Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II Review: a good all-rounder

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II Review: a good all-rounder

Detailed review Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II

Compact cameras with 1-inch sensors have their own place in the imaging market. They are meant to be fast, sharp shooters, without the hassle of changing lenses, and small enough to fit in pockets quite easily. While Sony has managed to maintain a fortress in this category with its iconic RX100 range, Canon has been there too. While the first generation G7 X or even the G9 X were pretty decent attempts, they had issues with core performance, lens optics and a few other areas.

The PowerShot G7 X Mark II here, Canon’s second attempt at Sony’s hulking RX100 lineup, is a pretty solid camera on paper. There are some notable upgrades, and Canon wants the G7X Mark II to be a camera everyone would consider essential in their travel kits. Does it strike the right chords?

Specifications:
The two current generation of compact cameras are the Sony CyberShot RX100 V and the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. Before we start talking about the performance on offer, let’s take a look at what each of them has to offer.

While the RX100 V Offering more in continuous shooting, the highest video resolution and even an electronic viewfinder in its compact, pocket size, the Canon G7 X II offers as much value for money as the competition. Unlike older compatriots such as the Sony RX100 IVCanon’s addition of the latest generation DIGIC 7 image processor is an advantage, as it gives it a good edge in processing, autofocus and more.

Performance

Color, saturation, white balance
The color production of the PowerShot G7X Mark II is largely typical of Canon’s warmer tone. Colors look sharp, although red seems to be getting an unnatural favor. Yellows, blues, and especially greens look slightly undersaturated, especially in rich, vibrant compositions. They don’t look gloomy though, and you can choose to shoot RAW for post-shoot rectification. The new DIGIC 7 processor enables better, faster RAW shooting, and the G7 X II also produces less noise and better dynamic range, all of which make this camera one of the most useful compacts around.

To clarify, the colors are fairly accurate and good to look at, losing a certain richness of tone in the JPEGs. Saturation levels favor high color temperatures and the white balance algorithms work quite well. Again, the camera tends to adapt to warmer temperatures, which can be remedied by using the custom manual presets. Despite the better dynamic range, the Canon G7 X II produces a somewhat limited color palette, but you only notice that if you shoot in a very lively atmosphere and compare the results in parallel.

For reference, as the average Indian user is more prone to a standard DSLR than a premium compactour comparison between the Nikon D3400 and the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II revealed the differences showing a somewhat limited dynamic range.

Details, sharpness, noise and ISO
Canon has significantly improved the level of detail, sharpness, noise reduction and ISO performance over its previous generation of compact cameras. There are decent levels of coarse detail that works in wider frames, although macro shots reveal the lack of fine detail. The improved sharpening works here for most objects, although on closer inspection it seems rather coarse.

This also gives sharp contours in certain cases, especially in falling light. Despite this, the G7 X II is actually quite a remarkable performer in terms of detail and object sharpness in most scenes. You also get a special Picture Styles mode to adjust the sharpening strength, feather and threshold, giving you control over the sharpening radius.

Yet another impressive element is noise reduction, and the Canon G7 X II does a pretty good job at low ISO shots. Lowering the noise reduction won’t ruin grainy shots, and even in low light, although soft edges do return, the G7 X II manages to maintain color accuracy and not create unusable noise levels above ISO 3200.

The ISO performance is also decent and you can shoot comfortably up to ISO 1600 without much effort. Low ISO performance doesn’t generate streaks in uniform colors in low light, and the flash range also extends to 7.0m at ISO 100, which is pretty good. You can also adjust the angle of the pop-up flash module to bounce the flash off walls, which is a nice addition.

autofocus
As before, the autofocus performance still has a few weaknesses. First, releasing half the shutter speed while tracking a subject causes the camera to fail to recognize the subject’s movement, and it takes a significant amount of time to refocus. The phase-detection pixels also struggle with macro focus consistency and get especially confused when there are clear shapes or sharper colors in the background.

Full continuous autofocus on the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II can be obtained with the 1-shot Servo AF, and this works quite well. Constant subject tracking works well with fast-moving objects. However, this can significantly reduce battery life if you use it heavily. The autofocus performance is pretty good, and in case the autofocus doesn’t work for you, the inclusion of a smoother rear ring makes it easier to focus manually.

More camera examples

Construction, design and ergonomics
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is slightly more compact than its predecessor. In what is an important small addition, it adds a small grip on the right side of the camera body. This makes it easier to hold. The power button, zoom button, mode and EV compensation buttons are located on the top and are quite easy to operate.

You also get a small thumb grip on the back that makes shooting much easier. There is also a shortcut to assign a specific function to the front bezel and the video recording button is also located here. Speaking of the ring, it now gets a lock that allows switching between smooth or stuttering operation. This makes manual focusing on the G7 X II significantly easier and you can use stutter mode when sifting through settings.

Another neat decision from Canon is sliding the display hinge down, and it can now be tilted down 45 degrees, rather than just tilted up. All this makes the camera more ergonomic and easier to use, and the weight of 319 grams is not too heavy for pockets. The design also gets more defined edges thanks to the extra grip and slightly reduced bearings, making it all look, feel and work great.

Connectivity and battery life
The Canon G7 X II gets Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. You need the Canon CameraConnect app on your phone and use it to transfer files on the go, or use your phone as a remote control for the camera. For NFC-enabled Android users, choosing the NFC mode and tapping the phone on the bottom of the camera body will transfer the photo currently displayed on the camera’s LCD screen.

The battery cycle for the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II lasts close to 300 shots, which is somehow more than what the company advertises. This translates to about three full days of shooting for most casual/tourist photographers. This is fairly average and is actually more than its main market rival, the Sony RX100 range.

bottom line
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a great compact shooter. It delivers good colours, details and overall picture performance, along with a few useful features, improved dials and switches and decent battery life, all at an attractive price. While the Sony RX100 V has a few more features up its sleeve, it sells for almost double the price, giving superior value for money to the G7 X II, which is priced at an MRP of Rs. 40,995.

For those who don’t want the bulk and interchangeable lens factor of a DSLR and need a camera that delivers competent image quality in a small, pocket size, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is highly recommended.

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