Second Time Around: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Review
- 20MP 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor
- 24-100mm F1.8-F2.8 lens
- 3" tilting touchscreen LCD
- Click/click-less front dial
- 8 fps continuous shooting
- 1080/60p video capture
For nearly two and a half years, Sony had the 1"-type sensor compact camera segment all to itself with its RX100 series. While Canon had its PowerShot G1 X (and the Mark II that followed), they were anything but pocketable. In September 2014 Canon joined Sony, offering up its PowerShot G7 X. From a pure specifications point of view, the G7 X was toe-to-toe with the Sony RX100 II and RX100 III (the current models at the time it was announced) in most respects, especially in terms of focal range and usability.
Despite being so promising on paper, the G7 X proved a disappointment in a few areas. Performance in Raw mode was sluggish, battery life wasn't great and, its lens wasn't as good as those on some of its competitors. Canon has addressed most of those problems on the Mark II, due in large part to its Digic 7 processor, which makes its debut in the G7 X II.
From a performance perspective, the Mark II has faster burst shooting, especially when shooting Raw files, which was a big disappointment on the original model. Where the Mark I shot continuous Raw bursts at just 1 fps, the Mark II can now shoot Raws, JPEGs or both at 8 fps. Canon also claims improvements in subject recognition and tracking, which wasn't a strong point of the original model, either.
The G7 X II offers what Canon calls 'Dual Sensing IS', which uses data from the image sensor (in addition to gyro-scoping sensors) to reduce blur caused by camera shake. The company claims that this system is more effective than on the G7 X, with the ability to reduce shake by four stops. There's also a new panning IS mode that will adjust the shutter speed to ensure that your subject is 'frozen.'
In the image quality department, the Digic 7 processor brings improved sharpening and high ISO noise reduction algorithms. We'll see the results of that later in the review.
Perhaps the G7 X's biggest problem was battery life, which has been boosted by 25% to 265 shots per charge (CIPA standard). Even with that increase, though, the Canon still lags behind the Sony RX100s and Panasonic Lumix ZS100/TZ100.
Cosmetically, the Mark II boasts three major changes. First is the addition of a much-needed grip, as the finish on the camera is quite slippery. Second, while it's a bit subtle, Canon has moved the hinge on the tilting LCD to the bottom, which allows the screen to tilt downward, itself of just up. Finally, those who can't decide whether they want the control ring around the lens to be 'clicky' or 'smooth' can now have both via a toggle switch to the lower-right of the lens.
Below is a look at how the key specs vary between the PowerShot G7 X I and II as well as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III, which is arguably the Mk II's closest competitor.
|Canon G7 X||Canon G7 X II||Sony RX100 III|
|Sensor||20MP 1"-type BSI CMOS||20MP 1"-type BSI CMOS||20MP 1"-type BSI CMOS|
|Lens focal range||24-100mm equiv.||24-100mm equiv.||24-70mm equiv.|
|Max aperture||F1.8 - F2.8||F1.8 - F2.8||F1.8 - F2.8|
|LCD size/type||3" tilting (180° up)||3" tilting (180° up, 45° down)||3" tilting (180° up, 45° down)|
|Max burst rate
|6.5 fps JPEG
1 fps Raw
|8 fps JPEG/Raw||10 fps JPEG
6.5 fps Raw
|In-camera Raw conversion||No||Yes||No|
|Battery life (CIPA)||210 shots||265 shots||320 shots|
|Dimensions||103 x 60 x 40mm||106 x 61 x 42mm||102 x 58 x 41mm|
|Weight (CIPA)||304 g||319 g||290 g|
As you can see, lens focal range, touchscreen and battery life are what separate the G7 X II from its competition.
The chart below breaks down the equivalent aperture for each camera, as you work your way through the zoom range. Our article here explains the concept of equivalence, but at a high level all you need to know is that the lower the line is on the graph below, the blurrier the backgrounds you'll be able to get and, typically, the better the overall low-light performance.
As you can see, the G7 X II and RX100 III start off at the same spot, but up until about 50mm the former has a equivalent aperture advantage of up to about two-thirds of a stop. The two cameras are matched until the RX100 III's focal range ends at 70mm. The G7 X continues on to 100mm at F2.8 (~F7.6 equiv.), which is one of its big selling points.
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