Canon G1X MkII

Recently, I visited the UK to report on three major airshows. My flight across to the UK was part of my reporting so I needed a compact camera that I could use onboard the aircraft and so avoid undoing my big camera bag to get one of my bigger out. I contacted Abri at Canon with my request and he immediately said no problem – use the latest G1X MkII. I am glad he offered that one…

My first impression of the camera was that it was quite heavy for a compact camera. When I looked at the specs for the camera, I understood why. It is an awesome little camera.

Firstly, it takes pics in RAW mode. This is a big plus for me as I shot everything in RAW with my bigger cameras. Secondly, it is really compact for what it does. The measurements and weight are as follows:

Width- 116mm
Height- 74mm
Depth- 66mm
Weight- 553grams (nearly half a Kilo)

So one can see, it is reasonably small, in the compact camera ballpark.

Key features:

12,8 MP sensor – 1,5” Digic 6 processor
24-120mm lens with optical IS
Dual control rings
Tilting 3” LCD touchscreen
WiFi with remoe control via smartphone
1080/30fps video recording
Optional electronic viewfinder

Handling the G1X, it felt very well finished off, something I am used to with my big cameras. The magnesium alloy body is responsible for that feel. Although I am not used to such a small camera, it started to “grow” on me and I used it for many different tasks where I would have normally used one of the big Canon’s. When I went on one of my many walkabouts in Cambridge and London, I used the G1X as it was just so handy to carry around. I also found I set it on Auto, and although it saves as a straight JPEG file, it was just so easy and processing time was cut down drastically! The photos were excellent quality.

I am not a fan of using the LCD screen to frame a photo and focus – it’s an old habit that won’t die from using an SLR too long. However, the LCD screen on the G1X was quite versatile and can tilt up to 180 deg for those “selfies” and 45 deg down for those “over the heads” shots! Very handy. For those that still would like an electronic viewfinder, it is an option albeit an expensive option. I for one would prefer the viewfinder.

On the lens are two rings – one to control the focus (in manual) and the other to control shutter and aperture priority. It can be a little difficult and clumsy but with practice, it gets easier.

On the LCD screen, I liked the touch screen function and one can change settings by touching the correct spot on the screen. I did not like the fact that when carrying the camera by the sling, touching the screen one can change settings by mistake. The touch screen function can be turned off.

The battery lasted long enough for a whole days shooting in my case, although I had the instant view function off so battery power was drastically saved.

I used the camera to take some night photos and the results were very good. Those were shot on “Auto”. Yes, there is a bit of noise but hey, this is a compact camera so the amount of noise was acceptable. I also used the video function quite often and found it to have a very good quality – even though I am no videographer. I did not get to use the WiFi function – didn’t have enough time with the product.

Overall, I think the G1X is a winner. The upside, the quality build is excellent and image quality is great. The downside for me is the price. At around R10000 it is a bit steep in price and if you add the electronic viewfinder, add another R3500+ to that price.

Would I buy one? Well, if I didn’t have an SLR then yes, I would buy one for sure. It offers lots of functions that an SLR has.

Kings College in Cambridge – shot on Auto – nice contrast and colour reproduction

Trafalgar Square in London – nice colour reproduction


Shot in Regents Park, these roses against the sky – well handled by the camera set on Auto


An indoors shot in the Imperial War Museum in London. Again, set on Auto and the camera did all the work.


An overcast day, the camera caught the aircraft nicely.

Another aircraft shot at RIAT – very nice contrast and the clouds were well caught.