works on my 5D. BTW, you can re-configure this if you want.)

I'll warn you that it is a bit of a pig on battery life. Buy a spare battery to make sure that you can make it through the day (and if you're a heavy shooter... buy more than one.)

It does have support for Eye-Fi built-in. I picked up an Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card EYE-FI-8PC (it took me 2 days to figure out how to get the obtuse little thing working... but now that it works, it's a thing of beauty.)
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Like Mine. A LOT!, July 6, 2013
By 
Rachel Barr (Fort Davis, TX USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
Ah, the much-maligned Canon PowerShot G1 X!

If you're already a PowerShot G series user and understand this line of cameras, you probably suspect the issues that you read about are moot points. And for most photographers, you would be right. It is a point-and-shoot compact with ample manual control and RAW capability. It takes stunning photographs with a minimum of fuss. It's what I've been wishing for since the birth of digital photography. Excellent image quality in a portable, all-in-one package. What's not to like?

For years I've used PowerShot G series cameras as SLR backups because they had RAW capability, plenty of manual control, and portability. They were not without their limitations, though. And those limitations were frustrating. Namely, those associated with a small sensor--high ISO noise, noise reduction smearing and narrow dynamic range. This camera more than addresses those issues. Dynamic range is improved. High ISO image noise is well controlled without noticeable loss of detail. I don't find its performance significantly slower than my G12. It DOES work in low light--and the pictures are beautiful. Clean and usable through ISO 3200 (and, hey, 6400 is actually pretty decent). Image quality in some ways is better than my EOS 60D. And the resolution is great enough to allow some cropping without noticeable loss of quality.

Others have already said it, but it bears repeating. (And repeating.) It's unfair to compare this camera with compact system (mirrorless and four-thirds) cameras, DSLRs or any other camera for that matter because it stands alone in its class. It isn't a CSC, and it isn't a DSLR. It's a solidly built, all-in-one point-and-shoot compact with a big sensor and a fixed lens that zooms. In short, a maverick camera. Granted, it's not for everyone, but for photographers who use care composing their images or just like always having a camera handy--one that takes truly excellent pictures--this is it. Enough cannot be said about the quality of images through ISO 3200. Or the gorgeous, high-resolution vari-angle LCD. Or its creative capabilities.

I can put the G1 X in my purse or hang it around my neck and carry it without discomfort. And no fiddling with an array of lenses and gadgets. Because the lens retracts a good way into the body when the camera is powered off, it is fairly compact to carry. Compact for what it is--a large sensor camera with with a 28-112mm zoom lens, a built-in flash, an external flash hot shoe, optical viewfinder and a high-resolution, 3" vari-angle LCD. It will fit in a coat pocket, no problem. (But you WOULD look and feel kinda funny with it in a pants pocket.)

I added a CowboyStudio ALC-G1 X Camera Auto Lens Cap Cover, so removing and replacing the lens cap is not necessary, and it works very well.

If you're already familiar with Canon's G cameras, there's only a small learning curve. More like a blip than a curve. Mostly it's remembering to use macro mode for close subjects. This swiftly becomes an automatic motion. That's about it. In some ways the controls are simpler to use than the G12's. For my style of shooting, minimum focus distance is its only drawback, and with the Canon 250D 58mm Close-up Lens, this camera takes incredibly good macro pictures with beautiful bokeh.

For someone who's not familiar with the G series, there's some ground to cover for manual controls, but the good news is that the camera has several very useful scene modes where the camera makes the decisions for you, and JPEGS straight from the camera are colorful, sharp and accurately exposed. It is equally suited to the hands of novice and seasoned shooter alike.

In Review mode, there's a slight lag when you press the button before you can see the image--the G12 is faster in that regard. In shooting mode, shot-to-shot time is slower by a fraction of a second. Shutter lag--yes, a little, but not that noticeable if you're accustomed to the performance of this camera series through the G12 model. (Can't say anything about the G15 because I've never used one.) Autofocus is actually quite fast, but it takes the camera a little time to register. Go ahead and snap the shutter. You can trust it. It has already locked focus before the camera tells you so--and it's pretty darned accurate.

