Canon PowerShot G7 X Review
The PowerShot G7 X is an exciting entry to the enthusiast compact that has, up until now, been dominated by Sony. Canon hasn't taken a lot of risks with the G7 X: its body is essentially a mash-up of the PowerShot S120 and G1 X Mark II, and its sensor is the same that's found in Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II and III. Canon has tried to separate itself from the very small crowd by giving the G7 X a longer lens, selfie-friendly LCD, and dedicated exposure compensation dial. On paper, the G7 X sounds like the camera to beat. In practice, that wasn't the case.
The highlights of the G7 X are undoubtedly its 1" 20MP BSI-CMOS (likely manufactured by Sony) and 24-100mm equivalent F1.8-2.8 lens. This combination allows for shallow depth-of-field only surpassed by larger cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. The G7 X's lens has a much longer reach than the LX100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, though not quite as far as Canon's own PowerShot G1 X Mark II. The G7 X's sensor/lens combination also brings in more light, allowing for better low light image quality than your typical compact camera.
Despite having the 'G' in its name, the PowerShot G7 X has much more in common with Canon's S-series cameras than the G-series models. It has a compact body made almost entirely metal and for the most part feels solid. The only area that stands out as feeling cheap is the rear dial (and the four-way controller inside it). It's easy to shoot with one hand, though some may want a grip, as the body is a bit slippery.
Ergonomics are definitely a mixed bag. We really like having easy access to exposure compensation via the dial on the top plate, but it's set too far back and is difficult to turn. Given the size of the camera, it's not surprising that your finger sits on top of many buttons, including the rear dial.
|Ellensburg Bull, Ellensburg, WA. ISO 125, 1/125 sec, f2.5, 39mm equiv.|
The dial around the lens can have numerous functions assigned to it, ranging from ISO to white balance fine-tuning, though you'll probably not want to use it for manual focus, as it makes a rather pronounced click when rotated. For manual focusing you'll want to instead use the rear dial, though that's frustrating because of how much rotating you have to do to adjust the focus distance.
One nice feature on the camera is its 3" touchscreen LCD, which has 1.04 million dots. We found the screen to have good outdoor visibility, and it 'gains up' nicely in low light. The touchscreen comes in handy, allowing you to select a focus point without having to fiddle with the four-way controller. Naturally, it also lets you navigate menus and view photos just like on a smartphone.
There's no doubt that the G7 X is full-featured, but its performance is by far its biggest weak spot. Startup speeds are respectable, but focusing is sluggish compared to its peers, and the G7 X 'misses' more often than we'd like. While shot-to-shot and burst speeds are respectable for JPEG, they're downright slow when shooting Raw. In burst mode the G7 X shoots at roughly 1 fps, which indirectly makes bracketing a frustrating experience. The G7 X's battery life is rated at a paltry 210 shots which makes it considerably worse than its competitors.
Thankfully the PowerShot G7 X fares a lot better with regard to image quality. Exposure was accurate on most occasions, and if it wasn't, that dedicated dial is always close at hand. Sharpness will always be dependent on focal length and aperture, and we found it to be at its best between 35 and 85mm. Things are quite soft at full telephoto and you'll need to stop down to at least F4 to get that sharpness back. As is typical with compact cameras, the G7 X's colors 'pop'. The built-in neutral density filter extends the flexibility of the camera and allows a photographer to take photos like the one below in bright daylight.
|North Fork Falls, Bellevue, WA. ISO 125, 1 sec, f/8, 24mm equiv.|
Canon takes a conservative approach to noise reduction, leaving fine detail alone until the highest sensitivities. Once you reach that point, switching to Raw allows one to get detail back from the 'mush'. That's not the only reason to use Raw on the G7 X. The dynamic range of the sensor is good enough to let you pull quite a bit back from the shadows.
The PowerShot G7 X is capable of recording 1080/60p video, though both the Panasonic LX100 and Sony RX100 surpass it in terms of both features and quality. The G7 X offers manual exposure control, focus peaking, and a 35Mbps bit rate using the H.264 codec. The 3" touchscreen display makes rack focusing really easy, manual focusing is not available once you hit the record button. Something else that's strangely missing from the G7 X is support for 24p video.
At this point in time, the G7 X has one direct competitor, and that's the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III (and arguably its predecessor). While both cameras do a great job at stills, the G7 X has a longer zoom and a bit more control over depth-of-field, so portrait and landscape photographers may find it to be the more appealing of the two. If capturing fast action is important to you, the Sony wins hands-down in all areas (it's vastly superior in terms of battery life, as well). Video shooters will also find the RX100 III to be the better of the two cameras. Handling is more subjective. Some photographers will like the exposure compensation and 'clicky' dial of the G7 X, while others will prefer the smooth dial and tilt-down LCD on the RX100 III.
|Sunset over Seattle. ISO 250, 1/50 sec, f/2.5, 39mm.|
If you want more physical controls and don't mind the extra bulk, there's the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100. Unfortunately, aside from its additional physical controls and broader selection of accessories, the G1 X II doesn't really have any advantages over its smaller sibling. In fact, the G1 X II has less dynamic range and around the same high ISO performance as the G7 X.
The Panasonic LX100 is the newest entry to the enthusiast compact market and offers superior image quality and the best movie mode of the bunch (4K). It also has direct controls for shutter speed and aperture, and can blur backgrounds like nobody's business.
