Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II compact camera review: technology on the edge of intelligence

Compact, advanced technology and easy-to-use, the compact Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has every chance of being a photographer’s constant companion, whether on the road or in your daily shoots. The PowerShot G1 X Mark II is as likely to be your second professional camera for work and first one for play. In terms of its capabilities and shooting quality it is sure to suit both.

Compact cameras

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

DSLR-level image quality

  • Canon HS System
  • High-quality optics
  • Intelligent Image Stabilization System
  • An upgraded autofocus system
  • The ability to record in RAW format.

The Canon HS system

The Canon HS system combines a large 1.5-inch backlit CMOS sensor 18.7 x 14.0 mm, and larger pixels, as well as the latest generation DIGIC 6 digital processor. Images captured with the Canon HS have a wider dynamic range, improved halftone reproduction, and reduced digital noise at high ISO settings.

One of the main problems with digital compact cameras is the high level of digital noise in low light, when high sensitivity ISO or slow shutter speeds are required to gather the necessary amount of light. A few years ago, Canon combined a set of measures to improve image quality into a single system Canon HS High Sensitivity System.

In the case of camera models such as the PowerShot G1 X Mark II and G16, system performance is further enhanced by the use of an oversized sensor 1.5″ and 1/1.7″ respectively , which also has a relatively low resolution. Because the size of light receiving cells of such a sensor is larger, they can register the incoming light flux more accurately, and therefore – more accurately reproduce the halftones of the image.

In low light conditions, backlighting is particularly effective in reducing digital noise because of the lower incoming luminous flux loss.

Compact Cameras

ISO 100, F5.6, 1/125 sec, 26mm

High-quality optics

Modern lenses employ special high-tech elements to eliminate optical distortions distortions . Canon uses ultra-high refractive index UA aspherical and ultra-low dispersive UD glass lenses in the PowerShot G family of zoom lenses. In addition to a noticeable increase in image quality, it can greatly reduce the size and weight of the lens, and increase the speed and precision of the autofocusing system by reducing the inertia of the lens corrector group.

This allowed for a sufficiently compact optical and high-aperture system with high performance. And the lens’ 9-blade aperture lets photographers conjure up the miracle of bokeh – a beautiful blur in the out-of-focus area.

Intelligent IS system

Equipped with an intelligent 5-axis optical Image Stabilization System, which independently selects the optimum mode for both stills and video. Among other things, it enables shooting in low light using lower ISO sensitivities.

This system is the result of an evolution of Canon’s longstanding optical image stabilization system based on shifting the corrective lens group in the lens. The intelligence of today’s IS system is that it is capable of taking into account such factors as the type of photography still or video , the current focal length of the lens and the distance to the subject. Applying scene recognition technology, Intelligent IS selects the best stabilization mode from eight possible modes.

Compact cameras

Sensors capable of detecting the type of camera shift angular tilt or shift along a plane perpendicular to the subject , its direction and intensity. When taking pictures, the system selects one of the following modes: Standard IS for standard photography, Panning IS for wired shooting, Macro Hybrid IS for macro photography or Tripod mode for tripod photography. When shooting movies, a distinction is made between Dynamic IS, Powered IS, Macro Hybrid IS and Active Tripod IS.

Recording photographs in the proprietary RAW format with a color depth of 14 bits provides maximum preservation of visual information and extensive opportunities for subsequent image processing in professional photo editors.

Focus system capability

The camera offers a flexible focus system. It is equipped with 31 autofocus AF sensors which the lens uses to focus in auto mode. This method is useful in situations where it is difficult to identify the main element in the scene, or not at all e.g., when shooting a demonstration or scenery .

Intelligent IS detects a face in auto mode and triggers Face Tracking Mode. But the photographer also has the option of assigning the subject to be tracked independently – with one touch of the LCD screen requires the “Tracking AF” function to be pre-activated .

Focus in creative shooting modes P/A/S/M either by a detected face the only face or one selected manually among several faces or by a single AF point. The zone is scaled down or normal, and its position can be changed at will, either by using the multi selector ring and arrow buttons or by touching the screen where you want it.

The last method is of course the most convenient and fastest. Focus can be locked in place by either default pressing the MF button after half-pressing the shutter release, or by pressing the S button must be assigned to this function beforehand to prevent accidental loss of focus.

The camera also offers the possibility to operate the autofocus system in the interactive mode. AF + MF” lets you pre-focus automatically in the menu, and then manually adjust the result by turning the ring on the lens or the multi selector.

This will be useful for implementation of non-trivial creative ideas. The reverse is true for the MF Safe Mode: first, the photographer adjusts the focus manually, and then, after half-pressing the shutter release button, the camera corrects the result. This option comes in handy when there are several contrasting objects at different distances in front of the lens, and they are close enough in the plane of the frame.

