Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark IV Review

Now we’ve reached the point when things start to get exciting! It has been almost two years since Sony caused a stir in the industry of small cameras by introducing their 1 “-type sensor into a truly portable and pocketable compact design. The Cyber-shot RX100 was designed to appear very similar to one of Canon’s high-end compacts from the S-series, but it utilized a sensor that was 2.8 times bigger to provide a significant improvement in image quality.

Surprisingly, Sony has not faced any competition in this market for more than two years, during which time it has successfully released two further iterations of the RX100 camera. With the introduction of the RX100 III, which included a more consistently brilliant (although shorter) zoom and an electronic viewfinder, the company was able to further distance itself from its rivals. The introduction of Canon’s PowerShot G7 X brings an end to their practically uncontested domination in the market.

Along the same lines as the RX100 III, the G7 X features a 1 “-type, 20-megapixel backside illumination (BSI) sensor coupled with an F1.8-2.8 zoom beginning at 24mm equivalent. Both of these cameras have a size that is comparable to one another and have feature sets that are largely analogous. This is excellent news for photographers since it indicates that Sony now faces legitimate competition for the first time.

Key characteristics of the PowerShot G7 X

  • 20MP 1 “-type BSI CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm)
  • 24-100mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 lens
  • Turning the control dial all the way around the lens
  • back touchscreen that can be flipped up.
  • Individual dial for adjusting exposure compensation
  • 3.0 “1.04m dot LCD (720 x 480 pixels)
  • ND filter already incorporated.
  • Wi-Fi integrated with NFC.

Canon is one of the only manufacturers to have consistently offered a dedicated enthusiast compact camera in its lineup, and with the arrival of the G7 X, it now offers four of these cameras: the S120, G16, G7 X, and G1 X Mark II. Each of these cameras offers a different balance of size, price, and capability than the others. The G7 X appears to be an S-series model due to its size and design, but it actually belongs in the G-series since it offers such a high level of direct control.

The camera’s combination of a touch screen, dedicated exposure compensation dial, and clicking control dial around the lens give a high degree of direct control for such a small camera. Additionally, Canon’s iterative, evolutionary approach to camera interfaces, along with a little time spent playing with the camera, suggests that it should work pretty well.

In the meanwhile, the information on the sensor clearly suggests that it utilizes Sony’s IMX183CQJ sensor. As a result, it may very well be able to equal the picture quality of the most recent RX100 series. In and of itself, it would already make it a noteworthy addition to the market. The size of the G7 X is comparable to that of the Sony, but it provides far more direct control options.

Structure & Aesthetics

The PowerShot G7 X seems to be quite similar to Canon’s previous flagship pocketable camera, the S120 when viewed from most angles. There is no grip, a matte black surface, and a rounded appearance; nonetheless, it is the only similarity between the two. The G7 X includes a metal body that has a more robust feel to it, an LCD that can be tilted, and a top plate that is more ornate and appealing than its predecessor. But we’ll go back to it in a second.

The AF illuminator on the G7 X is the sole noteworthy component of the camera, other than the lens. The back of the camera has a lot more controls, including the typical PowerShot control system, which consists of a rear dial that surrounds the four-way controller. The back is significantly busier than the front.

On the right side of the device, you’ll find a ‘Mobile Device Connect Button’ that, when pressed, will bring up the Wi-Fi menu. More information on these ports can be found on the following page. Here, the lens is set to its maximum telephoto setting. Both the release button for the pop-up flash and the NFC interaction point is located on the opposite side of the device. This shot was captured with the lens set at its widest angle setting.

Within your grasp

Because the PowerShot G7 X does not have a grip as the S-series PowerShots do, holding it might seem a little bit risky at times. Even though there is a rest for the thumb on the back of the device, users with large fingers still need to be careful not to push any buttons by accident.

The top of the camera.

The GX 7 appears to be a little chunkier version of the S120, but it comes equipped with controls of a higher quality and a dial for exposure correction. On the left, you can see the flash, which has been crushed at this location. Although Canon does not specify what ISO level it uses, the greatest distance it can capture is seven meters.

You’ll find the microphone and the speaker immediately next to it, and the power button will be to the right of the speaker. The zoom controller is located around the release button of the camera. The mode dial can be found all the way to the right and is quite comparable to the one found on the S120 and the G1 X II. The exposure compensation dial may be found directly below it.

Additionally, you can get an excellent view at the control dial that encompasses the lens in this location. This “clicky” dial, exactly like the one on the S120, may be used to zoom in or out, manually focus the camera, or modify any other setting you choose.

Touchscreen LCD

The LCD of the G7 X can be tilted upward by 180 degrees, making it ideal for taking selfies and other such photos.

It should come as no surprise that the 3″ LCD on the G7 X can be tilted. In addition, given that everyone enjoys taking pictures of themselves, it can rotate all the way up to 180 degrees, making it ideal for capturing self-portraits. The display has a resolution of 720 by 480, which results in a total of 1,040,000 dots being shown.

Focusing, releasing the shutter, navigating the menu, and playing back images are all examples of functionality that may be accessed using the touchscreen.

Auto ISO

Auto ISO on the G7 X offers a good degree of customization, allowing you to specify the maximum sensitivity as well as select from three different ‘Rate of Change’ settings that affect the minimum shutter speed the camera will use before increasing the ISO in light-limited situations. This gives you more control over how the camera responds to changing lighting conditions.

The ‘Rate of Change’ options progresses from slow to standard to ‘fast’ in order from least to most rapid. Slow will allow for shutter rates that can potentially still be handed, however fast will push the ISO to its highest level for unexplained reasons, which can result in shutter speeds that are far faster than necessary.

Because the G7 X includes a separate dial for exposure compensation, it is still possible to employ exposure compensation even when the camera is set to M mode and Auto ISO. And in a manner that is not only simple but also kind to the body. When taking pictures in this manner, exposure compensation only has an effect on the ISO that the camera chooses automatically (since the shutter speed and aperture are set by the user).

If you want to get the JPEG appearance you want or to ensure highlight detail is captured if you plan to post-process the Raw file, applying negative exposure compensation means you retain control of the brightness of the image even though the camera is setting the sensitivity. This can be done either to get the JPEG appearance you want or to ensure highlight detail is captured.

Controls

The PowerShot G7 X’s controls are almost exactly the same as those found on the PowerShot S120, the camera’s more affordable brother. The exposure compensation dial, which is located below the mode dial, is the one and only exception to this rule. On the G7 X, the ‘clicky’ dial that surrounds the lens and the Ring Func button that is located on the rear panel are the two controls that are capable of being personalized. Adjusting the shutter speed or aperture is the only function of the back dial.

Features

In spite of the fact that it is a high-end PowerShot, the G7 X retains the majority of the functionality of lower-end Canon cameras like the S120. They come with a Smart Auto mode that can determine the appropriate settings for the scenario, as well as a Hybrid Auto function that may record brief video clips (lasting between 2-4 seconds) before each shot is taken.

These segments are eventually compiled into what is called a “digest movie.” The face identification and scene detection capabilities of the camera are so powerful that they can differentiate between a sleeping baby and a baby that is smiling.

The Creative Shot option will capture six images in a succession and then apply a variety of color effects to them. These color effects include natural, vintage, monochromatic, and unique. HDR (High Dynamic Range), the tiny effect, and backdrop defocus are examples of special effects that are becoming increasingly widespread.

When the screen is flipped over for the purpose of taking a self-portrait, the Smart Shutter scene mode will capture a photo if the person grins or winks at the camera. Both of these expressions are appropriate for the situation. In addition to that, there is a face self-timer option that waits for another person (presumably the photographer) to enter the viewfinder before taking the picture.