Although I don't often use video mode, when I do, I like the ability to zoom in and out while recording, something new to the G series. And I appreciate true HD video. The file format doesn't eat up huge chunks of computer memory, either, and videos are more easily shared than with previous G model cameras.

Battery life is short. Really short. If you take a lot of pictures or videos in a day, it's a good idea to have at least a couple of spares charged and on hand.

And the camera is too expensive. Period. A lot of cameras are. I understand that cost of production makes it so, but it is still too expensive. I couldn't afford one at its price point until I found a good deal on a "used, like new" copy.

I keep it in a clever camera bag that doubles as a small purse. In addition to my usual purse stuff (ID, credit cards, insurance cards, lipstick, hairbrush, etc), there's room for a couple of extra batteries and the Canon 250D filter for true macro shooting.

This one goes everywhere with me. My 60D goes with me on special occasions. Those don't happen often. Life happens every day. And with the G1 X, I got it covered. In beautiful, professional quality images!
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133 of 162 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High-end toy which fails as a people photographer's companion, April 8, 2012
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
I have been using Canons for decades, film and digital. I have owned a G9 for years, and got this as a replacement. I wanted to love the camera, and originally did, but with use, the clutzy handling (due to poor design/target-market choices by Canon) and the limitations of the lens have me relegating the camera to third stringer.

My angle is this: I used to be a working pro. I started out in large format and became a photojournalist. In a camera like this, I'm looking for portability, good images (for me, meaning, a RAW file to be fixed up later), and enough speed to work as a moment catcher. (For reference, the camera I used to use most in this mode was a little Rollei 35.) Where the G1X fails rather completely is as a moment catcher.

First the good: The chip in this camera is amazing. Nearly as good as on my 5D. The lens is also very sharp across its usable range. I like the design. The weight and feel are right, with the hand grip providing a perfect control surface. I have always worn small cameras around my neck, so the size and weight here are just fine by me. I don't want something to shove in my pocket. I want a good camera, at the ready, that won't have me fatigued by the end of the day. The G1X succeeds here. If you have 30 seconds to unfold the screen, power the thing up, compose on the screen, prefocus, and shoot, you will get nice photos with this. Of course, that means you're pretty much limited to using this as a glorified camera phone, shooting only inanimate objects or groups of people standing there waiting for the shutter to snap. That's what mass-appeal pocket cameras are good for already, so I expected more from this one, and alas, didn't get it.

I have, over the years, used my G9 both in slowpoke/tourist/line-em-up-and-shoot-em mode, but it was also a decent little street photography camera, and good enough for basic moment capturing. You could stick it up to your eye and use the (yes, very limited) eyepiece to frame up most of the scene, and shoot. The shot wasn't lightning quick, and you had to extrapolate where the actual coverage was going to be from the 75% or so that the viewfinder covered, but it worked OK. The G1X fails completely here, for several reasons.

One is that the focus doesn't work for squat if you have the screen closed up. Facial-recognition focus (one of the high points of the camera when in screen-shooting mode) doesn't work unless the screen is open. Using intelligent field focus also, for me, yielded horrible results with the screen closed. The camera was constantly back focused, even when I was a reasonable distance from subjects so that viewfinder/lens parallax shouldn't have been an issue.

Worst of all, by far, is the atrocious close focusing distance with the G1X. I do a fair amount of shooting within a couple feet of the subject to be focused. The G1X consistently misses these subjects unless swapped into macro mode, and by the time you've done that, you've lost your moment. I'm not kidding when I say this is atrocious. The distance at which you need to swap it into macro mode seems to be nearly 1 meter. Oddly enough, if you use the camera in green, "idiot" mode, it's smart enough to flip into macro mode on its own. But if you do that, tough luck on the RAW images. You don't get to record RAWs unless you're not in idiot mode. Even in macro mode, the close focusing distance is way too far off. I don't expect this to be a macro camera. But I do once in a while shoot a semi-close-up of foliage or sculptural details when on vacation or out for a walk, and whereas you could get a suitable close-up with the G9, you can't get anywhere near the subject with the G1X. A foot or more away from the front element (while zoomed back at the widest angle setting) is the best you can do.