In all cases, three functions make the manual focusing phase easier: displaying the distance scale on the screen, zooming in on the area in focus and making the outlines of the objects in focus outlined in color. In especially sensitive shooting situations, the focus bracket function “Focus-BKT” enables you to take three shots with different focus positions and select the best result after the shooting.

Intelligent design and serious potential

  • Ergonomic design
  • Low weight and dimensions
  • Convenient and flexible controls
  • Full manual adjustments
  • A fast zoom lens with a comfortable range of focal lengths
  • Use of external viewfinder

Compact Cameras

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II has a compact and rugged magnesium alloy exterior. Apart from the lens barrel, the camera has no large protruding parts and controls and some of the buttons are recessed into the body to prevent accidental operation. Therefore the camera is convenient as a daily companion of a photographer – there is a place for it in any bag and even a jacket pocket.

The G1 X Mark II’s relatively light weight and modest size compared to even the smallest DSLRs allow you to wear it around your neck all day on the included strap without getting tired. Comfortable rubberized grip lets you make a number of settings and shoot with one hand.

Camera controls are designed so you can get to all important settings quickly. The two reprogrammable adjustment rings on the lens barrel are most convenient. Experienced photographers have a full range of manual settings available which is similar to what semi-professional and professional DSLR cameras offer. LCD touch screen operation speeds up focus point selection, menu navigation and playback.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II is designed with an external high-resolution XGA electronic viewfinder for easy SLR-level vision and control.

Convenient range of zoom lens focal lengths enables the shooting of all the most common subjects, from landscapes and architecture to portraits and reportage. Wide aperture ratio for shallow depth of field in creative situations, plus more confident and speedy autofocus.

Creative options

  • Swiveling LCD
  • Creative effect filters
  • My colors menu
  • Scene program guide


LCD screen tilts and rotates 180 degrees from its original position. Capture candid shots from alternative angles and awkward positions, and when fully rotated control the on-screen display to capture personal and group selfies.

For keen Internet users who prefer to edit their photos in-camera and send them directly to social networking sites and photo sharing sites, the camera offers a menu of creative filters for adding effects to images such as fisheye, monochrome, vintage, contrast enhancement, miniature and toy camera, background blur, and focus softening. Artistic processing options and HDR modes are available.

The My Colors menu offers enthusiasts a variety of tonal processing options, including overall or selective boosting/smoothing of individual tones, color channels, overall saturation, slide simulation, monochrome and sepia toning.

If a photographer wants to fully concentrate on creative work and doesn’t want to be distracted by the camera settings, automatic scene modes with settings optimized for certain shooting situations can help. In addition to the usual programs such as portrait, landscape, snow and fireworks, the camera offers something extra: handheld night shooting, underwater photography, stargazing, star trails and portraits against a backdrop of stars.

State-of-the-art communications capabilities

  • Wireless communication with iOS and Andriod mobile devices
  • Remote shooting control
  • Exchange data with computers
  • Wireless printing
  • Cloud storage and synchronization
  • Get GPS coordinates from mobile devices for geo-referencing

Built-in Wi-Fi module has provided the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II with several wireless functions. It’s able to share images with other Canon cameras directly through a wireless connection. Through the CameraWindow mobile app, the camera can send photos and videos to mobile devices, with which they can be placed on popular websites and receive GPS coordinates from them to link the photos to the location. The app also lets you turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote camera control to control your shooting. The camera’s built-in NFC module makes it as easy as possible to install CameraWindow on compatible smartphones and tablets via online app stores.

Photo equipment

Wi-Fi connection also makes it possible to send footage to desktop computers and printers. Whether connecting directly to the latter, by itself as an access point, or through an external access point.

Canon Image Gateway, an online service that provides cloud storage upon camera registration, offers convenient functions such as remote image processing and automatic synchronization of photos that have not yet been saved both online and on your computer . To simplify the synchronization process, you can use a special button on the camera body, assigning it to the automatic activation of the Canon Image Gateway service.

Compatible with Canon EOS System accessories

  • Support for use with Canon Speedlite flashes as master and slave units
  • Canon Speedlite transmitter support
  • Flash support for macro photography

The G1 X Mark II has a hot shoe connection, allowing EOS flashes from Canon’s Speedlite range to be used as main flashes on-camera or in off-camera mode when connected via the OC-E3 off-camera adaptor cord.




One or more Canon Speedlite flashes can also be used as slave units, placing them where you want them to produce the desired light effect. In this case, slave flashes are controlled via a wireless Speedlite flash transmitter ST-E2 in the camera’s hot shoe.

For even more professional macro lighting, a Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX or Macro Twin Lite can also be attached to the camera.

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