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Canon PowerShot G9 X



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Serious compacts get even slimmer

Fancy a compact capable of taking CSC-grade images that will easily fit in your pocket? In the past, the Sony RX100 series has been the go-to recommendation, but Canon has released an alluring alternative. The PowerShot G9 X is a stylish, 1-inch sensor compact that at £399 is half the price of the Sony RX100 IV.

I took a closer look at this advanced compact ahead of a full review.

Canon G9 X 5

Canon G9 X – Design and Features

Although it's a 1-inch sensor compact, the Canon PowerShot G9 X's design is closer to the Canon PowerShot S120 – a popular ultra-compact model, but one with a much smaller 1/1.7in sensor. Most impressive is the fact that such models are small enough to fit in your pocket.

At only 31mm thick, it’s 10mm slimmer than the pocketable Sony RX100 IV – and it doesn’t look bad, either.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X is available in either two-tone silver and tan, or a more conservative all-black version.

Canon G9 X 9

The obvious question is how Canon has managed to make the PowerShot G9 X so slender? The company has removed many of the elements found in 1-inch sensor biggest-hitters to produce a device that an experienced camera user may need some time to bed into.

For example, there’s no D-pad on the rear of the camera, or a viewfinder. For the most part, using the PowerShot G9 X will centre around the touchscreen display on the back of the device.

That’s not to say it’s a camera that doesn’t provide any control. A manual control ring sits around the lens, and there's a standard mode dial on the top plate providing access to the usual aperture and shutter-priority modes.

Canon G9 X 3

Canon has achieved great balance with the PowerShot G9 X: The camera is serious enough to let you fling the aperture from one extreme to the other with a quick movement, but casual enough to slip into your trouser pocket.

If you can’t hack the lack of exposure dial, viewfinder and rear D-pad, then you'd be better off checking out the Canon PowerShot G5 X instead. The numbers may suggest that it's lower-end, but this isn't the case – it’s the G9 X's photo-nerd sibling. It sells for £629 and gives you extras, such as a hotshoe, that will likely please more picky buyers.

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Canon G9 X – Lens and Image Quality

More significant sacrifices have been made to achieve the Canon G9 X’s low price, however. Its lens isn't as versatile as that on many other 1-inch sensor compacts, including last year’s now similarly priced Canon PowerShot G7 X.

The 28-84mm lens offers max aperture of f/2-4.9. This is a fair bit slower than the f/1.8-2.8 of the PowerShot G5 X, which also offers a greater zoom range. I’ll have to check during my review exactly how quickly the G9 X drops down to f/4.9 aperture. The difference between f/1.8 and f/2 may be easy to swallow when the body is losing 1cm thickness, but a drop from f/2.8 to f/4.9 isn’t.

The PowerShot G9 X's optical performance is only really comparable with the first two Sony RX100 models (from 2012 and 2013), not the newer and more expensive ones.

Canon G9 X

However, the Canon PowerShot G9 X shows a very interesting diversification of the 1-inch sensor camera market. The last batch of cameras seemed to be aimed at the high-end buyer, whereas this model is out to please those who are after true portability.

In terms of performance and periphery connectivity features, the Canon Powershot G9 X is as you’d expect. It can shoot at up to 6fps, or 4.3fps with autofocus, and has both WiFi and NFC.

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First Impressions

Canon has put 1-inch sensor cameras on a diet. The PowerShot G9 X offers a new level of portability, and for those who believe the old saying that the best camera is the one you have with you, this is big news.

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October 22, 2015, 4:49 pm

This looks like a great camera at a keen price for a 1" sensor. My only reservation is that my last Canon compact (a similarly priced S110) broke after 18 months. So I'm understandably dubious about the build quality of Canon compacts.

Maybe this camera will be the impetus for other manufacturers to make affordable 1" compacts. I keep looking at the RX100, but can't bring myself to spend £800 on a camera that doesn't even have a touch screen.


October 22, 2015, 5:34 pm

I bought the RX100-IV but I spent a fair bit less than £800. DigitalRev has a good rep and is a fair bit cheaper than UK sellers so I went with them. There are other Hong Kong sellers who are cheaper still but they had mixed reps so I didn't risk it.


October 22, 2015, 6:17 pm

I wish you guys would put the optical zoom equivalent on these reviews so that lay-photographers like me can get an idea of how powerful the cameras are.


October 22, 2015, 6:47 pm

you mean this bit:

"The 28-84mm lens ..."


October 23, 2015, 6:29 am

my canon s90 from 2009 still works fine


October 23, 2015, 9:49 am

I think Ralph means he would like to know the zoom multiplication factor, eg. 3X zoom or 10X zoom.


October 23, 2015, 2:22 pm

I guess. If it helps, 84 is 3 x 28. Don't ask how I worked that out ;)


December 31, 2015, 6:49 pm

28-84mm lens means nothing to me - what I mean is 20x optical zoom equivalent, or something similar


December 31, 2015, 7:40 pm

I already did the maths for you below. 84 is three times 28, so a zoom from 28mm to 84mm is a 3x zoom.

24mm is a good wide angle for interior views, group shots where you can't get back very far, street scenes, shots where you want a perspective that places you in the scene rather than as a distant observer, etc.

84mm is a moderate telephoto, good for head and shoulders portraits from far enough back not to make the subject's nose look too big, but no use for wildlife safaris etc.

Lee Martin

June 12, 2016, 2:53 pm

My G7 X is working perfectly and I'm amazed by the results , ok not the same as from my EOS 5D mk 2 , but really very good indeed and so portable. I'd buy it again tomorrow

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