Canon G3X Performance

Timing and Performance

Mixed performance.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.9 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Play to Record,
first shot

~2.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Good startup to first shot time for its class. Switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was a bit slower.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Center-area AF
Wide Angle

0.409 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus
Center-area AF

0.376 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
Center-area AF
Flash enabled

0.823 second

Time to capture while forcing flash to fire, zoom lens at medium focal length.

Manual Focus

0.109 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".


0.044 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Canon G3X's full autofocus shutter lag when shooting the same target multiple times was a bit sluggish for a modern camera. The G3X's full AF shutter lag clocked in at about 0.41 second at wide angle using center (1-point) AF. Full AF shutter lag was a little faster at full telephoto, at about 0.38 second, but that's still a bit slow these days. Enabling the flash raised shutter lag to a rather lengthy 0.82 second, to account for the metering preflash. Manual focus shutter lag was however much faster at about 0.11 second, and when prefocused, shutter lag dropped to 44 milliseconds which is quite good.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large Super Fine JPEG

0.86 second

Average time per shot.

Single Shot mode

1.95 seconds

Average time per shot.

Early shutter


Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Super Fine JPEG

0.14 second (7.27 frames per second);
9 frames total;
3 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 9 frames, then slows to 0.34 second or 2.98 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous mode

1.35 seconds (0.74 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
3 seconds to clear

Time per shot, with no signs of slowing down (no buffer limit).

Continuous mode

1.34 seconds (0.75 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
3 seconds to clear

Time per shot, with no signs of slowing down (no buffer limit).

Flash recycling

4.3 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were fair to slow in single shot mode, ranging from about 0.9 second for Large/Super Fine JPEGs to almost 2 seconds for RAW+LSF JPEG files. We no longer test just RAW file cycle time in single-shot mode, as it's usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.

The PowerShot G3X's full-res continuous shooting mode rate was decent when shooting just JPEGs, averaging 7.3 frames per second for Large/Super Fine JPEG files. That's considerably faster than Canon's 5.9 fps spec, however be aware that focus and exposure are locked at the first frame of a burst in this mode. We didn't test burst speeds with continuous AF enabled in the lab, however Canon claims it drops to about 3.2 fps. When shooting RAW files, the G3X's burst speed slowed to a crawl at only 0.74 frames per second for RAW, and to only 0.75 frame per second for RAW+LSF JPEG files.

Buffer depth was limited to only 9 frames when shooting best quality JPEGs in the fastest continuous mode, but the G3X continued shooting at about 3 fps when the buffer was full. Our test target is designed to be difficult to compress, though, so JPEG buffer depths when shooting typical scenes should be better. Buffer depths with RAW or RAW+JPEG frames appear to limited only by card capacity, though that's not a surprise given the very slow burst speeds when shooting RAW files.

The built-in flash took an average of 4.3 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is fair.


Bottom line, the Canon PowerShot G3 X's timing performance was mixed, ranging from sluggish autofocus and slow burst speeds when shooting RAW files, to a reasonably fast JPEG continuous mode (though with shallow buffer depth) and fast prefocused shutter lag.


Battery Life
Below average battery life.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture
(CIPA standard)

The Canon PowerShot G3X uses a custom NB-10L rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated charger. CIPA battery life is below average for its class at 300 shots per charge, though there is an Eco mode which improves battery life to a more generous 410 shots by dimming and then shutting off the LCD more quickly than normal in shooting mode. Still, we strongly recommend you pick up a spare battery for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))


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