The Final Word
The PowerShot G7 X has stirred up a lot of excitement in the camera world, with Canon opening up the category that has been dominated by Sony. Canon went with the excellent Sony 20MP BSI-CMOS sensor and added a longer (yet still fast) lens that is great for portraiture. Sadly, where the G7 X falls apart is performance, usability, and battery life, as discussed above.
While the G7 X earns a silver award for its ambitious lens and image quality, Canon has a lot of work to do in the performance department in order to earn our top reward.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Canon PowerShot G7 X
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
With a time-tested 1" BSI-CMOS sensor and an impressive 24-100mm F1.8-2.8 lens, the PowerShot G7 X produces excellent quality photos. Although the ergonomics won't suit everyone and battery life isn't as good as some competitors, the G7X is well suited to low light and portrait photos, and its touchscreen display is handy for self-portraits and video.
|Morning Crossing In Yellowstone by poppyjk|
from Poor Light
|On Fire by Frank van Eck|
|Oasis by kt|
from Wet - Dry
|White River by rainrunner|
from Spring Snow
Accessory maker Techart has announced the TZE-01, the first autofocus adapter for using Sony E-mount lenses with Nikon's Z series cameras.
Sandmarc's new accessory lens helps to create a cinematic look when shooting on the iPhone.
The ZenFone 6 flip camera withstands an awful lot of abuse by Zack from the Youtube channel JerryRigEverything.
Jordan reviews the Deity Connect wireless microphone. Find out why this is the mic system he's wanted for a decade, and why he thinks it's a compelling choice for so many people who shoot video.
Rumors have been circulating about a possible Spark 2 drone release from DJI this summer. DroneDJ recently confirmed that the release is now on hold indefinitely.
For the first time ever, Adobe has brought its cloud-based version of Lightroom to Apple's Mac App Store, complete with in-app purchases for renewing 1TB of online storage.
First teased back in February, Voigtländer has shared more technical specs for its 75mm F1.5 Vintage Line lens.
This isn't your average GoPro-style time-lapse camera. The TikeePRO 2+ can record 6K time-lapses from inside a ruggedized box with an integrated solar panel and GPS functionality.
We've re-scored the Nikon Z6 and Z7 to reflect the improved performance and usability offered by the latest firmware updates. We'll be doing more of this in the coming months.
New sizes allow for the use of ColorChecker targets in a wider range of photographic and video applications.
Leica's latest special edition camera is a Leica CL collaboration with French-Italian photographer Jean Pigozzi.
Nikon has made available a firmware update that brings significant improvements to autofocus. But it's continuous Eye AF that's the big headline. Science Editor Rishi Sanyal has given it a go, and finds its performance to be remarkably good... but with some snags.
This AI program can cutout a person or character and create an animated 3D model all from a single still image.
Same body and pixel-count, but the Hasselblad X1D II 50C moves quicker and offers the biggest rear screen in the medium format market – and it costs a lot less than the original.
It's two years late, but worth the wait, according to Hasselblad: the company says that its new XCD 35-75mm zoom is the best lens it has ever made.
Hasselblad will be reintroducing its medium format digital back for the V-system medium format film cameras, and has also announced a new slimline X-series body to go with it.
Olympus has released a major firmware update for its nearly three-year-old OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Many of the additions come straight from the company's flagship E-M1X, so now you can have a camera that shares many of the same features but in a much smaller package.
Olympus has announced a 2X teleconverter designed to be used with its 40-150 F2.8 and 300mm F4 Pro lenses, as well as the 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro lens currently under development. This weather-sealed teleconverter will be available is available now for $429.
We've got our hands on a nearly final Fujifilm GFX 100 to begin using in earnest, and though it's not yet running final firmware, we couldn't help but put it in front of our studio scene to see what it can do – have a look for yourself.
Lensbaby is known for its interesting lens designs, but its new system is an add-on kit that can make interesting in-camera effects with what Lensbaby refers to as ‘effect wands.’
It shouldn't come as a surprise, but this marks the first time an official has been made regarding the existence of a flagship mirrorless camera designed to compete with Nikon's flagship D4/D5 DSLR series.
Datacolor's new SpyderX Capture Pro and SpyderX Studio tool suites are designed to be an all-in-one solution to getting the best color in your images and prints.
DJI introduced the Osmo Pocket, a portable, handheld device ideal for vloggers and recreational use, late last year. To slow shutter speed for more cinematic footage, and to reduce glare in photos, these polarizer and neutral density filters can be a great addition.
Dallas Morning News photojournalist Tom Fox was on-scene for a separate assignment when a gunman opened fire at a federal courthouse in Dallas, Texas. Fox captured an incredible image of the gunman
The backpack, which still has 39 days to go on Kickstarter, uses an internal organizer and features an exterior that's weather resistance and uses WANDRD's InfiniteZip system.
The four-and-a-half-minute video explains how Canon's new RF mount affords new possibilities in lens design that ultimately lead to better image quality.
Automation, a new feature within the Shortcuts app of iOS 13, allows for a clever workaround to open third-party camera apps as the default Camera app on the home screen
Users will soon be able to recover a hacked account via in-app functions, without getting in touch with the Instagram security team.
Whether you're headed to the beach or the ski slopes, a rugged, waterproof camera lets you focus on your adventure instead of worrying if the camera will survive. Find out which model is the best-in-class in our waterproof camera buying guide.
The FlexTILT Head 3D is the first product in Edelkrone's new ORTAK lineup, which is specifically designed to piggyback off the growing trend of 3D printing.