Image Quality

The original G7 X didn't disappoint in terms of image quality. While its sensor its likely the same, the Mark II uses a newer generation of image processor - Digic 7.  Let's take a look at how the G7 X II's image quality looks.

Studio Test Scene

Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

JPEG Performance

One of the obvious changes to the G7 X Mark II's image processing is with sharpening. At default settings, the G7 X II's sharpening has been increased, which enhances certain types of detail, but ultimately emphasizes larger, lower frequency detail over fine, high frequency detail. A significant downside of this large radius sharpening is more pronounced sharpening halos compared to the G7 X, which can look particularly egregious next to the more refined sharpening the RX100 IV demonstrates (pay attention to the edges of the color patches). Canon has given users control over sharpening via the Picture Styles feature, which lets you adjust strength, fineness and threshold, which is virtually unheard of in a compact camera.

Noise reduction has also changed. When we took the G7 X Mark II to Sasquatch! music festival, we noticed noise reduction at base ISO was fairly strong. Compared to the original G7 X, we can see the stronger algorithm in action, especially when compared to the amount of detail visible in the Raw files. The excessive noise reduction, combined with the large radius sharpening we mentioned earlier, means that fine detail isn't as well preserved or expressed in the JPEG as it could be.

The benefit of both the sharpening and NR parts of the new engine is better detail retention at higher ISOs, with an ISO 1600 shot from the G7 X Mark II shot showing as much detail as an ISO 800 shot from the G7 X. At the highest ISOs, 6400 and 12,800, the image engine oddly remains unchanged.

We did try changing the camera's 'high ISO noise reduction' setting to its lightest, 'low' setting to find out if that saved some lost detail at base sensitivity, and it does, but the difference is so minimal that you really have to look hard to see it. While it doesn't hurt to use the low setting (in fact, we'd recommend it), you're far better off just shooting Raw.

Raw Performance

Raw high ISO performance in low light remains largely the same as the G7 X, which is right where we expect image quality to be from the Sony sensor used across many 1-inch type cameras.

A Note on Lens Quality

Something we've noticed while testing all of the 1"-type enthusiast compacts is a large amount of variation in lens quality.

In this case, we have one G7 X II that's soft in the corners but great in the center and another that's just the opposite. The lenses on our original G7 Xs as well as a pair of G5 Xs weren't great, either. But this isn't a Canon problem alone. Of our four Sony RX100 IV cameras, three have so-so lenses and one is stellar. But then three of our four RX100 III copies have very good lenses. In other words, your mileage may vary.

Given the ambitious nature of the lenses on these cameras it's not surprising that there's a lot of variation. While you might find a copy that's sharp corner-to-corner, odds are that you won't, but that's the nature of the beast.