Camera Review - Canon G9X

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cGr
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Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by cGr » Sun 29 Nov, 2015 9:15 pm

A few years ago I purchased a Canon Powershot S110 to supplement my DSLR, the idea being that I didn't have to pack/worry about the DSLR if I was going for a walk with the kids, going out to dinner with friends, etc. The plan was that it would be portable, and still produce a sufficient image quality such that I wouldn't regret leaving the big camera at home.

Fast forward a few years and I just wasn't using it. The image quality in anything other than brilliant sunlight was poor, the interface was cludgy, the manual exposure features were good but still limited, and ultimately the RAW file quality just didn't allow a lot of latitude in post. I found I was either taking the DSLR or just using my phone camera - the S110 was being left behind more and more.

I started looking at the 1" sensor cameras, the Sony RX100 and Canon G7X mostly, but was put off by the price. Micro 4/3rds is expensive, and I wanted simplicity and no option to upgrade glass. The Canon EOS M did get a look for a LONG time, but was put off by the reviews of the early models having a lot of issues (specifically for focus speed) - the latter models were more than I wanted to spend. Ultimately, they were still too big to fit in a pocket.

Fast forward to a few months ago and Canon release the G9X for $649. Between the sale of the S110 and some helpful Teds staff (who I am finding to be the go-to place for camera gear these days), the changeover was about the same price that I initially spent on the S110 (incl a 4 year warranty).

Initial thoughts were good, the size is similar to the S110 and the quick dial ring around the lens is retained which makes exposure changes quick. The big change is the move to a touchscreen interface on the back (no quick dial and only physical 3 buttons), and it is super simple to use for changing exposure and other settings on the fly. Focus speed was fast (touch to focus and can tie spot metering to the AF point - I wish my DSLR could do that!), and in general it was a quality piece of kit.

The big (initial) downside was that the JPEG's it produced were extremely poor quality, too much softening, skin tones were murky and just generally a poor quality shot compared to a JPEG from an iPhone. There are no controls in the camera to adjust the JPEG variables, and to add insult to injury, Adobe Photoshop/CC would not read the RAW files. The first few weeks of owning this camera were stifling to say the least.

But Adobe eventually released an updated RAW processor, and now JPEG quality doesn't matter at all. The RAW files are great, heaps of latitude before the quality falls off, and the resultant image is far better than the S110. Low light is streets ahead of the S110, and about on par with my 40D. The really surprising thing is that the 1" sensor (really 13x9mm) ditches the extremely flat feel of a P&S sensor and has a similar sort of feel to a FF sensor. It isn't FF quality/feel, but its definitely nicer than a P&S.

Overall I'm very happy, and for someone looking for a quality camera which isn't a DSLR, I think its a great fit. No doubt Dan will chime in with some smartarse comment about his phone being the best camera on the face of the panet, but for someone like me who wants all the manual control of a camera and doesn't mind having a P&S style camera in a pants pocket, this thing is great.
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Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by iano » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 7:14 am

Canon compacts have always been good in that respect - full manual control. My S70 which I bought in 2005 had practically every common feature that an entry level dslr did, the only thing letting it down was useless ISO range (but this was 10 years ago).
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by dan » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 7:52 am

i just got an iPhone 6S, and you're right cam - it is the best camera on the planet
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by blv » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 11:37 am

Is t the best camera the one you have on you?
I just don't know if people like me. I know when they don't like me 'cause they'll say things like, 'Yeah, that's him, officer.'

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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by Ted » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 4:26 pm

No, the best camera is the one you wish you had on you
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by cGr » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 7:31 pm

Agree with Ted. The luxury of the G9X is that its small enough to always have on me.

The lack of good optics and no ISO control (part of poor optics with no IS) are the big things for me. Digital zoom is something which should die in a fire.

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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by iano » Mon 30 Nov, 2015 7:35 pm

Ted wrote:No, the best camera is the one you wish you had on you
This.
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by tipper » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 2:29 pm

I agree with Cam, about Dan being a smart arse.

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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by blv » Tue 01 Dec, 2015 3:45 pm

It's tongue in cheek comment. Any camera is better than no camera
I just don't know if people like me. I know when they don't like me 'cause they'll say things like, 'Yeah, that's him, officer.'

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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by cGr » Wed 06 Jan, 2016 10:31 pm

Took a bit of inspiration from the photos Ash and Ted have been posting lately to find these two pics from the G9X.

As a quick side, I find that this camera fits my purpose perfectly - it is good enough on its own that I don't regret not taking the DSLR, and the images it produces are fantastic and don't look like typical flat P&S shots. I've grown to love the touch screen (and particularly the touch focus) far more than I thought I would. Downsides are that the noise increases quite noticeably above ISO 500 and some of the menu's need a really big makeover (need to dig through a lot of menus for some common changes). Otherwise, this would make a great camera for someone looking for a good P&S with the quality of a basic DSLR.

ISO 800, 1/500s, f/2
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by dan » Thu 07 Jan, 2016 7:16 am

sexy shots! if only there was a quality compact camera that had a decent amount of zoom.
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by SecaBoy » Thu 07 Jan, 2016 10:55 am

have you tried the noise reduction in lightroom? its pretty good.

very nice photos though. and to be honest, i like the bit of noise in the b&w.
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Re: Camera Review - Canon G9X

Post by cGr » Thu 07 Jan, 2016 7:51 pm

I don't use LR, unlike everyone else, so no I haven't tried it :P Just like I haven't tried 'crushed blacks'.

If I want to reduce noise I just use my DSLR...
ISO 3200, no NR in post... :D
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