Mirrorless cameras are usually aimed towards amateur photographers which are disappointed by their point-and-shoot camera image quality and are lured by the ISO sensitivity, low noise images of the huge sensors and by the nice bokeh effect which gives your images a quick professional look. But quite often, these amateurs don’t really intend to change the lenses : they are not used to that and find it annoying.
Canon today comes with a nice attractive answer : the Powershot G1 X, a compact camera, with not-interchangeable lens but with a 4:3 sensor which is the size of a M4:3 Pen or Lumix camera’s sensor, which means it is 6 times larger than the small CCD that is operating in the G12, the camera the G1 X is inspired by. The sensor is now a CMOS of 14 megapixels. Therefore, the G1 X can shoot till ISO 12,800 and can record Full HD movies. (read our Canon G1 X review : high ISO image quality article)
If you are familiar either with the EOS user interface or the G10/G11/G12 handling, then you will feel at home using the G1 X which inherits from the same user interface, the same poor optical viewfinder and the useful 3″ / 921,000 dots swivel screen. Unfortunately, Canon has not pursue the physical ISO ring of the g12 on the G1 X and I do regret this stupid move. (Canon staff : before doing such things, just ask me first !).
The lens is attached to the camera and don’t try to change it ! It is a 4x zoom lens but featuring early 2000’s type of focal ranges : 28-140mm…. We would have preferred a 25-100mm…. The maximum aperture is pretty decent at “wide-angle” (f/2.8) but falls quite heavily at 140mm being f/5.6. The nice high ISO image quality we expect from the Powershot G1 X and the optical image stabilizer should offset that slow telephoto aperture. With regards the bokeh effect, the huge surface of the CMOS sensor will help blurring the background.
How much will the Canon G1 X cost ? That is a pretty good surprise : in spite of its huge sensor, it remains decently priced at $799.
It looks like the Fujifilm X10 just lost its best prosumer digital compact camera position…
Here is the press release quote of Canon USA regarding the Powershot G1 X :
Ideal for photography enthusiasts looking for the highest image quality in a compact, point-and-shoot design, the Canon PowerShot G1 X camera features the largest sensor to date for a Canon point-and-shoot model. The camera has a brand new, large 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm), 14.3-megapixel High-Sensitivity Canon CMOS sensor, delivering shallow depth of field, a wide dynamic range, an ISO range of up to 12800 and incredible light gathering ability helping to ensure brilliant images in even tough low-light conditions. Featuring an amazing Canon lens with 4X Optical Zoom, an aperture of f/2.8 to f/16 for beautiful images when shooting portraits and amazing clarity when shooting landscapes along with wide-angle capabilities starting at 28mm, the PowerShot G1 X camera makes certain that users will have the right optics for most any situation. Further adding to the EOS-like feature set of this new model is 14-bit, RAW+JPEG shooting and compatibility with accessories such as Speedlite, Macro Twin Lite or the Macro Ring Light flashes. HDR Shooting has been included to ensure the best possible shot is captured as well. The PowerShot G1 X camera also shoots in Full HD 1080p video ensuring memorable moments are captured in the highest quality.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X camera has a bright, large 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD with 922,000 dots of resolution providing photographers with the highest quality available in a point-and-shoot. The inclusion of the Mode Dial on the top of the camera and the Front Dial helps provide more intuitive control of the camera.
The estimated selling price of the Canon PowerShot G1 X camera is $799.99 and is scheduled to be available in February.
Stay tuned for a hands-on preview of the Canon G1 X as I am visiting them today at the CES 2012 trade show here in Las Vegas.