Image Quality

Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you'll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.

Like most Canon cameras, colors shine on the PowerShot G9 X Mark II, which just the right amount of 'punch.' As you'll see below, the lens on this camera is quite soft and, at default settings, the sharpening algorithm doesn't do a great job of correcting for that. We've found that creating a custom Picture Style and setting the strength to 4, fineness to 1 and threshold to 2 produces better fine details.

Unfortunately, heavy noise reduction can do a number on those fine details, even at the base ISO of 125. At higher ISOs, the soft lens and strong noise reduction removes quite a bit of detail.

The combination of heavy noise reduction and a soft lens destroys fine detail in this real-world JPEG.

Looking at the Raw images you can see just how soft the lens is, which significantly decreases the amount of detail captured. In terms of high ISO noise levels, the G9 X II is about the same as its peers, as you'd expect given their use of the same sensor.

Using the lens on the original G9 X as an example shows why it struggles compared to the best cameras in its class. While the Sony RX100 III in this comparison has a faster lens (with a more flexible focal range) than the G9 X and costs a lot more, it shows what's possible with a 1" sensor. On our original G9 X sample the lens performed best at the long end (84mm equiv.), while our G9 X Mark II is sharpest at around 50mm equiv.

Dynamic Range

The G9 X II's sensor, almost certainly designed by Sony, performs extremely well, with noise levels on par with its peers if you try to pull detail out of deep shadows. Another advantage of this sensor adding so little noise to its images is that you can shoot at a low ISO (to retain highlights) and 'pull up' the shadows in a Raw editor with no difference in noise.

Autofocus

Canon says that the AF system on the G9 X II is notably improved over that of its predecessor, especially when it comes to subject tracking. The naming of the various AF modes can be confusing, but what you need to know is that One Shot is single AF and Servo is continuous AF. The only other control you have is where the camera focuses, with choices of Face Detect + Track and 1-point.

1-point is relatively simple. By default it focuses on the center but you can tap the focus point to anywhere on the screen (save for a small margin). Face Detect + Track will detect a face and track it as it moves across the frame while the shutter release is halfway-pressed, and can do the same when you tap on an object. If you haven't tapped and there aren't any faces in the scene, the camera will automatically choose from its 31 focus points.

The G9 X II was able to keep our subject in focus the majority of the time, even in low light at 5 fps.

Since the G9 X II isn't exactly a sports camera, we're going to concentrate on how well it tracks faces in social situations. With the camera into Servo (continuous) AF and Face Detect + Tracking modes, it was able to keep a face in focus the majority of time, even as the camera shifts position and distance. The results are similar when shooting bursts at the 5 fps setting. The main downside when using face detection is that there's no quick way to jump from face to face: you need to either tap the screen or pan the camera in such a way that the other person is given priority.