Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II: An Enhanced Have It All

 

The Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II features much needed changes from its predecessor in terms of image quality, speed and connectivity. Sakshi Parikh puts it to the test and finds out how noteworthy they are in the company’s compact camera lineup.

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Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II

When the first 1-inch sensor compact camera, the Sony RX100 was launched in 2012, it created quite a buzz in the market. Over the years, the company released several upgrades of the compact including the RX100 III, inspiring other camera manufacturers to follow the suit. After releasing their first 1-inch sensor compact, the PowerShot G9X in 2015, Canon kickstarted this New Year by unveiling the Powershot G9X mark II.

Just like its predecessor, the camera offers a 3x zoom lens and utilises a 20.1MP 1-inch type CMOS sensor in a form so compact that it could easily fit into our pocket. However, the G9X Mark II houses a much faster image processor and new features, while looking essentially sleek and identical to its predecessor.

Features
While sporting a slender design, the G9X Mark II is equipped with a 3-inch touchscreen LCD display with 1.04 million dots. As usual, the G9X Mark II does not feature an external or an electronic view finder. The in-built 3x zoom lens has a focal length which is a 35mm equivalent of 24–84mm. It has a maximum aperture of f/2 at 28mm that narrows down to f/4.9 by 84mm. It also includes an integrated three stop ND filter.

The lens barrel has an exposure control and you can change its function using the touchscreen. Internally, the camera is equipped with a faster DIGIC 7 image processor and an improved Dual I.S. image stabilisation that offers a claimed 3.5 stops of stability. The camera ISO ranges from 125-12800, but it lacks the feature of boosted ISO, which is available in its competitor, the Sony RX100 III.

While there was a presence of a 2.4 GHz WIFI in the G9X, for a better experience, the G9X Mark II also features Bluetooth 4.1 functionality, which supports wireless shooting. Not much has changed in terms of video specifications. Similar to its predecessor, the G9X Mark II still does not offer 4k UHD video or high speed video recording. The resolution is maintained 1920 x 1080 with a frame rate of up to 60fps. However, the new model does include an option of recording at 24p.

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The colour rendition during low light situation is quite good. Also, the camera does not have a problem of barrel distortion when shooting at wide angle. Exposure: 1/60sec at f/4.5 (ISO 320). Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Handling
The G9X Mark II is lightweight and an absolute delight because of its portability. It is slightly smaller and lighter as compared to the RX100 III. In case of RAW shooting, the G9X has taken a massive leap by recording data faster than its predecessor. But where it compensates for a higher speed, it shows a decrease in the RAW buffer, as the G9X Mark II has a depth of only 21 frames, unlike the G9X’s unlimited buffer depth.

The 3-inch LCD touchscreen functions are extremely smooth and fast. It also offers an option of a fast touch shutter, which can record an image by a quick tap on the screen. The camera lacks a tiltable LCD, which is available in its competitors like the Sony RX100 III, it does keep the design thin. Although shooting at difficult angles, becomes quite painful. Also, the G9X Mark II is not slippery unlike the RX100 III, as it has a sturdier grip coating on the sides and on the back. Unlike the G9X, you can alter the exposure of the frame while shooting a time lapse in the G9X Mark II.

Further, Picture Styles are said to be more advanced and the Auto mode claims to be more accurate with its scene recognition capabilities. For advanced users, the G9X Mark II offers in camera RAW conversion as well.

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The dancer and the horse were in constant motion. But thanks to the super fast AF at continuous mode in the camera, I was able to capture this moment. Exposure: 1/1600sec at f/3.5 (ISO 200). Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Performance
On field the G9X Mark II is a fun camera to use. The focus tracking during bright daylight is quite good as the camera does not hunt for focus. While shooting in Continuous mode, the camera is able to autofocus with ease. Also, due to its faster image processor, the scene detection and tracking is enhanced also during low light situations. The problem of colour aberration is managed well and there is barely any purple fringing.

Due to the advanced DIGIC 7 processor, the G9X Mark II is also able retain details in highlights and shadows, resulting in a better dynamic range than its predecessor. While shooting in RAW, in both bright and low light situations, the images are detailed with good colour rendition. Surprisingly, the Large Jpeg format also gives satisfactory results in terms of detail and colour. Also, there is a slight loss of data when you do an in camera RAW conversion.

There is negligible barrel distortion across the range of the focal lengths. The lack of an eye level viewfinder creates a problem, especially when you are trying to make photos in bright sunlight. Although the battery life is slightly mediocre, the overall operating system is faster than its predecessor. When shot during broad daylight, the results show a significant amount flare and ghosting. The presence of image stabilisation is quiet effective as it results in stable images when shooting at a slower shutterspeed.

The Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II captures images that are fairly sharp in the centre, but as you zoom-in, you can see some significant smudging on the edges due to noise suppression. However, the sharpness becomes as we step down in terms of the aperture. In case of this camera, the sharpness becomes better f/5.6 onwards and the sweet spot is achieved at f/8.

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The camera was able to retain the details in highlights and shadows. Exposure: 1/800sec at f/4 (ISO 250). Photograph/Sakshi Parikh

Conclusion
What I appreciated the most about the G9X Mark II was how slender and sophisticated it looked. This camera offers you good AF speeds and burst rates. In terms of cost, Canon has kept the pricing at Rs. 30,995 which makes it an affordable and appealing option.

However in terms of video, the lack of 4K makes this camera an underachiever, as Sony has been offering 4K recording in compact cameras for a while, although at a much higher price. The question is, do you need advance features like 4K and a boosted ISO? For beginners and photography enthusiasts, who desire a superior image quality on a budget, the Canon Powershot G9X Mark II proves to be an attractive contender.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
DIGIC 7 processor, 60fps mode, small sensor, no hotshoe, built in Bluetooth
26/30
Performance
Excellent AF accuracy, good quality up to ISO 1600, negligible distortion
25/30
Build Quality
Superior textured grip on both sides
18/20
Ergonomics
Dedicated lens barrel ring, Mode dial and touch screen LCD
12/15
Warranty & Support
Two-year warranty, wide service facilities
4/5
MRP Rs. 30,995
OVERALL 85%
VALUE FOR MONEY 4/5
Who should buy it? Those who want to point and shoot, control with connectivity and a potent image quality
Why? Its autofocus speed is great, and offers good colour rendition. It’s affordable too.
Tags: better photography, Camera, Canon, Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II, May 2017, Review, Sakshi parikh