Canon G5X Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops comparing the Canon G5X with the Canon G7X, Canon G9X, Fuji X30, Panasonic LX100, and Sony RX100 IV. The Canon G7X and G9X are both siblings using the same sensor, and the others are a few competitors to the G5X.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Canon G5X, Canon G7X, Canon G9X, Fuji X30, Panasonic LX100, and Sony RX100 IV -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon G5X to any camera we've ever tested.

Canon G5X vs Canon G7X at Base ISO

Canon G5X at ISO 125
Canon G7X at ISO 125

As expected, we see very similar image quality from the Canon G5X and G7X, since they share the same sensor, processor and 4.2x zoom lens. The newer G5X did however produce more accurate and pleasing colors, likely due to better custom white balance performance here.

Canon G5X vs Canon G9X at Base ISO

Canon G5X at ISO 125
Canon G9X at ISO 125

The Canon G5X and G9X also share the same sensor and processor though the G9X uses a smaller 3x zoom lens. Again, both siblings produce very similar image quality, though interestingly, the G5X manages to extract slightly better detail. That's probably because of better optical performance from the G5X's lens, at least at this focal length and aperture. (Both were shot at f/5.6 at roughly the same focal length of 31mm or 84mm equivalent which is maximum zoom on the G9X.)

Canon G5X vs Fujifilm X30 at Base ISO

Canon G5X at ISO 125
Fujifilm X30 at ISO 100

As expected, we see the 20-megapixel G5X easily out-resolves the 12-megapixel Fuji X30 with its smaller 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor, though the X30 otherwise does quite well for its class at base ISO. Default sharpening is however higher than the G5X with even more noticeable sharpening halos.

Canon G5X vs Panasonic LX100 at Base ISO

Canon G5X at ISO 125
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 200

Above, we compare the 20-megapixel "1-inch" sensored Canon G5X to the 12.7-megapixel "4/3" sensored Panasonic LX100. The resolution difference is apparent here in both the relative element sizes and the higher detail from the G5X in all three crops at base ISO. But while the Canon's resolution is higher, noise is also a little higher, as you can see in the background of the bottle shoulder crop. The G5X applies slighter stronger sharpening, though, which tends to exacerbate noise. Still, the Panasonic's larger pixels pay off in terms of slightly lower noise when compared at 100% like this, but the G5X still wins overall with better detail and more accurate color at base ISO.

Canon G5X vs Sony RX100 IV at Base ISO

Canon G5X at ISO 125
Sony RX100 IV at ISO 125

Here's a comparison to another 20-megapixel 1-inch type sensor, this time the latest offering from the company that started the category. Here we see both cameras do very well at base ISO, but the Sony RX100 IV's image looks a little cleaner as well as more contrasty, though with cooler colors.

Canon G5X vs Canon G7X at ISO 1600

Canon G5X at ISO 1600
Canon G7X at ISO 1600

Again, apart from the better colors from the G5X, image quality is virtually identical from these two siblings at ISO 1600.

Canon G5X vs Canon G9X at ISO 1600

Canon G5X at ISO 1600
Canon G9X at ISO 1600

Image quality from these two sibling remains similar at ISO 1600, though again, the G5X captures more detail in the mosaic. Interestingly, the G5X's image is also slightly cleaner.

Canon G5X vs Fujifilm X30 at ISO 1600

Canon G5X at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X30 at ISO 1600

Again, the Canon G5X comes out ahead in this battle, with better detail, color and lower noise. At this ISO, the Fuji X30 renders almost no detail in the red-leaf fabric, though the G5X's rendering is only a rough facsimile.

Canon G5X vs Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600

Canon G5X at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, we see the LX100 pull ahead of the G7X with better detail despite the lower resolution. Luminance noise levels are similar, but the Canon produces a more natural-looking grain and does a little better with controlling chroma noise as well. Both struggle with the red-leaf fabric but the LX100 does much better with the pink. The G5X however produces more pleasing colors.

Canon G5X vs Sony RX100 IV at ISO 1600

Canon G5X at ISO 1600
Sony RX100 IV at ISO 1600

Both the Canon and Sony 1"-type sensored cameras do fairly well at ISO 1600 considering their size, but again Canon's processing looks more natural with fewer artifacts and slightly better detail while the Sony displays higher contrast and clarity, producing an image with more "pop".

Canon G5X vs Canon G7X at ISO 3200

Canon G5X at ISO 3200
Canon G7X at ISO 3200

Once again, the G5X and G7X produce nearly identical images apart from the improved colors from the newer model.

Canon G5X vs Canon G9X at ISO 3200

Canon G5X at ISO 3200
Canon G9X at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the G9X's image is a bit noisier and doesn't contain quite as much detail as the G5X at ISO 3200, but both really struggle with noise and the effects of noise reduction at this sensitivity.

Canon G5X vs Fujifilm X30 at ISO 3200

Canon G5X at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X30 at ISO 3200

While the X30 does fairly well for such a high ISO sensitivity in a compact, the G5X comes out ahead in detail, noise and color at ISO 3200.

Canon G5X vs Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200

Canon G5X at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX100 at ISO 3200

As expected, the LX100 comes out on top in this contest, with better detail and lower noise, but both struggle to reproduce any fine detail in our difficult red-leaf fabric. Color is still better from the Canon, though.

Canon G5X vs Sony RX100 IV at ISO 3200

Canon G5X at ISO 3200
Sony RX100 IV at ISO 3200

Here again the Canon comes out on top overall, with a more natural rendering and slightly better detail. The Sony's image is a little clearer and more contrasty, but noise reduction artifacts distort fine detail, while noise grain from the Canon is more consistent and less obtrusive.

Canon G5X vs. Canon G7X, Canon G9X, Fujifilm X30, Panasonic LX100, Sony RX100 IV

ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
RX100 IV
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing cameras in different ways, so we like to look at it too. At base ISO, the four 20-megapixel cameras come out ahead of the lower resolution models, easily resolving the fine lines inside the lettering as well as producing very good contrast, though the G9X's softer lens puts it at a disadvantage. The LX100 produces excellent contrast as well, but its 12.7-megapixel resolution struggles to resolve all the fine lines. The X30 can't fully resolve the lines even at base ISO, but does offer good contrast, though it's oversharpened. At ISO 3200, the G5X and G7X pull ahead of the Sony, resolving more detail, but contrast isn't as good from the G5X and there's also some discoloration from the Canons. The LX100 continues to do well, but its contrast has dropped. The X30 fails to resolve any fine detail within the lettering at this sensitivity, and the Fuji's saturation has dropped so much that the small red lettering is monochrome. At ISO 6400, the larger sensor in the LX100 clearly comes out on top. The G7X does a bit better than the G5X and much better than the RX100 IV in terms of detail, but the Sony has better contrast and fewer false colors. And once again, the G9X doesn't do quite as well as the G5X or G7X, and X30 trails the pack with mushy detail and poor color.


Canon G5X Print Quality Analysis

High-quality prints up to 24 x 36 inches at ISO 125-200; Nice 8 x 10 inch prints at ISO 3200; and usable 4 x 6 inch prints at ISO 6400.

ISO 125/200 prints look very nice all the way up to 24 x 36 inches. Both ISOs produce virtually identical images, with lots of detail and vibrant colors. At 24 x 36 inches, we're pushing the resolving power of the camera's 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor, but at normal viewing distances for prints of this size, the detail level is quite good. Size down to a 20 x 30 inch print for even crisper detail.

ISO 400 images begin to show the faintest hint of softness compared the earlier ISOs, though noise overall is of very little concern. Fine detail is still very good, however, and we're able to print up to a large 20 x 30 inches. At this size, we see lots of detail, even in our tricky red-leaf fabric area.

ISO 800 prints top-out at 13 x 19 inches, as we begin to see stronger softening effects due to noise and noise reduction. At this print size, however, detail is still good and noise is not offensive. We'd even be okay with a 16 x 20 inch print for less critical applications.

ISO 1600 images display slightly stronger noise, as expected, though NR processing does well to subdue graininess -- but at the expense of some fine detail. Up to 11 x 14 inch prints, details look great and colors remain pleasing and saturated.

ISO 3200 prints take a dip down to 8 x 10 inches, as noise becomes noticeably stronger and makes larger-sized prints unacceptable to our eyes. Aside from our tricky red-leaf fabric swatch, which has become rather devoid of detail, prints at this size look clean and crisp.

ISO 6400 images top-out at 4 x 6 inches, as noise is quite strong now and in our opinion, detail becomes too soft to call larger prints acceptable. Colors also appear less vibrant and pleasing with a subtle greenish tint.

ISO 12,800 prints should really be avoided if at all possible, as noise and detail loss is quite strong. A 4 x 6 may be usable for less critical applications, however.

The Canon G5X offers nice performance with prints, especially at lower ISOs. Base ISO and ISO 200 images resolve a lot of detail and display great colors, which allow for large prints up to 24 x 36 inches. Moving up the ISO scale, the noise increases, as expected, but it mostly stays under control thanks to decent noise reduction processing -- but at the expense of some fine detail. At ISO 1600, for example, the G5X still manages a nice 11 x 14 inch print. The camera also manages a rather crisp and clean 8 x 10 at ISO 3200, and manages an acceptable 4 x 6 at ISO 6400. The G5X's top ISO of 12,800 should be avoided for prints if possible, however.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)


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