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Abundant Features, Distinctive Style…The PowerShot G5 X Has It All!

The PowerShot G5 X has made its appearance on the market! With its 2.36-million dot high definition electronic viewfinder (EVF) and a design that emanates the savvy, professional vibes of a DSLR, it has garnered the attention not only of users who want a classic camera, but also of fashionistas looking for a distinctive camera that suits their style. I managed to get my hands on one, and here's my report on its actual operational feel.(Reported by Koichi Isomura)

Its serious, professional DSLR-like look and interface is very appealing

The new PowerShot G5 X is situated as a premium series camera within Canon's compact camera line-up. It comes with an EVF, uses a 1.0-inch type back-illuminated CMOS sensor (considered large for a digital compact camera) and is driven by the DIGIC 6 image processor. While its effective pixel count of 20.2 megapixels is the same as that of the PowerShot G9 X, released at the same time, the PowerShot G9 X has no EVF.

Visually, the G5 X looks like a mini DSLR. Not only does it have a "pentaprism section" similar to those DSLRs, it even has the Canon logo there just like on the DSLRs in Canon's EOS series.

DSLR cameras tend to be just a little too big to fit into women's smaller hands, whereas the G5 X is just the right size. Not only that, it also has a classic design, which will probably appeal to users who care about how their camera looks.

Its dimensions (CIPA compliant) are 112.4 × 76.4 × 44.2mm. Weighing 377g including battery pack and memory card, it's a little bigger and heavier than the average digital compact camera. However, users such as this writer who use DSLRs on a daily basis will be likely to find that although the G5 X resembles a DSLR in terms of appearance, it feels extremely compact and light in comparison.

The boxy design gives the G5 X a classic feel. There is a front dial right above the right-hand grip, and a large control ring at the base of the lens.

The back of the camera. The screen is a 1.04-million dot, type 3.0 TFT colour vari-angle LCD. The control buttons are all to the right hand side of the screen to for more convenient operation with the thumb of the right hand. There is also a control dial near the Up-Down-Left-Right directional buttons and SET button. The thumb grip has been designed to be larger to allow a firmer grip.

The remote switch terminal (which allows you to use Remote Switch RS-60E3, same as on EOS cameras), DIGITAL terminal (Micro-B) and a D-type HDMI connector are all located inside the rubber cover on right side of the camera. Below all that, you will also find the Mobile Device Connection button, which starts up the built-in Wi-Fi with just one touch.

The speakers are on the left hand side of the camera, while the diopter adjustment dial is on the left side of the viewfinder.

Controls at the top of the camera follow a simple layout, with a large mode dial and a exposure compensation dial situated away from each other. The power button, shutter button and zoom lever are also at the top. Look closely at the left and right of the "pentaprism section" and you will be able to see a small microphone hole on each side.

The memory card/battery cover and tripod socket are located on the base of the camera. When using NFC to connect to compatible devices, make sure to touch the N-Mark, also at the base, to the other device.

The 4.2x zoom lens used on the G5 X consists of 11 elements in 9 groups, and includes 1 double-sided aspherical lens element, 1 single-sided aspherical lens element, and 1 UD lens. Making use of an inner focusing system, it has a 35mm film-equivalent focal length of 24 - 100mm, with bright apertures of f/1.8 (wide angle end) and f/2.8 (telephoto end). The optical image stabiliser suppresses the effects of camera shake up to an equivalent of 3 shutter speed stops at the telephoto end.

  1. Power off. Lens is fully retracted and closed.
  2. Power on. At wide angle end (24mm at 35mm film equivalent).
  3. Power on. At telephoto angle end (100mm at 35mm film equivalent).

Highly operable dials and a high-definition EVF—suitable for serious shooting

With the inclusion of various dials and controls, the PowerShot G5 X realises a high level of operability. For instance, the control dial at the back of the camera allows you to adjust camera settings with your thumb while keeping your eyes on your subject through the EVF. You can also reassign dial functions to suit your preferences. This writer reassigned step zoom control functions to the control ring at the base of the lens.

The built-in flash is lifted manually. The flash range is 50cm - 7m at the wide angle end, and 50cm - 4m at the telephoto end. The guide number has not been publicised.

As the battery/memory card cover opens towards the camera body, you will need to detach any tripod and/or remove any camera strap hanging from the socket before changing the battery/memory card. The camera uses Battery Pack NB-12L, is compatible with SDXC/SDHC/SD memory cards, and supports UHS-1.

