G1X: Huge, Heavy, Slow, Plasticky Brick... but it takes great photos

Started Feb 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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dark goob
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G1X: Huge, Heavy, Slow, Plasticky Brick... but it takes great photos
Feb 29, 2012

After handling a G1X for awhile today (just got them in stock)... I have to say...

...Canon G1X is HUGE. I mean, it's heavier than a Rebel T3 body! It's 1.18 lbs.! (As opposed to, say, 0.83 lbs. for Olympus E-PM1, or 0.925 lbs. for Panasonic GX1 -- that's including kit lens and battery.) To my hand, G1X really felt heavier than a T3 with the kit lens, though my brain tells me that can't possibly be true. Either way it's certainly denser. It's far bulkier in dimensions, and boxier in feel, than Panasonic GX1, which feels really small, sleek, and well-made by comparison. Same for the NEX series. It'd be a stretch to fit this in any pocket.

CAVEAT: You may like its size. It may be much huger than FujiFilm X10, but it's still on par with an X100. Some people like the FujiFilm X100's size; I find it a bit bulky. YMMV. I'm not here to trash this camera, just stating my first impressions.

...Canon G1X is SLOW. I mean, it's the same speed, really, as the G12 in AF, recovery time from shot to shot, etc. In other words, it's dog slow. Any Sony NEX, Nikon 1, or Micro Four Thirds camera blows G1X out of the water. And if you compare the fastest of the mirrorless cameras (the comparably priced Oly E-P3, G3, or GX1) then the G1X feels truly ancient in terms of how horrifically slow it truly is. DO NOT BUY if you are wanting to get better shots of your kids running around! Spent the same money and get, really, any of the mirrorless system cameras.

CAVEAT: You may not mind the slowness. If you're using this for landscapes, macro, studio use, or as a backup camera for purposes where speed is not of the essence, or for video, then the slowness shouldn't bother you. It's the same speed as any other G-series, and Canon obviously does not want to cut any further into the sales of its Rebel cameras than NEX and Micro Four Thirds already have.

...Canon G1X is PLASTICKY and BOXY. It just does not have the "well-made," compact, efficient feel of the Canon G12, Oly E-P3, Sony NEX, Panasonic GX1, etc. It feels chunky. The buttons seem oddly square-ish and far apart. The resolution of the text on the menus is pixellated and feels like they took the G12's menus and didn't even bother to up-rez them for the nicer screen. The top dial feels rickety. The lens barrel comes off to reveal a low-quality-finish plastic lens barrel. In many ways, G1X feels like a beta product that was rushed out of the design lab. The optical viewfidner on the G1X is a joke compared to anything else really, it's tiny when you look inside, and the huge, protruding lens blocks the field-of-view at wider angles. Having no option for an EVF is really lame.

CAVEAT: Have you ever heard the saying, "A face that only his mother could love?" I think that will fairly apply to the ergonomics and look-and-feel of the Canon G1X. I'm sure there will be some people that come to G1X's defense and say how much they love it's look and they think it feels great, etc. Whatever. It's a dog. Yes, that's my opinion, but... I think it's safe to say most people will hold this beast and say, "Yep, it's a weird one alright." It does NOT have sleek sex appeal, for example, like an NEX-7, FujiFilm X100, OM-D E-M5, or even NEX 5, Panasonic GX1, etc. It's just a huge, boxy, ugly brute. And maybe, that's OK with you, but don't try to say it's pretty.

THE GOOD NEWS: Canon G1X takes great pictures! Yes, upon my testing I am very pleased with the image quality of this camera so far. It has a nice zoom range, giving more telephoto reach than the competition. The lens seems very sharp, the stabilizer is fantastic (it's a Canon), and you definitely get great detail at high ISO (I tested JPEG). GX1 did better at default settings and high ISO, if you pixel peep or even if you don't, compared with the Panasonic G1X. I was pretty impressed honestly with the JPEG quality. It's what you come to expect from Canon. I haven't had a chance to investigate the RAW files, but given how crappy the JPEG in-camera noise reduction is on Panasonic, I suspect that the GX1 will fare better in a RAW test. Still I am very impressed with the flattering image quality of the Canon G1X, and at the end of the day, that's what you want out of your camera.

Summary: G1X is sub-par on most counts, except image quality, where it is true to the Canon name and takes sharp, clear, high-detail images that could even be called best-in-class. Of course that's just comparing against the competition's kit lenses... once you put a sharp, fast prime lens on a Micro Four Thirds or NEX then it's going to be game over for the Canon. But anyway who buys extra lenses!? Hahaha!

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