Controls

Although its slimmed-down styling can make it look like the G1 X Mark II has fewer control points than the G1 X, it actually has one more. A greater number of its controls are also customizable, with the most prominent being the two dials that wrap around its lens. There are also two customizable buttons - the Shortcut button and the red [Rec] button. In addition, the camera's Function menu (which has been on Canon PowerShots for what seems like an eternity) can now be adjusted to your liking.

Dial customization

The twin dials around the lens can be customized, sometimes to the point of overkill. You can adjust the dial and button settings in the 'Function Assignment' menu item.

Here is the complete list of functions that can be assigned to the camera's three dials. Several options apply more than one function to the camera's clicking, inner dial. If one of these options is selected, the 'up' direction on the four-way controller (which usually controls Exposure Comp.) toggles between the options.

  Outer dial Inner dial Rear dial
Program • Not assigned*
• Exposure comp
• Not assigned
• Exposure comp*
• DR correct
• Shadow correct
• ISO
• WB correct
• Aspect ratio
• Step zoom
• Not assigned*
• Exposure comp
• DR correct
• Shadow correct
• ISO
• WB correction
• Aspect ratio
• Step zoom
Shutter priority • Not assigned*
• Shutter speed
• Exposure comp
• Shutter speed*
• Exposure comp/shutter speed
• DR correct/shutter speed
• Shadow correct/shutter speed
• ISO/shutter speed
• WB correct/shutter speed
• Aspect ratio/shutter speed
• Step zoom/shutter speed

• Not assigned*
• Exposure comp
• DR correct
• Shadow correct
• ISO
• WB correction
• Aspect ratio
• Step zoom
• Shutter speed
Aperture priority • Not assigned*
• Aperture
• Exposure comp
• Aperture*
• Exposure comp/aperture
• DR correct/aperture
• Shadow correct/aperture
• ISO/aperture
• WB correct/aperture
• Aspect ratio/aperture
• Step zoom/aperture

• Not assigned*
• Exposure comp
• DR correct
• Shadow correct
• ISO
• WB correction
• Aspect ratio
• Step zoom
• Aperture
Manual • Not assigned*
• Aperture
• Shutter speed
• Shutter speed/aperture*
• DR correct/shutter speed/aperture
• Shadow correct/shutter speed/aperture
• ISO/shutter speed/aperture
• WB correct/shutter speed/aperture
• Aspect ratio/shutter speed/aperture
• Step zoom/shutter speed/aperture

• Shutter speed*
• Not assigned
• DR correct
• Shadow correct
• ISO
• WB correct
• Aspect ratio
• Step zoom
• Aperture

* Default setting

One additional function not listed above is the ability to use the outer dial for 'direct manual focus', When the AF+MF setting is turned on, you can half-press to autofocus, and then use the dial to adjust the focus distance manually, complete with frame enlargement and peaking.

There are two ways of looking at this level of customization; not just the ability to set different dial functions per exposure mode, but also the ability to assign up to three functions to the click (inner) dial.

On the one hand, there's a risk is could seem confusing - the ability to toggle through three functions can make it hard to remember what the dial is going to do, next time you turn it. The other way of seeing it is that you're able to assign an additional function to the best-placed and nicest-to-use dial on the camera - avoiding the quandary presented by some rivals, where you have to choose which function you want on the 'good' dial and which you're willing to relegate to an awkward, fiddly rear four-way/dial.

Button customization

Nearly every camera function can be assigned to the Shortcut and Movie buttons. Here's the full list:

• Not assigned *
• Record movie **
• DR correction
• Shadow correct
• White balance
• Custom white balance 1/2
• My colors
• Drive mode
• Self-timer
• AF frame
• Light metering
• ND filter
• Aspect ratio
• Raw/JPEG toggle
• Servo AF
• Touch shutter
• Focus peaking
• AF lock
• AE lock
• Digital tele-converter
• Eco mode
• Display off
* Shortcut button default
** Movie button default, not available for Shortcut button

Function Menu

The G1 X II's function (shortcut) menu can also be customized, and it's about time. You can do this via the 'Func. Menu Layout' option which sits in the shooting settings menu.

