Canon PowerShot G1X
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The Canon PowerShot G1X weights 540grams quite a lot for a digital unit and it comes with a neck strap. It is 11.5x8x7cm but add between 3 to 5cm when switched on as the lens moves out by that much as soon as power is applied. If you use the TFT to frame images then you can double the width to 16cm as it flips opens like that of a camcorder.
The left side has one anchor point for the neck strap; the right side has the other as well as a door hiding the HDMI and A/V out sockets. The base has the battery cover behind which you also insert any SD card you may use.
The face has the lens a 4x offering 15.1-60.4mm just above this is the viewfinder and if you use this a tiny portion of the framed image looks as if you have the lens obstructing your field of view but as the lens is at least 5cm in front it is an illusion and the images are not affected. A rubberised grip area towards the right edge facilitates grip in conditions where the fingers might slip.
While the back is dominated by the TFT the 6x4.5cm offering can almost be ignored if you use the viewfinder to capture images. One button to the left of the viewfinder, one button to the right then a thumb grip pad and finally a video record button. Down the right beyond the TFT are two pairs of buttons with the ubiquitous five position joystick in between completes the back. Finally the top this has a pop up 2x.5cm flash with a shoe for external flash connection should you prefer. A ten position wheel with an adjustment wheel under it. The on/off button with LED at the back and just in front of it the silvered shutter release with the telephoto / wide angle control around it.
While I have not named what all the buttons do the graphics on them should be obvious if not then there are details in the manual on the provided CD. Eight pages of the Getting Started booklet should be enough for you to take initial images using the ‘Auto’ setting. As always I bemoan the lack of a full printed manual but as the Getting Started is in eighteen languages it would certainly damage the nations tree stock to print all those.
My first use was inside near dusk in a poorly lit room and I though the images would be poor without flash I was wrong as the low light control – even without a tripod – was rather good it uses what light there is to help the overall image and these first use images were all taken using the Auto mode, a tough test passed with honours.
I did take some flash images later on that evening and was perfectly happy with these as well both when shown on the PC the next day and when viewed on the TFT. I was also very happy with the ones I printed out. These were not printed on a Canon printer as their agency seems unable to supply me any units currently.
To have a digital camera with a viewfinder today is quite rare and of course it really comes into its own when you have strong sunlight as the TFT can be hard to read then. The screen once opened can be rotated through 270 degrees so this may help with sunlight but certainly when trying to capture images either other or around someone.
To me this PowerShot ticks all the boxes, great images up to 14MP in 4:3, 13MP in 3:2, 11MP in 16:9 and 1:1 and finally 9MP in 4:5 a rather strange setting. As with all Canon offerings you have L, M1, M2 and S images.
Low light was excellent and flash when required works well and all this easily accessible for the novice from the Auto setting, so I would almost call this a bridge unit as your next step would certainly be a DSLR.
Doing my searches found the Canon PowerShot G1X at £524.
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