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Canon PowerShot G3 X review



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Our Score:



  • Immensely versatile zoom range
  • Quality construction
  • Good general image quality for a superzoom


  • No EVF
  • Poor RAW shooting performance
  • Worse max aperture than rivals

Key Features

  • 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 lens
  • 1-inch 20.2-megapixel sensor
  • ISO 125-12800
  • ISO 125-12800
  • Manufacturer: Canon
  • Review Price: £799.99

What is the Canon PowerShot G3 X?

The Canon PowerShot G3 X is a compact camera that tries to offer it all: a massive zoom range plus a fairly large 1in sensor to get you good image quality for a compact fixed-lens device. Despite its relatively small size, it’s a pretty serious investment at £800, making it a direct rival to cameras such as the Sony RX10 II and Panasonic DMC-FZ1000.

Canon has aced a few elements of the G3 X's design, but in others it is let down. The lack of EVF, poor RAW shooting speed and relatively limited video abilities mean the G3 X will struggle to compete unless zoom range is your top concern.

Canon G3 X

Canon PowerShot G3 X – Design and Handling

Your first thoughts on the Canon PowerShot G3 X might be that it seems pretty large for a compact. However, consider that it offers a 25x zoom lens and 1in sensor in that body and you can only conclude it’s quite an achievement.

It measures 123.3 x 76.5 x 105.3mm, giving it something of a bridge camera-like feel rather than a traditional compact. The Canon PowerShot G3 X is actually a little smaller than the rival Sony RX10 II, even though it offers a substantially longer zoom.

Canon G3 X 11

Where the Sony RX10 II features a 24-200mm range and the Panasonic FZ1000 24-400mm, the G3 X serves up an incredible 24-600mm. This offers the abilities of a "safari"-style lens in addition to what is already a versatile zoom range.

No wonder it’s a bit chunky, then.

The Canon PowerShot G3 X feels like it’s built to withstand some abuse, with a metal body and weather-sealing that help keep out water and dust. This means you can pretty much shoot whenever and wherever you want. Canon says you get the same grade of water-resistance as the Canon EOS 70D.

Canon G3 X 7

Manual control options are good too, adding to the sense that this is a serious camera. The G3 X has a dedicated -/ 3EV exposure dial on the top plate, and dual electronic control dials on the top and rear of the camera.

However, they do feel slightly fiddly, and the lens-based control isn’t quite as flexible as that on the Sony RX10 II or Panasonic FZ1000. You get one control wheel on the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s lens for manual focusing. Ideally, we'd have liked the ability to control zoom with this ring too, and/or have a secondary control ring to alter other shooting parameters – lens aperture being the most obvious.

Instead, zoom is controlled using a compact switch up top, making the Canon PowerShot G3 X feel a little incomplete in use.

Canon G3 X 13

Canon PowerShot G3 X – Screen

By far the most important omission, though, is the EVF. And having been out shooting with the Canon PowerShot G3 X for a while now, we can confidently say that this is one of the camera’s biggest issues.

We missed it every time we tried to use the lens at its furthest reaches. Being able to stabilise the camera against your face using a viewfinder makes it easier to keep the body still. Using the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s screen to compose necessitates holding it away from you, which lessens stability. You're not going to capture many pin-sharp images of meerkats playing a quarter mile away like that.

This is only worsened by the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s lead feature: that ultra-long zoom. Although it's possible to attach an optional hotshoe and £200 EVF module, it spoils the camera’s portability. In addition, this module isn't quite as good as the built-in EVFs feature don the Sony RX10 II and Panasonic FZ1000. It’s sharp – with 2.36-million-dot resolution – but appears that bit smaller thanks to its lesser magnification.

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The screen, for the most part, it’s pretty good. It’s unusually high-res at 1.62-million dots, and of a pretty good size too at 3.2in across.

However, it isn't perfect. Colours are somewhat over-egged, giving reds that radioactive look, and the screen's stills mechanism leads to a fairly chunky display bezel.

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The Canon PowerShot G3 X has a display that tilts, rather than the full-on articulated screen we’d rather have if the mechanism is chunky. The hinge tilts up to offer a selfie angle and down for below-head shooting; it doesn’t fold out for handycam-like versatility.


June 18, 2015, 11:26 am

"It’s not a patch on the Sony RX 10 II, of course, which offers constant
f/2.8 max aperture throughout its range. But that camera's zoom stops at
200mm, not 600mm."

So, any idea what maximum f-stop the Canon can hold at 200mm, to compare with the Sony?


July 29, 2015, 5:18 pm

Canon 3GX Max Aperture

24mm f2.8
35mm f3.2
50mm f4.0
60mm f4.5
82mm f5.0
180mm f5.6

John Russell

August 1, 2015, 9:46 pm

Another way to look at it is...the human eye is approx 50mm
200mm = 4X
400mm = 8X
600mm = 12X
The Sony doesn't even come close.
200mm is ok for large close subjects...30ft or closer.
600mm is great for small subjects at 30 ft and larger subjects 100 ft.
The canon and panasonic are far more versatile than a constant 2.8 f-stop.
Sony doesn't have an ND filter.
ND filter is also used for slowing the shutter speed down so you can get that ultra smooth water.
Canon may not have a built-in EVF but the external is far more versatile in you can change angles with it while the others built-in EVFs are fixed.

Yes Canon should have had 4K video and a built-in EVF.

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