G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling

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kitchenbug
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G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
4 months ago

I live in Japan, and bought this camera on the first day it was available, mainly for its 1.5 inch sensor, and the ability to sync with flash at 1/3200 sec. wide open,

or 1/4000 sec. above F8. I have played with the camera for several days at home, and have noticed a few problems with how it handles.

G1X2 boats 'Dual Control Rings', of which one in the front is called the 'Contnuous Ring', and the closer to the body is called the 'Step Ring.' In lieu of these two

rings, the camera has shed dials found on older Powershots. Namely, the 'Front Dial' found on all older models, and the Exposure Compensation Dial (on G12, G15, G16)

and the 'Control Dial' (found on original G1X).

I appreciate the fact Continuous Ring provides us with a much improved control for manual focus. The bigger, continuous control affords a more comfortable focusing

experience. But the benefit stops there. Here is the list of important settings on a camera, with the type of values each takes:

o Zoom (continuous)

o Focus (continuous)

o ISO (discrete)

o Aperture (discrete)

o Shutter speed (discrete)

o Exposure compensation (in Program, Tv priority, or Av priority modes)

First, G1X2 does not allow us to assign zooming to Continuous Ring. We can assign zooming to Step Ring or the Control Dial, both in the step zoom manner. To zoom

continuously (at focal length other than prespecified points), you must use the zoom lever.

Focus comes into play only when you push 'MF', so we can exclude it from discussion.

Which means we have to use the two rings on the lens, and the Control Dial on the camera back, to control everyting else. Notice we're short some controls?

In Manual exposure mode, you will want to use the zoom lever for zooming, so you can save the other three control for ISO, aperture, and Shutter speed. For some reason

that really baffles me, you cannot assign Av as a single item on the Step Ring. You can only assign a combined 'Tv/Av' settings on the Step Ring, which means you must

press 'Up' on the Control Dial each time you want to adjust the aperture. This problem also applies to Aperture priority mode.

So in Av priority or Manual exposure mode, you will want to assign Av to the Continuous Ring, and assgn Exposure comp. or Shutter speed to the Step Ring. Problem is,

there's no tactile feedback from the Continous Ring so you need to keep looking at the display or EVF to confirm what settings you're at. There's some delay in

animation that shows the current value as well.

It took me a couple of hours to let these limitations sink in, and come to realization that this camera's controls were really not designed for a serious shooter. Let me explain.

If you look at the camera's back, there is a 'Mobile Device Connection' button just where your right thumb rests when you hold the camera. Usually, this is a prime spot for a control dial (like the original G1X's Exposure Compensation Dial'). How could Canon place a WiFi button in such an important spot? This led me to examine the dimension of the LCD screen. The viewable area of the LCD is much smaller than the panel. The frame around the viewable area is rather big, and is more pronounced on the left side of the LCD. Which leads me to believe Canon had orignally designed the panel space with extra space for a swivel hinge. Why did they ditch the swivel screen? Because the Dual Control dials on the lens requires you hold the camera with your left hand, and the swivel screen can get in your way of the left arm/wrist.

At this point, I wish Canon had taken the time to redesign the allocation of space for the LCD screen and the controls on the right side of the camera's back. But from the look of it, they did not give themselves enough time to do so. That's how we end up with cramped controls on the right hand side of the back. With no space for a dial where your right thumb rests, they decided to put a WiFi button.

Now, why did Canon remove the Front Dial? My best guess is real estate for the Canon logo. Older Powershots had 'Canon' logo on the left shoulder. With fatter lens barrel (due to Dual Control Rings), they did not have enough space for a prominent log on the left, and decided to sacrifice the Front Dial to relocate the logo.

In my view, all settings that take a discrete value are best controlled with small, clicked dials. The larger smooth rings are suitable for focusing, and possibly zooming. But I always prefer step-zooming for faster operation. This camera would have been so much better if:

1) LCD frame (not viewable area) was smaller

2) It came with a front dial (for the forefinger) and a rear dial (for the thumb).

3) Had only one Continuous Ring on the lens barrel for focusing

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