Generally speaking, I’m pretty pleased with the G7X II’s focusing capability. It locks onto most subjects quickly, slowing down a little only if the light is low. It maintains a quick focusing speed at the furthest reach of the lens, too.
However, it doesn’t cope particularly well with macro (or small) subjects. You can switch on macro focusing, but it doesn’t seem to help all that much with particularly small objects, such as insects or fine flowers.
The Digic 7 processor has facilitated some impressively quick operation times in the G7X Mark II. Startup time is rapid: the camera is ready to shoot in less than one second. Shot-to-shot time is also quick, as is looking through images in playback.
The processor also facilities 8fps (without AF) in continuous high speed – a huge improvement on the previous-generation camera. Better yet, the buffer depth offers 19 frames in raw format, or 30 frames in JPEG before it’s full and requires a short pause from shooting – you’ll find that the camera goes back up to full depth in a couple of seconds, making it useful for capturing quick-moving action.
Canon already had a good performer on its hands with the original G7X II, and so this camera builds on a solid base.
The camera’s all-purpose metering system generally produces well exposed images, in a variety of different shooting conditions. You may find that it’s barely even necessary to touch the exposure compensation dial.
Colour in JPEG images is superb directly from the camera, with satisfying punch but also a good degree of realism. Automatic white balance also produces accurate colours, even when shooting in artificial lighting conditions.
When it comes to detail, there’s plenty to like here, with the G7X Mark II making a fantastic impression when looking at images at normal printing or viewing sizes.
Looking at shots taken at around ISO 3200, it’s possible to see a little image smoothing creeping into some areas of the image, particularly shadow areas, so it’s wise to keep prints of these to A4 or smaller.
At ISO 6400 image quality drops a little further, so you may want to consider printing and sharing only at smaller sizes. The newly upgraded Digic 7 processor appears to have resulted in better high ISO performance than the G7X Mark II’s predecessor, with less noise in images shot at speeds over ISO 1600.
To see how much noise reduction is applied by the camera, you can examine corresponding raw files. Here we can see that high ISO shots display significantly more noise. On the flipside, you also get more detail, providing the opportunity to bring that back if you need it.
The G7X Mark II offers a built-in ND filter, which you can switch on or off from the quick menu. It proves useful when you want to use wide apertures, but the light is bright – for instance, if trying to create shallow depth-of-field effects in portraits during the daytime. It stops as much light reaching the sensor to avoid overexposure, and achieves some great results.
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Limited digital filters are available, with some better than others – depending on your needs. They can’t be applied when using raw format, however, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Canon G7X Mark II – Video
The G7X II is restricted to shooting Full HD video (1,920 x 1,080). While other cameras are starting to introduce 4K video shooting, it isn’t the most advanced specification out there. Nonetheless, it produces some decent footage.
It’s hardly going to be a camera that professional videographers turn to, but it does offer the ability to shoot at a variety of frame rates up to 60p. You can use the touchscreen to pull focus from one area of the frame to another during video recording, which it does smoothly and easily.
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Should you buy the Canon G7X Mark II?
The G7X II is an extremely capable camera, which can produce some excellent images in a wide range of shooting conditions. The improvements Canon has made over the original G7X are also very welcome, being quite small individually, but adding up to make this a more significant upgrade overall.
However, there are some elements of usability that won’t appeal to everybody. Most significantly, and most importantly for enthusiasts, is the lack of an built-in viewfinder. It appears that Canon has opted to leave this out to save space, but both Sony and Panasonic have found ways to incorporate small viewfinders into some of their smallest models.
Perhaps Canon’s reluctance to include a viewfinder is down to having enough separation between this model and the next one up – the G5X. For those likely to miss its inclusion, the G5X maybe worth a look.
In addition, a fully articulating screen would have been welcome too, but since the one included here tilts all the way forward, as well as downwards, it’s useful for shooting at awkward angles. The touchscreen is also great to use, and handy for setting AF points and moving through various menus and screens.
For the moment, the G7X Mark II is mighty pricey – it costs twice the price of Canon’s entry-level DSLR, so it isn’t exactly an impulse purchase. If you’re on a budget, you may be wise to hold out for a price drop as the camera ages.
A well-equipped premium compact camera, which is capable of producing some fantastic images. The G7X Mark II is a great backup camera, but others in Canon’s G-series lineup may be more suited to enthusiast photographers.