The PowerShot G9 X Mark II is an ultra-compact camera that features a larger-than-average 1"-type CMOS sensor. It serves as the entry-level model in Canon's Gx-X series, and has an MSRP of $529. Being the entry-level model, Canon has given the camera a touchscreen-based interface that will be familiar to smartphone owners who are looking to trade up to something better.

The main problems with the original G9 X were performance related. Continuous shooting was slow, especially when using Raw or continuous autofocus, the menus were sluggish and the battery didn't last for long.

The G9 X Mark II took care of most of the performance problems, due mostly to its new DIGIC 7 processor. The burst rate is faster, buffer larger and interface snappier. While improved, battery life still isn't great, though an 'Eco mode' gives you another 80 shots above the industry-standard CIPA estimate of 235. Canon also added in-camera Raw processing, Bluetooth capability and improved image stabilization for video shooting.

Key Features

  • 20.1MP 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 28-84mm equivalent F2-4.9 lens
  • Built-in neutral density filter
  • 3" touchscreen LCD
  • Up to 8.2 fps burst shooting
  • 1080/60p video capture
  • In-camera Raw conversion
  • Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth

The G9 X II'S 20MP sensor is found on all of Canon's 1"-type compacts, and is likely the same one found on Sony's RX100 III. The DIGIC 7 processor is what took care of the original G9 X's performance issues, and it makes a world of difference. As before, there's a built-in 3-stop ND filter, with on/off/auto settings. While essentially all cameras now have Wi-Fi, the Bluetooth feature is a nice extra, as it allows for very quick re-pairing between camera and smartphone.

Compared to...

The camera that is most similar to the G9 X Mark II is Sony's original RX100. It has an older sensor than the G9 X II, but it's closer in price than its successor, the RX100 II. We're throwing in the slightly more expensive Panasonic LX10, as well as the G9 X II's step-up model, the G7 X II, into the chart below.

Canon G9 X II Canon G9 X Sony RX100 Canon G7 X II Panasonic LX10
MSRP $529 $529 $449 $699 $699
Sensor 20MP BSI-CMOS 20MP CMOS 20MP BSI-CMOS
Lens (equiv) 28-84mm 28-100mm 24-100mm 24-72mm
Max aperture F2.0-4.9 F1.8-4.9 F1.8-2.8 F1.4-2.8
LCD 3" fixed 3" tilting
Touchscreen Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Burst rate

8.1 fps (AF-S)
5.3 fps (AF-C)

6 fps (AF-S)
4.3 fps (AF-C)

10 fps (AF-S)
2.5 fps (AF-C)

8 fps (AF-S)
5.4 fps (AF-C)
10 fps (AF-S)
6 fps (AF-C)
Video 1080/60p UHD 4K/30p
Wi-Fi Yes, with NFC+BT Yes, with NFC No Yes, with NFC Yes
Battery life 235 shots 220 shots 330 shots 265 shots 260 shots
Dimensions
(W x H x D)
98 x 58 x 31 mm 98 x 58 x 31 mm 102 x 58 x 36 mm 106 x 61 x 42 mm 106 x 60 x 42 mm
Weight 206 g 209 g 240 g 319 g 310 g

Look at the spec comparisons, there doesn't appear to be much of a difference between the G9 X Mark II and its predecessor. Same sensor, same lens, same display. That's because most of the changes are under the hood, which boost its burst rate, battery life (barely) and reduces overall sluggishness.

The G9 X II gets mixed results in terms of spec compared to its peers, though again, it's an entry-level model. On one hand, it's the smallest and lightest in the group, with a fast burst rate and Wi-Fi with all the trimmings. Its lens is the real weakness: it's slow (more on that below) and has a focal range that doesn't have a lot of reach. While better than on the original model, battery life on the G9 X II is poor, so bring along a spare battery if you're out for the day.

Lens comparison

Just like 'equivalent focal length' that we use throughout the site, equivalent apertures allow you to compare image quality potential across cameras with different sensor sizes by taking sensor size into account. The equivalent aperture figure gives a clear idea of how two lenses compare in terms of depth-of-field. It's also related to diffraction, which reduces sharpness as the aperture is stopped down. In other words, the higher the F-number, the softer the images will be.

Finally, equivalent aperture also gives an idea of low-light performance, since it also describes how much light is available, taking into account the sensor's entire area. However, differences in sensor performance mean this can only be used as a guide, rather than an absolute measure.

That pink line represents the G9 X II and, as you can see, it quickly ascends to the top of graph. Once you hit around 35mm, the equivalent aperture is ~F7.6 equivalent, which is getting into diffraction territory. At its worst the G9 X II is about a stop slower than the RX100, which most likely gives the latter a slight image quality advantage. The step-up model from the G9 X II, the G7 X II, is roughly 1.5 stops faster. This loss of low light capability and potential for control over depth-of-field is the price you pay to keep the camera so pocketable.