Cameras with a one-inch type sensor are popular right now, with Sony, Nikon, Panasonic including them in their compact cameras along with Canon, whose G7 X Mk II is its latest camera to feature one. A one-inch sensor is larger than the sensor in a typical compact, and the main benefit is improved image quality, especially in low light conditions.
The G7 X Mk 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 range 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. Battery life is also improved, up to 265 shots per charge, a 25% increase on the G7 X.
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 inbuilt viewfinder, and, with no hotshoe or accessory port, no option to add one either.
As with all of the other current Canon G-series compacts you can record images in raw format, and manual exposure control is available, along with semi-automatic exposure modes (aperture priority and shutter priority) and a collection of automatic settings.
The G7 X II's main competitor is probably the Sony RX100 IV, which also has a one-inch sensor and a relatively restricted focal length range (24-70mm equivalent). For now at least, the Canon camera has the cheaper retail price.
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 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 G5 X incorporates. And both the Sony RX100 IV and the Panasonic 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's not 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 screen 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.