Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II
Resolution: 20.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 1 inch
(13.2mm x 8.8mm)
Lens: 5.00x zoom
(24-120mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 125 - 12,800
Extended ISO: 125 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/25600 - 30 sec
Max Aperture: 1.8
Dimensions: 4.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 in.
(111 x 61 x 46 mm)
Weight: 12.0 oz (340 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 08/2019
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon G5X Mark II specifications
20.20
Megapixels
5.00x zoom 1 inch
size sensor
image of Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II
Front side of Canon G5X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon G5X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon G5X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon G5X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon G5X Mark II digital camera

Canon G5X II Review -- Now Shooting!

by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 07/08/2019

Updates:
07/29/2019: First Shots posted
08/09/2019: Performance posted

Over the past seven years, Canon's large-sensor compact camera lineup has grown to include an impressive five different model lines. Splitting the middle of that pack is the G5X, now a series too as it receives its second incarnation in the form of the 20.1-megapixel, 5x optical zoom Canon G5X Mark II. First launched in 2015, the original G5X was the first large-sensor PowerShot camera to include an electronic viewfinder, which it placed in a narrow (but fairly tall) viewfinder hump atop its body.

The only large-sensor PowerShot model since to sport a built-in viewfinder is the G1X III, which launched in 2017. But the G1X-series cameras stand in a class of their own, distinct from other PowerShot G-X cameras thanks to larger image sensors, bodies and pricetags than the more consumer-oriented end of the PowerShot G-X camera lineup. (The G3X, G5X, G7X and G9X series are all based around 1-inch sensors.)

Are you more interested in how Canon's mid-range premium compact compares to its current rivals and siblings, rather than to its relatively long-toothed predecessor? Click here to read where the G5X II fits within 2019's marketplace. Considering an upgrade from the earlier G5X, instead? Read on to find out about the Canon G5X II vs. Canon G5X!

The new benchmark for a compact, viewfinder-equipped large-sensor PowerShot

Until now, if you wanted the most compact and lightweight camera possible but an electronic viewfinder was a must, the G5X has remained your best bet for an impressive four-year run. But that time is now over, no question about it. The Canon G5X II shuns its predecessor's somewhat ungainly-looking body in favor of a new popup viewfinder like those long favored by Sony, and the result is a significantly sleeker and less bulky camera than before.

With no viewfinder hump, the G5X II shaves a full 0.6 inches (1.5cm) in height from the original G5X's design, and also loses the bulky viewfinder eyepieces shared by both the G5X and G1X III. Without that unnecessary protrusion, the G5X Mark II is going to feel much comfier in less generous coat pockets, and slip into smaller purses more easily. Overall dimensions are 4.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches, down from 4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7 inches for the original G5X.

And with a full 1.4 ounces (40g) having been shaved off the weight, yet a similarly-sized handgrip to that used before, it's also going to be noticeably more secure (and less tiring) in-hand. Overall weight is now 12 ounces (340g), loaded and ready to shoot, a smidgen less than the 12.5-ounce (353g) body-only weight of the earlier camera.

Sure, with no eyecup you may find the viewfinder a bit more prone to glare from sunlight at just the wrong angle, but we think that's a tradeoff worth making for a noticeably more compact, lightweight design which you'll be more likely to bring along with you in the first place. If your camera isn't with you when you need it, you don't get the shot no matter how great that camera is in every other way, and unexpected photo opportunities happen to us all.

Just slightly deeper, but noticeably more telephoto reach as a result

At wide-angle, the G5X offers up basically the same lens as before. It's still a 24mm-equivalent optic with a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture, and can focus to as close as two inches (5cm). The change is towards the other end of the range, where you'll now find a 120mm-equivalent telephoto that's still a respectably-bright f/2.8, and focuses to 7.9 inches (20cm). The overall zoom range, then, is 5x optical, on top of which a 4x digital zoom function is provided.

That formula should yield much better macro results than before, if you can't get the camera right against your subject without scaring it off. The earlier G5X could only focus to as close as 15.6 inches (39.6cm) at its 100mm-equivalent telephoto, with an identical f/2.8 aperture. Overall, the earlier optic had a shorter 4.2x optical zoom range, plus the same 4x digital zoom function.

And impressively, the added telephoto reach and better tele macro performance has been accomplished with a completely unnoticeable 0.07-inch (1.8mm) increase in camera depth. And like that in its predecessor, the G5X II's lens still includes optical image stabilization for a steadier viewfinder image and crisper handheld shots at lower shutter speeds, something which will now prove even more useful with that longer tele. There's also a nine-bladed aperture and a three-stop on-demand ND filter, both much as in the earlier camera.

