It was only two weeks ago that I was at PhotoPlus in NYC having a first look at the G7X. At the Canon counter there were two cameras really grabbing for attention like a Kardashian within a mile of a flash. Coming as no surprise given the flood of promotion Canon’s been pushing for it was the 7D MkII, and much to my surprise was this little S series killer, the G7X.
The buzz of excitement around it and the rapid fire questions from the peanut gallery of photographers made it a tantalizing subject. Getting the camera in hand, however, was rather anticlimactic as I wasn’t able to do any shooting. Now though, I’ve had one in hand for a few days, and beginning to give it a work out to see if this really can do what Canon wants it to do – dethrone the Sony RX100.
First and foremost, Canon may call this a G series camera, but there’s no getting around the fact it’s an S line camera with a new name tag to go along with the promotion. This does have its own merits though, because anyone who has ever picked up an S-line will instinctively know how the G7X works. It has all the familiar hallmarks of the – actually, scratch that – for all intents and purposes it is identical in appearance to the S120.
To justify the additional cost and badge, a few finishing touches were added, such as the “selfie-ready” 3 inch capacity touchscreen with 1040k resolution, which so far, works really, really well. It allows for an ease of scrolling through images, picking autofocus, and even pinch zooming to check focus, and it does it without a shudder. It’s the first time a camera has been fitted with a touch screen that I’ve actually found useful. Then there is the exposure compensation dial, a slightly raised and decorated shutter button, and a bit more of a beefy feel.
As far as pocketable cameras go, it does feel good. It has some real heft, and the fact it’s not gone the route of an iPhone and been on a diet means it can be held with some confidence. The slightly textured surface on the front also aids in this, as it does the aesthetics.
Inside, the G7X does things a little better, on paper at least. It sports a 20.2MP 1” High-sensitivity CMOS sensor, built in ND filter, speedier autofocus with 31 focus points, and a manual movie mode which it can record full HD at 60p. Though good luck with that given the adjustment ring’s highly irritating clicking as it moves.
The biggest improvement, the one that really gives me a tickle, is the 24-100mm (35mm equiv) f/1.8-2.8 lens. This focal length racked out, and aperture at 2.8, combined with the 1 inch sensor give this little camera the ability to render some good defocused area allowing to shoot surprisingly pleasing portraits. This is something that’s been missing on too many a pocketable powerhouse.
As of this moment the G7X doesn’t have support from Adobe so you’ll have to get the updated beta Camera Raw to open them in Photoshop. That said, I’ve heard through the grapevine, cough, that Adobe is releasing a Lightroom update this week, which may or may not support it. Cough, cough.
Otherwise, shooting this is familiar territory, and in practice using the touchscreen to pick focus is actually brilliant, and the image stabilizer seems to be adequate even at 100mm at a shutter speed above 125. So on paper, it really does seem like a contender for the podium occupied by the Rx100 MK3, but I’ll really delve into that in the coming full review.
What I can say thus far is that right now, it actually has some advantages over the Rx100, but color rendition and white balance aren’t two of them. In the tests I’ve done, and they’ve been in a few challenging environments, the images are significantly too warm, or too green, which is a huge annoyance. Granted, going into set a custom white balance is a breeze, but it’s also a distraction. So, here are just a few sample images from this weekend.