The EVF uses a 0.39-type, 2.36-million dot high-definition organic LED (OLED) screen. With the 22mm eyepoint, even those who wear spectacles will be able to see the subject in the viewfinder without any vignetting. The rear screen has a built-in eye sensor that enables display to switch automatically between the screen and the EVF.
Just like on EOS DSLRs, a Speedlite can be mounted onto the hot shoe. Use of wireless radio flash controllers such as the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT is also possible.

Regardless of whether the camera is held vertically or horizontally, the EVF display can be set to rotate to match the camera orientation. The onscreen colours are vivid and show no breakage. Giving a camera a good shake while using the initial-setting frame rate, I felt that the EVF lagged a little. Users who are bothered by that can choose [Display Priority]-[Smooth] under the Display Mode menu to for smoother display both on the EVF and the rear display screen. You could also set [VF display] to [Fast].

The EVF display when shooting in horizontal orientation.

The EVF display when shooting in vertical orientation.

The rear display screen consists of a 1.04-million dot type-3.0 TFT vari-angle colour LCD monitor, which is very convenient for shooting from high as well as low angles. It is also easy to use for shooting in vertical orientation. As it is a touch screen, you can carry out functions such as focusing and shutter release by tapping the appropriate areas.

Taking selfies is easy if you use both the vari-angle monitor and the Touch Shutter function. There is also a Self Portrait scene mode, which even allows you to apply skin smoothing effects to your photo.

EOS-style menus; compatible with USB charging

The design and order of the menus on the G5 X are similar to those on EOS DSLRs, so that operations will be comfortingly familiar to users of the latter.

The EVF display when shooting in vertical orientation.

The LCD screen during Auto mode shooting, with the grid and electronic level on display.

The recording file format selection screen. You can record in RAW format only in the P, Av, Tv, M and C modes.

The PowerShot G5 X can be charged via USB. Plug the smaller end of a USB cable (sold separately) into the DIGITAL terminal, connect the other end into either your computer's USB terminal or into a USB source adapter, and you will be able to charge the battery pack while it's inside your camera. This is indeed a very convenient feature for when you are on the go, especially as USB charging points appear in more and more places such as cafes and airport lobbies.

The camera comes bundled with a battery charger, which fully charges batteries faster than USB charging.

The camera can be charged through a USB cable. A genuine Canon accessory, the Interface Cable IFC-600PCU, is available, but I managed to charge the camera using a micro USB cable like the one in this photo, which I happened to own.

Transfer videos and photos through Wi-Fi

The PowerShot G5 X is equipped with Wi-Fi, allowing wireless connection to compatible devices. It is also NFC-compatible, which enables you to connect and transfer data, not just to smartphones but also to Canon's Connect Station CS100 storage device, all with one touch of a button. You can also connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi access points and upload your photos to SNS and cloud storage services

The Mobile Device Connection button allows you to connect to your smartphone over Wi-Fi. First, install the dedicated Camera Connect app on your smartphone and it will start up the next time you press the button, providing a quick and convenient way to connect via Wi-Fi.

You can operate the PowerShot G5 X remotely from your smartphone. The Live View image is displayed, and you can adjust the exposure, zoom, AF and shutter speed settings using your smartphone touchscreen operations. However, do note that the Live View shooting display on your phone will not change in brightness to reflect adjustments to exposure compensation settings.

The fun Creative Shot feature makes you sit up and notice new photos

One of the fun, distinctive shooting modes on the PowerShot G5 X is the Creative Shot mode. Also present on the eye-catchingly squarish PowerShot N2, the mode automatically generates and records a few versions of a shot with different artistic filter effects applied to them.

When you point the PowerShot G5 X towards a photographic subject and press the shutter button, the camera automatically analyses and changes the composition, colour and light in the photo, creating and saving 5 versions of the shot with different effects applied to each of them, in addition to the original image.

Some examples of Creative Shot are shown below. These are images that have had their composition, colour and light automatically altered by the camera, which has even cropped and changed the aspect ratios of a few of them! The first image is the original.

Initially, I was not quite used to the images generated by this mode and found them really strange. But after a while, I realized that it was actually quite intriguing precisely because I would never have chosen those effects on my own.

To sum up, the PowerShot G5 X is a compact camera that has the style of a DSLR. In fact, users of DSLRs will find much of it to be quite familiar, from its physical appearance to its user interface.

Koichi Isomura

Born in 1967 in Fukuoka Prefecture, he graduated from a vocational school for photography in Tokyo and became an independent photographer after working in advertising production. He shoots a wide variety of subjects from people to products, architecture, theatre, etc. In recent years, he has held exhibitions in various places with a focus on the themes of nature and human activity.

Digital Camera Watch

Delivers daily news related to topics such as digital cameras and peripheral devices, and imaging software. Also publishes articles such as reviews on the use of actual digital camera models and photo samples taken using new models.

http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/

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