G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
kitchenbug
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G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
6 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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papillon_65
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Interesting..
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

thanks for sharing your thoughts on the mk2. I have come to realise over the years that ergonomics and usability are key aspects of a camera for me personally. It's one of the reasons I like the mk1 so much, it's a very nice camera to hold and easy to operate, the size is about perfect for that type of camera for my hands. All the image quality in the world is not much use if you don't enjoy operating the camera. I was never going to buy the mk2 anyway as I'm happy with the mk1 but it will be interesting to see how others fare with the mk2 on this aspect alone.

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telefunk
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

Thank you so much for your report. As Papillon also remarks, ergonomics make up a huge part of the camera being a good and satisfying photographic tool. For example another very good camera I really don't like using is the RX100.

I have been patiently waiting for the G1Xmk2 to replace my LX5. Seems it might not be as ideal as I thought. For me, working with rings around the lens is counterintuitive when you aren't holding the camera to your face.

I had actually started a thread a week ago worrying about the size of the G1X mk2 LCD screen. So it seems the screen size is OK, just the black frame around it is too broad: lots of space lost.

Question:

1) Doesn't the touch screen (I have never used one, except on my phone where it doesn't behave very dependably, specially in cold weather) compensate for lack of physical buttons?

2) What are your impressions about IQ, and low light noise performance?

3) Can you compare to another camera?

Thank you for your thoughts!

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kitchenbug
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to papillon_65, 6 months ago

My favorite controls are those on Nikon P7700, with a total of 6 dials, 4 of them accessible to the right hand while holding the camera's grip. Holding the extra "Fn1" button on the camera's front next to where the right ring-finger rests on the grip allows you to 'shift' the function of some dials, giving you further instant, fast controls with tactile feedback.

I wish Canon's G1X2 came with these superior controls. That would have made it a real shooter's camera.

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kitchenbug
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

P7700 controls.

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kitchenbug
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to telefunk, 6 months ago

1) Doesn't the touch screen (I have never used one, except on my phone where it doesn't behave very dependably, specially in cold weather) compensate for lack of physical buttons?

Touch screen allows you to change focus point, and open the shutter, which are nice. It does not, however, replace controls for the settings I discussed.

2) What are your impressions about IQ, and low light noise performance?

I have been so taken with the baffling controls. I have yet to examine the image quality.

3) Can you compare to another camera?

I posted the images of Nikon P7700, which has my favorite controls.

G1X2 does have MUCH better autofocus, and lens/sensor specs. I'm not about to write off the benefit of G1X2 entirely. I just wish the controls were better.

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Helstor
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to papillon_65, 6 months ago

When it comes to camera ergonomics, what can be considered good is very subjective. I bought the G1X online without trying it first (could not find it locally and I have no problems with my G12 so I figured it would be OK). Unfortunately I thought it was very uncomfortable to hold. Like a thick brick with sharp corners. If I tried to move my hands/fingers to get a better grip I would usually end up pushing some button and change a setting.

I really wanted to like the G1X, and I tried but it took away all the fun of going out shooting. Even with a strap on I spent more time worrying about dropping it than I did looking for photo opportunities. I loved the IQ but in the end I sold it.

I am interested in the G1X2 but I will make sure to try it out and handle it before I decide whether or not to buy it.

Erik

PS.I will probably love the dual control rings around the lens because I used to shoot an Olympus  OM2 film camera for many years

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telefunk
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

YES that's what a camera should look like! Like my old Leicas!

Why can't anybody make a really good, big sensor camera with controls like your Nikon 7700? I personally know many people that are waiting for just such a design!

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kitchenbug
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to Helstor, 6 months ago

G1X2's 'grip' is tiny. The new lens gives the camera some heft, so a bigger grip would have been nice.

To add, the LCD dimension I discussed above is such that the top-right corner of the LCD bezel protrudes from the back, and its un-beveled corner eats a bit into your right thumb.

I looked at articulated LCD screens on other cameras in the store. Most cameras had a much smoother finish on the LCD bezels.

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telefunk
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

Looks like there is nice snug & secure spot for the thumb. I like that. Do you find the edge of the screen irritating ?

Here is my original thread about screensize:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53144106

PS Love your comment on being so baffled by the rings you haven't looked at the picture quality yet !

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h2k
h2k
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

I agree with the points made that
- control rings around the lens are uncomfortable
- RX 100 may have good image quality, but handling is no fun

I also regret that the Mk 2 has no front-dial such as many other cameras. It also has a vertically-only articulating monitor, while previous articulating monitors could swing in many more ways.

Both designs (control around lens instead of front-dial, verticallly articulating monitor) seem to be in fashion now, but useful they are not.

I also have compact Olympus XZ-2 with controls around the lens - i'd much prefer a front control-dial that could be used with one-handed handling.

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telefunk
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

Oh by the way, I read somewhere that in Europe the front grip will be much larger (we have big hands) than the Asian grip which you probably have.

On the Canon site, they describe how the engineers spent months fine-tuning the structure of the rubber on the rings and the feel of the movement!

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jimr
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling..And A Possible Answer...
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

kitchenbug wrote:

1) Doesn't the touch screen (I have never used one, except on my phone where it doesn't behave very dependably, specially in cold weather) compensate for lack of physical buttons?

Touch screen allows you to change focus point, and open the shutter, which are nice. It does not, however, replace controls for the settings I discussed.

2) What are your impressions about IQ, and low light noise performance?

I have been so taken with the baffling controls. I have yet to examine the image quality.

3) Can you compare to another camera?

I posted the images of Nikon P7700, which has my favorite controls.

Now the question follows..Will the P8000 have the control layout of the P7700?

G1X2 does have MUCH better autofocus, and lens/sensor specs. I'm not about to write off the benefit of G1X2 entirely. I just wish the controls were better.

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VaLeX
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

Thanks for taking the time to write down your evaluation so elaborately.

I agree that a SLR-stile front- or back-dials give best access, ergonomically to the various settings needed when taking photos. Ideally, both dials.

I also love how the zoom of Fuji X10 -X20 is implemented. I'd love a Canon G1XmII with such a zoom (both starting the camera and controlling the zoom manually - not motorized). An extra-ring for focusing and two dials would have made it perfect.

I think that, ergonomically, Fuji had a genial idea with their zoom and probably they have been protecting it with patents, since I don't see other manufacturers employing it.

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kitchenbug
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to telefunk, 6 months ago

Looks like there is nice snug & secure spot for the thumb. I like that. Do you find the edge of the screen irritating ?

Snug & secure? Are you talking about the small rubber piece below the WiFi button? It's about the size of a woman's finger nail, and not big enough to comfortably rest most of your thumb. Yes, the edge of the screen is somewhat irritating.

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telefunk
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

I am extremely interested in your comments as this camera really seemed to fit the bill for me.

So the place for the thumb is tiny... hmmmm

The wifi button should have been a function button. Maybe it is customizable? I will never use wifi.

Have to try what the overal balance is in my hands. Will the camera feel natural? Will everything fall into place?

Now I am eager to read what you have to say about the IQ (before you get rid of it )

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kitchenbug
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to VaLeX, 6 months ago

I also like the X10/X20's controls for zooming. As long as zooming is manual, I agree zooming should be controlled on the lens barrel.

But I like P7700's grip better. When you mount a medium sized flash unit on hot shoe, a better grip should make it easier to hold the camera.

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Jacque1
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Re: Interesting..
In reply to Helstor, 6 months ago

Helstor wrote:

When it comes to camera ergonomics, what can be considered good is very subjective. I bought the G1X online without trying it first (could not find it locally and I have no problems with my G12 so I figured it would be OK). Unfortunately I thought it was very uncomfortable to hold. Like a thick brick with sharp corners. If I tried to move my hands/fingers to get a better grip I would usually end up pushing some button and change a setting.

I really wanted to like the G1X, and I tried but it took away all the fun of going out shooting. Even with a strap on I spent more time worrying about dropping it than I did looking for photo opportunities. I loved the IQ but in the end I sold it.

I am interested in the G1X2 but I will make sure to try it out and handle it before I decide whether or not to buy it.

Erik

PS.I will probably love the dual control rings around the lens because I used to shoot an Olympus OM2 film camera for many years

Me too, after a lx3, lx5 and x10 (but orbs problems) I had a g1x and it's not so easy everytime with handling. After I had a p7700 and it's true it's very nice to operate with it (I dont't like the handle of rx100 also).

I know that the sensor is little (but enough for my utilisation) (more I refind my favorite range in only a little apn) but the handle is the best of my last apn, good position of buttoms, ring on the lens, I't possible to take pictures with one or two hands, a very nice EFV, great live of battery,...It's the stylus1.

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mjdundee
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

Thanks for your detailed user report. I appreciate it very much since I also preferr to operate cameras in manual mode and just have to wait another 2 months before this camera will be available for testing in my part of the world.

Sounds like typical marketing madness. For many years we have been waiting for a control ring around the lens barrel in a G while the S had it since the introduction of the S90 and all competitors followed this way of manual contrl in their own models.

The GX1, G11, G12 passed this and now the G1X MII brings us TWO control rings- WOW!

Who needs a WIFI button for how often and how ridiculus and monsturus looks this moving LCD panel frame?

Reminds me somehow of the funny design of former cars from Japan - functionaltiy follows form.

Maybe this is due to a translation error or a child was allowed to decide during development.

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Ranlee
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Re: G1 X Mark II: Not happy with handling
In reply to kitchenbug, 6 months ago

It's good to see criticism based on actual experience - thank you kitchenbug.  I expect I'll be able to sort the control rings out for my own satisfaction so that doesn't worry me too much.  In fact any kind of manual focus has to be better than what was available on the G1X.

After seeing your picture of the LCD and thumb area I agree that seems very poorly designed.  Considering the dead space therein the LCD could have much smaller physically with the same image area.  There should have been much more area for buttons, thumbs, and even an added control wheel.  I would have thought the LCD apparatus could have been thinner also but that is only my conjecture at this point.  Be interesting to see how this all shakes out with other initial users.

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