Sunday, January 29, 2012

G1 Xpectations

20120109_hiRes_g1x_frontOK, so the title is a bit hokey but after reading many previews of the G1X, as well as the User Guide, I’m beginning to get a feeling for it. This seems to be a good time for realistically evaluating my own expectations of the G1X. But first, a few interesting references:

Canon announcement, product page, video and User Guide

     - DPreview, CES hands-on, Update, Sample gallery
     - Which (and a video)
     - PhotoReview
     -Imaging Resource

Posts here at LightDescription
     - Specification comparison to G9 and G12; to Pro1 and G12
     - Notes on User Guide: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
     - G1X announcement

By now, nearly three weeks after Canon’s announcement, the Internet is full of opinions on the G1X. Here’s what I expect.

Canon has said that the G1X will be shipped in February but Amazon says release is on March 31. My G1X is on pre-order from a different supplier and no ship date has been promised. Although some purchasers seem to think that they will receive their G1X in early February, I expect mine to come towards the end of February and perhaps early March.

I’ll be writing about the “G1X” even though the official name is “G1 X” (note the space). Confusingly, there is a Panasonic GX1 (officially DMC-GX1) and a Fujifilm X-Pro1.

I’m looking forward to
     - Large sensor features and better high ISO and reduced depth of field
     - Improved dynamic range
     - Higher resolution LCD (should be useful for manual focus accuracy)
     - Full HD video with optical zoom
     - Playing with Movie Digest mode
     - Silent operation but high quality images.

At the same time, I’m expecting to compensate and use work-arounds for
     - Larger size, heavier camera
     - Reduced battery life
     - No conversion lens adapters (probably temporary shortcoming)
     - Lack of close-ups (“macro” is limited); will probably use G12 for macros
     - Reduced telephoto focal length (am wondering about cropping)
     - Slow response (“shutter lag”) – but probably improved over G12
     - RAW + adjustable (colors, noise, compression, sharpening) JPEG mode

I’m preparing to be disappointed in
     - ETTL flash in manual exposure mode
     - “screen blanking” bug
     - Lack of flexibility in movie mode
     - F5.8 at max telephoto (wishing for, say, f4)

I expect to have a very nice camera in a few weeks but hope to be pleasantly surprised by an earlier delivery.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

G1X User Guide Notes (Part 3)

G1X User guide cover pageContinuing to read in the G1X User Guide and post thoughts and differences as compared to the G12 …

Playback Mode includes editing and I’ve rarely edited in-camera – except to delete mistakes! It’s interesting to me to realize how many people keep an album on their camera.

Scroll Display. I don’t care for the Scroll Display when viewing images and didn’t realize it could be turned off (p141). Scroll Display is now OFF on my G12.

Grouped images. Images shot in burst mode can be view individually or ungrouped but this takes a few button presses and use of the Main Menu (p148). Seems awkward to me but I’ll try it because burst mode is likely to be useful.

Hints and Tips. Like the G12, the G1X comes configured to display brief hints and tips while working through the various settings and menus. After a while, these hints and tips are no longer needed and can be turned off (p173).

Formatting. As a carry-over from past (bad) experiences, I always format memory cards from the device they are to be used in. I reformat frequently but usually not at “Low Level”. Formatting the G1X memory card appears to be the same as formatting the G12 memory card.

Copyright. Copyright information can be entered from the Main Menu of the G1X. This was not possible with the G12 (although it could be set in Canon software and transferred to the G12).

Accessories.  Most of the G1X accessories will probably not be interchangeable with G12 accessories.

Battery. As noted previously, the battery is different from the G12 battery and offers fewer shots per charge.

AC Adapter Kit. I have the ACK-DC50 AC Adapter Kit for my G12; however, the G1X requires the ACK-DC80 – no doubt because the dummy battery is different.

Macrolite adapters will be different from the G12 even though the macro ring lite is (apparently) the same.

Cases. Soft cases and underwater cases are different from the G12 because, obviously, the G1X is larger.

Lens Hood. Canon offers the LH-DC70 lens hood for the G1X; this is new as far as I can tell.

