At CES 2012, Canon just announced what could be their answer to the emergence of compact cameras with interchangeable lenses: the Canon PowerShot G1 X.
Following the growing interest in compact cameras with interchangeable lenses such as the micro-4/3 from Olympus, the Panasonic, and the Sony NEX, Nikon launched the Nikon 1 series, a mirror-less hybrid camera with a relatively small sensor for the category. This approach is quite logical for a DSLR market leader that does not want to cannibalize its main product range.
With the G1 X, Canon took another approach to the market and decided that a point-and-shoot camera for photo enthusiasts needed a large sensor but no interchangeable lenses. And indeed, with a size of 18.7 x 14mm, the GI X’s sensor is only 20% smaller than Canon’s APS-C sensors. The GI X also features many manual controls to answer the control requirements of 5D Mark II or 7D owners (for whom Canon designed this camera). With this sensor size and resolution, the pixel pitch of the G1-X is very close to the 7D’s 18-Mpix sensor pitch, so it will be interesting to see how much progress Canon has made in the last 3 years.
The non-interchangeable lens offers quite a large focal range and should be quite versatile, while keeping the form-factor very compact. Let’s hope that Canon designed a good-quality lens for the G1 X, because as its name says, the lens can’t be changed....
In conclusion, the G1 X looks like a G-series camera on steroids, with a much bigger sensor. With an announced very reasonable price of $799, we will not be surprised if the G1 X reaches a larger market than simply demanding photographers. We are looking forward to testing the G1 X in our lab to see how well it takes advantage of its large sensor. We expect much better results than the Nikon 1 series, but how will it compare with the APS-C sensors of the Sony NEX-7?