The Canon G1X Experience

Discussion in 'Canon G1X / G7X Forum' started by Luckypenguin, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    We don't really seem to have an appropriate forum for this camera, so the Small Sensor Canon Forum will have to do, lol.

    I've had my G1X for about a week now, and so far the relationship is progressing well. This camera is quite significant for me since it is only the third time in my life that I have bought a brand new camera, with the last time being a Canon EOS 350D back in 2005. I've been waiting for a large sensor Canon compact for almost two years now and despite some initial doubts about it being a fixed-lens camera I decided to take the plunge. The best way that I can describe the G1X is that it is not a baby EOS but rather a hotted-up G Series with a big engine under the hood. In a sense that is something of a disappointment since an EOS is a camera that just gets on with the job without any fuss, whereas a G Series is still a compact camera at heart.

    Two thing really stand out for me which make the camera's foibles easier to forgive: Handling/ergonomics and image quality. I've always loved the feel and handling of the G Series and the addition of the fully articulated screen made it close to perfect for me, but I have to profess that I never could quite reconcile the sensor performance with the promises made by the body. The G1X blows all of those doubts away.

    I wasn't really intending this to be review and there are already plenty of them out there (including Amin's review here at Seriouscompacts). Instead I'll just add some various thoughts about the camera and post some of the images to go with them. I should add that I won't be posting OOC images here. For me I find it just as instructional to see how a camera responds to processing as much as I do to see the images that come directly out of it. More so actually, since I will literally process every image I choose to keep to varying degrees.

    Some colour to start with...


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    So far the only direct RAW support I have available is the proprietary Canon DPP software. This is reasonable good if basic software and the images can be exported as tifs for further editing, but there are few tricks I've found in using it. Being Canon's own software, DPP knows exactly what camera a file came from and applies it's own profile based on the camera settings used. In my opinion DPP uses too much noise reduction, and I could probably say the same about the in-camera jpeg engine as well. The difference is not great, but I prefer to wind back the NR sliders by half and retain a bit of grain, of which there is very little at reasonable ISOs anyway. Doing this also unleashes the detail that this camera and lens is capable of producing. I'll also post a few 100% crops as well.

    I don't know if the G1X will turn out to be quite as popular as it's cheaper forebears, which would be a shame because aside from the excessive mimimum focus distance it is a better camera in almost every way that matters to me. For what it's worth it is receiving not quite as bad a reception on the DPReview forums as the Nikon 1 did, but not by much. My favourite so far is claiming the camera will cause you to miss opportunities compared to various other compact cameras because you have to remove the lens cap manually. Oh, dear...

    So far, so good :thumbup:
     
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  2. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    Nice review, Nic. And the shots are great and the colours lovely. They come up magnificently on my new ipad!
     
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  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Thanks, Sue! In the absence of RAW support with my current software these have come through "Digital Photo Professional" as CR2 files and then PS CS3 and Color Efex as tiff files. I have found in the past with my Canon DSLRs that they take very well to some of the more vibrant Color Efex film simulations (with the faux grain turned off in this instance), and the G1X is no different.

    BTW, I think I remember you saying that you had tried out a G1X in a camera store. What did you think of it at the time?
     
  4. pictogramax

    pictogramax SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    963
    Aug 18, 2011
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Thanks for your impressions, Nic, I really liked your write up from the actual user's point of view.

    I'm following the G1X as it seems like a long-awaited replacement for my (now dead) Pro1. Minus the macro capability, sadly, but I could live with that. How would you describe the debated "sluggish" overall performance of camera? Do you really find it restricting, or it just isn't as fast as the fastest out there?

    Your samples look great, BTW:)
     
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  5. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks for this 'no frills' user review Nic. The pics look good with nice colour.
     
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  6. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Hey, thanks for your comments. If you're familiar with the operation of any of the recent G Series cameras from the G10 onwards, then you'll know exactly how fast the G1X responds for AF, write speeds, playback, etc. In the last few years Micro 4/3 has set the bar very high for optimising the performance of live view operation and CDAF speed. Perhaps the Nikon 1 as well, although my experience with that camera has been limited to trying a demo model in store but it did seem very responsive. I find the responsiveness of the G1X to be okay for how I expected to use it, but certainly not state-of-the-art.

    Your mention of macro capability could well be a sticking point for some people. Even in the short time I have been using the camera there have been a few occasions where I had to switch to the macro focus mode in what seemed like it should be a fairly normal situation. Do not even consider this camera if you want to use it for close-ups, although I have read that there either are or soon will be lens adapters available that will allow the use of close-up lens filters, presumably including Canon's own 250D and 500D.
     
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  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Thanks Bill. I'm quite happy with how it handles colour. The image output actually strongly reminds me of the old 12MP EOS 450D, and is just a little bit different to that of the 15MP 50D and 500D models that I am more familiar with in recent times. The 450D had a very light AA filter which gave a higher per-pixel resolution than the 50D and 500D but was also just a little bit shorter in dynamic range. Until I get a chance to use Adobe Camera RAW I couldn't make a definitive comment on the G1X's DR as I am not yet sure if DPP is capable of the same highlight recovery.

    Just a note on the G1X's raw and jpeg output as well. For some strange reason Canon seems to assume that you are either a jpeg shooter or a raw shooter, but not both. As soon as you select the "raw + jpeg" option all of the jpeg tuning options are turned off and the camera will default to a basic, non-adjustable jpeg profile. If you prefer shooting jpegs but like to have raws for emergency backup you are out of luck if you don't like the standard jpeg. This seems a bit daft to me and this feature (or lack thereof) should go straight to the top of the list for firmware update v1.1.
     
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  8. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Real Name:
    Kyle Krug
    Thanks for the impressions and images, Nic. I have liked the color quite a bit when seeing these pop up on your flickr stream.
     
