Canon PowerShot G1X Review

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Camera Review
Introduction | Canon PowerShot G1X sensor performance | Canon G1X, the best compact cameras | Canon G1 vs Fuji X100 | Canon G1X vs hybrid cameras | Canon PowerShot G1 X lens review | Conclusion

Canon PowerShot G1 X lens

Our protocol doesn't make it possible to accurately measure the lens transmission on non-interchangeable lenses. So we won't be publishing this measure for the Canon G1 X.

With a DxOMark score of 15, the performance of the Canon PowerShot G1 X lens is comparable to that of kits lenses for APS-C and even for full-frame cameras.

The G1 X’s strong points:

- Good uniform sharpness across the field at 15mm
- Tolerable distortion between focal lengths from 31mm to 60mm
- Absence of vignetting across 2/3 of the field, regardless of focale length and aperture.
- Chromatic aberrations are absent or negligeable between focal lengths from 21mm to 44mm.

The weak points:

- Poor sharpness along the edges starting at the 21mm focal length.
- Chromatic aberrations are visible at the two focal length extremes (15mm and 60mm)

While testing, we found a significant difference in the degree of distortion between JPEG format and CR2 (RAW) format images, due to the former having undergone an automatic, internal correction while still in the camera. The RAW image is significantly impacted by this defect, which peaks at 15mm:

degree of distortion between JPEG format and CR2 (RAW) format images
Left: JPEG (corrected) image at 15mm f/4. Right: CR2 image at 15mm f/4.

When shooting, the preview screen displays only the corrected (JPEG) version. Keep this in mind when shooting in RAW: what you see is not what you’re going to get without processing.

Canon PowerShot G1 X vs Canon EOS 7D

This comparison is interesting because the two sensors have an identical pixel pitch of 4.16µm. In fact, thanks to its slightly larger sensor, the 7D performs better in low light. But the curves for SNR 18%, dynamic range, and color sensitivity in screen mode show that both sensors have pixels of equivalent quality.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s compare the G1 X lens with other lenses mounted on the Canon EOS 7D.

Canon PowerShot G1 X lens vs Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II vs Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM mounted on a Canon EOS 7D

With a DxOMark score of 15 points, the G1 X is much better than many other kit lenses (such as the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II).

The advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X lens:

  • A larger maximum aperture.
  • Vignetting is absent on most of the field, with less dark edges.
  • Less affected by chromatic aberrations.
  • When retracted, the lens is ultra-compact.

The advantages of the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II:

  • Good sharpness.
  • Good distortion correction.

The advantages of the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM:

  • Good sharpness.
  • Good distortion correction.
  • Wider focal range.

With the PowerShot G1 X, Canon proposes a quality alternative to such entry-level SLRs as the Canon EOS 1100D, for example.

Canon PowerShot G1 X vs Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus PEN EPL2

Canon PowerShot G1 X lens vs Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. mounted on a Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ mounted on an Olympus PEN EPL2

The advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X lens:

  • Brighter.
  • Well-controlled vignetting.
  • Very good handling of chromatic aberrations.
  • A compact lens.

The advantages of the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.:

  • Superior resolution.
  • A compact lens.

The advantages of the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ:

  • Good correction of distortions.
  • Well-controlled vignetting.

The Canon G1 X lens performs better overall than these other micro 4/3 lenses. The G1 X’s only drawback is that its resolution is better only for its first two focal lengths and when under f/5.6.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Vs Nikon 1 V1

Canon PowerShot G1 X lens vs Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 mounted on a Nikon 1 V1

The advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X lens:

  • Clearly superior sharpness.
  • A brighter lens.
  • A more compact lens.

The advantages of the Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6:

  • Better-corrected distortion.
  • Less vignetting.

No surprise here: the Canon PowerShot G1 X is clearly ahead of the Nikon 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, given that its sensor resolution is larger. (This said, there is really nothing wrong with the Nikon lens, particularly in terms of distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberrations.)

The Canon PowerShot G1 X is a powerful lens. This high-end compact can readily replace an APS-C camera and kit lens, and it has better overall optical quality than many hybrid camera kit lenses.