Filters. Like the G12, the G1X uses 58mm filters; however, I expect some difficulty here. G12 filters are placed on a lens adapter. G1X filters are placed on a filter adapter, FA-DC58C. Looks like the hood attaches in the same way as the filter adapter which means that hood and filter adapter cannot be used at the same time. I expect the G1X to eventually have a lens adapter – even if from a third party – that uses a larger filter size and can accept conversion lens.

External Flash. I am extremely curious about external flash with the G1X. Flash is covered in Section 8; however, it does not satisfy my curiosity. One of my biggest complaints about the G series has been that its external flash capability appears to be intentionally crippled as compared to the Canon DSLR. Specifically, when a G series camera is placed in Manual exposure mode, the flash controls also become fully manual. Said a different way, there is no ETTL automatic flash control when a G series camera is in Manual exposure. Although I had high hopes that external flash on the G1X would be more like Canon DSLR, it more and more appears to be standard G series logic and controls for flash – in spite of the hopes raised by the wording on the external flash chart on page 204.  I am afraid that the G1X does not meet my hopes for external flash.


This concludes my reading and posting from the G1X User Guide.  The use and operation of the G1X appears to be much more similar than different from the G12 and even prior G series PowerShots.  In most ways, this similarity is a welcome feature.  I’m awaiting the delivery of my G1X even more anxiously than ever.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

G1X User Guide Notes (Part 2)

G1X User guide cover pageIn a previous post, I began reading the G1X User Guide and making notes of the differences between the new G1X and my current G12.  This post picks up at Section 3:  Other Shooting Modes.

Section 3 is primarily concerned with the other automated shooting modes such as SCN, Filters and Movies. I’ve rarely used SCN modes because RAW files are not available with the SCN mode. Creative Filters is somewhat interesting but, again, no RAW.

HDR. I did try the in-camera G12 HDR and will be trying G1X HDR as well. With the G12, I preferred to produce my own HDR images using Photomatix.  Like the G12, the G1X in-camera HDR is generated from three bracketed shots with a choice of five processing variations: no effect, sepia, B/W, super vivid, poster.

Miniature effect. The Miniature Effect blurs the upper and lower portions of the image. It is available in still or movies on the G1X but only movies on the G12.

Movie Digest. I admit to be curious and interested in Movie Digest. When shooting in Movie Digest mode, short video clips are made prior to taking a still image. The G1X then combines all the clips from that day into a single video file. Cute and not available in the G12.  I wonder about mixing various stills and Digest image files on the same memory card.  How does the G1X know when to combine all the clips? 

High-speed Burst. This feature was one of the bragging points in launching the G1X. It is available only in the SCN mode and generates 4.5 images per second but is limited to 6 consecutive images. The consecutive shots are considered part of a “group”. During playback only the first image will be displayed. If that image is erased then the entire group is erased! (Glad I read that!)  Groups can be “ungrouped” – more instructions to read.

Movies. In “Movie Mode”, movies are nearly fully automated but some adjustments are available: Exposure adjustment (but not with the top dial), AF frame, manual focus, self timer, ND filter, white balance (p92).

Movies in P Mode. Interestingly, movies can also be recorded when the top dial is in P mode by pressing the Movie button. Function and Menu settings may be changed automatically if necessary.  Wonder if there’s an advantage to shooting movies from P Mode?

Auto ISO. Maximum for Auto ISO is 1600; this is set in the main Menu.

Noise reduction. There are three levels of noise reduction in the main Menu.

i-Contrast. For problems with highlights, adjust “Dynamic Range”. For problems with shadows, adjust “Shadow Correct”. These are the same as for the G12 but I’m hoping that typing it will help me to remember! Available through the Function settings but not available in RAW modes.  Not available when shooting RAW+JPEG.

Preset focal lengths. By assigning the zoom function to the front dial, present focal lengths of 28, 35, 50, 85, 100, 112 mme are available as steps in the zoom range. Not available in Movie mode.

Powered IS is an additional image stabilization mode for “slow” camera movement while filming movies.

That’s it for instructions on taking pictures; next is Playback instructions.

