Canon G9X II Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Canon G9X Mark II's image quality to its predecessor's, the G9X, as well as to a range of compact enthusiast cameras: the Canon G7X Mark II, the Panasonic LX10 and the Sony RX100 III. We've also compared it to the Sony A5000, which is an entry-level 24-megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera that is available for about the same price with a kit lens as the G9X II sells for.

NOTE: These images are from 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 G9X II, Canon G9X , Canon G7X II, Panasonic LX10, Sony RX100 III and Sony A5000 -- 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 G9X II to any camera we've ever tested!

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G9X at Base ISO

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 125
Canon G9X at ISO 125

Similar to what we saw when we compared the G7X II and the G7X, we see better color from the G9X Mark II than from its predecessor at base ISO, with much less of a green shift in yellows and beiges, and more accurate pinks. The G9X II image looks a bit punchier with slightly lower noise as well, though the G7X retains a bit more detail and contrast in our tricky red-leaf fabric.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G7X Mark II at Base ISO

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 125
Canon G7X Mark II at ISO 125

Here we compare the G9X II to its slightly larger and more expensive sibling, the G7X II. Both of these cameras use the same sensor and image processor, so it's no surprise that their image quality is very similar. Color and noise characteristics are nearly identical and the minor differences we see in detail and sharpness are likely attributed to the different lenses they have (the G9X II has a 3x 28-84mm eq. f/2-4.9 lens and the G7X II has a 4.2x 24-100mm eq. f/1.8-2.8 lens).

Canon G9X Mark II vs Panasonic LX10 at Base ISO

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 125
Panasonic LX10 at ISO 125

Both of these rivals employ a 20-megapixel 1"-type sensor, possibly even the same one, so it's no surprise resolving power is nearly identical. The LX10's less heavy-handed noise processing as well as what appears to be a slightly sharper lens does yield a little more detail than G9X Mark II except in the red-leaf fabric, although the Canon image is a bit cleaner with better color and a more pleasing tone curve.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony RX100 III at Base ISO

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 125
Sony RX100 III at ISO 125

Here, we decided to compare the G9X II to the older Sony RX100 III which is closer to the Canon's price range (but still significantly more expensive at about $700 vs $450). The Sony RX100 III's image looks a little softer overall, though it has less obvious sharpening halos along high-contrast edges than the Canon's image. The Sony however does exhibit much better detail and contrast in our troublesome red-leaf swatch as well as in the pink fabric, though noise levels appear a bit higher and less natural in flatter areas. The Canon produces noticeably better and more accurate color. Both obviously do very well here at ISO 125, but keep in mind that unlike the Canon, the Sony can extend its sensitivity down to ISO 80.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony A5000 at Base ISO

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 125
Sony A5000 at ISO 100

We decided to include a comparison to the Sony A5000 APS-C mirrorless camera here, because as of this writing it sells for exactly the same price with a 3.1x 24-75mm eq. kit lens. As you can see, the 24-megapixel A5000 does capture more detail with less noise and better sharpness, and the Sony again renders more detail and higher contrast in our red-leaf and pink fabrics. However, the G9X II compares remarkably well here at base ISO considering its much smaller size and built-in lens (the A5000 was shot with a sharp 50mm f/1.8 prime lens which likely performs better than its kit lens, so keep that in mind). Again, the Canon's color is more pleasing and accurate.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G9X at ISO 1600

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 1600
Canon G9X at ISO 1600

Above at ISO 1600, we see an increase in clarity and high-contrast detail from the newer G9X II. The Mark II's noise suppression appears to be a little smarter with better detail retention, though noise reduction artifacts are a bit more visible around fine detail versus higher noise interfering with fine detail from its predecessor. Both blur our tricky red-leaf swatch pretty badly here, but the G9X II does hold onto a bit more detail. Color and contrast continue to be more pleasing from the newer Mark II model. Overall, a nice bump in image quality here.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G7X Mark II at ISO 1600

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 1600
Canon G7X Mark II at ISO 1600

Again, very similar results here at ISO 1600 from these two siblings with the G7X II arguably providing just a tad more detail and sharpness likely due to better optics.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Panasonic LX10 at ISO 1600

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 1600
Panasonic LX10 at ISO 1600

The Canon G9X II leaves behind a bit more noise in flatter areas though detail retention is also slightly better, and the Canon continues to produce better color and contrast than the Panasonic.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 1600
Sony RX100 III at ISO 1600

Apart from the red-leaf and pink fabrics, the Canon G9X II comes out ahead here with better overall detail, similar noise levels, fewer noise reduction artifacts and much better color. Contrast is higher from the Sony, but fine detail in the mosaic crop looks smudged and somewhat "scorched" from the Sony here at ISO 1600.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony A5000 at ISO 1600

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 1600
Sony A5000 at ISO 1600

As expected, fine detail is better, sharpness and contrast are higher, and noise levels are lower from the A5000, however the Sony's noise reduction algorithm does generate some unwanted artifacts that make flatter areas look a little unnatural and more "processed". Colors are still more pleasing from the G9X II.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G9X at ISO 3200

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 3200
Canon G9X at ISO 3200

Noise levels in flatter areas look similar here at ISO 3200, however the G9X leaves behind a lot more noise in areas containing detail, obliterating finer elements and giving the image a stippled look. The G9X II on the other hand does a better job at removing noise while producing better contrast and leaving more fine detail intact, however it does generate some unwanted artifacts in the process. Both badly smear away almost all detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch though again the older G9X holds onto a bit more. The G9X II continues to offer better color. Again, a nice improvement overall compared to its predecessor.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Canon G7X Mark II at ISO 3200