I mentioned the sloppy handling. I think Canon really tips its hand on the end market when you consider that under your thumb, where a real camera would have some kind of switch of importance, this one has a video recording button. I could not possibly care less about recording video, so this is a complete waste to me. I didn't think it would be a potential deal-breaker until I began using the camera where my muscle memory from using my other Canons (and other cameras) constantly had me using my thumb to try to focus (5D) or lock exposure (other Canons) and I would get a video started. Meanwhile, the real controls for picture making (AE lock, focus point) are too far down, around the control dial, and not easy to feel.

The control dial itself is an amazing failure in engineering. It's concentric with a circular, 4-way control pad, yet the control dial ALSO works when pressed as a 4-way control pad. That's bad, because its surface isn't gnarled enough and the force necessary to depress it (the dial) is so light that you CANNOT normally use it as a dial. The very act of trying to spin it requires enough thumb force to depress it, registering functions or settings you don't want. This is a horrible, horrible mistake, one that will be most obvious to users of Canon's SLRs, where the control dial is a dial.

I pre-ordered this camera, and wanted to love it. The reality of using it on a vacation was that, within 2 days, I was so frustrated with the slow handling and with missing photos that I stuffed it in my backpack and stopped making pictures. That, to me, is the mark of a failed camera. Luckily for me, during this vacation, I stumbled by a store that had a Fujifilm Finepix X100 in the window, and familiar with it (I was considering it before I settled on the G1X), I went in to try it out. I determined very quickly that the X100 was a vastly superior platform for capturing moments and people, even though its autofocus is slower and more limted than the G1Xs, and even though it has only the single-length lens. The G1X remained in my backpack the rest of the trip, while I racked up many great images on the X100 thanks to its excellent handling and superior low-light performance.

My recommendation: If you are looking for something that handles with the relative slowness of, say, an old, medium-format twin-lens reflex camera, or you shoot only stationary subjects for the most part, then you may love the G1X.

If you are looking for a "street photography" camera, something for shooting people, something that handles like a real camera rather than a high-status, hybrid toy, stay away and look into something like the Fujifilm x100 which, for all its quirks, is a much more serious still camera.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon G1 X Review--A Professional Grade Compact, May 29, 2012
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
The following is from a three-part review of the Canon G1 X that I did on my blog. The sample photographs discussed in this blog can be viewed starting at:

[...]

This begins a three-part review on Canon's latest semiprofessional compact camera--the G1 X. Today we'll focus on how this camera was selected and highlight the performance of Canon's latest image processor the DIGIC 5 and the effectiveness of this camera's built-in image stabilization.

Canon G1 X with 15.1-60.4 (28-112mm in 35mm equivalency) f/2.8-5.8 lens.

If you've been following this blog since April 2, then you've been viewing the progression of our last cruise trip. Last week we covered Bruges, Belgium, and this week I was going to end the series with our two-day stay in Brussels. I'm going to postpone that series finale until next week, as I have some other information I would like to impart.

So, have you enjoyed the photographs over the past five weeks? If so, then you can give at least partial credit to my latest photographic tool. More on that in a moment.

I really enjoy DSLR photography. For that I have a Canon EOS 5D with a 24-105mm f/4.0L Image-Stabilized lens and, a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Image Stabilized telephoto lens, and a 430EX Speedlite external flash. The 5D is a great camera capable of great images at even fairly high ISO settings. Problem is that it's a boat anchor around your neck. When mated to my 24-105mm lens, the darned thing weighs in at a massive 3 pounds, 7.2 ounces (1,565 grams)! And don't even get me started on the conspicuousness of the size. It's like trying to hide a toaster oven.

So, for most international travel I like to take a couple of small travel zooms--my Panasonic DMC-ZS3 and DMC-ZS6--and leave the Rock of Gibraltar at home. Those Panasonics are great little point-and-shoots with a fantastic zoom range (25-300mm in 35mm equivalency), but they have some serious limitations. The ZS6 has limited controls for aperture and shutter speed, as well as the ability to provide some manual control. The ZS3 won't even do that much. Because of their small sensor size (1/2.33"--6.08 x 4.56mm), neither is very good at anything above ISO 400, and the image actually starts to degrade well before even that. Neither stores images in raw format. Still, you can take award-winning photographs with them if you understand photography and how to get the most out what little control the ZS series offers.

But I still wanted more in the way of creative control, better high ISO performance, increased resolution, and the wider latitude that raw gives you in post-processing. With this latest once-in-a-lifetime trip to Normandy coming up, I started doing my research for another camera system.

For travel photography I would need in order of importance:

1) Wide angle capability for landscapes, preferably starting in at around 24mm (in 35mm equivalency).

2) Good low-light capabilities for photographing interiors of monasteries, churches, cathedrals, fortresses, etc. That means a fast lens at wide angles (f/2.0 or better would be ideal), good performance at higher ISO settings (at least ISO 800, preferably even higher), and exceptional image stabilization (at least 3-stops) for hand-held shots.

3) Good low-light means a fairly large sensor. There is simply no way around that using current technology. This means I would have to balance the need for a large sensor against the desire to keep the camera/lens combination small and light.

4) Moderate telephoto capability for zooming in on architectural details (I like at least 105mm).

Here's what I didn't need:

1) Fast focusing. In landscapes it's all about the framing and light conditions. Capturing action is toward the bottom of any travel photographer's priority.

2) High frames-per-second. Again that's for capturing sports action, playful puppies, rambunctious kitties, and annoyingly hyperactive children.

Here's what I was willing to give up:

1) Interchangeable lenses, if the range was close enough to my specifications (see above). There's nothing more bothersome than specks of dust on the sensor, and changing lenses in the field is an open invitation for these insidious invaders. Plus, it's heck trying to get cleaning solution for camera sensors past TSA--guns and knives seem to slip through with alarming regularity, but you'd better not have more than three ounces of anything wet, up to and including Granny's Depends it would seem.

2) Macro capability. Nice to have for close-ups of flowers, but landscapes and architecture don't normally require it.

3) Wide aperture at mild zoom ranges. That's a hallmark of a portrait lens, as it defocuses the background and directs the viewer's attention to the person being photographed.

Given this list, my search for a new travel camera began to look like a tall order. Most bridge cameras have more zoom range than I would ever need, but their small sensor sizes (usually around 1/1.8"--7.176 x 5.319mm) meant I would once again be sacrificing ISO performance. APS-C sensors are large enough for what I needed ISO-wise, but (save for one exception) we're once again talking about going to a DSLR--a DSLR smaller than my full-frame (35mm) EOS 5D, but still a large, burdensome package. I could go with a smaller ILC, but most use the smaller Micro Four Thirds system, some use an APS-C size, nearly all come with a kit lens that only zooms between 27 and 82.5mm (in 35mm equivalency), and I would be back to having an interchangeable lens dust magnet.

Life was suddenly looking like an endless series of compromises that I didn't really care to make. I was considering packages as small as the Canon G12 and Nikon P7100 and as large as the Sony NEX 5N and NEX 7.

Then came the April edition of my Popular Photography subscription. Right there, on both the cover and on Page 77, was the Canon G1 X. Specifications:

Huge 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm) 14.3 megapixel CMOS sensor.

4x 28-112mm zoom lens.

Great ISO performance through ISO 1,600, and perfectly acceptable all the way through ISO 6,400. Only at ISO 12,800 did the G1 X reach unacceptable performance levels in Popular Photography's testing, and even then it just barely scored outside the moderate range on noise (3.1 scored on a 3.0 cutoff).

Image Stabilization good for 3.5 stops even full-out zoom of 112mm.

Image quality and resolution both rated as Extremely High (vertical resolution 2,310 lines at ISO 100 and an incredible 2,220 lines even at ISO 1,600)

4.6 inches (117mm) wide; 3.1 inches (78mm) tall; 2.6 inches (68mm) deep (lens retracted); and weighing "only" 1 pound 4 ounces (566 grams) including battery, memory card, neck strap, and lens cap (I say "only" because that seemed high until I found out the G1 X is built like a tank on a stainless steel chassis).

Articulated 3-inch high-resolution (920,000-dot )screen.

Internal pop-up flash and a hot shoe for TTL (through the lens) flash metering and exposure control using Canon Speedlite flash units.

Canon G1 X with neck strap, lens cap, and lens cap retaining cord. Altogether with battery and memory card the entire package weighs in at 1 pound 4 ounces.

My search was over. Yes, I was giving up a bit on the wide zoom side and lens aperture, but I was exceeding my specifications in nearly every other criteria. On top of that, I was gaining the latest Canon image processor--the DIGIC 5.

My impressions on the DIGIC 5? I'm personally stunned at the improvement over the EOS 5D's DIGIC 2 on everything from automatic white balancing to contrast and color rendition. Quite simply put, the DIGIC 5 in most cases makes raw photography and post-processing totally unnecessary. Except for specialized instances requiring HDR (high-dynamic range) photography, extreme color shifts in lighting, isolated color spectrum subjects, or a few other situations, the DIGIC 5 will in my opinion consistently produce better pictures than I can with raw manipulation. It's simply that good. You'll be hard pressed to find an excuse to take anything but JPEGs with this camera.

The DIGIC 5 is also the secret behind the remarkably low-noise, high-resolution photographs taken at heretofore unusable high ISO settings.

The image stabilization is also astounding. I was taking hand-held shots of cathedral interiors at shutter speeds as slow as 1/15th of a second.

Part 2 of this review will continue on Wednesday. Until then, I would like to present the following hand-held pictures. Move your cursor over the picture to find the shot details, such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. None of these straight-from-the-camera JPEG photographs have been post-processed in any way other than to reduce the size for inclusion in this blog. All colors, contrast, white balance, noise reduction and other factors result solely from the DIGIC 5 processor and the camera's built-in image stabilization.
Taking up where we left off on Monday, we once again turn our attention to Canon's evolutionary/revolutionary Canon G1 X. I call the G1 X both evolutionary and revolutionary for a couple of reasons, and I'll explain those reasons on Friday. In the meantime, let's look at the eye of this tiger:

The G1 has a 15.1-60.4mm (4X) zoom lens. When paired to the relatively over-sized (for a "compact" camera) 1.5-inch sensor, that gives us a crop factor of a little over 1.85. So, converting that into comparable focal lengths for a Full-Frame 35mm camera, we arrive at an equivalent zoom range of 28mm to 112mm.

What does all that mean to you? Lenses for different size sensors cannot be compared directly, so the old universal 35mm format has become the de facto standard when comparing the focal lengths of cameras. This is why I convert the true focal length to the equivalent 35mm focal length whenever I discuss camera lenses--sort of an apples-to-apples comparison, as it were.

On a 35mm camera, 50mm to 55mm is considered a "standard" or "normal" lens. That means this is the focal length that would reproduce in a 35mm camera the view most comparable to the human eye. Anything substantially less (40mm or so) will produce a wide-angle effect, and anything more (starting around 60mm) is considered a telephoto lens. For candid street photography the preferred focal length is 35mm to 55mm. Landscapes and architecture generally benefit from wide angles--the wider the better with 24mm being my own personal starting point on what I consider adequate for this task (many photographers like even wider, often going down to 18mm or even less). In portrait photography the range you want is from 85mm to around 135, with 105mm being the sweet spot . . . provided that you have a wide aperture lens that can adequately defocus the background behind your subject. More on this last caveat shortly.

Thus, the Canon G1 X has a lens that falls just short of the ideal 24mm for landscape and architecture, covers the middle "normal" range nicely, and even gets you well into the portrait range. But the G1 X is not really suited for portraiture. There's a catch, and that catch is an inadequate aperture at the telephoto range of the zoom. In photography, the wider the aperture (a lens' f-stop rating) the shallower the potential depth-of-field. Thus, an 85mm f/2.8 lens is far superior at portraiture than, say, a 105mm at f/5.8, even though 105mm is the better, more flattering focal length.

This depth-of-field problem actually gets worse the smaller the sensor. And the sensor on the G1 X, while class-leading for the compact segment, still falls well below the size of a 35mm sensor. The smaller the sensor, the deeper the depth-of-field at comparable aperture (f-stop) settings. So, while f/5.6 might give an adequately shallow depth-of-field on an 85mm fixed to a true 35mm camera, it won't get anywhere near the same effect with a G1 X set at the same aperture and zoomed to the same relative focal length. The G1 X will defocus the background at telephoto settings; it just won't defocus the background anywhere nearly as well as a larger format camera at the same f-stop.

When one considers where this lens excels and where it falls short, once again we can come to the conclusion that the G1 X is clearly aimed at the experienced photographer in need of a backup or smaller camera to complement an existing DSLR system, who at times wants camera raw and full post-processing creative control, and who demands sharper images with higher resolutions than current travel zoom can produce. And, very apparently, the G1 X engineers had static subjects in mind with an emphasis on travel photography.

As good as this lens is, some of the credit for results goes to the camera's imbedded DIGIC 5 image processor. Below you'll see samples of both uncorrected and corrected photographs chosen to show the inherent defects in the G1 X lens. These shots were taken in raw and I removed all lens correction algorithms on the left-side photos. The right-side photographs show the results of the DIGIC 5 processor and what you can expect when shooting JPEG.

Take a close look and you'll notice moderate, visible distortion (curvature) and at least some vignetting (peripheral illumination) in the uncorrected shots. The DIGIC 5 processor all but eliminates these flaws, and it does that very effectively. Obviously, this pairing of lens, processor, and the programming of lens correction data has resulted in a very effective package.
On Wednesday I called the Canon G1 X both evolutionary and revolutionary. Here's why:

The G1 X is an evolutionary step in Canon's long line of G-series compact cameras--cameras designed as secondary systems for serious photographers who already have a DSLR system, but who also at times need something more compact. But the G1 X doesn't replace the existing G-series. Rather, it supplements it. The G12 remains in Canon's lineup, and I suspect there will be a G13 to replace the G12 just as the G1 X will one day be retired by the G2 X.

But the G1 X is also revolutionary in that it incorporates the largest sensor ever placed into a compact. Not only did Canon upsize the sensor, they also switched from CCD to CMOS technology, effectively giving this compact a sensor very nearly on par with their DSLR line. Indeed, the G1 X sensor has the same pixel density as Canon's semipro 7D. Thus, with the advent of the G1 X Canon has raised the stakes considerably in this market segment. Indeed, the G1 X appears to be Canon's answer to the blossoming ILC segment in terms of picture quality and creative control.

As far as standard Canon DSLR-like control, the G1 X does differ considerably. For one thing, the camera does not incorporate Canon's Picture Styles--Standard (high saturation with a tendency to oversaturate reds), Portrait (warms skin tones), Landscape (moderately high saturation with emphasis toward greens and blues), Monochrome, Faithful (true-color rendition based upon daylight white balance), and Neutral (similar to Faithful, but used to capture the most amount of detail in highly saturated or overly contrasty scenes). Oddly enough, you can set these Picture Styles in Digital Photo Professional (DPP--Canon's included raw processing software), but you cannot set them for JPEG shots.

Instead, the G1 X relies more on Scene Modes, and there are a lot of scene modes from which to choose: Movie Digest, Portrait, Landscape, Kids and Pets, Smart Shutter (detects smiles and activates a self-timer after face recognition or even a wink--great for getting yourself in the shot), High-Speed Burst HQ (don't get excited--the buffer fills up after only six shots, or in about 1.3 seconds), Handheld Night Scene (combines several sequentially taken shots to minimize shake and reduce noise), Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, and Stitch (panorama) Assist. Unfortunately, Stitch Assist assumes that the camera will only be held in landscape orientation and that you'll only be panning from side-to-side. You're only option is a rather simplistic choice between right-to-left or left-to-right. There really should be at least one option to capture vertically or when holding the camera in portrait orientation and panning side-to-side.