Friday, January 20, 2012

G1X User Guide Notes

G1X User guide cover pageWhile waiting for my G1X (pre-ordered), I’m reading its instruction manual and making note of similarities and differences that appear useful or interesting as compared to the G12. Many of these similarities and differences are summarized in a previously posted comparison chart. Based on product announcements and previews, it appears that operation of the G1X will  very similar to the G12. These notes may appear to be random but are being added while reading from the beginning of the 244 page G1X manual.

Control Dial. As has been reported, one major difference between the G12 and G1X is that ISO selection has been moved from a dedicated dial on the top of the camera to the “up” section of the Control Dial on the back of the camera. I’m curious but hopeful about how this relocation will work out. Manual focus has been shifted to the left section of the Control Dial.

Cap and Strap. The G1X comes with a removable lens cap and string to attach it to the camera – looks to be an improvement over the G3 removable cap. Instead of the neck strap, I’ll be using a Gordy wrist strap.

Battery. The battery is an NB-10L instead of the NB-7L used in the G12.

Flash. The internal flash will not pop up automatically (page 22); instead, a message appears on the display screen to “Raise the flash”. It seems that the picture will still be taken (without flash) if the flash is not raised. Push the flash back into the camera body before shooting movies.

Software. I don’t use the included ZoomBrowser or Digital Photo Professional software so won’t have comments on those instructions. In the past, there have been problems when downloading images from the G9 or G12 (especially when shooting RAW+JPEG) so I always download images by inserting the memory card into the computer or a card reader.

Movie recording time. Similar to other PowerShots and Canon DSLRs, continuous recording time is limited to 30 minutes. This limitation is widely said to be a result of European taxes on high resolution video cameras.

Macro focus. The quoted 20cm minimum focus distance is at wide angle; at full telephoto minimum macro focus distance is 85cm. Without macro setting, the minimum focus distance at full telephoto is 130cm using auto focus but is 85cm in manual focus. It appears that the “macro” setting is not a lens shift but is a change in the auto focus algorithm.

Shooting speed. The quoted 4.5 frames per second is really only available in the burst mode; in Program mode, the maximum is 1.9 frames per second.

Shutter button. Everyone, please notice the “half-press” technique for the shutter button on page 41. It’s the same as the G12 but surprisingly few people know about this very useful and recommended technique.

Mode Dial. Shooting modes C2, C1, M, Av, Tv, P and Auto are located as expected on the Mode Dial. After Auto, the G1X has SCN (Scenes), Creative Filters, and Movie instead of the Low Light, Quick Shot, SCN, and Movie of the G12.

Image stabilization. There are six image stabilization icons displayed to indicate the type of stabilization that is automatically applied if IS Mode is turned ON in the main menu.

Self-timer. The self-timer control has moved from the Control Dial (G12) to  the Function Settings. A delay up to 30 seconds can be programmed and up to 10 still shots can be taken. The self-timer also works with movies.

Compression ratios. Contrary to some rumors and wishes, according to the instruction manual, there are only two compression ratios used for JPEG images: Fine and Normal. (Some older Canon cameras also had a “Superfine” compression ratio. I know the Superfine files contain more detail but, in practice, I’ve not be able to discern much difference between Superfine and Fine. Superfine files were notably larger than Fine files.)

Multi-area White Balance. The main menu includes an option to automatically detect and correct the white balance of areas partially lit by mercury lamps. Although this feature was advertised as “Multi-area White Balance”, in the menu, the option shows up as “Hg Lamp Corr” (page 63).

Movie image. One of the selling points for the G1X is the ability to film full HD movies (1920x1080 @ 24 fps). This option is selected from the Function Settings. Other options are 1280x720@30fps and 640x480@30fps.

(Notes from the instruction manual will continue …)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Features: Pro1 vs G12 vs G1x

In 2004, Sony came out with their ICX456 sensor, a 2/3” 8MP CCD, and their DSC-F828 camera using it.  Nikon (8700), Olympus (C-8080), Konica-Minolta (DiMAGE A2) and Canon (Pro1) immediately used that same sensor in their own “premium” compact, non-interchangeable lens cameras of that year.  In those days, one has to suspect that Sony was more interested in selling sensors than cameras!

