Canon PowerShot G1 X Brings Mirrorless Image Quality To G-Series

2012 PMA Canon Featured Mirrorless News Point and Shoot Videos

Canon PowerShot G1 X Brings Mirrorless Image Quality To G-SeriesCanon introduced a surprising new high-end compact camera today, the 14.3-megapixel PowerShot G1 X. I’ve been criticizing Canon’s high-end G-Series compact cameras for the past couple of years. I believe that with the current interchangeable lens camera options out there, a camera the size of the Canon G12 should have better image quality and changeable lenses. But I am not going to criticize the 2012 model. The new Canon PowerShot G1 X is a big departure from previous G-Series compacts in that it has a huge (for a compact camera) 1.5-inch 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. That’s a new sensor format that’s over 6 times larger than the 1/1.7-inch G12 sensor and larger than the Four Thirds sensors used in the Panasonic Lumix G and Olympus Pen Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras. More sensor real estate almost always means better image quality and Canon claims the new G1 X sensor is, “delivering approximately nine times more light sensitivity and helping to produce amazing depth-of-field and high-quality images in tough low-light conditions.”

Canon PowerShot G1 X High-End Compact Digital Camera

The new 1.5-inch CMOS sensor is the star of this show but the G1 X also uses Canon’s top-end DIGIC 5 image processor and HS system for even better low light image quality. The lens is a 4x 28-112mm (equivalent) f/2.8-5.8 optical zoom and the camera also has full HD video, an optical viewfinder, flash hot shoe, a 3-inch 922k-dot tilt-swivel LCD display and a front dial for digital SLR-like manual exposure control. It also has a full range of exposure controls and 14-bit RAW+JPEG shooting. One tradeoff of the new, larger sensor is the camera is a bit larger – about a quarter-inch taller, half-an-inch thicker and slightly taller. It’s also about a quarter-pound heavier. But that’s a small price to pay for what will definitely be seriously improved image quality.

The bottom line here is that the new sensor puts the Canon G-Series into a new class of cameras. The G1 X competes with high-end compact mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Olympus Pen, Panasonic Lumix G and the Fujifilm X100, not point-and-shoot cameras. With a sensor that’s larger than those in the Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras, I’d bet good money that the G1 X will have better image quality than those cameras. No, you can’t change the lens but there is a tele-converter available and I don’t think Canon would put a crappy lens on a camera of this caliber. The new sensor also opens the door for Canon to introduce an interchangeable lens compact system camera powered by the new 1.5-inch sensor. That would be the logical thing for them to do, in my opinion. If the image quality is as good as they’re saying, I think that would be a very, very successful camera.

Here’s a video intro of the G1 X from the Canon Europe Web site:

The Canon PowerShot G1 X is making its public debut at the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas this week and it’s sure to be a big hit with photographers, gadget geeks and the general public. I’m really pleased to see Canon moving their G-Series back into the leading position where it belongs. The G1 X should be in stores in February (2012) and the suggested retail price is $799.99.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Press Release >>

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Photo-John says:

    Ha ha – can you expound on that a bit, Patia? Would you like to add an, “ahhhh.” :-D

  • francois says:

    I’m a G series guy so of course I’m interested. How does it compare to the $500 G12 predecessor? How about the $850 Nikon V1.

  • Photo-John says:

    The image quality is going to destroy the G11, G12 and the Nikon 1 cameras. The auto focus is a bit of an unknown but my guess would be that the Nikon has the GX 1 beat there because it beats pretty much everything but a real DSLR in that respect.

  • mary davis says:

    is there a built in flash

  • Photo-John says:

    That’s a very good question, Mary, since you can’t actually see one on the camera. I checked the Canon site and the camera specs indicate there is a built-in flash. I believe it’s a pop-up flash on the left side of the camera (right side of photo), behing the Canon logo.

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