Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker | The Canon G1X : Updated Review
Stormy 611Stormy 611The NW 611 sits during the firing-up process at the N.C. Transportation Museum on August 6, 2016.
The Behind-the-Scenes events give you a chance to learn more about the engine, meet the crew, and get up close and personal without as many other people around.

The Canon G1X : Updated Review

April 25, 2013  •  5 Comments


The Canon G1X is the newest professional level compact camera from Canon. The G1X offers many features normally found on the larger DSLR's in a much smaller package. The G1X however is probably not the best choice for the photography beginner due to its complexity and price point.

I decided to update my review of the G1X to incorporate what I've learned about it over the last 10 months.  This was originally written when I had stepped up from a G12 and before the G15 (which is closer to a G12) was introduced later.

The Canon G1X had an original retail price of $799 placing it closer to the price tags of the entry level DSLRs than to your normal point-and-shoot camera.  Amazon currently is running it for $549 and it has been as low as $499 on sale.  Used models can be picked up usually starting at around $450.

Canon has a great video on their website which describes the G1X in detail and also the mindset of the engineers and designers responsible for it.

Some hand's on observations include:

1) The lens is a lot nicer and it basically replicates a EF 28-115mm dSLR (no you can't change the lens) with full-time (turn-off able) power IS which works in video or still mode.

The CMOS sensor size means the lens is really a 15.1mm to 60.4mm with a 1.9x crop-factor (compared to a 1.6x on the 7D) or a 4.6x on the G12 with it's 6.1mm lens. This is a big improvement.

There is an adapter available to use 58mm standard filters. However, you cannot use the filters and the optional screw on "tulip-style" lenshood at the same time. Later I bought a lenscover that retracts similar to the G12/G15. However, using this precludes using the 58mm filters. A CP filter comes in handy.

2) Max aperature is up to F/22 from F/8 on the G12 due to that bigger lens.

Minimum is a variable F2.8 to 5.8 which makes it the same as a stock lens. I wish they could get the minimum down more, but it is decent in low light.

3) The camera feels "better built" meaning it feels solid. it is not a typical point and shoot that you will be putting in a normal pocket though. It is quite bulky

4) There is a hot shoe and it is compatible Speedlites 270EX and higher. With a 430EX mounted it is very top heavy. However, you can use a ETTL cord for off-camera flash. They also offer a flash bracket to move the flash position to the left of the camera. It does not have full ETTL functionality.

5) The in-camera flash now pops up (from behind the Canon logo) and when it is retracted is off.

6) The ISO dial is gone from the top of the camera (it is now up arrow on the back) and the exposure compensation dial is now under the settings. The exposure compensation dial now goes -3 to 3 and you can immediately see the impact on the LCD.

ISO range is 100-12,100. Auto ISO is adjustable but the max auto is 1600 (I turn mine down to 800 usually). It is not very strong at higher ISO ratings. Of course, I am spoiled to the low light capabilities of the 5D Mark III now. But it is also not a professional level DSLR.

7) It shoots RAW (one of the reasons for getting a G-series in the first place) and you can shoot jpeg+RAW and change aspect ratios on the jpeg shots such as my favorite 1:1 "Photosquared" shots.

8) 14.3MP is nice and allows you to easily crop in on shots and still have good detail.

9) I do not do much video yet, but you can start filming with the push of a button from any mode on the camera instead of having to go to film mode. Built in stereo microphones (and wind filter function) but no way to hook in an external mic (that is a shame)

10) Max exposure time is 1 minute but there is still no "bulb" setting for night-time shooting.

Here is also a link to the full specifications on the G1X

The G1X fits a niche for DSLR owners looking for something smaller to carry with them as a day-to-day or travel camera. While it does not replace the flexibility of the DSLR with their inter-changable lenses and L-series glass, it is a great "back-up" camera and/or everyday camera.

Many of the shots that I share on Google+ and Facebook are taken with the G1X.

Here are a couple of my sample G1X shots:

shapes and angles



Frolic Hearts(non-registered)
Hey john,

From your perspective, is this model good enough for a fashion blog? What other models do you suggest? I'm a little on the non-techie side so your insight will be much appreciated.:)
Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker
Hi John:

I think I'd of upgraded to a G15 if they had NOT introduced the G1X.

The biggest gain on a G1X is the much larger CMOS style sensor, equivalent to what is in a x-series DSLR.

In a small photo, the difference in Filter size is not noticeable, but if you ever try to crop or make a larger print, the image quality difference is there.

I have not shot a G15, but from images I've seen they appear to also be strong cameras.
John T(non-registered)
In retrospect, do you think you would have been happier with the G15 if it had been available when you bought the G1x?
Rusted Rail Images by Gene Bowker
Yes for sure, Patrice.

When I'm traveling like I am these days, its been so much easier to have a smaller camera to carrry with me.

The quality of the images is comparable to the DSLRs, if you can live with the fixed lens limitations =)
It's very tempting to want a smaller carry-around shooter like this, especially for someone who wants to have a camera as an everyday accessory, just in case some photo ops present themselves. It's awkward to carry a full-size DSLR to work! This would be a great solution to that....
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