Although the Pro1 is revered among Canon enthusiasts, most reviews placed it in the middle of the pack of those cameras using the Sony sensor.  In my own opinion, the Pro1 (in Canon’s sometimes strange product numbering system, there is also a Pro70 and a Pro90 IS) was the smallest,  best-looking and most desirable of that group.  Although I seriously considered the Pro1, I already had a G3 and decided to add a Canon DSLR, the 20D, to my arsenal instead of the Pro1.  I think this was the correct decision for me at the time.

For those interested in comparing the specifications and features of the Pro1 to the current G12 and upcoming G1X, I’ve modified the previous chart comparing the G9, G12 and G1X.  As noted above, I do not own and have never used the Pro1.  Also, I could not find the complete specifications (even in the Pro1 manual) and have relied on reviews from DCresourceDPreview, and  Luminous Landscape.

On re-reading the reviews for the Pro1, I was reminded of the low ISO limits of those years.  the Pro 1 shows very poor performance at ISO 400 and also lots of “purple fringing”.

Pro1, G12, G1X chart

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Features: G9 vs G12 vs G1X

I own and use the PowerShot G9 and G12 and plan to get the G1X.  Below is a rather quick comparison of the specifications and features available in the G9, G12 and G1X.  I did not attempt to list all specifications and features, especially those that were essentially the same or those that I felt were relatively insignificant.  Cells colored green indicate a specification or feature that I felt was significantly desirable or improved in comparison to the other cameras.

G9, G12, G1X chart

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flash Straps


So many flash accessories are attached by Velcro that my handful of miscellaneous flashes are all taped up with Velcro.  Most of the time, that’s OK but there are other, cleaner and neater, solutions.  Both LumiQuest and HonlPhoto offer removable straps for mounting flash accessories.  Unsure of which to use, I bought one of each.  Here’s a very quick review.


The straps are similar but different.  The Honl strap is wider.  The LumiQuest strap can be stretched (note the “loops” in the fabric). 


My taped up 580EX II is on the right and my Yongnuo 565EX with the Honl strap is on the left.


In the above picture, the Velcro patches were removed from the 580EX II and the LumiQuest strap was installed.

Although neither came with instructions (!), both straps seemed to work well.  The LumiQuest strap is slightly more difficult to install because it must be stretched; however, it does not slip on the flash whereas the Honl strap could be slid.  In practice, the Honl worked fine.  “Testing” was done with my largest and heaviest flash attachment, the LumiQuest LTp softbox.

I’m ordering LumiQuest straps for the other flashes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

G1X Announced

20120109_hiRes_g1x_frontAs expected (although expected tomorrow), Canon has announced the new G1X.  Instead of a continuation of the G series, the G1X is apparently being pushed as a new beginning, hence the odd product name. 

Well, it’s an odd name to me anyway.  I’m disciplining myself to type G1X instead of GX1 -- which is a nice Panasonic micro four thirds camera.  These certainly are the times of the “X” cameras!  Fuji has just announced a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera as “X-Pro1” and thereby strengthened its X-Club membership while simultaneously borrowing Canon’s “Pro 1” product name. 

DPreview already has a preview of the G1X.  Canon Europe has posted a video.

The G1X sensor is the large 1.5” size first noted in the WellFargoAdvisors early release and has 14.3 megapixels.  Maximum aperture is f2.8 at the wide angle of 28mme and decreases to f5.8 at 112mme telephoto.  The announcement places enough emphasis on flash compatibility that I’m hopeful the G1X will have flash modes more like Canon DSLRs than like previous G series cameras. 

Although the complaints have already begun about overall size, weight, zoom ratio too small, maximum aperture too small, too expensive, etc., etc., the G1X looks very good to me.  Mine is on order.

Friday, January 6, 2012


G12 CameraIt more and more appears that Canon is about to launch the next addition to the PowerShot G series: G1X. If rumors are true, and I believe they are, the G1X is spec’d out as a very nice enthusiast’s camera and I intend to get one – in February from what is being said.

When I first read the G1X rumor on the CanonRumors site, I believed it but became skeptical while reading the resulting comments on the CanonRumors discussion forum. Followup on the DPReview discussion forum convinced me that the G1X rumor was not true. The main areas being questioned were:

  • The original source of the rumor, WellsFargoAdvisors, was severely questioned and criticized (that site no longer includes the G1X product announcement).
  • The rumor first said that the G1X was fitted with a 1.5” sensor. This is an odd size and the methods for specifying sensor size are very confusing. One interpretation was that this would be an impossibly large sensor. Another interpretation was that this was a typo and the correct sensor size was 1/1.5. It was then pointed out that a 1/1.5” sensor would be only marginally larger than the existing G series sensor and therefore not competitive. DPReview has a good explanation of the numbers used to specify sensor size.
  • Again relating to the supposed 1.5” sensor as a diagonal measurement, many pointed out that the G1X would be impossibly large and high priced.
  • The rumored zoom lens was only 28mm to 112mm – a relatively short 4:1 zoom. G series enthusiasts seem to want both a wider and longer zoom – say, 24mm to 144mm (me too).
  • The rumor gave the aperture a range of f2.5 to f16. My interpretation was that this was truly a “range” but many others thought that the zoom lens would have f2.5 at the shortest focal length and f16 at the longest focal length. Such a lens would not be competitive, f16 being far too limited.
  • The rumor did not include photos of the G1X or any specifics such as size, weight, type of view finder, type of display, etc.

As I mulled over these arguments, I again became a believer in the rumor. It now appears that WellsFargoAdvisors probably released a summary announcement prematurely. The sensor is probably identified correctly as 1.5” based on an old video tube naming convention. This really means that the sensor is somewhat larger than a micro-four-thirds sensor but smaller than the APS sensor. The lens must be physically larger than the current G series zoom lens because of the larger sensor. The lens was probably limited to 4:1 zoom in order to keep the body of the G1X relatively slim. The maximum aperture is probably something like f2.5 to f4.8 depending on the zoomed focal length. The minimum aperture is probably f16 for all focal lengths.

I expect the G1X to look like a recent G series PowerShot, probably most like the G12 but a little larger and thicker. The optical viewfinder of the G series will probably be sacrificed for the sake of size (it’s not a good viewfinder and many do not like it although some insist on an optical viewfinder).. The articulating LCD display may also be a casualty of size (hope not).

In my own predictions and wishes, I’ve variously and inconsistently described a camera somewhat like the rumored G1X.  I sure hope that the G1X accepts accessories such as lens/filter adapters, flash, flash triggers, remotes, etc. I especially hope that the flash system on the G1X is the same as the Canon DSLR flash system.

It is now being said that the G1X will be announced early next week!

Flying Pelicans


More White Pelicans at the LSU lakes

LSU White Pelicans

LSU White Pelicans

LSU White Pelicans

LSU White Pelicans

Monday, January 2, 2012

G12 Gallery

Butterfly Weed

I’ve added a Canon G12 portfolio to my SmugMug galleries to complement the existing G9 and G3 portfolios.  The G12 portfolio contains 20 pictures (so far).  Interestingly, 28 of the 52 pictures designated “Picture A Week” were made with the G12 and many of these also were selected for the G12 portfolio.

The G12 is a better and more versatile camera than the G9 just as the G9 is an improvement over the G3; however, little technical improvement can be noted by flipping through those portfolios – especially at the viewing resolution.  If anything, the G3, G9 and G12 portfolios are more of an indication of my own interests and skills than the particular camera that was used. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

PAW 52

LSU White Pelicans

Almost, but not quite, every year, White Pelicans come to the lakes around LSU.  They’re quite a sight feeding, floating and flying around but it’s surprisingly difficult to get an interesting photo of them.  When I learned that the White Pelicans had returned, I essentially pre-determined that they would be featured in Picture A Week.

While driving around the lake searching for the pelicans, to my surprise, a mass of them were feeding near an edge of the lake – almost in a corner.  Although I could not park nearby, it was only a short walk to return to the scene. I was able to get perhaps ten yards away from the feeding frenzy. 

The above photo was taken with my Canon 7D fitted with 100-400 IS zoom at 100mm.  Exposure was 1/1250, f8 and ISO 800; shot in RAW and post processed in ACR.  I like the still photo but it really doesn’t do justice to the event.  I also used the 7D in movie mode and assembled this video using Adobe Premier Elements version 9.

White pelicans at LSU Lake