Friday, March 2, 2012

G1X: First Impressions

G1X Camera

I’ve had the G1X for a few days now, taken a few snapshots and it’s time to write about first impressions.  First, I like the G1X and will be keeping it – that may seem strange to say but a number of early purchasers have decided, for one reason or another, to return theirs.  As I did with the G9 and then G12, I intend to learn to work with the G1X and, where necessary, work around its peculiarities.

G1X and G12

The G1X is very similar to the G12; in fact, the G1X is essentially a G12 with a large sensor.  For the most part, that similarity is a good thing although I wish some of the G12 “bug’s” had been corrected.  Also, I wish that more of the features on my wish list had been incorporated into the G1X. 

Video on the G1X seems to be very good even though highly automated with few options.  In fact, my very first action with the G1X was to shoot some video – even though entirely accidentally as I inadvertently pressed the video button.  That button is in the wrong place!

To me, the G1X feels good in my hand.  It is not as large or heavy as I thought it might be.  In fact, the G1X is pocketable!  That is, the G1X will fit into the pocket of “comfortable” pants for men of a certain age.  (I did not subject myself or the G1X to the jeans of my youth!)  The G1X might seem to be too large when packing bags or traveling but will seem to be too small when matched with a large external flash. 

G1X and G12

The pop-up flash of the G1X seems very dinky and is probably the least professional aspect of the G1X. Canon should at least have this flash drive a remote flash such as the 580EX.  The G1X does have the “screen blanking” bug of the G12.  Also, the YN565EX flash is incompatible with the G1X in the same manner as the G12.  All understandable but nonetheless disappointing.

The lens cap is easily removed or installed. I probably won’t use the attaching string but will simply put the lens cap in my left rear pants pocket just as I do for a DSLR lens cap.

Although some early users have said that the G1X rear control dial is the same as  the G12, it is actually a different design. It is the same size as the control dial on the G12 but its knurled rotating ring sticks up above the fixed center portion of the dial. This makes the control dial of the G1X easier to use than the control dial of the G12. On the other hand, it is still too easily accidentally pressed.

In use, the auto focus speed and shutter lag of the G1X seem to be about the same as the G12.  This shortcoming will produce much criticism because everyone was wishing for a significant improvement.  Like the other G series, the G1X is not the best camera for grabbing shots of active youngsters.  On the positive side, manual focus seems somewhat easier than on the G12 because of the increased display resolution.

Apertures begin at f2.8 for the G1X at wide angle zoom but change to f5.8 at maximum telephoto.  The change in aperture occurs quickly.  The first little nudge of the zoom lever causes the aperture to change from 2.8 to 3.2.  The next nudge changes to 3.5; next to 4; then 4.5; then 5.  Although I understand the technical reason and marketing options, this is disappointing.

To those hoping that the G12 lens adapter will fit the G1X, your hope is in vain.  No way.

Like the G12, “My Color” settings are lost when shooting RAW+JPEG with the G1X.

The ISO setting is shared among the P, Av and T modes but the M mode ISO is independent.  I like this.  High ISO performance is very good and I doubt that I’ll be using that dinky little flash very much.

Macro performance is not particularly good but there is a workaround by using close-up lenses; more on this later.

The G1X is a good camera -- not a perfect camera but a good camera.  I like it.

No comments: