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[Part 1] Imaging Performance of a 1.0-inch Type Sensor with 25x Zoom

The PowerShot G3 X is a high performance compact camera equipped with a 1.0-inch type sensor, and supports a zoom range extending from the wide angle end to the telephoto end. Here, I would like to take some pictures to try out its prowess. In Part 1, I will verify its basic imaging capabilities such as differences in depiction over the range of the focal length, the aperture value, and changes in depiction due to a change in the ISO speed. (Reported by: Masakatsu Nagayama)

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Telephoto shooting performance surpassing that of its competitors

At 8.8-220mm, the lens focal length of the PowerShot G3 X is equivalent to a 35mm film conversion value of 24-600mm. The following 3 shots were taken from the same spot using the wide end, mid position, and telephoto end of a zoom lens.

Although cameras employing a 1.0-inch type sensor and high magnification zoom have also been released by other companies, the focal length of the PowerShot G3 X at the telephoto end is longer than that of its competitors, allowing distant views to be captured closer and bigger. This is one of the attractions of of the PowerShot G3 X.

Wide end (24mm at 35mm equivalent)

Mid position (300mm at 35mm equivalent)

Telephoto end (600mm at 35mm equivalent)

The lens aperture corresponds to a value of f/2.8 at the wide end and f/5.6 at the telephoto end. With these aperture values, the images appear to have sufficient resolution at both the wide and telephoto ends. Do not narrow the aperture too much as the sharpness will drop due to the impact of diffraction if you narrow it beyond f/8.

Although there are slight distortions and chromatic aberrations, these have been reduced to make them less obvious. This range can be said to be the strength of integrated lenses. However, I found that depending on the scene, colour shifting and bleeding occur in the areas around the highlighted section when I took magnified shots. If this bothers you, you can shoot in RAW first and then correct the image when the picture is developed.

Sufficient sharpness during macro photography at the telephoto end as well

The closest focusing distance of the PowerShot G3 X is 5cm from the lens tip at the wide end of the zoom lens and 85cm from the lens tip at the telephoto end. The photo below (globe) was taken at a distance of about 90cm using the telephoto end. I managed to obtain an adequate sense of sharpness by narrowing the aperture value all the way from f/5.6 to f/8.




No significant noise either if shot at up to ISO 1600

Besides the Auto mode in which the ISO speed is controlled automatically, you can also select the ISO speed at intervals of 1/3 stop over the range of ISO 125-12800. The following photo (objet d'art of a fish) was taken in exactly the same way while changing the ISO speed. I selected the standard initial setting from the 3 levels—‘Low', ‘Standard' and ‘High'—that you can choose for the high ISO noise reduction.

ISO 125

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12800

The higher the ISO speed, the grainier the picture appears. At the same time, the distinction between fine details is reduced due to the effect of the noise reduction process. Although the permissible level of this effect depends on what the photo is used for, I personally feel that a practical range is one that extends up to ISO 1600.

Masakatsu Nagayama

Runs an advertising studio, and started being a freelance photographer in 1998, where he has been active mainly in the advertising scene, shooting for magazines and online media. His speciality lies in snapshots of city life.

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