Canon G1 X Mark II Review: Brighter lens, faster processor and new looks. But is it better?
posted Monday, July 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM EDT
Canon turned a few heads back when it released the original PowerShot G1 X: the industry's first compact, large-sensor camera to offer a zoom lens. The 1.5"-type sensor was leaps and bounds larger than what's inside the typical compact camera, and it was married with Canon's popular PowerShot G-series build, ergonomics and functionality. While Canon got a number of things "right" with that camera, namely great image quality, very good optics, and twin dials that resemble DSLR functionality, it had some rough edges with slower than average AF and burst speeds, poor macro performance, short battery life when using the LCD, and a 28-112mm equivalent f/2.8-5.8 lens that wasn't very bright at telephoto.
With the G1 X Mark II, Canon aimed to fix all that. First, they upgraded to their latest DIGIC 6 image processor for better performance, and revamped the sensor, making the default image aspect ratio 3:2 like most DSLRs while still offering a 4:3 mode with the same diagonal field of view. Canon's also updated the lens significantly to one that is not only brighter (f/2.0-3.9), but also wider and longer, ranging from 24mm to 120mm in 35mm equivalence. While the lens is indeed more versatile with improved macro capabilities, there are some notable issues.
Performance-wise, the Canon G1 X Mark II shows a marked improvement in autofocus speed over the "Mark I", focusing about 3x faster at wide angle, and almost twice as fast at full telephoto. The DIGIC 6 processor also gives the Mark II's maximum JPEG burst speed a boost with deep buffers and fast clearing, however if you're a RAW shooter, burst performance hasn't improved much and is still disappointing.
Overall, though, Canon still squeezes a lot of good stuff into the sleeker, more powerful G1 X Mark II. While it's not leaps and bounds better than its predecessor and is still relatively large and heavy, it shows improvements in some important areas, and the addition of Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity for sharing and remote control is a definite plus. Do the pros outweigh the cons?