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Travel Photography Test Run: Professional’s Review of the PowerShot G5 X

The PowerShot G5 X—a much-talked-about high-end compact camera that is equipped with a large 1.0-inch type image sensor and a high-performance EVF. This article features photos of the autumn seaside in Japan taken by a professional photographer who constantly stresses the importance of viewfinders and advocates that ”photos should be captured through the viewfinder of a camera”. In the following, he reports on aspects of the PowerShot G5 X including its image quality, backlight correction, and visibility of the viewfinder. (Reported by: Haruki)

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Finally, an authentic high-end compact with an EVF and 24mm focal length. Perfect for my shooting style!

Canon's high-end compact camera, the PowerShot G5 X, comes with a large 1.0-inch type image sensor and a 4.2x zoom lens. While the size may seem larger compared to a conventional digital camera, it feels otherwise when I hold the camera in my hand. It's also light, weighing no more than 377g approximately (including battery and memory card).

Not only so, this camera suits my shooting style perfectly. The EVF is a handy feature for someone like me who likes to photograph under backlit conditions. It is pleasing to know that I can accurately compose the shot and determine where to focus even as I look through the viewfinder. Also, thanks to the vari-angle rear LCD monitor, I no longer need to assume uncomfortable postures such as when I am taking a low-angle or high-angle shot. With it, I can now easily capture my favourite subjects—low-angle snapshots of shadows and people's feet.

PowerShot G5 X/ FL: 8.8mm (equivalent to 24mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/320 sec., EV±0)/ ISO400/ WB: Shade
A view of the coast in the evening with a local train travelling past a bed of cosmos. Despite the completely backlit situation which made photo-shooting of the scene difficult, flare was less noticeable than what I expected and the texture was also reproduced as intended.

What I am most excited about is the 24mm focal length at the wide-angle end. I use 24mm as my standard angle of view. While many digital compact cameras have a 28mm wide-angle end, this slight difference of 4mm is incredibly significant. I took the PowerShot G5 X with me on a three-day-two-night trip to rural areas by the sea. Port towns like this have many narrow places such as back alleys, and there were many instances where the focal length of 24mm helped me to capture a wide area from a close focusing distance. In addition, by combining the maximum aperture of f/1.8 at 24mm, the 100mm telephoto end focal length and the large 1.0-inch type image sensor, it is now possible to establish focus on the main subject while creating a large background blur at the same time. This is an effect that conventional compact digital cameras in the past had difficulty achieving.

PowerShot G5 X/ FL: 13.8mm (equivalent to 38mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/1600 sec., EV+1.0)/ ISO200/ WB: Auto
I fired the built-in flash to capture this shot with a strong backlight. I ran into a group of children at a small fishing village on my way to the Cape Sata peninsula. The carefree expressions on each of them invoke a sense of simple nostalgia.

PowerShot G5 X/ FL: 8.8mm (equivalent to 24mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/250 sec., EV±0)/ ISO400/ WB: Auto
After the rain, the setting sun showed its face from between the clouds. Standing on a hill overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, I was trying hard to withstand the cold and strong wind as I took this shot, an ironic contrast with the warm wishes that lovers placed on the padlocks (laughs).

The PowerShot G5 X shares the same menu configuration as EOS DSLRs, which allowed me to enjoy a stress-free shoot without feeling unfamiliar with the operation. Through this three-day trip, not only was I able to get a feel of Canon's emphasis on high-quality details on the camera body, I was also convinced that the PowerShot G5 X is an authentic premium compact digital camera that is equipped with many features to handle diverse scenes.

PMenu screen of the PowerShot G5 X. Adopting the same design as EOS cameras, the menus make it easy to configure the function settings.

PowerShot G5 X/ FL: 36.8mm (equivalent to 100mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/11, 1/125 sec., EV±0)/ ISO400/ WB: Auto
A couple taking a rest on the Shimanami Kaido. I set the lens to the telephoto end as I was shooting from a distance, but intentionally stopped down the aperture. This creates a perspective compression effect that eliminates the sense of distance.

PowerShot G5 X/ FL: 11mm (equivalent to 30mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1 sec., EV-1.0)/ ISO200/ WB: Shade
Dogo Onsen at night. It was very crowded when I took the shot, but I used a slow shutter speed of 1 second to blur the people. I also set exposure compensation to EV-1.0 and white balance to [Shade] to impart an air of stateliness to the architecture.

Point 1: Built-in EVF detects orientation and supports fps selection

The EVF of most conventional cameras displays the shooting information in the same way for both vertically- and horizontally-oriented images. On the PowerShot G5 X, however, information display in the EVF rotates in tandem with the orientation.

A: Diopter Adjustment Dial
Supports diopter adjustment in the same way as general optical viewfinders.

B: Eye Sensor
The rear LCD monitor turns off automatically and switches to the EVF display when the eye comes into contact with the eyepiece.

The orientation of the display inside the built-in EVF switches automatically according to the orientation (vertical or horizontal) of the EVF. Also, you can preview fast-moving subjects by setting the LCD display to 120fps while the image is displayed in the full-screen mode (default setting). The EVF is a very useful feature that helps to capture decisive moments.

Point 2: Vari-angle LCD monitor supports shooting at different angles

I often choose a low angle to bring out the depth at the centre of the image. The Vari-angle LCD monitor of the PowerShot G5 X makes it easy to capture low- and high-angle shots. Also, with the high definition of the LCD monitor, the image is clearer with reflection of sunlight reduced.

Point 3: Customisable buttons for utilising the camera in your own way

You can customise the camera according to your preferences by assigning functions to the following buttons and dials or changing the information to display.

C: Control Ring
In addition to the various shooting modes and ISO speed, you can also assign aperture setting to the control ring in the Manual Exposure mode.

D: Front Dial
Other than white balance, you can also assign shutter speed control to the front dial in the Manual Exposure mode.

E: Movie Button
Starts or ends movie recording.

F: AE Lock/Single-image Erase Button
Functions as an AF button when "AE/AF, no AE lock" is selected.

G: AF Frame Selector/Story Highlights Button
Changes the position of the AF point when it functions as the AF Frame Selector button, and enables setting of Story Highlights when it functions as the Story Highlights button.

H: Quick Set Menu/Set Button
This button can be used to select the items that appear in the Quick Set menu, as well as change the order of these items. I configured it to show menu items that displayed ISO speed settings.

I: Control Dial
Calls up registered functions such as shooting modes.

I often need to change the ISO speed according to the scene, so I assigned my most commonly used speeds to the "Quick Set menu/Set button". Meanwhile, I assigned aperture setting to the control dial. It's a joy to use the PowerShot G5 X because it feels the same as using a DSLR.

Haruki

Born in 1959 in Hiroshima, Haruki is a photographer and visual director. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Kyushu Sangyo University, and is mainly engaged in activities related to portrait works for media including advertisements, magazines and music.

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation

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