For a camera in its class and price bracket the Canon G1 X comes with a comparatively simple video mode. You can record footage in the by now ubiquitous 1080p full HD quality but you don't have any manual control over essential shooting parameters such as aperture, shutter speed or ISO. There's little control over sound recording either (all you can do is turn the windcut-filter on and off) and no connector for an external microphone.
Essentially the G1 X's movie mode is a 'point-and-shoot' mode that allows for good image quality recordings you can view or your HD TV but gives you hardly any control over shooting parameters and sound, making it an inferior choice for video enthusiasts or anyone who wants more out of their video mode than 'Auto Mode' clips.
Video quality options
1920 x 1080p (24 fps)
1280 x 720p (30fps)
640 x 480 (30fps)
|Audio||Stereo sound (Linear PCM)|
|Format||H.264 / MOV|
|Max file size per clip||4.0 GB|
|Recordable time||29:59 minutes|
Handling in Video mode
Shooting a movie on the G1 X is a very simple affair. Whatever shooting mode you are in, you simply press the movie button on the back of the camera to start and stop recording of movie footage. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are all set automatically. However, if the mode dial on the camera's top plate is set to its movie position you get some additional control via the Func- and shooting menus.
|In a first for a G-series compact, the G1 X sports a dedicated movie record button that allows instant access to video recording in any exposure mode. There's a rubberized grip area for your thumb beside it.
Exposure control in movie mode is automatic, but optical zoom is available.
In the Func-menu you can modify White Balance, MyColors and set recording size and quality. In the shooting menu you can activate the Wind Filter. You can also apply exposure compensation before you start recording but irritatingly this is not done via the exposure compensation dial. Instead you'll have to hit the AEL button which brings up an exposure compensation scale on the screen, and then adjust the value using the rear dial - not quite intuitive.
You can also use the zoom while recording and the camera's hinged screen is useful for shooting from higher or lower angles. You can also engage the ND filter in bright light, to force the camera towards slower shutter speeds for a more natural rendition of movement. By default the camera will refocus during movie recording as and when is sees fit, but it does appear to respect Autofocus Lock if you assign this to the 'S' button, so you can prefocus and lock on your subject before starting recording.
Video image quality
The G1 X's video footage is generally well-exposed but shows more compression, jagged diagonal lines and other artifacts than we're used to from Canon's EOS DSLRs. You'll have to sit pretty close to the screen to spot these imperfections but nevertheless the quality is not quite up on the same level as some of the competition.
Image quality aside, the G1 X sensor is also approximately 20% smaller than in the DSLR counterparts. As a consequence you can't quite achieve the same cinema-like depth-of-field as an APS-C or even full-frame DSLR but the effect is still much better than any digital compact camera. Inevitably image noise increases as the camera ups the ISO in lower light conditions but at the 1080p video resolution this is much less intrusive than in the larger stills images and the G1 X is one of the better cameras in the class in this respect. When changing the framing from dark to bright scenes or vice versa the exposure modification via change of aperture and/or gain is noticeable but pretty smooth.
The G1 X's impressively efficient image stabilization system is very useful for video shooting as well. The system performs that that hand-held footage can almost appear as if it had been shot on a tripod. This works even at longer focal lengths where the 'Powered IS' option comes in handy.
Like most DSLRs, video footage that has been recorded with the G1 X exhibits a degree of rolling shutter - the effect created when fast horizontal movement is captured. This is because, in common with other current CMOS chips, the sensor reads each line of the sensor one at a time. This means the captured subject can move substantially between the sensor starting to capture the frame and it finishing. The effect is clearly noticeable on the G1 X but it's only really problematic when the camera is panned very quickly.
Like most built-in microphones the G1 X's does a decent job but runs into problems in windy conditions (although the wind cut option helps mitigate this to a degree) and when you need more directional audio recording. When zooming during video capture it also records the zoom's operational sounds . Unfortunately the camera does not come with a connector for an external microphone but the built-in variant is certainly good enough for casual video shooting.
Sample video 1This video was shot to demonstrate the G1 X's ability to capture fast motion. As you can see the image stabilization system (we used the powered IS option here) keeps things very steady and in situations like this, without much background noise, the built-in microphone does a decent job.
|1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 10 sec, 47.8 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 2This video shows the camera's performance in low light. There is some visible noise but considering the very low light levels in this concert venue the camera's performance is quite impressive. This video with shot from a higher angle and again the image stabilization system is performing very well. Thanks to Attack with Care! for letting us use this video.
|1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 24 sec, 99.0 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 3This video was shot to demonstrate the G1 X's ability to zoom during movie recording. Initially the lens is at full telephoto, it's then zoomed back to wideangle. Shot hand-held, with image stabilization on.
|1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 18 sec, 74.7 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 4This video illustrates the G1 X's rendition of fast motion. Hand-held using image stabilization.
|1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 13 sec, 56.2 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 5This video was shot handheld, with the ND filter engaged to force use of a slower shutter speed and therefore render the moving water more naturally. Shot hand-held with image stabilization engaged.
|1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 11 sec, 45.9 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|