Canon Creates Its Own Space In The Marketplace With The G1 X
Small camera, surprisingly large sensor
By Dan Carr | January 10, 2012
With the mirrorless camera market undeniably in expansion Canon have been the only major manufacturer not to join the party. Nikon took their time with the 1-Series and rather than battling it out with Olympus, Panasonic and Sony they decided to create their own space for the V1 and J1 cameras by implementing a much smaller sensor than Micro Four Thirds (or APS-C in the case of the Sony NEXs). This was a smart move on Nikons part as it likely prevented 1-series sales from cannibalizing lower end DSLR sales. What Canon have chosen to do though is entirely differentâ¦
I don't often write about compact camera systems here on ProPhotoColition, let alone so-called point & shoot cameras. While the new Canon G1 X appears to have roots in the old G-Series that many know and love, there is one major difference, sensor size. The old G10, G11, G12 cameras were point and shoot cameras, there is no doubt about that. In the past couple of years their sales dwindled with the introduction os the Powershot S-Series cameras which featured largely the same internals and sensors but in a much smaller package than the G-Series. Canon needed to make a radical change and they did. The G1 X features a sensor that is 16% larger than a M 4/3 sensor and only marginally smaller than an APS-C sensor, fully 6.3 times larger than the sensor found in the previous G12. Essentially Canon have created the first mirrorless camera with a fixed zoom lens.
The camera is being marketed by Canon fairly heavily as the pro's compact camera of choice. The perfect partner to a 1D X or other pro body. Is this a smart move ? I think it is. Pros tend to want to keep a camera on them at all times and are rarely satisfied by the quality of point and shoot cameras. The boom of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras was interesting for me as I longed for something better than my P&S but I never found the right solution in the first couple of years. I just didn't want to buy into a whole new system with a whole other set of lenses, it just seemed too redundant. Then Fuji came along with the X100 and it's APS-C sensor with fixed lens. I jumped on it and I have been very happy. A simple, quality solution that didn't require me to buy multiple lenses. The one drawback being of course that the fixed lens is very wide and sometimes limiting in that respect.
With the Canon G1 X though you will conceivably get comparable image quality and ISO performance but with a 28-112mm zoom lens. For me this IS an attractive proposition and I'm excited to try one out in the real world. The Fuji's UI is terrible, as is the AF system and these are both areas where I expect the Canon to be much better. It shoots 1080p video and offers all the manual control that anyone could ask for in a camera. On top of that is is also much cheaper at $799. Now I don't want to draw direct comparisons between the G1 X and the X100 , I'm merely mentioning it as this is what I have. In reality most people will be choosing between this and a M4/3 camera with a kit lens, where they intend the kit lens to remain on the camera for the duration of it's life.
Like I said, it takes a special type of compact camera for me to decide that our predominantly pro audience needs to know more about it! The G1 X is an intriguing camera though and I think Canon have the right idea trying to market it to those people who already own DSLR systems and want an 'everyday' compare camera. You don't often get a surprise in the industry these days with so many leaks on camera specifications. The launch of the G1 X was a nice surprise and I applaud Canon for going in a different direction and making their own room in the crowded lower end of the market. Stay tuned in the future for a more detailed report on this camera, I'll definitely be picking one up to keep in my pocket.
- 1.5" 14.3 MP CMOS, DIGIC 5, HS System
- Compact 4x zoom; Intelligent IS
- 7.5 cm (3.0") vari-angle LCD; OVF
- Full Manual, RAW, DPP
- Full HD, HDMI
- High-speed Burst HQ
- Smart Auto
- Extensive accessories
- HDR mode and ND filter
- Optional 40m waterproof case
- Price $799
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