The Canon PowerShot G9 X is the new compact premium Japanese manufacturer, designed for those users who don’t want to compromise on quality of image, but at the same time want a compact and portable to take with itself. The pedigree is that of sister G7 X, from which they are taken the great broad sensor diagonal, high build quality and the price also quite ambitious: 519 euros on the Italian market.
The Canon G9 features a back-lit CMOS sensor from X 1 inch diagonal and 20 Megapixel resolution. This is therefore a sensitive element much larger than those typically used in compact, with consequent benefits in terms of image quality.
The 3 x zoom lens offers a focal length range equivalent to 28-84mm, with a decent wide angle and telephoto lens a bit short, that lends itself to good portraits head and shoulders but not stealing big details on distance. The maximum brightness is f/2.0 or f/4.9: in addition to short, then, the tele is also quite closed. Certainly unfortunate, but it’s the price to pay for having a sensor 1 ″ in a car so compact.
The shutter has a top speed of 1/2000s and a volley from 6 FPS (with single-focus). On the back of the camera has a 3 touch screen LCD e 1,040 k dots, rather bright and personable. WiFi and NFC are integrated.
The video mode allows you to record videos up to 1920 × 1080 Full HD resolution with 25 fps. Finally, the battery has a range of about 220 shots: not many, but more or less in line with the compact category.
The build quality of the Canon PowerShot G9 X is great. The chassis is manufactured with high quality strong and pleasant to the touch, with a simple design and elegant at the same time. The camera body measuring just 98 x 58 x 31 mm and weighs about 210 grams: values to be pocketable.
With regard to controls, the situation is more controversial. Canon has done a very particular, which threatens to be more traditional photographers indigesta: this camera offers a 4-way switch back. The vast majority of operations, therefore, needs to be carried out using the touch screen, whether it’s set ISO values, choose how autofocus or similar, there is no other solution than to interact with the menu.
The rest of the physical controls shall be reduced at death’s door: around the lens barrel is a convenient and pleasant rolling ring (offering of solids and precise “click”), but on the back are only 4 buttons, almost solely dedicated to menus.
The resulting experience is certainly not new, but somewhat inconvenient and little immediate. The lens of Canon, probably, is to reach out to users of smartphones: will the market to determine the success of such a choice.
The performance of the Canon PowerShot G9 X are overall very good for a compact camera. The camera is more or less rapidly in all operations (menu navigation, reproduction of images), as well as in autofocus, maybe not at the forefront but still very usable. Satisfying even the burst, which at 6 FPS lets not lose almost never the moment (as long as you settle into the single AF).
The image quality, as expected, is higher than the average compact. 1 inch sensor is felt and produces shots well detailed and pleasing colour, especially if the lighting is ideal. Even raising the ISO, performance remains impressive: until about 1600 produces very usable shots and generally pleasing, a milestone reached by only a few (and expensive).
The Canon PowerShot G9 X is a premium compact from interesting qualities. Its biggest advantage is to offer high image quality in a truly pocketable camera body, all with a high build quality and performance sector generally very good.
The elephant in the room is usability. Having regard to the limitations of traditional physical commands, almost everything must necessarily pass through the touch screen, a practice that probably will appeal to the generation of smartphones, but which threatens to alienate the more traditional photographers.
Even the goal could be more daring: in spite of its focal length is quite modest, tele position closed for a camera of this ambition.
The price of about 520 euro isn’t completely out of proportion, but opens the door to dangerous competitors (for similar figures may retrieve a RX100 Mk III from Sony). The advice is to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before purchasing.