Canon Powershot G7 X Review
The Canon Powershot G7 X is a premium compact digital camera with a relatively large 20 megapixels 1" CMOS sensor. This one is paired with an exceptionally bright stabilized 24-100mm ultra-wide-angle optical zoom lens with a maximum F/1.8-2.8 aperture. This digital camera is designed for advanced users with a high number of controls.
This Powershot has full manual-controls, including manual focus, custom white-balance and choice of metering, including spot, plus various types of bracketing. It can record full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS too. The Canon Powershot G7 X is equipped with a 1 megapixel 3" touchscreen LCD which tilts upwards 180°.
This G-series camera resembles more the ultra-compact S-series and inherits a bright aperture like the latter, rather than a dim and long zoom as the former. Still, it manages to squeeze in an intermediate sensor-size which gives it a huge advantage over most competitors.
This digital camera review takes a look at the ergonomics, usability, image quality and performance of the Canon Powershot G7 X.
Canon Powershot G7 X Features
- 20 Megapixels 1" CMOS sensor
- 3:2 Aspect-Ratio
- ISO 125 - 12800 sensitivity-range
- Auto ISO, 400-12800 limit, 3 change-rates
- JPEG, RAW or JPEG+RAW Output
- 4.2X Ultra-Wide-Angle optical zoom
- Optical image stabilization
- 24 - 100mm equivalent focal-length
- F/1.8 - 2.8 Maximum aperture
- F/11 Minimum aperture
- 5cm Minimum focus distance at wide-angle
- 40cm Minimum focus distance at telephoto
- Built-in 3-stop ND filter
- PATM Exposure modes
- 1/2000s - 250s Shutter-speed
- Exposure-Compensation, ±3 EV, 1/3 EV steps
- Flash-Compensation, ±2 EV, 1/3 EV steps
- Multi-Segment, Center-Weighed & Spot metering
- Central or AF-point linked Spot metering
- AEB Bracketing, 3 frames, 1/3 - 2 EV steps
- Fixed 1/3 EV exposure steps
- Automatic, Preset and Custom WB
- WB fine-tuning, 19-steps along 2-axis
- High ISO Noise Reduction, 3 levels
- 10 Built-in Color modes, 2 B&W modes
- Adjustable Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Red, Green, Blue & Skin Tone, 5 steps each
- 16:9, 3:2, 1:1 & 4:5 Cropped aspect-ratios
- Optional Dynamic Range Correction
- Optional Shadow Correction
Focus & Drive
- 6.5 FPS Drive, JPEG Only, 12 Max
- Self-Timers: 2s, 10s & 1-10 shots @ 0-30s
- Contrast-Detect autofocus, 2 area sizes
- Single-shot, Continuous and Servo AF
- Focus Bracketing, 3 frames, 3 step sizes
- Auto, Macro or Manual focus
- Optional Automatic MF-Refinement
- Optional MF-Assist
- Optional Focus-Peaking
- Optional Touch-Focus
- Optional AF-Assist lamp
- Optional Face-Detection AF
- 1920x1080 @ 60 FPS 16:9 HD Video
- Auto or Manual Exposure
- MPEG-4 Codec
- Built-in stereo microphone
- Optional Wind-Filter
Viewfinder & Displays
- 3" Touchscreen LCD, 1 megapixel
- 100% coverage
- Tilting, 180° upwards
- Digital-Level, 2 axis
- Optional Blink-Detection
- Optional Night-Display
Body & Construction
- Dual Control-Dials
- Direct Exposure-Compensation dial
- Built-in flash, 7m (W) - 4m (T) reach
- Built-in WiFi
- Metal tripod mount
- 1080i HDMI output
- USB 2.0 connectivity
- SDXC memory card slot
- Proprietary Lithium-Ion battery
Ergonomics - How easy is it to handle?
The Canon Powershot G7 X is a premium compact designed for prosumers, like professional photographers wanting efficient access to manual controls while they are not carrying their heavy gear. This, of course, involves packing plenty of direct controls onto a rather small camera body. The G7 X offers dual control-dials, a traditional mode-dial, a direct exposure-compensation dial and numerous buttons.
The camera itself is mostly rectangular with nicely rounded corners. The lens barrel protrudes about 1 cm. This helps hold the camera since there is no grip of any kind and the front is quite smooth. This slippery surface makes a strap essential for the G7 X. Canon provides a simple wrist-strap but there are eyelets on both sides which makes it possible to use a neck-strap instead. The right eyelet is slightly annoying as it can poke into the palm of your hand.
The lens barrel is completely surrounded by a metal control-ring. Its front half is textured to provide a good grip. The ring turns in steps with good audible detents. There is some type of lubrication inside the mechanism which is sensitive to cold and makes the ring very difficult to turn when it is below freezing. Everything though else keep working under such conditions, which is good considering this is below the minimum operating temperature of this digital camera.
The control-ring adjusts one parameter. By default, this is the Exposure-Mode's main parameter, such as Aperture for Aperture-Priority. In Program mode, the default is to adjust ISO. Instead, the ring can be set to control the ISO, the Focus, the WB Fine-Tuning along the Blue-Red axis, the Focal-Length fixed increments, the Dynamic-Range Correction, the Shadow Correction or the Aspect-Ratio. Oddly, one of the non-default options must be chosen for the control-dial on the rear to do anything.
The top of the G7 X has a number of items. On the left, there is a tiny popup flash. At the center, there is a pair of microphones with a speaker in between. To their right, there is a small power-button which is flush with the surface to prevent accidental activation. A small two-stage shutter-release is near and is surrounded by a standard zoom controller. The release has a moderate amount of travel with a soft halfway point. With gloves on, it is easy to miss. The lens advances in small but noticeable steps and the zoom controller is quite sensitive, making exact framing difficult.
At the right of the top-plate, there is a standard Mode-Dial, stacked above an Exposure-Compensation dial. The Mode-Dial is great. It has nice firm detents and protrudes from the top plate which makes it easy to operate. The Exposure-Compensation dial, being flush with the top and recessed from the back, is hard to use. With gloves on, it is impossible to change. That dial is marked in ±3 in 1/3 EV steps. Other exposure increments are not possible. ISO too only moves in 1/3 stops.
Most of the remaining controls are found on the back of the camera which is dominated by a large 3" touchscreen LCD with 1 megapixels. The display tilts upward 180° for selfies. The screen is very sensitive to touch which sets the focus-point in shooting mode and serves to navigate menus. Touch controls are well done, yet prone to accidental activation. It can be deactivated, if desired.
The LCD hinge has some flex but appears sufficiently sturdy. When the screen is tilted almost all the way up, it flips vertically, to make framing easier. The display is sharp with a good viewing angle. It suffers from poor visibility in bright light though. Luckily, reflections can be reduced by tilting it slightly.
The preview is only Exposure-Priority in Manual exposure-mode. Otherwise, the metered exposure is shown, offset by EC. The display has a 3:2 aspect-ratio which corresponds to the native ratio of the 1" CMOS sensor in the Canon Powershot G7 X. The camera can capture images with other aspect-ratios, cropping the sensor output to 16:9, 1:1 or 4:5. Unless set to Video mode, the display shows the correct framing for stills, not video.
To the right of the LCD, there is a hard plastic thumb-rest to provide some grip. Below it, there are 4 buttons surrounding a 4-way controller which is encircled by the rear control-dial. The RING FUNC button selects what the lens-ring controls. This can be changed to one of 22 other functions, including AF Area, ND, Metering, AE-L and AF-L. The button to its right, marked by the universal Video-Record red-dot, serves to start and stop video capture. It can also be overridden to one of the same 22 functions as RING FUNC. When the camera is in Video mode, it intelligently reverts to its original function, since the shutter-release still takes photos there.
The 4-way controller has functions assigned to each cardinal direction:
- Up: Selects the Drive-Mode between Single-Shot, Continuous with fixed-focus and Continuous with continuous-autofocus.
- Right: Select between On, Slow-Sync and Off for the flash. It only works when the popup flash is extended.
- Down: Cycles over display modes. A menu decides which overlay appears in each mode.
- Left: Chooses between Macro, Normal and Manual focus.
The central button activates the classic Canon Function menu. This is a quick access vertical-menu. Up and Down directions select a parameter while Left and Right changes it. The menu stays up even after release the shutter. This may take a while to get used to but it is very efficient, particularly when experimenting with different settings.
The last two buttons on the back are Playback and Menu. These two work exactly as usual. The Canon G7 X is Shooting-Priority and returns quickly to capture mode with a tap of the shutter-release. The Menu button is so close to the lower-right corner that it often gets accidentally triggered. Press it once more to exit.
There are two more controls on this camera, one on each side. There is a simple mechanical latch to release the popup flash on the left. Just push the flash to lock it back in. On the right side, there is a small round button flush with the camera surface. This one triggers WiFi connectivity. The camera can act as an access-point, which is the easiest to setup, or it can connect to an exisiting WiFi network. Once a link is established, the camera makes it really easy to upload images using the Canon Camera Connect Android application.
The bottom of the G7 X has a metal tripod-mount which is neither inline with the optical center or the physical center of the camera. This is not ideal when shooting panoramas. There is also a single sturdy door which covers the combined battery and memory-card compartment.
Canon G7 X Highlights
Sensor-Size: 13 x 9mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|20 Megapixels Fixed Lens||ISO 125-12800|
|4.2X Ultra-Wide Optical Zoom||Shutter 1/2000-250s|
|Built-in Stabilization||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|2 Axis Digital Level||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|6.5 FPS Drive, 12 Images||Spot-Metering|
|1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Video Recording||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|3" LCD 1 Megapixels||Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
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