Resolution is little changed, but performance is another story entirely

The G5X II still provides a resolution of roughly 20 megapixels from a 1-inch type CMOS sensor, just as in the G5X. Exact pixel dimensions are 5,472 x 3,648 with a 3:2 aspect ratio, just as before, and alternate 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios are still offered too. But that sensor is now a high-speed, stacked design much like those used to offer spectacular performance in Sony's recent RX100-series cameras, and it's paired with a DIGIC 8 image processor that's two generations newer than the DIGIC 6 chip of the original G5X.

The change in burst capture speed is no less dramatic in the PowerShot G-X series, where the stacked sensor technology translates to a manufacturer-claimed 20 frames-per-second capture rate for 55 raw, 89 C-Raw or 118 JPEG frames, with autofocus locked from the first frame. That's an absolutely spectacular improvement from the 5.9 fps maximum of the G5X, even if it still trails a long way behind Sony's own claim of 24 fps with autofocus in the even smaller (and yet still viewfinder-equipped) RX100 VI.

(In fairness to the original G5X, it tested at 7.6fps for JPEGs in our lab, but then it also turned in a truly dismal sub-one frame per second if raw capture was enabled. Of course, it's also worth bearing in mind here that the RX100 VI costs a third more. A fairer comparison is to the $900 RX100 IV, which offers 16 fps max. with focus locked from the first frame, a good bit slower than the Canon promises to deliver. And nor does any RX100 camera have a user interface reminiscent of an EOS-series camera in a compact camera body, which is precisely the experience the G5X II aims to deliver.)

Even greater performance with raw burst mode or 4K frame-grabbing

If 20 fps isn't enough, by the way, and you can live without autofocus, there's also an even faster raw burst mode which is capable of 30 frames per second for as many as 70 frames, and in a neat touch, allows you to continuously precapture and buffer 15 of those frames, so you can reach back and find the critical moment even if your reflexes were up to half a second slow. And if you need longer than 70 frames in a burst, you can trade off resolution for extended buffering thanks to the ability to frame-grab from 2160p30 video in-camera. (More on video in a minute.)

But while faster viewfinder-equipped, large-sensor cameras are available elsewhere, even the figure claimed for the G5X II when autofocus remains active between frames will handily best the focus-locked performance of the original G5X. The Canon G5X II will, says its maker, manage an impressive eight frames per second for as long as 320 JPEG frames with continuous-servo autofocus. The G5X, by contrast, managed just a relatively laggardly 4.4 fps according to the company, so continuous autofocus performance looks to have almost doubled. Of course, we're reserving final judgement until we've put the G5X II through our lab, which you can be we'll be doing the first chance we get!

Sensitivity is largely unchanged, but there's now a high-speed electronic shutter

The new image sensor doesn't best that in the G5X in all respects, however. The standard ISO sensitivity range hasn't improved since the previous generation. Not that that's terribly surprising -- the sensor size and resolution are as near as makes no difference unchanged, and the laws of physics haven't strayed much in the past five years, either.

We might hope, perhaps, for a bit of improvement from better noise reduction courtesy of the updated DIGIC 8 image processor, and it's possible that we'll still see some once we've had a chance to put the G5X II through our lab, but given that the standard sensitivity range remains at ISO 125 to 6,400-equivalents, it seems this wasn't an area of priority in the upgrade so we wouldn't expect huge strides. If image quality is not your biggest concern, meanwhile, the upper limit can now be expanded to ISO 25,600, up from ISO 12,800 in the earlier camera.

The Canon G5X II has the same 1/2,000-second fastest shutter speed as did its earlier sibling, but the slowest shutter speed possible is 30 seconds, as well as a bulb mode. There's also an electronic shutter which peaks at 1/25,600 second, while videos allow speeds as slow as 1/8 second.

No more flash hot shoe, but exposure is in other respects largely unchanged

Here seems as good a place as any to discuss the autoexposure system, which is little-changed from that of the earlier G5X. The Canon G5X II sports the same choice of evaluative, center-weighted average and spot metering modes as did its predecessor. It also boasts the same selection of program, aperture- or shutter-priority and manual modes, plus a user-friendly Auto mode and an enthusiast-friendly custom mode.

And exposure compensation also remains available in 1/3 EV steps within a +/-3 EV range, just as in the earlier camera. If you're shooting with flash -- which you'll only be doing internally or with Canon's wirelessly-triggered HF-DC2 strobe now, as there's no more flash hot shoe -- there's a somewhat narrower range of +/-2EV in 1/3 EV steps for flash exposure compensation. The flash unit itself is likely unchanged from before. At wide angle, flash range is 1.6 to 23.0 feet (0.5 to 7.0m), and at telephoto it's 1.3 to 13.1 feet (0.4 to 4.0m).

