Boasting “DSLR Performance in a compact body”, Canon’s Powershot G1X Mark III claims to be a “compact without compromise” – and it does a pretty good job of living up to those claims.
Canon’s sales page for the G1X Mark III says that it “features enable a familiar DSLR level of instinctiveness and control”. That’s not wrong, especially with the touch screen making life easier for everyone – it still blows my mind a little that all you have to do to select something in this day and age is poke it with your finger. The only thing I really don’t like about the design of this camera, and sadly it’s a pretty important thing, is the top mode dial. Everything else is fantastic – the front dial for changing exposure settings, the exposure compensation wheel, the record and shutter buttons are in a great place, the on/off button is easy to get to but not so easy you can press it by accident. But the mode dial is a two-finger operation – you have to depress the central button while you turn the wheel to access the various shooting modes, and even with my relatively small hands I found it difficult, awkward and uncomfortable to move. See the video at the top of this post if you want to see me struggling with it.
On the flip side, one thing I really love about the design of the G1X Mark III is that rather than having the sort of built-in lens cover that opens when you switch the camera on and the lens extends, it has a dedicated, standalone, adorable fun-sized lens cap. It’s tiny, so I can see it being easy to lose, but I still prefer it to the built-in version. I’ve had situations in the past where I’ve thrown my compact camera in my bag without a case (which is a terrible thing to do, please don’t do that to your cameras) and the other items in my bag have coaxed the shutters open and gotten a bit too intimate with the lens. It was horrifying. A real lens cap like this is going to do a much better job at protecting the glass when you’re on the go, as long as you’re willing to keep track of it and replace it after every use.
Vloggers will find the flip-out touch screen more than satisfactory, and it also makes navigating manual settings effortless – there are several ways to adjust each aspect of the exposure, but if you haven’t worked them out yet you need only touch the setting you need and adjust it with the on-screen arrows or front wheel. It’s understandable that no microphone input was included on this camera, but it’s good to be aware of for the audiophiles.
The G1X Mark III has a few features I didn’t test out – a built-in panorama mode and a hotshoe amongst them. I’m still a little baffled by the hotshoe – I can’t imagine using a flash with a compact camera, but maybe there’s another use for it that I haven’t thought of – attaching a shotgun mic came to mind but since there’s also no mic input on the camera, it doesn’t seem practical either.
Pro shooters and enthusiasts alike will love the flexibility, quality and reliability of this all-in-one compact triumph for their travels and day to day incidental shooting.