In addition to Scene Modes, the G1 X offers something I've not seen before in Canon DSLRs--"Image Effects," or "Creative Filters." My EOS 5D can do red, yellow, or green filtering for Black & White photography, but the G1 X allows for: High Dynamic Range (internal processing of three bracketed, tripod-mounted shots to produce one picture with higher dynamic range), Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Nostalgic (faded colors), Fisheye, Miniature Model (similar to the fore and aft defocusing of a tilt-shift lens), Toy Camera (dark, blurry corners; offset colors), Color Accent, Color Swap, and Monochrome. Alas, monochrome does not allow for in-camera filtering for reds, yellows, and blues. This must be done in raw post processing with DPP, or in the case with JPEGs with third-party software such as Google's Picasa.

One really neat feature is a built-in Neutral Density filter. When engaged, the internal ND filter reduces light falling onto the sensor by three stops, or about 1/8th the amount entering the lens. When used in conjunction with a tripod, this allows an extremely slow shutter speed during even bright light conditions. The result is blurred motion or--in the case of moving water--a soft, flowing effect.

Now for a major rant: Hey, Canon, when somebody plunks down the better part of $800, they have every right to expect, nay--demand a hardcopy of the user guide. Making a 242-page manual only available as a PDF on a CD is, quite simply, unacceptable. There are far too many features and settings on this camera to commit them all to memory, and it is totally unreasonable to expect someone to carry an electronic reading device with them at all times to reference these items.

Other complaints (accessories): Filter threads should have been incorporated into the lens rather than requiring the separate purchase of a filter adapter. The optional sunshade will not work while the filter adapter is in place. The included lens cap will not work over the sunshade.

Other complaints (lens aperture): While image sharpness and resolution are exceptional, the lens is too slow. This is especially true at the telephoto end but also a factor on the wide side. I understand that Canon was trying to balance weight and compactness against performance, but I would gladly have given up some of the former for an f/2.0-4.0 lens over the existing f/2.8-5.8. Had this been done, the G1 X would have excelled in portrait photography as well as travel.

Other complaints (lens focal lengths): On the subject of the lens, a really good travel camera should start out at 24mm on the wide-angle side. So, a 4.5x 24-to-108mm would be preferable to the 28-112mm used. A 5x lens with a focal reach of 24-to-120mm would be even better, almost perfect.

Stuff others may care about (but I don't): A tad slow on focusing--hard to get little Johnny romping around the backyard. Burst mode/frames-per-second practically nonexistent--forget photographing little Johnny's baseball game. Forget about getting intimate with a small subject--flowers, insects, etc--the macro capability of this camera is probably closer to the Palomar Observatory than to a small travel zoom.

