These days, with powerful smartphone cameras, it is less compelling to carry a separate compact camera for casual photography. This was what I discovered when I received the review unit of the Canon G7 X Mark II from Canon Singapore. I brought it around with me, but I ended up using my smartphone to shoot most of the time. The Canon G7X Mk2 can’t even capture stills while doing video, something that many smartphones could achieve in a blink. It also could only shoot Full HD, when its competitor, Sony RX100 IV (and the latest RX100 V), can already achieve 4K and 1/32000 sec slow-motion capture.
The auto exposure system seems to be similar too: the camera favours high auto ISO and fast shutter speed – like 1/1000s – for non-action scenes. I had to workaround this characteristic by shooting at shutter speed priority and capping the maximum auto ISO, not an issue since the G7X mk2 has a large aperture of f/1.8-2.8.
The biggest difference lies in the design. Canon G5X has a DSLR look with the electronic viewfinder, flash mount, and flip-out flash, swivel display. The new G7X looks more like a compact camera, the touchscreen display can only tilt 180-degrees upwards and 45-degrees downwards.
There are also fewer buttons, with the mode dial stacked above the EV dial.
The control ring is now able to remove the click so that it becomes stepless silky smooth. It also allows me to zoom in minor steps instead of fixed zoom markers on the G5X.
While I very much prefer to use the control ring to mimic optical zoom, it does not feel as responsive. When turning the ring quickly, the zoom action goes faster, and when turning slowly, the zoom motor snails, but if I speed up the turning, it does not zoom quickly, which is rather frustrating.
The feature that I continue to like is the Mobile Device Connection button at the right side of the camera. When pressed even at power off, the camera display activates Wi-Fi to allow other devices to connect. It was a breeze connecting to my LG G5 smartphone (review) and transferring photos for sharing.
The Hybrid Auto is also a great feature for consumers to explore. It automatically creates video collages for photos shot on each day. But I did not use this mode that often because I would not be able to shoot in RAW in this mode and I was not able to adjust the images exposure.
I also like that before deleting images, the touchscreen lets me decide whether to delete only RAW, only JPG, or both. This is great for saving storage, as I might only need some images as JPG.
Do head over to the Canon G5X review for other nice features that are also available on G7X mk2. Let the following photos speak for themselves.
Canon is conservative in exposure, and I find myself turning up the EV to expose the shadows more.
Depth of Field
You get the depth of field blur but no nice bokeh.
The G7X Mark II focuses fast and captures the scene in a flash.
Details and Sharpness
It’s hard to fault the camera when shooting street and landscape.
But if you want depth of field for street photography, you should get a DSLR.
No issues with handling night lights. The camera knows the scene should not be over-exposed.
Colour tones remain correct for stage photography. ISO noise is subtly removed. Optical image stabiliser allows me to snap this at Program mode without any exposure tweaks.
Under strong light, there are hints of chromatic aberations. But I prefer to focus on capturing the moment than be bogged down by imperfection. Such is the key purpose of a compact camera like Canon G7X Mark II. The ability to capture in RAW will allow me to fix that post-production anyway.
Except for a few instances of miscue (mostly in artificial warm fluorescent light situations), the white balance is generally accurate even for mixed lighting.
In general, the images handle high ISO rather well thanks in part to the 1-inch sensor, but I felt the images are slightly soft for close-up shots. Images look like they are shot with a prime lens in large aperture. I guess you could say the images look natural and not over-processed. General shots appear tact sharp. Overall, I could work the out-of-the-camera shots for social sharing, just increase contrast and sharpness and they are good to go. Alternatively, you can tweak the Picture Style to adjust sharpness strength, sharpness fineness, sharpness threshold, contrast, saturation, colour tone.
The S$799 Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II is a much more palatable option compared to the S$1000+ Sony RX100 series, with a handful of unique features to call its own. Features like Hybrid Auto give me reason to bring it around to journal my day’s events easily with auto video montage. Plus, the Canon’s 1-inch image sensor and optical zoom beats any smartphone hands-down. The retail package includes an external battery charger but the battery can also be charged in-camera with standard micro USB cable and charger, so you have one less gadget to bring during vacations.