By Erick Lirios
[widgetkit id=”1480″ name=”When pockets are important”]
We talked about three different camera types recently especially those to consider when you want to move up from mobile phones. Mobile phones are great, but there are things you would really expect only from a “real” camera.
One ace on the side of mobile phones is portability. You just put it in a bag or pocket and you have a handy camera available. A dedicated camera, to be considered for daily use, shouldn’t be a hassleand just slide into someone’s everyday routine.
The Canon G1X Mark III is the third member of its camera line. It doesn’t resemble the older G1X Mark II very much, but it is lighter though it has the viewfinder bump on top making it look like a junior DSLR. It is important, however, that the new camera has a bigger sensor than its predecessor and that means better raw quality even before a photo goes through the image processor. It’s hardly surprising that photos come out topnotch as is expected from a Canon camera.
Does it fit into a pocket like a mobile phone or at least like a Powershot model like the S95? You need a rather big pocket and nothing else in that pocket to fit this thing in. If you’re in the habit of wearing somewhat tight jeans, it won’t work. It’s small, of course, but beside cameras like Canon’s M5, it’s not all that tiny. Once it’s on, the lens extends as far as the M5’s kit lens. Think of it as a shorter, lighter M5 whose lens can’t be removed. In fact, if you own an M5 and want something that’s completely self-contained, you’ll be right at home here since the two bodies are quite similar. It also has a fully articulating screen unlike the Mark II with its tilting screen. That’s a completely personal choice for people though.
One major thing the older camera does have over the new unit is the lens. The Mark II has an f/2 lens with a focal length that stretches of 24-105mm while the Mark III “only” goes to f/2.8 and the equivalent of 24-72mm. This is significant to a growing number of shooters who want to do a lot of street photography. There are many cameras with lenses that go all the way to f/1.8, thus giving more lowlight capability. The aperture of f/2.8 is “okay” especially for zoom lenses like the 24-70 f/2.8L but it would’ve been good to have it in a camera like the G1x Mark III especially since the units most people also consider when they think about self-contained cameras do have it. The f/2.0 of the Mark II was closer to that. Canon probably opted for this type of lens to keep things small and they were able to achieve this.The lens is very sharp, and you can tweak focus manually with the shutter button half-pressed as you would normally do with most Canon ultrasonic lenses.
The LCD screen is quick and responsive, and you won’t find yourself complaining of lag on that screen. Oddly enough, the electronic viewfinder image can be another thing. The image is a bit jumpy like what you’d expect on an older LCD. Odd. The LCD is a touch screen though and smartphone users won’t miss the ability to pinch-zoom on images during playback.
One definite downer for some, especially videographers is the absence of 4K video capability; the Mark III shoots at full HD. It doesn’t bother me much but with a growing number of people hopping onto the 4K bandwagon and Canon finally making 4K available in the newly-released M50 mirrorless camera, the absence of it here may turn some away or at least make them wait for something like the Mark IV in the hopes that 4K will finally make an appearance.
A tiny complaint (also with the M5) is that the record button is a flush with the body, so you do have to really press into it. It’s most likely a safety precaution so that you don’t accidentally press the record button. That issue aside, there is control over aperture and shutter speed even while shooting videos. You do, of course, run the risk of recording the sound of manipulating the control dials if you do this as the camera is shooting but you can easily edit sound in post-production anyway.
Possibly irritating for people used to shooting with SLRs/DSLRs: This thing shoots rather quietly with only a soft shutter sound. If you set your drive mode to continuous, therefore, you can end up with the same shot before noticing you still have your finger on the shutter button. Happened to us a lot because we’re used to taking our finger off the shutter button after that familiar sound of a shot being taken. Not so here so keep that in mind or keep the drive mode to single shots.
Something interesting here is hybrid auto mode. The camera will shoot a few seconds of video before you shoot a photo without your having pressed the record button. Amusing to play with especially since the video clip has the shutter sound of when the photo is taken. Downside? You have no manual control over it. Fun though especially when you want to see what people are doing before they actually smile in a group shot, for example. A bonus with the mode though is that the photo you take is usually spot on with regard to white balance and exposure just like the regular full auto mode.
Wrap up: The camera does have a premium price and, fortunately for camera enthusiasts, there are many options at this price point. That being so though, this camera may have a lot of competition from other cameras especially from the fan favorites from Sony and Fuji. Should you get this? It’s a great shooter and you’d be hard pressed to find something this compact but if 4K and f/1.8 are issues for you, you may want to look elsewhere. Besides, you most likely will find good deals now on the G1X Mark II which may be the Mark III’s main competition.