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Larger sensor at the heart of 14.20 million image pixel Canon Powershot G1 X  
Monday, January 9, 2012 | by Rob Galbraith
Canon has unveiled a new PowerShot model that's certain to be a hit with serious amateurs and pros seeking a weekend carry-about camera. Called the PowerShot G1 X, it combines a Canon-developed 14.20 million image pixel CMOS image sensor, one that's almost as large as the company's 1.6X crop factor digital SLRs, with the general styling and features of the company's current PowerShot flagship, the G12. The G1 X is expected to deliver similar image quality and depth of field characteristics as a camera like the 60D, but in a smaller, lighter package that's meant to operate more like a top-end point-and-shoot than a digital SLR.

Canon PowerShot G1 X feature highlights

As you can see in the photos above, the look of the metal-bodied G1 X is derived from the G12, including the control layout and optical pass-through viewfinder. There are differences, though: the new camera is less rounded and its textured areas more knurled, the built-in flash is a popup type, the ISO ring has been moved from the top of the camera to the back and the exposure compensation dial moves over to where the ISO ring was. Plus, the lens is necessarily bigger, in step with the larger image sensor. Other G1 X features, and G12 - G1 X feature differences:
  • At 4.59 x 3.17 x 2.55in (116.7 x 80.5 x 64.7mm), the PowerShot G1 X is only very slightly taller and wider than the G12. Most of the size differential between the two is in the depth, and much of that is the G1 X's bulkier lens housing. The G1 X is heavier too, though at 19oz/536g (with card and battery) the G1 X still qualifies as a light camera.
All in the Family: The relative sensor sizes in Canon's PowerShot G12, PowerShot G1 X and EOS 60D (the same-size sensor is also found in the EOS Rebel T3i and EOS 7D)
  • The new camera's 18.7 x 14mm, 14.20 million image pixel CMOS image sensor is based on the 17.92 million image pixel sensor in the EOS Rebel T3i, EOS 60D and EOS 7D. They share the same  4.3m pixel pitch, and same structure within each pixel too.

    The G1 X sensor is almost as tall as the 22.3 x 14.9mm sensor in this trio of Canon digital SLRs, but it's not as wide. To be consistent with the rest of the PowerShot line, Canon opted for a 4:3 aspect ratio image sensor in the G1 X, rather than the 3:2 ratio of the company's digital SLRs. The graphic at right depicts the relative sensor sizes of the G12, G1 X and 60D (which, as mentioned, has the identical sensor as the 7D and T3i too).

    The G1 X image sensor is the largest ever in a Canon point-and-shoot. It dwarfs the G12's 7.4 x 5.6mm CCD sensor, which had been the roomiest of Canon's existing PowerShot crop before the G1 X came along.
  • The camera's 15.1-60.4mm f/2.8-5.8 power zoom lens retracts fully into the lens housing, has a six-blade aperture, Canon's Hybrid IS image stabilization and comes with a detachable lens cap (the camera does not have the built-in lens cover feature of the G12). The full-frame-equivalent focal length is 28-112mm. The lens is not interchangeable. Its minimum aperture is f/16. A three-stop neutral density filter is incorporated within the body. The lens can accept 58mm filters, though only with the aid of the optional Filter Adapter FA-DC58C accessory.

  • The ISO range is 100-12,800, in 1/3 step increments.

  • The shutter speed range is 60s-1/4000.

  • The camera is equipped with a hot shoe. Its flash features, including on-camera and basic wireless TTL flash photography with compatible Canon Speedlites, are the same as the G12.

  • The G1 X utilizes Canon's DIGIC 5 processor for promised snappier overall responsiveness and improved noise reduction at higher ISO settings, relative to the G12 and its DIGIC 4 processor.

  • JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG shooting is possible.

  • The camera will fire at up to 1.9fps continuously, or at 4.5fps (at full resolution) for six frames in High-Speed Burst HQ mode.

  • The AF system uses contrast detection, and has the ability to track a moving subject. Thanks in part to the DIGIC 5 hardware in the G1 X, the camera is capable of refocusing between frames while shooting consecutive frames.

  • The G1 X has an in-camera HDR function.

  • The rear LCD is a 3.0-inch (diagonal), 922,000-dot variable-angle type.

  • Video recording is at up to 1080p/23.976fps with stereo audio. The G1 X can be set to 720p/29.97fps or 640 x 480 at 29.97fps also. Sound is captured with the G1 X's built-in mic only, there is no external mic jack. The lens can be zoomed both before and during recording. Video is started and stopped with a dedicated recording button on the back of the body.

  • The G1 X will accept SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.

  • Power is supplied by the 7.4V, 920mAh NB-10L battery.

  • Connection ports include USB 2.0, Type C Mini-HDMI and a remote socket compatible with Canon Remote Switch RS-60E3.

Price and ship date

The Canon PowerShot G1 X is to ship in February at an expected street price of US$799.99 in the U.S. The PowerShot G12 is not being discontinued and will co-exist alongside the G1 X in Canon's lineup. A Canon Europe video introducing the new camera is here.

In the Box: The PowerShot G1 X kit. Click to enlarge (Photo courtesy Canon)

Related articles  
Related coverage of this topic includes:
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X user manual, quick-start guide available for download (February 10, 2012)
  • Full-resolution Canon EOS-1D X photos available for download (February 7, 2012)
  • Possible unannounced Canon digital SLR spotted and photographed in Africa (updated) (January 23, 2012)
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