Now for some more sample shots, all JPEGs straight out of the G1 X without any post-processing. Considering that all shots were handheld and that color saturation, balance, and contrast are all untouched, I believe you'll be impressed with how little you'll find yourself falling back on raw and post-processing.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of expectations but still the best that I can find for now, April 12, 2012
By 
Scott Chou "Scott" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
I've had my Canon G1X for a month now including a week long vacation where I shot it at least 500 times. I'm now confident in expressing my impressions about this camera. I own cameras in nearly every usage category including full-format DLSR, APS-C DSLR, mirrorless, super zoom, travel zoom, premium compact, waterproof, and iPhone. I change at least one of my cameras every 3 months just so I can try out interesting new devices like this G1X. I sought out this particular camera to replace my need for APS-C cameras entirely by having a large sensor, compact size, and view finder. Yes, the viewfinder made my short list because I've gotten used to shooting DSLR style for the stability and speed. I didn't mind the fixed lens of the G1X because my lens collection is built around my FF DSLR and I typically use APS-C only with a single all-purpose lens. I've also been disappointed in the compactness of most other mirrorless systems because of the large protruding lenses. I feel that if the camera can't really fit in your pocket, then it might as well be a small DSLR rather than a camera with performance compromises. This Canon met my expectations for compactness and still provided a 4x retractable zoom lens. I've tried the Lumix 4/3 combos with their 3x power zoom and I don't think the image quality was as good as this G1X although Lumix had better viewfinder options. Moreover, the Lumix body-viewfinder-lens combos were $300 to $500 more than this Canon. Anyhow, this Canon met my image quality expectations and is ergonomically a great all-in-one vacation camera/video recorder. However, I'm disappointed with its performance in a few areas. AF speed is poor so you suffer from shutter lag on the delay between pressing and the picture actually being taken. The shot to shot recovery time is also terrible so you can't fire multiple frames at a baby in hopes of finally catching the perfect smile. Moreover, my iPhone and Sony cameras have trained me to believe that HDR is a must-have feature. My Nikon SLRs rely on bracketing and don't have HDR, and I've never been happy about it. So I was psyched to see that this Canon had built-in HDR in addition to bracketing but disappointed to use it. It requires a tripod and nothing in the scene to be moving. That really cuts down on its usefulness. I tried shooting multiple times in daylight with as steady a grip as I could muster but the HDR still blurred the 2 frames during the merge. I had to plant the camera on a stationery object and use the delay timer to finally get a perfect shot. Something I've been taking for granted on all of my Sonys (NEX and HXv models). Another flunk was the macro mode. Whether you induce macro by focusing close in AUTO mode or deliberately set the macro mode, it can hardly focus on close objects. This lens just wasn't cut out for close objects. I don't think it's even possible after a lot of trying, so I had to backup, zoom in, and shoot multiple times through the fussy focus hunting to grab a sharp shot. Again, this is something I take for granted on my iPhone or compacts. The optical viewfinder is reliable, mimics the zoom, and convenient but it has parallax error and doesn't display any shooting data like an SLR would. The live viewfinders on the NEX7, Fuji and Lumix models definitely win this battle. My final flunk is of small consequence and that is the panorama mode. It's an unusuable joke on this camera. The Sony iSweep Panorama is night and day superior to this stitch-assist piece of junk. Having said that, I let the issue go since I usually stitch panos with more sophisticated post processing software unless the scene has moving subjects. If moving, then the Sony built-in mode is awesome. Although I ran off a list of complaints, my list of praises is actually longer but easier summarized by just saying the image quality is good, ergonomics are good, and the G1X has a long list of functions. In summary, I will keep this camera as my HiQ vacation camera until Sony updates the NEX line to include a full tilt-swivel screen and retractable zoom lens that is sharp.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Photos From The G1-X Outweigh Any Limitations, April 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera (Electronics)
The Canon G1-X is an incredibly capable camera that takes breathtaking photos primarily due to its highly touted 14.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. Keeping it simple, here are the main points you should definitely consider before buying the G1-X:

PROS:
1) The pictures are for the price and size of camera, simply the best. For much less and with greater portability than a DSLR, the picture quality of the G1-X is simply stunning.

2) Incredible lowlight results up to ISO 12800.

3) Rich feature set with extremely versatile controls and highly customizable shooting settings.

CONS:
1) No Macro to speak of (7.8" min.), which I can live with by using my Lumix LX-5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - White for super macros.

2) Sluggish Autofocus. OK, this one started to annoy me until I took a close look at my photos and was so blown away by the quality that I easily adapted to the AF's idiosyncrasies. The picture quality is that good!

3) Unusable Optical Viewfinder is a non-issue for me as I've never really used one anyway. However, I do get that for some people a full coverage optical viewfinder is an absolute necessity.

4) Portability - I can't carry the camera in my front pants pocket - oh well, tough, it's time to shoot pictures with the big boys! In situations where portability is paramount, I use my LX-5.

5) A Non-Standard 45mm diameter lens has left me scratching my head and pissed off! WTF, Canon?? This means that there is currently not a single UV lens filter available for the G1-X. Unbelievable, yet still minor in the grand scheme of things.

The bottom-line is that if any of these limitations are true deal-breakers for you, then do not purchase the G1-X. If, however, picture quality weighs heavily in your camera purchase process (and the price tag doesn't scare you), then the G1-X is for you.

As far as I'm concerned and considering everything I wanted from a new camera, I know for sure that the G1-X was the ideal choice for me, but it won't be for everyone.
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Canon PowerShot G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera
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