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 3200
Canon G7X Mark II at ISO 3200

Once again, very similar image quality from the two current siblings at ISO 3200 though the G7X II still has a slight edge likely due to better performance from its lens at this focal length.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Panasonic LX10 at ISO 3200

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 3200
Panasonic LX10 at ISO 3200

The Panasonic LX10's noise reduction algorithm leaves behind slightly less noise in flatter areas, but it tends to generate rectilinear artifacts which look a little less natural than the G9X II's noise pattern or "grain". The LX10 does a little better in the fabrics but color and contrast are still better from the G9X II, and overall the Canon comes out ahead here.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 3200
Sony RX100 III at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, the Canon's image is a little grainier, but the grain pattern is quite fine and tight, giving the image more of a film-like appearance. The Sony on the other hand looks a bit cleaner but softer and more heavily processed, and its color isn't nearly as good as the Canon's. Both struggle with fine detail at this sensitivity, but overall we'd give the edge to the Canon here.

Canon G9X Mark II vs Sony A5000 at ISO 3200

Canon G9X Mark II at ISO 3200
Sony A5000 at ISO 3200

Again, the 24-megapixel APS-C A5000 comes out ahead in terms of noise, detail an contrast, but the advantage over the tiny G9X II is perhaps not as much as you would think. The A5000 does noticeably better in the red-leaf and pink fabrics, however much of the detail in the red-leaf swatch is heavily distorted.

Canon G9X Mark II vs. Canon G9X, Canon G7X Mark II, Panasonic LX10, Sony RX100 III, Sony A5000

Canon
G9X Mark II
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
G9X
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
G7X Mark II
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
LX10
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
RX100 III
ISO 125
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A5000
ISO 100
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. The G9X Mark II does noticeably better than its predecessor, with higher contrast even at base ISO, and better detail retention as well as lower noise as ISO rises. The G7X II's performance is similar, but slightly better (again, likely because of the lens). The Panasonic LX10 does very well at base ISO, but it also produces the most obvious sharpening halos. The LX10's performance at higher ISOs is good with less haloing, though contrast is a little lower than the pack. The RX100 III starts out well at base ISO with the least sharpening artifacts, though fine detail drops off a little more than the G9X II as sensitivity climbs. Unsurprisingly, the A5000 performs the best here, with low sharpening artifacts and the least drop off in quality as ISO is increased.

 

Canon G9X II Print Quality Analysis

Excellent, detail-rich prints up to 24 x 36 inches at ISO 125-200; Nice 8 x 10-inch prints at ISO 3200; and usable 5 x 7-inch prints at ISO 6400.

ISO 125 prints look really nice up to an impressively large 24 x 36 inches. With a 20MP 1-inch-type sensor, this is pushing the limits of the sensor's resolution, but prints up to this large size look great with lots of fine detail and pleasing, vibrant colors. In fact, 30 x 40-inch prints, though showing some pixelation upon close inspection, could be acceptable for wall display.

ISO 200 images look nearly identical to base ISO files, again, showing excellent detail and nice colors up to 24 x 36 inch prints. We only observed an extremely subtle decrease is low contrast details, mainly in our notorious red-leaf fabric swatch, but overall, it's hardly enough to impact print size.

ISO 400 prints display a slight increase in visible noise, though not to any severe degree. Still, 24 x 36-inch prints are a bit soft to our eye compared to the lower ISOs, so we're calling it at 20 x 30 inches for this ISO sensitivity. At this size, fine detail looks crisp and clean.

ISO 800 images begin to show more prominent noise, especially around darker, shadow areas. Noise is still fairly well controlled elsewhere, but it forces us to drop the maximum print size down to 13 x 19 inches. With careful post-processing or for less critical applications, a 16 x 20-inch print could be acceptable.

ISO 1600 prints show an expected increase in noise and a further, yet subtle, drop in fine detail compared to the previous ISO. Print sizes at ISO 1600 therefore top-out at 11 x 14 inches, with a 13 x 19 useful for less critical applications.

ISO 3200 images definitely show noise-related softness, which takes a toll on fine detail across the image -- and our red-leaf fabric swatch is practically devoid of detail. Therefore, the largest prints size we're comfortable with is 8 x 10 inches at this sensitivity, which is still quite impressive for a pocketable compact camera.

ISO 6400 prints are quite noisy, and noise-reduction processing definitely impacts fine detail. 5 x 7-inch prints are really the largest size we recommend at this ISO sensitivity.

ISO 12,800 images are much too soft and lacking in detail to really be useful for print making. Perhaps a 4 x 6-inch print could squeak by for less critical applications, but otherwise, we'd avoid this ISO for prints.

Like the larger PowerShot G7X II, the ultra-portable Canon G9X II sports a 20MP 1-inch-type CMOS sensor and faster DIGIC 7 image processor; up from the DIGIC 6 processor of the original G9X. Overall, the G9X II offers similar print quality performance to the G7X II, with subtle improvements in image quality at certain ISOs compared to the original G9X. At lower ISOs, the G9X II is capable of excellent, large prints up to 24 x 36 inches at ISO 125 and 200. In the midrange of ISOs, the G9X II begins to show some visible noise, but it remains very well controlled, allowing for prints up to 11 x 14 inches at ISO 1600. As the ISO is raised further, noise becomes more of an issue and impacts fine detail. However, we're still able to make usable prints up to 5 x 7 inches at ISO 6400. The G9X II's maximum ISO of 12,800, however, should be avoided for prints.

 



Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate