Introduction

The Canon PowerShot G1 X III is a high-end compact camera with a 24MP APS-C sized sensor, Dual Pixel autofocus and a 24-72mm equivalent F2.8-5.6 zoom lens. It's Canon's new flagship for the PowerShot G-series, and the sensor is the largest they've ever fitted to a fixed-lens camera. It also has the company's latest DIGIC 7 processor, Wi-Fi with Bluetooth connectivity, and promises a degree of dust and water resistance.

While sales of compact cameras at the low end continue to evaporate, manufacturers are still churning out premium, high-end models in an attempt to lure enthusiasts and amateurs with deep pockets. The G1 X III is certainly an interesting proposition in this segment - indeed, it's the only compact on the market with an APS-C sensor and a lens that zooms, and is designed to be weather sealed to boot.

Key Features

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel autofocus for stills and video
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 3" fully-articulating LCD
  • 9fps burst shooting (7fps with continuous AF)
  • 1080/60p video recording
  • Wi-Fi and NFC with Bluetooth
  • 200 shot-per-charge battery life (CIPA standard testing)
Processed and cropped to taste in Adobe Camera Raw.
24mm equiv | ISO 125 | F2.8 | 1/1000 sec
Photo by Carey Rose

There are, of course, sacrifices to be made when shoehorning such a large sensor into such a small body. First, the MSRP is pretty high, even for this market segment. Though the lens has a respectable range, its maximum aperture range isn't exactly impressive, and battery life is just plain bad. Regardless, as an overall package, the G1 X III is likely to attract the interest of a wide variety of photographers.

Compared to...

That the G1 X III is a unique offering makes it difficult to really draw comparisons to other models; regardless, those shopping for a fixed-lens pocketable compact at this price are likely to stumble across the RX100 V and the older RX100 IV. They offer much smaller sensors, but come with similar zoom ranges and brighter maximum apertures for their lenses.

Canon G1 X
Mark III
Sony RX100 V Sony RX100 IV
MSRP $1299 $999 $899
Sensor 24MP APS-C CMOS 20MP 1"-type
stacked BSI CMOS
20MP 1"-type
BSI CMOS
Lens 24-72mm equiv. F2.8-5.6 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 24-70mm equiv. F1.8-2.8
ISO range
(native)
100-25600 125-12800 125-12800
AF system Dual Pixel on-sensor phase detect On-sensor phase detect Contrast detect
EVF 2.36M-dot 2.36M-dot 2.36M-dot
LCD 3" 1.04M-dot fully articulating
(720 x 480 RGB)
3" 1.28M-dot tilting
(640 x 480 RGBW)
3" 1.28M-dot tilting
(640 x 480 RGBW)
Touchscreen Yes No No
Burst rate with AF 7fps 24fps 5.5fps
Video 1080/60p 4K/30p 4K/30p
Wireless WiFi w/NFC + Bluetooth WiFi w/ NFC WiFi w/ NFC
Battery life (CIPA 200 shots 220 shots 280 shots
Dimensions 115 x 78 x 51 mm 102 x 58 x 41 mm 102 x 58 x 41 mm
Weight 399 g 299 g 298 g

It's worth noting that there are older options (in some cases, discontinued) that may be of interest. The Panasonic LX100 comes with a 4/3-type sensor and similar zoom range, but only offers 12MP of resolution. Fujifilm's X70 and Ricoh's GR II both have 16MP APS-C sensors and are even smaller than the Canon, but both have fixed 28mm-equivalent prime lenses.

In terms of other current cameras that aim to strike a balance between being pocketable and taking decent photos, Panasonic's LX10 comes with a 24-72mm equiv. F1.4-2.8 lens in front of its 1"-type sensor, and Canon's own G7 X Mark II has a 24-100mm equiv. F1.8-2.8 lens in front of its 1"-type sensor. And they're all much cheaper than the G1 X III.

The lens

What's likely to cause the most consternation for serious photographers considering the G1 X III is the lens. The camera is impressively compact, but as noted earlier, at the expense of its maximum aperture range. This limits the usefulness of the larger sensor, particularly in terms of depth of field control (blurry backgrounds) and low light capability - though you should retain a dynamic range advantage in bright light.

Click here to see the G1 X III compared to the G7 X II in the real world

Let's see how it compares to some of the other zoom-equipped models we've mentioned here.

As you can see, both Panasonic models offer larger aperture diameters at the widest end of their zooms, meaning greater scope for low-light work. Meanwhile, the Canon G7 X II offers more subject isolation and potential for low light image quality once you pass 29mm - all of this is in spite of the fact that the G1 X Mark III's sensor is the largest, by a fair margin. It speaks volumes to the trade-offs that have been made in getting the G1 X III to fit in your coat pocket.