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  9. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Great little insight you your G1x. I am watching this camera closley as I think it could be a replacement for the 550D of mine. The only think that bugs me is the lack of decent Macro. If it had that then i think i would be sold. The image quality is certainly there and to me that is THE most important thing about any camera. One 'problem' I have with Canon is the lack of 'feel' from their images. M4/3 and the X10 have something about the images that look almost film like but Canon's images are too clinical, as good as they are, still it produces great IQ and i guess it's up to me to add the 'sparkle!.

    I'm going to wait and see where the price goes with this one, hopefully it will drop to a reasonable amount in the next few months.

    By the way, How does it cope in getting bokeh backgrounds? Some say it's hard??
     
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  10. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    What I found was that the images on the LCD didn't do justice to them.
    When I got home and went through the computer what I thought had been overexposed by looking at the LCD ( although the histogram showed correctly ) came out about right.
    Here's a few quick samples that I've run through Snapseed - mainly just sharpen and border.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7039475037/" title="IMG_1162.JPG by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_1162.JPG"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7039175205/" title="IMG_1227_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_1227_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7039174171/" title="IMG_1221_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_1221_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7039154739/" title="IMG_0794_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="668" alt="IMG_0794_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/6893063116/" title="IMG_0921_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"948" height="1024" alt="IMG_0921_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7039157751/" title="IMG_0867_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_0867_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/6893046378/" title="IMG_0659_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="434" alt="IMG_0659_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/6893054228/" title="IMG_0781_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_0781_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/6893076108/" title="IMG_1069_Snapseed by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_1069_Snapseed"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7035374209/" title="IMG_0949 by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_0949"></a>
    My first attempt at posting using Flickr!
     
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  11. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    Julien
    Some really nice shots, but I'm not sure I like the default color rendition of those JPEGs (both series). The blue channel in particular seem to be overly saturated to my taste.
     
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  12. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Real Name:
    Sue
    I liked it, except for two points: the VF sucks, and the 20cm to subject minimum was a bit of a pain. I think I have decided I dont care about the latter anymore. I can probably get over hating the VF, too. I'm looking to dump all my small sensor compacts (even the GRD3 and XZ-1) and its going to come down to this, or the X10, when the time comes.

    I actually like the chunky feel of the G series cameras, I regretted selling my G11 almost as soon as it was gone :-/
     
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  13. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Real Name:
    Lili
    Excelent review and lovely images, Nic
    As to that perfidious lenss cap, LOL
     
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  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Hey Andy. Getting out-of-focus backgrounds with the G1X is about the same as a DSLR with a kit lens. Not impossible, but a long way from that which is possible with a fast prime lens. I haven't really being trying so far, but I have two examples below. Both were shot at 60.4mm and f/5.8 (Wide open and maximum telephoto). With a closer focusing distance, the background starts to blur significantly (first image), but at longer focusing distances you just get a subtle softening (second image). Enough to give some separation between subject and background, but not enough to blur out unwanted details if you have a messy background.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Thanks for posting your images, Nippa. The seagull shot in particular is an amazing capture. Are you using the jpegs to produce these? What settings are you using?
     
  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Some more colour images:


    [​IMG]



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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. nippa

    nippa SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    561
    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    Real Name:
    Dennis
    To be honest I wasn't sure what I was using then jpeg I think. I tried different jpegs ( hoping for Fuji colour of course! ) plus some RAW for the odd shot.
    The gulls were taken off Santa Monica Pier when I was trying to understand how the focusing works.
    It was this business of continuous focus and servo af that had me baffled. I like the tracking mode and single focus but I'm still having bother when continuous af ; it's just me a bit more practice needed.

    I've decided that I like the less saturated neutral look best or set custom jpegs to reduce red,saturation, and contrast and then sharpen to max.
    At least shooting in Raw and using DPP you can produce neutral jpegs.

    Much as I want Macro this lens is really something : look at the detail in this tree
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/crabb/7041832179/" title="IMG_0504 by d_crabb, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="IMG_0504"></a>
     
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  18. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Oh yeah, it's very good. The extreme corners at the widest focal length are a bit soft from the distortion correction, but that's the only noticeable flaw I can find with it so far.


    The other thing about the lens that is impressive is the Image Stabiliser. I don't think that the example below would be repeatable 100% of the time, but still...

    60.4mm (112mm equivalent), f/5.8, ISO 1600, 1/6 shutter speed, handheld

    Full image
    [​IMG]

    100% centre crop
    [​IMG]
     
  19. pictogramax

    pictogramax SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    963
    Aug 18, 2011
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Thanks for continuing with your impressions and samples. The stabilizer looks mighty impressive. Will both my Nikon and Sony go on sale to fund this?
     
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  20. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    One of the guys on the Canon POTN forums tipped me off that Adobe has realeased a beta version 6.7 of the DNG Convertor that includes support for the G1X, which means I can now open up the RAW files in Adobe Camera Raw and bypass Canon's DPP software altogether. The improvement was immediately noticable, with the only oddity being that the reds show up more saturated in ACR. This is a beta version so they may still be some refinements to make, and it easy to adjust the red channel sliders in the meantime.

    Firstly the highlight recovery that wasn't really happening for me in DPP works better in ACR, so I can retain slightly more detail now. I did initially think that the dynamic range of the G1X was more limited than it should be using DPP, but it now seems about to be about right for a Canon sensor.

    Secondly, sharpening seems to be improved by using ACR. The DPP generated images look sharp and detailed but when viewed at 100% there are some jagged artefacts that are noticable. Using ACR and then subsequently applying an unsharp mask the "jaggies" are reduced. I don't know if the difference will be all that great when viewing the full-size image, but it sure makes pixel-peeping more pleasant :wink: