Canon didn’t need to deliver a major overhaul of its excellent G7 X, and the upgrades in the G7 X II build on the original camera’s reputation, particularly the performance-boosting DIGIC 7 processor. The only disappointment is the continued absence of a viewfinder.
Cameras with a one-inch type sensor are a popular choice right now thanks to their superior image quality over most other compact cameras.
Sony and Panasonic have included them in their premium compact cameras, while the PowerShot G7 X Mark II from Canon is its latest camera to feature one of these chips. A 1.0-inch sensor is typically about 4x larger than the sensor in a typical small camera, which sees much better detail produced, while low-light shooting is also improved.
Canon G7x Mark II (Specs)
- Sensor: 20.1MP 1-inch CMOS sensor
- Lens: 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8
- Screen: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
- Viewfinder: N/A
- Burst shooting: 8fps
- Autofocus: 31-point AF
- Video: 1080p
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi and NFC
- Battery life: up to 265 shots
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Canon Powershot G7x Mark II: Features
The G7 X Mark II succeeds the G7 X in the middle of Canon’s high-end G series range of compact cameras. Not a huge amount has changed from the previous version, but there are some significant if incremental, updates. There’s still the same 20.1 million-pixel CMOS sensor and a 4x optical zoom lens that offers an equivalent focal length of 24-100mm and covers an aperture selection of f/1.8-f/2.8.
A couple of minor changes have been made to the exterior of the camera, but perhaps the biggest upgrade of note is the addition of a DIGIC 7 processor, the newest available in any Canon camera. This brings with it upgrades to shooting performance, including a faster burst shooting rate.
Full HD video recording is available, although there’s sadly no sign of 4K yet for Canon’s compact cameras. Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity is present, while the touch-sensitive screen tilts to enable shooting at awkward angles; however there’s no built-in viewfinder, and, with no hotshoe or accessory port, no option to add one either.
As with all of the other current Canon G-collection compacts you can record images in raw format, and manual exposure control can be acquired, along with semi-automatic exposure modes (aperture priority and shutter concern) and a collection of automatic settings.
Canon Powershot G7x Mark II: Build and Handling
Not too much has changed when it comes to the build and design of the G7 X II. It’s one of the smaller G-series cameras, and will just about fit in a loose jeans pocket. While it’s not as sleek as the PowerShot G9 X, there are compensations: the G7 X II’s tilting screen and longer focal length range.
However, being small the G7 X II does lose out on a built-in viewfinder, something the larger PowerShot G5 X incorporates. And both the Sony RX100 V and the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100 have found ways to include a viewfinder, so it’s a little disappointing not to have one here, especially given that this is a camera designed to appeal as a backup to your DSLR.
That said, the tilting screen is great. It’s bright, it isn’t unduly prone to reflections and it boasts a high resolution. It also tilts, so you can angle it out of direct sunlight if you need to, as well as framing shots from up high or down low, or flipping it for self-portraits. Although it’s not fully articulating, the ability to tilt the display downwards is an improvement over the original G7 X, and is helpful in some situations.
There are relatively few buttons and dials on the G7X II, and those that are present are all grouped together to make it easier to use the camera one-handed. On the top of the camera is a mode dial, which sits atop another dial that gives you quick access to setting exposure compensation.
The mode dial features manual and semi-automatic options, as well full auto, hybrid auto, scene and video modes. One option that’s missing from the previous iteration of the camera is ‘creative shot’ – perhaps Canon felt this wasn’t being used by the average enthusiast and decided to ditch it.
Around the G7 X II’s lens is a dial that you can assign to adjust one of a number of settings – the obvious choice would be aperture. The dial clicks as confirmation that it’s been moved, but there’s a switch under the lens to turn the click off if you’re trying to be discreet – another new feature.
Of the buttons on the back of the camera, a particularly useful one is marked with a Q. This brings up a quick menu on the rear screen which gives you access to a host of commonly used settings, such as file quality, ISO, white balance, metering and so on, saving you from having to delve into the main menu.
There’s also a virtual version of this button on the touchscreen, which you tap to access the same menu. This quick menu, along with the main menu, can be navigated either by touch or by using the physical buttons. To set the autofocus point you tap the desired area on the screen.
Canon Powershot G7x Mark II: Performance
In general the G7 X II produces accurate exposures, coping well with a range of conditions; I found I barely needed to touch the exposure compensation dial at all. The auto white balance also copes well with mixed or artificial lighting, producing accurate colors in most situations. The camera has a relatively modest, but useful, zoom range. Detail is maintained nicely throughout the focal length range, with pleasing image quality at the far reach of the telephoto optic. Two digital zoom options are available – the first is usable if you’re sharing images at small sizes, while the second is best avoided unless you’re really desperate to get a long shot. Battery life is improved, up to 265 shots per charge, a 25% increase on the G7 X.
Canon has introduced a series of small but significant improvements in the G7 X II which continue to make this series a very likeable alternative to a DSLR or other chunkier cameras. If you have the original G7 X you may not be tempted a great deal by this upgrade; but if you’re looking for a solid back-up camera, or replacing an older compact, the PowerShot G7 X Mark II is an even more attractive proposition than its predecessor.
It would have been nice to have seen a fully articulating screen in this model, but at least the display now tilts downwards, which adds a little more flexibility than before when shooting from some awkward angles. The addition of a DIGIC 7 processor makes the digital camera very fast in operation, with minimal shot-to-shot time and rapid playback. Battery life has also improved, so when taking the camera on your travels you can feel a bit more confident that it won’t die on you before the end of the day.