Hands-on Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Review

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: in hands
Review

Monday October 16, 2017

By Angela Nicholson

[nextpage title=”Introduction” ]

What is the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III?

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is a compact camera and the replacement to the PowerShot G1 X Mark II. However, whereas its predecessor has a 1.5 type (18.7 mm x 14.0 mm) sensor, the Mark III has an APS-C format device which measures 22.3 x 14.9mm, the same as in Canon DSLRs like the Canon 80D. Even better news is that Canon has also managed to make the PowerShot G1 X Mark III 16% smaller than the Mark II and included both a viewfinder and a zoom lens.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: vari-angle screen

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Features

Canon has given the G1 X III a 24.2Mp sensor which is thought to be the same or certainly very similar to the one in the Canon 80D. This is coupled with a DIGIC 7 processor which enables a sensitivity (ISO) range of 100 – 25,600.

For the first time in a compact camera, Canon has given the G1 X Mark III Dual Pixel CMOS AF (autofocus). That means that there’s phase detection focusing in Live View and video mode, just as you get with Canon’s recent DSLRs and mirrorless cameras like the EOS M6. In the G1 X Mark III it’s claimed to achieve focus in 0.09 seconds. 

There’s also a 4-stop Image Stabilisation (IS) system which should help with producing sharp images in low light when shutter speeds fall.

Canon is still convinced that nobody wants or needs 4K video so the maximum video resolution available is Full-HD (1920×1080) at 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25 or 23.98fps (frames per second). There’s also 5-axis Advanced Dynamic IS in video mode.

As in other recent Canon cameras, the G1 X Mark III has Wi-Fi, Dynamic NFC and Bluetooth connectivity built-in for easy pairing and image sharing with a smartphone. It’s even possible to waken the camera and transfer images to a phone when it’s out of reach, perhaps when it’s your bag after a shoot.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: lens

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Lens

As it’s a compact camera, the G1 X III has a fixed (ie not interchangeable) lens. Canon has plumped for a 15–45mm f/2.8-5.6 optic which produces the 35 mm equivalent of 24–72 mm. That’s a drop from the 24–120mm equivalent lens of the G1 X II, but it’s a knock-on effect of using a larger sensor while reducing the size of the camera, so we’ll take it – and it’s still a good focal length range for everyday photography.

The reduction in maximum aperture size from f/2.0-3.9 with the G1 X Mark II to f/2.8-5.6, however, is a bit more restricting, especially in low light. But the lens should be nicely matched with the sensor to optimise image quality and the 9-blade aperture should help make attractive bokeh (out of focus areas).

Camera typeCompact
Date announced16th October 2017
Price at launch£1,149/$
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)
Effective pixel count24.2Mp
ProcessorDigic 7
Lens15–45 mm (2 –72mm equivalent) f/2.8-5.6 IS
Viewfinder0.39-type OLED EVF with 2,360,000 dots
Sensitivity rangeISO 100-25,600
AF systemDual Pixel CMOS AF (phase detection)
Monitor3-inch 1,040,000-dot LCD touchscreen
Max shooting rate9fps for up to 24 jpegs or 19 raw files in S-AF, 7fps for 29 jpegs in C-AF
Max video resolutionFull-HD (1920 x 1080) at 59.94 / 50 / 29.97 / 25 / 23.98fps
StorageSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS Speed Class 1 compatible)
Dimensions115.0 x 77.9 x 51.4mm
Weight398 g (including battery and memory card)

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”Build & Handling” ]

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Build and Handling

The first thing that strikes you about the PowerShot G1 X Mark III is how small it is for a camera with an APS-C format sensor and a zoom lens. It’s noticeably smaller and lighter than the G1 X Mark II that it replaces.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: with Canon G1 X Mark II

PowerShot G1 X Mark III (left) with Canon G1 X Mark II (right)

It’s actually very close in size to the PowerShot G5 X which has a 1-inch type sensor.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: with Canon G5 X

PowerShot G1 X Mark III (top) with the Canon G5 X (bottom)

Thanks to a pronounced front grip and rear thumb rest, both of which have a rubber-like coating, the G1 X III feels safe in your grasp and it’s comfortable to use one-handed.

There are also weather-seals to keep out moisture and dust. And if you want to take the PowerShot G1 X Mark III underwater, there’s an optional housing that will keep it safe down to 40m (130 feet).

Canon anticipates that many G1 X Mark III owners will also use a DSLR and so it has designed the controls to appeal to these advanced users. There’s a Control Ring around the lens, for example, that can be used to adjust a range of features, I found it useful for zooming the lens or adjusting aperture. Meanwhile, there’s a mode dial on the top-plate to select the exposure mode and an exposure compensation dial for making speedy adjustments.

The menu will seem familiar to Canon DSLR users and there’s a helpful screen to facilitated customising some of the controls.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: customise screen

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Viewfinder and Screen

At the centre of the G1 X III’s top-plate is a 0.39-inch type OLED electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots. It’s not the largest viewfinder around, but it’s not the smallest either and it provides a good view with plenty of detail. It feels like a nice bonus on a compact camera.

Images can also be composed on the 3-inch 1,040,000 vari-angle touchscreen. The vari-angle aspect is especially useful when you’re composing shots above or below headlight and it’s helpful for both landscape or portrait format images.

The inclusion of Touch and Drag Auto Focus (AF) means that can set the focus point with your thumb on the screen even if you’re looking through the viewfinder. You can designate an area of the screen to use for setting the AF point – that’s useful if you find your nose does the job for you when the whole screen is active. It’s a very intuitive way of shooting when you’re looking in the viewfinder and I found the screen very responsive.

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: front with flash up

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”Performance” ]

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Performance

I was able to shoot with a Beta sample PowerShot G1 X Mark III prior to its announcement and although we’re able to publish the images they must be at reduced size. We’re also limited in the level of analysis we are allowed to perform.

However, I’m sure that Canon won’t mind me saying that the G1 X III appears to be very capable and it delivers attractive detailed-looking images.

The venue for the pre-launch event was a Simon Drake’s House of Magic (http://www.houseofmagic.co.uk/), a place full of interesting details to photograph, but not a huge amount of light. In fact, as the event took place on a heavily overcast October afternoon, even the garden was quite gloomy. That means that the autofocus, noise control and image stabilisation systems all had quite a challenge.

The autofocus system coped with everything I directed it towards, getting even small, low contrast subjects sharp in low light.

I shot with the PowerShot G1 X Mark III in Evaluative metering mode and it produced nicely exposed images, only needing the exposure compensation control to be used with very dark subjects.

The stabilisation system also seems very good and I have several images that pass muster despite being captured at 1/13sec and even 1/6 at the longest point on the lens.

Canon vs Nikon: how to choose the best DSLR for you

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Image quality

I took a few images at ISO 100 and the jpegs have a good level of natural-looking detail. The raw files processing software isn’t available yet so we’ll have to wait to see how they look.

Noise seems to be kept under control well up to around ISO 3200 and images have a good level of detail. The jpegs I shot at ISO 6400 also look pretty good at normal viewing sizes but there’s inevitably a little detail lost. There’s a very faint granular texture and slight smudging of some very fine details, but nothing that you wouldn’t currently expect at such a high setting. It’s important to remember that I was shooting with a Beta sample camera and image quality may change a little, but on the whole, I’d say the results look very good.

The colours from the Beta sample G1 X III are consistent with what I would expect from a Canon DSLR, with the Standard Picture Style and Auto white balance settings combining to produce results that reflect the conditions pretty well, but looking a little warm in the gloomy, artificially lit areas of the venue.

Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II: price, specs, release date confirmed

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”Images” ]

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Sample Images

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

PowerShot G1 X Mark III review: sample image from a beta sample camera

This image was shot by a Beta sample camera

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title=”Verdict” ]

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Early verdict

Over the years Canon’s PowerShot G-series of compact cameras have been very popular with enthusiast photographers as they offer a level of control that they’re familiar with from their SLRs.

While compact camera sales have been eroded by the popularity of smartphones, I think the PowerShot G1 X Mark III will be a success. Fuji, for instance, has had lots of success with it’s APS-C format compact cameras like the X100F and X70, proving there is a market for such cameras. The Canon G1 X Mark III is quite a bit smaller than the X100F and in addition to its viewfinder it has a vari-angle touchscreen and a zoom lens – the Fuji camera’s both have prime optics.

I think many photographers will be surprised by the size of the G1 X III when they pick it up for the first time. Judging it by current standards, it doesn’t seem like it’s big enough to have an APS-C sized sensor, let alone one that is paired with a zoom lens.

We’ve still got lots more testing to do, but I think the presence of sensor that is the same or certainly very similar to that found in the Canon 80D, along with the Digic 7 processor and a matched lens that offers a very useful focal length range equivalent to 24-72mm will see the PowerShot G1 X Mark III in good stead. The results from the Beta sample camera I used are also very encouraging.

Should I buy the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III?

It’s very early days to answer this, but if you’re looking for a small camera that’s capable of producing results comparable with those from a DSLR and you don’t want to use interchangeable lenses, the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III looks like a very good option with more versatility than the Fuji X100F.

[/nextpage]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III