Canon G1 X review

A premium compact camera bursting with high-end features, the Canon G1X is here

Canon G1 X review
The latest PowerShot has a higher price and higher specs than most Canon compacts

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The formula for this new breed of PowerShot may be unfamiliar, but its styling and control layout have been kept in line with the rest of Canon's G-series compact cameras, so previous owners will feel instantly at home with the interface.

The Canon G1 X's stainless steel chassis lends it a robust feel, creating the impression of a solid camera that's likely to withstand the rigours of daily life in the hands of an advanced enthusiast/ professional photographer.

Being larger (though perhaps not by as much as you might expect) and heavier than the older Canon G12 - which occupies the space below the Canon G1 X in the PowerShot camera hierarchy - the new flagship model is less compact-like, closer in fact to the sort of dimensions seen with some of the latest CSCs.

Canon G1 X review

While not easily pocketable, the Canon G1X is still fairly small and unobtrusive-looking and, as such, is less likely to attract attention when you're dabbling in a bit of street photography, say, than your full-size DSLR would.

All of the buttons and controls on the Canon G1 X seem well placed, with the thoughtful inclusion of both front and rear command dials to improve the experience of altering settings in any of the manual modes.

The chunky top panel of the camera hosts a responsive shutter release that's encircled by a spring-loaded zoom lever, alongside an illuminated power button that sits flush to the body.

Canon G1 X review

Stacked on top of a large metal exposure compensation dial is the slightly smaller exposure mode dial. The former offers precise control over the exposure in your shots, with three stops of adjustment in either direction. The latter provides fast access to 10 different modes, 10 Creative filters, 15 Scene modes and a point-and-shoot Auto mode.

Whenever you want to take more control over your settings, the camera also offers Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority and Manual modes, plus two user-customisable slots (C1 and C2) for you to store your own combinations of settings for frequently-encountered situations.

The adjacent metal hotshoe that's invaluable for attaching accessories such as an external Canon EF flashgun sits beside the Canon G1 X's miniature, manually-operated pop-up flash, which nestles inside the camera body until it's activated.

Canon G1 X review

Offering an alternative to the versatile articulated LCD screen, the inclusion of the optical viewfinder in the Canon G1 X's design may not instil past owners of similarly-endowed PowerShot cameras with much enthusiasm, thanks to their tiny dimensions.

Happily, however, Canon has made some improvements with the PowerShot G1 X's viewfinder, which is a little larger and more usable than that of its predecessors; albeit a far cry from Fuji's exemplary 'hybrid' optical/electronic innovation seen on the Fuji FinePix X100.

Around the back, the simple control layout makes the Canon G1 X easy to get to grips with. There's a dedicated movie button providing one-touch access to the camera's HD movie mode, plus further buttons to alter settings such as the AF point location, switch metering modes and to access the main menu system.

Canon G1 X review

Soft key access to the ISO, Flash, Display and AF mode options are located on the four-way navigation, with the central 'Func/Set' button calling up a handy on-screen quick menu that's overflowing with further options to tweak and hone.

This combination of physical controls and shortcuts to on-screen options makes the Canon G1 X a pleasure to shoot with. There's a comprehensive level of manual control available if you want it, and plenty of automatic and creative options there when you don't.