Some new creative options that will satisfy enthusiast shooters

It's pretty obvious that the G5X II remains aimed at enthusiast photographers who expect a good degree of control over their images, and that's no surprise because it's basically true of all large-sensor, fixed-lens compacts. (Snapshooters usually prefer the convenience of smartphones over better image quality, unless swayed to a standalone camera by other features like long zoom lenses and all-weather durability, neither of which the G5X II can offer.)

And while creatively a lot remains the same as in the earlier G5X model, there are some new features of the G5X Mark II which enthusiasts will definitely appreciate. For one thing, you now have a choice of white-priority or ambience-priority modes for the auto white balance system, with the former aiming for completely neutral whites, and the latter holding onto a bit more of the warmth (or otherwise) of the original scene. Our spec sheet also shows a couple fewer white balance modes than before, with only one fluorescent mode and one custom mode where there were a pair of each before.

Easily capture a focus-bracketed series, star trails or perhaps a panorama

There's also a new focus bracketing function like that of the EOS RP, which allows you to shoot a series of exposures automatically with only the focus distance varying between frames, for subsequent compositing on your computer. (You can't create a single focus-stacked shot in-camera, unlike in some rival systems.) We don't yet have specifics as to how many frames can be captured in a stacked series, however. In the EOS RP, you can capture as many as 999 focus-bracketed frames, but we'd expect a lower number in the Canon G5X II simply because its fixed lens likely has a shorter focus throw with fewer focus steps available to it than that.

Also available are an improved version of the G5X's star mode which now uses electronic shutter to prevent vibrations for better results, and a panorama mode. The latter is a new addition, plugging a feature gap in the previous model, and allows image dimensions as large as 26,064 x 2,560 pixels for horizontal panos, or 16,000 x 3,840 pixels for vertical ones.

Ultra high-def and high-speed video capture arrive in the Canon G5X II

But enough about stills, what of video? Well, this was clearly an area of concern for Canon, and the specs show major strides forward. Where the G5X was limited to just Full HD (1080p30 or 1080p60) video, the G5X II adds Ultra HD (4K; 2160p30) to the list, as well as high-speed Full HD capture at 120 fps. Basic HD capture remains on offer too, but with a faster fixed 60 fps capture rate instead of the G5X's fixed 30 fps rate.

4K footage has a bit rate of approximately 120 Mbps, as does 120 fps Full HD video. 60 fps Full HD is at 60 Mbps, and 30 fps at 30 Mbps, while HD video has a 26 Mbps bitrate. These are all much more generous than their equivalent bitrates on the G5X, which capped Full HD at 24-35Mbps, and HD at just 8Mbps. All videos have a 29 minute, 59 second clip length limit, with the exception of 1080p120 (7 min., 29 sec.) and 2160p30 (9 min., 59 sec.) Videos are recorded in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format with a .MP4 container, and including stereo MPEG-4 AAC-LC audio.

There's also a star time-lapse video function, available at 4K resolution, although we don't yet know capture or playback frame rates. Oh, and note that we've rounded all of the other frame rates above for readability; the exact speeds match those specified by SMPTE 292 as you'd expect in enthusiast-oriented video gear.

Same EVF resolution, but with the G7X II's LCD

The G5X II's pop-up electronic viewfinder still features a 0.39-inch 2.36-million dot organic LED panel, and it still has an adjustable refresh rate of 60 or 120 frames per second, but there are a couple of areas where it does fall short of those in the earlier cameras. The eyepoint has fallen from 22 to 20mm, which will make it just slightly less well-suited to eyeglass wearers than before, and the viewfinder itself is no longer still situated directly above the optical axis of the lens, but rather is well off to one side, with a popup flash strobe above the lens itself instead.

As for the TFT LCD monitor, it's exactly the same as that used in the Canon G7X II, with the same articulation mechanism as well. It can flip upwards 180 degrees, downwards 45 degrees, and has a total of 1.04 million dots of resolution on a surface with a 3.0-inch diagonal.

A new Bluetooth radio, USB-C and clean HMDI out

Along with its more modern .CR3 raw and C-Raw file formats, a new, low-power wireless Bluetooth 4.1 radio and an improved sharing UI including an auto-transfer function, the Canon G5X II offers other significant changes to connectivity and power.

A modern, reversible USB-C port replaces the Micro-B USB port of its predecessor. Canon doesn't say, but we suspect it still uses USB 2.0 High-Speed max signalling rate since there is no SuperSpeed USB logo or indication to be found on the body or in the documentation.

Power comes courtesy of the same NB-13L battery pack as in the G5X, and it can recharge either in-camera via USB, or externally in the bundled CB-2LH battery charger. Battery life has improved to a CIPA-rated 230 shots on the LCD monitor, up 20 shots from in the previous model. Unfortunately, it's simultaneously fallen by 35 frames to just 180 when using the electronic viewfinder.

In addition to supporting in-camera battery charging, the G5X II can now be powered via USB as well. Canon sells the PD-E1 USB Power Adapter for both functions, but it lists for a pricey US$190. Less expensive third-party USB power adapters (and power banks) should also work with the appropriate cable, but we believe they may need to be USB PD (Power Delivery) compliant to power or charge the G5X II (details from Canon on minimum requirements for USB power supplies and cables are unfortunately few and far between). A dedicated (standalone) battery charger is included in the bundle.

The G5X Mark II still includes a Type-D Micro HDMI port, but it now supports clean 4K and Full HD video output for external recording. Sadly, like the G5X, there is no external mic jack, nor a headphone jack.

A built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 1, 2 and 4- compatible radio (that's 802.11b, g and n, respectively) is still provided, but the G5X's NFC support has been dropped. Gone too is the G5X's wired remote switch jack, though Canon's BR-E1 Bluetooth wireless remote is now supported.

Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types, as well as the higher-speed UHS-I types. UHS-II cards still aren't supported directly, however, and so will function at UHS-I speeds.

Market comparisons: G1X III, G3X, G7X III, G9X II, RX100 IV and LX100 II

Want to know how the Canon G5X II compares to its current siblings and nearest rivals? We've got you covered. Read on for nutshell versions, and click the titles to see much more in-depth comparisons of each camera pair!

Canon G5X II vs. Canon G1X III

Canon's premium compact flagship, the G1X III, is really in a totally different class to the G5X II. Its list price is $300 higher, and it's a good bit larger and heavier, in part due to a more versatile tilt/swivel screen and hot shoe. It also has a much larger and slightly higher-res 24 megapixel APS-C image sensor, but it sits behind a shorter 3x zoom, f/2.8-5.6 lens. The 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensored Canon G5X II has a more far-reaching and much brighter f/1.8-2.8 5x zoom, fits in smaller coat pockets, has a much brighter lens, and shoots much faster for stills and higher-res for videos.

Canon G5X II vs. Canon G3X

The comparison to the Canon G3x is only a bit closer, as while both cameras share the same sensor size and resolution, the G3X has a 25x long-zoom in place of the G5X II's shorter 5x zoom. List pricing for the G3X is $100 higher, and it has a hot shoe and headphone / mic jacks, plus better battery life and a higher-res screen. The G5X is far more compact, though, and has a viewfinder, better performance and 4K video, plus a Bluetooth radio.

Canon G5X II vs. Canon G7X III

The Canon G7X III is priced US$150 below the G5X II. Sensor size and resolution are identical, but the G7X III is a fair bit smaller and lighter, while offering nearly as much zoom reach from an equally-bright lens. The G7X III has a mic jack and live streaming support including for scheduled YouTube vlogging, but the G5X II has a viewfinder and will focus far closer at telephoto.

Canon G5X II vs. Canon G9X II

The G9X II is Canon's most-affordable compact, with a list price only a little over half that of the G5X II. Once again, it has the same resolution and sensor size, but its 3x zoom lens is a good bit less far-ranging, and also nowhere near as bright. The G9X II is pants-pocket friendly and far lighter than the coat-pocket oriented G5X II, and it lacks the more expensive camera's viewfinder, tilting display, and its still imaging / video capture performance.

Canon G5X II vs. Sony RX100 IV

The nearest-priced premium compact from Sony is the RX100 IV, which technically lists for US$100 more, but currently streets at around the G5X II's list price of US$900. Both have the same sensor size and resolution, but for your money, the Sony gives you pants-pocket friendliness and much better slow-motion capture. Canon gives you a longer zoom, a touch-screen, better still imaging performance and built-in Bluetooth.

Canon G5X II vs. Panasonic LX100 II

The Panasonic LX100 II, too, lists for US$100 more but has a similar street price to the G5X II's list price. It has a larger 4/3-inch sensor and a slightly lower 17-megapixel resolution, versus the 20-megapixel, 1-inch sensor in the G5X II. There's also a hot shoe for external strobes, a much longer slowest shutter speed, a faster-syncing flash and better battery life. The Canon is a good bit smaller and a little lighter, has a further-reaching zoom with similar brightness, shoots stills faster for longer, and adds slow-mo videos, a tilting LCD, an internal flash strobe and an integrated ND filter.

Canon G5X II pricing and availability

The Canon G5X Mark II will go on sale in the US market from August 2019. List pricing is set at US$900 or thereabouts.

 

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