Wi-Fi

Even though Canon offers a great collection of Wi-Fi options, the execution of those functions leaves a lot to be desired. There are two different ways that a camera and a smartphone may be paired together. You have the option of connecting both of your devices to the same public network or creating a separate Ad Hoc network between the two of them.

If your mobile device is equipped with NFC, touching it on the underside of the G7 X will launch the Canon CameraWindow app. If you do not already have the software, hitting it will send you to the Google Play Store so that you may get it. (That’s all that NFC does; you can’t touch to transfer photographs as you do with cameras made by companies like Sony.) Those who possess iPhones (including the iPhone 6), including themselves, will need to manually download the software from the App Store.

You have to make sure that both of your devices are connected to the same network before you can push the button labeled “Mobile Device Connect Button” that is located on the right-hand side of the camera.

After you have successfully connected, you will be able to use the CameraWindow (CW) app to remotely control the camera, view, and transfer photographs, and send location data recorded by the phone (you must turn on this feature in the CW app first).

The PowerShot G1 X II enlightened us to the simplicity of remote capture, which we were able to test out. You have control over the zoom, can choose where the camera will focus and can activate the self-timer, but that’s about it. In this respect, Canon unquestionably has to perform at a higher level.

You need to register for Canon Image Gateway before you are able to upload photographs and videos to online social networking sites or send them via email. The idea of CIG is that it will continue to function normally even if the API used by the provider (for example, Facebook) is updated. You have the option of uploading photographs to Canon’s own cloud service, as well as to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Google Drive, as well as sending them via email.

When integrating picture and video sharing services, Canon Image Gateway may be an extremely unpleasant experience. You get a two-page list of alternatives that we believe will confuse the majority of users. On some other manufacturer’s applications, it simply says “put the images in a Facebook album that only friends can access.” However, this app provides you with a list of possibilities that spans two pages (check out this screenshot to see what we mean).

After you have completed the first configuration steps for CIG, you will find that moving forward is much simpler. You may access a list of online services that you have established by using the four-way controller and pressing the button labeled “up.” After that, you’ll be able to pick the photographs or movies that you wish to move.

There is an option for you to add a remark or description to the images that you are uploading, however, it will be applied to each and every one of your uploaded photos. You also have the option of configuring the camera to upload newly captured pictures to the cloud service provided by CIG immediately after they are shot. When you take the camera home, it will automatically transfer the photos to your computer; alternatively, you may use the software that comes packed with the camera to download them manually.

Video

The movie mode of the PowerShot G7 X is not quite as advanced as those on some of its competitors, particularly the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III from Sony. The highest possible resolution while utilizing the MP4 format is 1080/60p, and the bit rate is 34 Mbps. Contrast that with the most recent iteration of the RX100, which supports the XAVC S codec and has a bit rate of 50Mbps. The resolutions 1080/30p, 720/30, and VGA are all considered to be lower. On the G7 X, there is no 24p option that may be selected.

The touchscreen is the sole method of control available when the camera is filming a movie. This includes the capability to tap anywhere on the screen to urge the camera to change its focus. Having said that, doing so will prevent you from accessing parameters like the exposure compensation dial on the camera.

The moment you press the red button,’ the video recorder will immediately begin to capture footage in all shooting modes

If you are not currently using the mode that is specifically designed for movies, there will be a momentary wait as the G7 X adjusts the aspect ratio.

When you push the [REC] button in most settings, the amount of control you have over the outcomes is rather restricted. You only have control over the brightness, AE lock, and switching between autofocus and manual focus because the camera decides on the focus, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings (though you cannot manually adjust the focus during video recording).

You are able to activate manual exposure adjustment inside the mode specifically designed for movies. In addition to the AEL and the AF/MF toggle, this provides access to the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings of the camera. You then lose control over the brightness, which means that even while you may set your shutter speed and aperture and let Auto ISO handle the brightness, you are unable to fine-tune it. This is a frustrating aspect of the situation.

Performance

Completeness of the Task at Hand

The performance of the PowerShot G7 X is more of a mixed bag than anything else, with a tendency toward the lower end of the range. The initialization process takes 1.3 seconds, which is quite standard for a tiny camera. Autofocus is a major letdown for a camera in this price range, as you will see in a moment, and you should prepare yourself for that.

Delays from one shot to the next are also not ideal. When shooting in Superfine JPEGs, there is approximately a one-second delay, while shooting in Raw or Raw+JPEG results in a two-second delay. And this is with a card that can write at speeds of up to 250 megabytes per second. This delay has an impact on bracketing since the amount of time that passes in between each photo is sufficient for your composition to shift in a discernible way.

The sluggish user interface is just another aggravating aspect of the situation. As with other recent PowerShot models, the G7 X sometimes becomes unresponsive when you are exploring the function menu or modifying settings using the direct buttons. This happens because the camera is waiting for the animations to finish rendering before continuing. In this section of our handling video, you will be able to observe the several button clicks that are required to cancel out the continuous shooting option.

Autofocus

The autofocus rates of this high-end compact camera are slow in comparison to those of its competitors. The G7 X is significantly slower than its closest competition, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III, and the newly released Lumix DMC-LX100 from Panasonic is also significantly speedier. The performance in low light is not very good either.

Another thing that took me by surprise was how frequently the G7 X showed the “yellow box of doom,” which indicates that the camera could not lock the focus. Even while it was more prevalent when there was less light, it happened more often than one would think even when there was plenty of light.

Shooting in a Constant Stream

On the G7 X, there are three different continuous shooting modes: one that locks focus and exposure on the first shot, two that enable live view, one with autofocus and the other in manual focus mode, and one that locks focus and exposure on subsequent shots.

The focus mode of the camera will determine which of the latter two choices (named Continuous [AF] and Continuous [LV]) are available to the user. Canon promotes rates of 6.5 frames per second for the first model and 4.4 frames per second for each of the subsequent two models (JPEG only – Raw numbers are not provided).

Battery capacity

Battery life is one arena in which the Canon PowerShot G7 X is unable to compete with other cameras. In comparison to the Sony RX100 III, which can take 320 pictures on a single charge, this camera only has a CIPA-standard capacity of 210 photographs when fully charged. Both cameras utilize batteries that are 4.5Wh in capacity.

Therefore, it is evident that Sony is doing a better job of optimizing the amount of power that it uses. Although the CIPA battery figures do not necessarily tell you how many shots you will get from each charge, they do give a good idea of how different models compare to one another. This is because the number of shots you will get from each charge will depend on factors such as how often you use the flash.

There is an “Eco” option available on the G7 X, which turns the LCD backlight off after ten seconds after it has been dimmed for two. After three minutes, the camera will automatically turn off. This brings the total number of shots per charge up to 310, making it more competitive with other models.

Quality of the Image

The image quality of the PowerShot G7 X is, thankfully, significantly improved over that of its predecessor. The exposure was spot on the majority of the time, and if it wasn’t, there is a dedicated dial conveniently located nearby. The degree of sharpness will always be determined by the focal length and aperture of the camera, and we discovered that the sweet spot for sharpness is between 35 and 85 millimeters. When you are at the maximum telephoto setting, everything will be quite soft; to bring the sharpness back, you will need to stop down to F4 or smaller.

The colors of the G7 X really stand out, which is not uncommon for tiny cameras. The camera’s built-in neutral density filter expands the range of possibilities of the device, making it possible for a photographer to shoot photographs in bright daylight such as the one below.

North Fork Falls is located in Bellevue, Washington. ISO 125, 1 sec, f/8, 24mm equiv.
Noise reduction is handled in a cautious manner by Canon, which means that fine detail is preserved up until the very highest sensitivities. When you get to that stage, switching to Raw will allow you to recover some of the detail that was lost in the “mush.” On the G7 X, using Raw is recommended for more than just this one reason. The dynamic range of the sensor is sufficient enough to enable you to recover quite a bit of detail from the darker areas of the image.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X is able to shoot video at 1080p/60 frames per second; however, the Panasonic LX100 and the Sony RX100 are superior to it in terms of both the number of functions and the overall quality. Manual exposure adjustment, focus peaking, and the H.264 codec are all available on the G7 X, which also has a bit rate of 35Mbps. The 3 “rack focusing is made extremely simple by the touchscreen display; nevertheless, manual focusing is not an option after the record button has been pressed. Support for video at 24 frames per second (p) is another feature that is oddly absent from the G7 X.

Even while the PowerShot G7 X and the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III utilize the same sensor, this does not guarantee that the quality of the photos taken by either camera will be the same. The lenses and the image processing technologies used by these two cameras are extremely different from one another. To put that into perspective, the G7 X more than lives up to our anticipations of what a camera with a 1 “possesses the capability of doing.

Unprocessed Enhancements

The advantages of raw food have, by this point, been brought to everyone’s attention. Raw gives you the ability to make adjustments to the white balance after the fact, without having any impact on the picture that was taken in the first place. The same goes for exposure, sharpness, lens adjustments, and noise reduction.

Raw Dynamic Range

In recent years, we’ve witnessed improvements in sensor development that have effectively shown themselves as a more Raw dynamic range, which is likely most readily understood as “processing latitude.” In other words, the Raw dynamic range has increased. The majority of the time, these variations in the sensor performance are not discernible in the JPEGs produced by the cameras.

Specifications

Body typeCompact
Sensor
Max resolution5472 x 3648
Other resolutions5472 x 3080, 4864 x 3648, 4320 x 2880, 4320 x 2432, 3840 x 2880, 2304 x 1536, 2048 x 1536, 1920 x 1080, 720 x 480, 720 x 408, 640 x 480
Image ratio w:h4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
Sensor size1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 6
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 125-12800
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuper fine, fine
File formatJPEG (EXIF v2.3)Raw (Canon CR2, 12-bit)
Image parametersContrastSharpnessSaturationRed/Green/BlueSkin tone
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)24–100 mm
Optical zoom4.2×
Maximum apertureF1.8–2.8
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Normal focus range5 cm (1.97″)
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97″)
Number of focus points31
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed40 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Exposure modesAutoHybrid AutoProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManualCustomMovieCreative FiltersSceneCreative Shot
Scene modesPortraitSmart ShutteStarHandheld Night SceneUnderwaterSnowFireworks
Built-in flashYes
Flash range7.00 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, on, slow synchro, off
Continuous drive6.5 fps
Self-timerYes (2 0r 10 secs, custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Videography notesAlso has star time-lapse. miniature effect, and digest modes
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notesimage sharing via Canon Image Gateway
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNB-13L lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA)210
Weight (inc. batteries)304 g (0.67 lb / 10.72 oz)
Dimensions103 x 60 x 40 mm (4.06 x 2.36 x 1.57″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (star time-lapse)
GPSNone

Final Verdict

Canon has broken into a market segment that has previously been controlled by Sony by releasing the PowerShot G7 X, which has caused a great deal of enthusiasm among camera enthusiasts. Canon opted for the superior Sony 20MP BSI-CMOS sensor and enhanced the camera with a longer lens that maintains its speed, making it a good choice for portraits. Unfortunately, the G7 X fails to impress in terms of its performance, usability, and battery life, as was previously said.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Excellent picture quality
  • LCD is able to rotate upwards by 180 degrees.
  • Customizable front dial
  • The combination of the sensor and the lens enables an extremely small depth-of-field.
Need Improvement
  • Short life of the battery
  • No 24p video option
  • The ability to focus might be sporadic.
  • Slow shooting rates both continuously and between individual shots when using raw photos

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