The compact camera side of the market has never been hotter for those who want a step up from a smartphone, but don’t want the complication of a full-blown DSLR. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II brings new upgrades to the original model, which itself was a great performer. Now in the form of a DIGIC 7 processor coupled to the 20.1MP 1.0-inch sensor for better lowlight performance.
The newest version sits in the center of Canon’s G-Series range of compact cameras with better shooting performance, higher burst rate and produces raw format images.
The G7 X Mark II has basically the same design as the original with a solid metal construction, but now has a tilting screen and a longer focal length at 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8. Being such a compact design means there is no room for a viewfinder, although there is a touchscreen facility, to access all the functionality.
The screen isn’t fully articulating, which isn’t so much a downside when the view is bright and high-quality. The body of the camera is mostly covered in a textured material with a little finger grip on one side, which is just adequate enough to give confidence when holding the camera.
All the dials and buttons are simply laid out and straightforward. The top of the camera has a mode dial which incorporates an exposure compensation dial.
Semi and full automatic modes are available with hybrid auto, scene, and video, with the creative modes left out. An on/off button and a toggle switch for zooming are also incorporated. A dial around the lens can be assigned to different functions with the option of clicks when you turn the thing or not.
As for the back of the camera, there’s a nice indent to place your thumb under which they are buttons for accessing the Q menu, record, play, menu, and different shooting modes. A 31-point AF system with face detection and AF-Assist beam can do a lot of the heavy lifting, with a slight tap on the rear screen to set the autofocus point.
The autofocus system works very well, even in low light, but struggles when capturing very small objects in macro mode. In other words, it’s not the greatest in macro mode.
In total the whole design is small enough to fit into your pocket, which means this could be an ideal camera for travel or on the go photography.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II in Use
There’s no major learning curve with the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, as it’s very quick to get good-quality exposures straight out of the box. In fully automatic mode with auto white balance, exposures only needed a slight bit of compensation via the top dial. Sharpness and colors are initially very accurate and the camera even coped under artificial light very well.
The zoom range of 24-100mm may seem modest for a compact camera, but this also means the optical quality is kept in check. This shows in the initial images. There are options to have digital zoom, but it’s best to use this as a last resort if you have to get a longshot.
The ISO range is 125-12,800, a decent enough range, but noise does start to creep in at ISO 3200, with noise reduction being employed on JPEG and noticeable in larger prints. JPEGs, on the whole, render extremely well straight out of the camera and as long as you keep the ISO levels low they retain a good amount of detail. Overall there aren’t any creative modes, but Scene mode gives a few options for basic shooting scenarios.
RAW files are produced faithfully but are still susceptible to luminance noise once you start to crank up the ISO to 6400. RAW files produce the most detail and are the best way to go for full ability to edit your images after the fact.
Although the camera isn’t lightning fast with its autofocus, it’s still very accurate and only starts to struggle in very low light conditions. There is optical image stabilization which is also a worthy addition.
Video quality comes in at Full HD (1920 x 1080) 59.94p, with a recording limit of 29 Minutes, 59 Seconds. There’s also a built-in stereo microphone. The video quality and features are good enough for candid footage producing pleasing results, especially when the camera is attached to a tripod.
Out and about, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a pleasure to use, is discreet, and produces worthwhile images in both JPEG and RAW format. Plenty to like about this camera as a compact alternative to a DSLR for those who like to travel light.
How Does It Compare?
There are a few options on the market in the compact camera arena, depending on your brand preference and budget. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III is a very popular camera, with a lot of functionality and produces very good images.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II has the advantage of a touchscreen and a longer focal length, but the Sony has an electronic viewfinder, a much higher burst shooting rate and although there is no direct 4K video, you can capture 4K images.
There’s also the Panasonic ZS100 with the same sized sensor, 4K video, electronic viewfinder, and same compact size. It boasts a Leica lens, which produces great images, but don’t expect the same optical quality as a full-on Leica lens.
|Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II||Sony RX100 III|
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II brings small updates to the original design, which may not be enough as an upgrade to the original, but definitely a tempting proposition for those with an older compact camera.
Something like a fully articulating screen would’ve been nice, but the included tilting screen does work very well. The DIGIC 7 processor has definitely sped up processing with better low light performance and quicker playback.
Image quality carries on from the G7 X with good renditions of color and sharpness and ISO levels are respectable considering the size of the sensor. The addition of RAW files is a definite plus point, especially for reducing noise levels at high ISO.
Although the omission of the viewfinder may be a negative to some, it’s debatable how good it would be in such a small unit like this. Some of the competitors have managed to cram a viewfinder into their compact cameras, but it didn’t always feel a detriment to view a subject all the time on the rear screen.
There are obviously other compact cameras on the market with equally good optics and functionality, but at least the Canon has better value, which may be the draw point for some. In essence, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a nice upgrade to the original and a great solution as a carry-anywhere compact camera which produces very good quality images.