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Canon G7 X Mark II review: Pocket-sized brilliance

Ben Pitt
25 Jan 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

A great concept expertly realised, the Canon G7 X Mark II is very close to perfection.

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Image quality

Photo quality is the star attraction, and it’s about as good as it gets from a pocket-sized camera. Colours were rich and vibrant, there was plenty of detail in its 20-megapixel files and the combination of the 1in sensor, f/1.8-2.8 lens and carefully controlled noise reduction in JPEGs knocked the ball out of the park in low light. There was a slight softness to focus at the edges of wide-angle shots, but it’s a minor point.

Comparing it with the Sony RX100 IV in my studio test scene, the Canon exhibited slightly sharper details at slow ISO speeds and less invasive noise-reduction artefacts at ISO 800 and above. There’s not much to separate them for image quality, but these traits and the Canon’s more generous 4.2x optical zoom range means it clinches the lead.



^ Focus is a little soft in the corners of this wide-angle shot but it’s not much to worry about. (1/500s, f/4, ISO 125, 24mm equivalent)


^ Focus is crisp from edge to edge in the middle of the zoom range. (1/1250s, f/4.5, ISO 125, 66mm equivalent)


^ No problems with focus at the long end of the zoom, either. Dense foliage looks a little vague on close inspection, but all in all it’s a great result. (1/1250s, f/3.5, ISO 125, 100mm equivalent)


^ The ISO speed was accidentally left at 800 for this shot but there’s little sign of noise or noise-reduction artefacts. The resulting 1/500s shutter speed has frozen the motion in the flames. (1/500s, f/4, ISO 800, 82mm equivalent)


^ The wide-aperture lens means there’s less of a need for the camera to resort to fast ISO speeds when shooting in low light. It also delivers a shallow depth of field, blurring the background in a way that’s normally only available on much bigger cameras. (1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 400, 100mm equivalent)


^ Raising the shutter speed to 1/250s to freeze motion, this indoor shot is phenomenally good for such a small camera. (1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 800, 100mm equivalent)


^ I struggled to find a subject dark enough to push the ISO speed up significantly. This shot at ISO 3200 is a little grainy but looks fine at modest sizes. (1/20s, f/2.5, ISO 3200, 44mm equivalent)


^ Shooting by the light of streetlamps hikes the ISO speed up to 6400. Shadows are pretty grainy but it’s still a passable result. (1/13s, f/2.5, ISO 6400, 50mm equivalent)


^ These are cropped details from four shots, taken with a 1/100s shutter speed to directly compare the light-gathering ability of each camera’s sensor and lens combination. The G7 X Mk II easily holds its own against much bulkier competitors, and exhibits less noise and more detail than both the Canon EOS 1300D and Panasonic GX80 with their kit lenses.


^ Here’s the out-of-camera JPEG of the same shot. (1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 100mm equivalent)

Conclusion

I’m a massive fan of this type of camera. It’s ideal for holidays and expeditions where a big camera is impractical, and especially for nights out where most compact cameras really struggle in low light. SLR and CSC owners may want to get one as a pocketable backup camera. The 240-shot battery life is disappointing but virtually everything else about the G7 X Mk II is seriously impressive. It’s responsive and easy to use, genuinely pocket-sized and takes pictures that are a match for consumer SLRs.


Electronic viewfinders are a matter of taste, but I’d quite happily omit one for the sake of the G7 X Mark II’s tilting touchscreen. The Sony RX100 IV comes top for video with its 4K and slow-motion options, but it has a smaller zoom, less accessible controls and it costs £250 more. Those on a tight budget should check out the Canon G9 X, which costs around £360, but the G7 X II is on course for being my favourite camera of 2016.

Hardware
Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size1in
Focal length multiplier2.75x
ViewfinderNone
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (1,040,000 dots)
ArticulatedNo
TouchscreenYes
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (CR2)
Maximum photo resolution5,472x3,648
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 35Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 24/25/30/50/60fps, 720p at 25/30fps, VGA at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)16m 10s
Controls
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/2,000 seconds
ISO speed range125 to 12800
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detection with tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, focus bracket, HDR
Lens
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)4.2x (24-100mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/1.8-2.8
35mm-equivalent aperturef/5-7.7
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)5cm
Closest macro focus (tele)40cm
Physical
Card slotSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
GPSVia smartphone app
HotshoeNone
Body materialAluminium
AccessoriesUSB cable, wrist strap
Weight319g
Dimensions (HxWxD)64x108x42mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£549
Supplierwww.jessops.com
Detailswww.canon.co.uk
Part code1066C011AA