Canon G7X Mark II Conclusion

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
100mm equivalent (36.8mm actual), f/9.0, 1/200s, ISO 200.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

With improved technical performance and a refined camera body, the DIGIC 7-equipped Canon G7X Mark II takes advantage of its mostly good built-in 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens and very good 20.1-megapixel 1"-type sensor to deliver solid results. Addressing many of the shortcomings of its predecessor, the G7X II is a good compact camera that offers a lot of performance for the price.

Canon G7X II body is improved and more comfortable to use

Among the changes made for the Canon G7X Mark II are some excellent improvements made to the camera body itself. While the general form factor is basically the same, there is now a rubber grip on the front, which we found made the camera more comfortable and easier to hold considering its overall compact size.

Canon G7X II Review -- Product Image Front

Despite the lens itself being the same, the Canon G7X II now includes a switch next to it that lets the user toggle between smooth and stepped rotation of the control ring. The new stepped rotation option is nice when controlling aperture, for example, as it allows for quicker adjustments with tactile feedback.

The 3-inch touchscreen display keeps the same resolution as the predecessor and overall tilting design, but it can now also tilt downwards to 45 degrees. Other than that, the body is essentially unchanged. Unfortunately, the Canon G7X Mark II still lacks a built-in viewfinder and doesn't include a hot shoe so there's no way to attach an external one (or a flash, for that matter).

Canon G7X II Review -- Product Image Back

Built-in 4.2x zoom lens provides mixed results

Featuring the same 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens as its predecessor, the Canon G7X II delivers similarly mixed performance. The 4.2x zoom lens provides more range than most other cameras in its class, but it comes at a cost. Far field performance is good across the board, particularly around f/5.6 where the lens is very sharp, albeit with slightly soft corners. However, wide angle performance leads to severe distortion when using RAW images (heavy distortion correction is applied in-camera to JPEG files) and thus corners are quite soft at wide angle. Despite some shortcomings with the lens, we did find it to be capable for the most part, and it offers strong telephoto performance.

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
24mm equivalent (8.8mm actual), f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

The G7X II's 20MP 1"-type sensor captures good images

Like the lens, the Canon G7X II's sensor is unchanged, though it's now paired with a faster DIGIC 7 image processor. The PowerShot G7X II captures very detailed images, especially when using RAW files. (The G7X II now also includes the ability to perform in-camera RAW processing, something missing on the original.) Regarding resolution, images are fairly crisp, and JPEGs are sharper at default settings than those from the G7X, although there are sharpening artifacts on high-contrast subjects. Noise suppression on lower contrast subjects limits some fine detail, but the resulting images are still quite good overall.

The G7X II is the first PowerShot camera to include the "Fine Detail" Picture Style preset that was introduced in the 5DS/R DSLRs. The preset allows you to fine-tune sharpness settings including strength, fineness and threshold parameters. The resulting image is more natural-looking and has fewer sharpening artifacts than the default settings. To get the most out of the sensor, though, RAW images converted using good software can produce sharp images with more detail than in-camera JPEGs and fewer artifacts.

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
24mm equivalent (8.8mm actual), f/1.8, 15s, ISO 800.
Click for full-size image.

Noise performance is very good with the Canon G7X II given its sensor size. Compared to its predecessor, the G7X II produced better results at every ISO through 3200. At ISO 125-200 the G7X II produces excellent prints up to 24 x 36 inches. At ISO 400, we still consider it capable of producing a good 20 x 30-inch print. Images captured at ISO 800 show quite a bit more noise so a good print is only possible up to 13 x 19 inches. 11 x 14-inch prints are possible at ISO 1600, which is quite impressive for a camera with a 1"-type sensor. ISO 3200 and 6400 images can result in good prints at 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 inches, respectively.

Solid automatic performance makes for a good user experience

Thanks in large part to its excellent touchscreen functionality and strong automatic shooting performance, the Canon G7X II proved to be an intuitive, easy-to-use camera that still offered enthusiasts the ability to take control of all of the camera's shooting settings.

Excellent touchscreen makes the G7X II fun to use

The 3-inch touchscreen display on the Canon G7X II is very good. The camera's system menus are generally well-organized and can be navigated via touch. In a move that helps compensate for the relative sparsity of physical buttons on the compact body, the Quick Menu is very touch-friendly, as well, and puts many important shooting settings at your fingertips.

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
24mm equivalent (8.8mm actual), f/8.0, 1s, ISO 125.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

Single shot autofocus is dependable, but G7X II struggles with continuous AF somewhat

Utilizing a contrast-detect autofocus system with 31 points, the Canon G7X II provides generally good autofocus performance, and while it's not the most sophisticated AF system, it proved to be dependable in many situations. When shooting stationary subjects, the autofocus was reliable, particularly when using 1-point autofocus and the touchscreen to select your subject. The fully-automatic 'AiAF' focus mode was decent, but would occasionally get confused by a busy or a low-contrast scene and fail to lock onto the appropriate subject. While specific figures are unavailable, Canon states that the G7X II's low-contrast autofocus performance and subject tracking are improved compared to the original G7X. Continuous autofocus worked well when shooting slowly-moving subjects but struggled to keep up with fast subjects. By selecting your subject using the touchscreen, the G7X II manages to track it fairly well, but your subject needs to be well-isolated. Considering its price point, we found the Canon G7X II's autofocus performance to be generally impressive.

