When Canon chose to include a large, almost DSLR-like sensor in the latest flagship point-and-shoot and then combined that with a relatively modest resolution and latest generation processing technology, the writing was on the wall for ISO performance and the G1 X delivers in spades.
But there's more to image quality than ISO noise levels, and the G1 X also benefits from good optical performance with its zoom lens and a responsive shutter that captures the image when you tell it to. On image quality alone (both still and video) there's a lot to like in the G1 X and without a doubt, image quality is the G1 X's strongest selling point. The camera carries a full set of manual controls and enough adjustments to keep even the fussiest shooter happy.
The zoom focal range is unremarkable and matched by any number of other compact point-and-shoots and the autofocus acquisition time was, quite frankly, disappointing in light of the lofty price tag commanded by the G1 X. The viewfinder, while a welcome addition for outdoor shooting conditions in bright light, is virtually useless for precise image composition. The shutter, while responsive at full push, needs a slightly stronger detent at half push to prevent going right through to image capture without acquiring focus.
If you look at the G1 X as a compact point-and-shoot, the price tag will leave you scratching your head as at least two Canon DSLRs carry lower MSRPs. If you look at the G1 X as the "bridge" camera that all those other manufacturers have, but Canon currently lacks, then that monster price tag starts to make a little more sense. Whichever way you choose to look at it, the constant remains that the G1 X produces very good image quality and if that's what you're in the market for, this camera is a more than worthy consideration.
Design/Ease of Use
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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