The function menu is a staple of Canon PowerShot cameras. Here you can choose what goes in the function menu.

The following options can be used in the Func menu:

• DR correction
• Shadow correct
• White balance
• My colors
• Bracketing
• Drive mode
• Self-timer
• Light metering
• ND filter
• Aspect ratio
• Image type
• Recording pixels
• Compression
• Movie quality

One thing that some may find irritating is that, like other recent PowerShots, the function menu isn't dismissed until you press the Func button again or tap the touchscreen. Half-pressing the shutter release won't do it, nor will entering the standard menu (which is unavailable, if you're on the White Balance section of the Func menu).

This persistence of the Func menu is useful if you're trying to re-take the same shot with different settings, since the Func menu pops back up after the first shot, allowing you to make a quick change for the second shot. However, it can also slow down general use of the camera: if you don't actively close the Func menu, then the control dials and several buttons are tied up with menu navigation, causing an extra delay you don't usually get with other cameras.

Main Menu

The menu system on the PowerShot G1 X Mark II is unchanged from recent Canon PowerShots, and that's just fine. The menus look good, operate smoothly, and offer 'Hints and Tips' for folks who may not know what all those items mean.

The main menu is attractive, responsive, and easy to navigate. Note the help display at the bottom of the screen. Your most commonly used menu items can be placed in 'My Menu'.

If you want quick access to the settings you use the most, you can put them in 'My Menu', Pretty much every setting in the menus can go there, and you can make My Menu the default screen when the 'menu' button is pressed.

Auto ISO

The G1 X II has a customizable Auto ISO feature that allows you to set the maximum sensitivity the camera will use, and how quickly it will increase the shutter speed. The max sensitivity ranges from ISO 400 - 12800. The 'rate of change' - available in all modes except Manual (M) - doesn't let you set the minimum shutter speed, instead giving you the options 'slow', 'standard, and 'fast'. Sadly, the camera does not permit adjustment of exposure compensation when using Auto ISO in Manual exposure mode.

Touch Features

The PowerShot G1 X Mark II is the first Canon G-series camera to have a touchscreen display. There aren't really any surprises here, as the G1 X II's features are no different from those found on other touch-enabled cameras we've tried.

You can touch to focus or take a picture. Menus can be operated by dragging and tapping your finger. You can enlarge an image in playback mode by double tapping, and then use your finger to 'drag' the image around. Moving through images takes but a flick, and you can scroll them them faster by increasing your swiping speed.

Wi-Fi Features

The G1 X Mark II has virtually every Wi-Fi feature one could desire. The G1X II allows the following actions:

  • Remote control from a smartphone
  • Transfer of images to smartphone
  • Transfer photos to a social network or over email (via a Wi-Fi network)
  • Automatic upload to Canon's cloud service or Google Drive (via a Wi-Fi network)

A one-touch 'Direct Connect' button will instantly re-pair the camera with the smartphone you've been using. NFC-enabled smartphones can also connect to the G1 X II with a 'tap'. Images and movies can also be sent to your Mac or PC.

Functions in the remote capture section of the CameraWindow app are limited to what you see here.

That said, the remote capture feature isn't very robust, and setting up photo sharing requires a lot of patience. As shown in the screenshot above, the only things you can adjust are the zoom, flash mode, and self-timer. It would be nice if you had access to things like exposure and ISO. The app can also be used for browsing and downloading photos from the G1 X II, and also providing GPS location data.

When you first enter the Wi-Fi menu, you are presented with a screen with five icons. The icons represent target devices: a camera, smartphone, PC, printer, or cloud service. Setting most of those up is easy enough - you can use an existing network or have the camera be its own hotspot.

The most frustrating part of the Wi-Fi experience is setting up cloud services, which is required before you send photos anywhere else. This involves signing up for Canon's Image Gateway service, authenticating your camera (which adds Canon's cloud service to the camera), and then setting up each of the social/photo sharing networks (Facebook, Flickr, Google Drive, etc.) one at a time.