DIGIC 7 processor gives the G7X II the performance boost it deserves

With its new DIGIC 7 processor, the Canon G7X II is able to offer a sizable increase in performance over its predecessor. Other than an inexplicably slower start-up time, the G7X II is faster than the G7X pretty much across the board.

Single-shot cycling times are improved from 0.9 and 1.3 seconds for best quality JPEGs and RAW + JPEG files, respectively, to just 0.6 seconds for both image quality settings. Continuous shooting performance has seen a particularly impressive improvement. Whereas the G7X could only record RAW images at 1.2 frames per second, the G7X II can capture 14-bit RAW files (compared to the 12-bit RAW files captured by the G7X) at just over 8fps with locked focus and exposure and at 5.4fps with full autofocus capabilities. JPEG shooting has been improved from 6.6 to 8fps, which is still a nice improvement, but not as significant as the RAW shooting improvement.

Buffer depths have been expanded too. We could record 32 JPEG, 21 RAW and 19 RAW+JPEG images before exhausting the buffer. This is dramatically improved from the G7X's buffer depth of 14, 4 and 2 photos respectively. All in all, the G7X Mark II represents a very significant upgrade over the original camera with regards to performance.

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
100mm equivalent (36.8mm actual), f/10, 1/200s, ISO 320.
While using f/10 introduces some diffraction with a sensor of this size, the G7X II does include diffraction correction, something its predecessor lacked. Click for original image.

1080p video is fine, but 4K video is notably absent

Unfortunately, video features haven't been upgraded with the G7X II, and it is still capped at 1080p resolution at frame rates up to 60fps. The lack of 4K video recording makes the Canon G7X II fall behind some of its competitors in the video department. You also won't find any microphone or headphone ports on the camera, but that isn't too surprising given its class.

Fortunately, video itself is generally quite nice with overall pleasing image quality and good autofocus and metering performance. The lack of more modern features is disappointing, but if you're interested in solid 1080p video recording capabilities, the G7X II will fit the bill. However, those who place an emphasis on 4K video should look elsewhere.

Canon G7X II is a much-improved, very good compact camera

Canon G7X II Review -- Gallery Image
24mm equivalent (8.8mm actual), f/2.8, 1/8s, ISO 125.
Click for full-size image.

Besides the lack of 4K video, there aren't many notable shortcomings of the Canon G7X II. The lens could be better, especially at the wide end, but the 4.2x zoom and compact size of both the lens and the camera itself help to offset that disappointment. Its sensor captures sharp, detailed images and offers very good high ISO performance for its class. With its newer processor, the PowerShot G7X II is a much faster camera too, although the continuous autofocus performance still comes up a bit short. Overall, this is a great compact camera that packs a lot of performance for the price. Given that it addresses many of the shortcomings of its predecessor, the Canon G7X Mark II definitely gets a Dave's Pick this time around.

Pros & Cons

  • Compact but comfortable camera body
  • Stepped lens ring rotation option
  • Fast 24-100mm eq. f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • Good telephoto lens performance
  • Dependable, albeit not exceptional, AF performance, but improved compared to G7X
  • Able to autofocus in very low light
  • Very good image quality, particularly when shooting RAW
  • Improved high ISO performance in JPEGs
  • Default JPEG processing a bit punchier than G7X, though see related Con
  • Excellent hue accuracy
  • Good dynamic range in RAW files
  • 14-bit RAW files (G7X was 12 bits)
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • First PowerShot to include EOS image processing features such as Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer, Fine Detail Picture Style and in-camera RAW processing
  • Faster 8 fps burst mode
  • Does not slow down when shooting RAW files like the G7X did
  • Much improved continuous shooting speeds and buffer depth
  • Excellent touchscreen functionality
  • Built-in ND filter
  • Built-in flash
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (with NFC) supports remote control
  • Internal charging via USB now supported, yet dedicated battery charger is still included
  • Soft corners at wide angle, due to strong distortion correction needed
  • Localized flare issue at wide apertures and close distances
  • Purple or red fringing when wide open around heavily backlit objects
  • Larger than average minimum macro area
  • Sluggish buffer clearing, and the camera does not allow you to adjust settings while clearing
  • Slightly higher sharpening and stronger NR can make lower ISO images slightly less detailed than its predecessor at default settings
  • Poor Auto white balance in incandescent lighting
  • No built-in or optional viewfinder; no hot shoe
  • Continuous autofocus performance is not suitable for fast subjects
  • Video features are lacking, including no 4K
  • Mediocre battery life, though improved over its predecessor


Follow Imaging-Resource.com on Twitter!

 



Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate