The first PowerShot G-Series camera to incorporate a full-featured 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder, the amazing PowerShot G5 X camera makes it simple to compose, set and capture high-quality stills and video without taking your eye away from the camera. For photography in the glare of bright sunlight, recording HD Video in an auditorium and other situations where the lighting is difficult or using the LCD monitor is inconvenient, the PowerShot G5 X’s electronic viewfinder helps enable unfettered operation. Oozing the iconic Canon G-series DNA, the PowerShot G5 X allows you to explore a wider number of photography features and settings. Boasting a compact body, the PowerShot G5 X's 3.0 inch vari-angle touchscreen enables you to shoot from a variety of unique angles, whilst the built in LED electronic viewfinder will keep your eye on the scene. PowerShot G5 X's centrally positioned, large and responsive 2,360K dots electronic viewfinder offers high resolution and DSLR-like handling. Take your shots from different angles and enjoy intuitive fingertip operation with the camera's large 3.0 inch vari-angle touchscreen. From the street to the table, wherever you travel you'll find nothing better than sharing all your best images with your friends and loved ones. With our app you can instantly get social and share all your skills and stories captured on your PowerShot G5 X. You're behind the camera but want in on the action. Simply pair the PowerShot G5 X to your smartphone, change settings to remote shooting, and smile. Share the story behind every image with the Canon Camera Connect app. The app collects GPS info from your smartphone, adding it to your photos and videos.
Auto, 125-6400 (Extended Mode: 125-12800)
Wi-Fi & NFC
SD/ SDHC/ SDXC Memory Card
3.0" LCD Screen
1x NB-13L Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
112.4 x 76.4 x 44.2 mm
30 - 1/2000 second, Bulb Mode 1 - 1/2000 second in Auto Mode 1/8 - 1/2000 second in Movie Mode
4.2 x Optical Zoom
80 % of 100
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"...exceptionally enjoyable to use"
| byCAMERA Magazine
80 % of 100
Once in a while when reviewing cameras, something takes you completely by surprise. We thought we knew what to expect with Canon’s PowerShot G5X – after all, we’ve experienced both its predecessors and its siblings, including quite recently the G3X – but it decided to depart from the script in quite a number of ways. And these off-script ‘excursions’ make for a quite different experience.
But perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised because, among other things, the G5X is the first of the power-house PowerShots to have a built-in electronic viewfinder… the absence of which really lets down the otherwise brilliant G3X.
An EVF really is an essential ingredient of an enthusiast-level camera and it transforms the G5X… both in the way it looks and the way it works. The EVF’s housing creates the appearance of a mini D-SLR with the built-in flash neatly integrated into the front and, commendably, a standard hotshoe right behind. The D-SLR ‘look’ continues with the control layout which is centred around a main mode dial with a second dial for setting the exposure compensation. Additionally, around the lens is a multi-function control collar which can be assigned various duties including, logically, setting manual apertures or focusing manually. On the front panel, the input wheel takes the form of a knurled dial – also a good size – while the rear input wheel is more conventionally incorporated into the navigator control. Both can also be assigned different functions so it’s possible to set the camera up – for example, in each exposure mode – to change settings in whichever way feels the most logical. True twin-wheel operation is still a rarity in this class of camera, but the G5X actually offers triple-wheel operation which is especially convenient when using manual exposure control (because you can assign one of the controls to ISO settings), but more generally makes the camera traditionally intuitive. There’s a good-sized handgrip complimented by a thumbrest so it’s also a very comfortable camera to hold and everything is nicely in reach… truly, we haven’t picked up a camera, of any type, and immediately liked it so much for quite some time (OK, so maybe the Leica Q is up there too, but it’s in a rather different price range).
The G5X’s EVF is an OLED-type panel with a resolution of 2.36 megadots and a scene coverage of 100 percent. There’s a decently sized eyepiece with a high eyepoint of 22 millimetres, built-in strength adjustment over -3.0 to +1.0 dioptres and a proximity sensor to enable automatic switching between the viewfinder and the G5X’s monitor screen.
The latter is a fold-out TFT LCD panel with adjustments for tilt (‘Vari-Angle’ in Canon parlance) so it can, if so desired, be used for the ubiquitous ‘selfi e’ or, arguably much more usefully, stowed with the faceplate inwards for protection. All this is pretty good on a camera that’s still essentially pocket-sized. The monitor screen – which has a resolution of 1.04 million dots – also provides touch controls for a range of functions including navigating the main menus, using the handy ‘Quick Set Menu’, focusing, shutter release and browsing.
Of course, the shorter range zoom, compared to the ultra-long G3X, also helps keep the G5X compact, but Canon has still packed in a lot of lens tech to make it as small as possible, including a bunch of aspherical elements (one double-sided) and low-dispersion optical glass. The focal range is equivalent to 24-100mm which is a nicely useful spread from decent wide-angle to short telephoto, and the maximum aperture range is a creditable f1.8-2.8.
As it’s a combined diaphragm and leaf-type shutter, the smaller apertures run out at f11 so there’s a built-in neutral density (ND) filter with a range of three stops which effectively takes you to f32. The diaphragm itself still manages to employ nine blades for a more circular aperture and smoother out-of-focus effects. The lens also incorporates an image stabiliser group which provides up to three stops of correction for camera shake. It’s linked to an ‘Intelligent IS’ system which analyses, among other things, the type of movement and sets the most appropriate correction accordingly thereby giving, for example, automatic switching to a panning mode.
The sensor looks to be the same backside-illuminated (BSI) ‘1.0-type’ CMOS device as is used in the G3X with a total pixel count of 20.9 million (giving 20.2 MP effective) and a native sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 125 to 12,800.
Also as on the G3X, it’s mated to Canon’s latest-gen ‘DiG!C 6’ processor which gives a continuous shooting speed of just under 6.0 fps with the AF/AE locked to the first frame or 4.4 fps with frame-by-frame adjustment. Full HD video can be recorded at 50 fps (PAL, progressive scan), but there’s no 4K capability.
You can capture stills as 14-bit RAW files or JPEGs at one of four sizes – the largest being 5472x3648 pixels – and with either Superfine or Fine compression. RAW+JPEG capture can be configured to include any of the JPEG size and compression options. Additionally, the aspect ratio can be set to 3:2, 4:2, 16:9 or 1:1. Data is stored on a single SDtype memory card which shares a slot with the battery compartment in the camera’s base. The camera supports UHS-I speed SDHC and SDXC devices, but nothing more exotic. Incidentally, the battery can be charged in-camera via the USB port, but Canon still provides a separate charger so you aren’t forced down the in-camera route. Regardless of how it’s charged, though, battery life isn’t particularly brilliant at between 200 to 215 shots, depending on whether you mostly use the EVF or the monitor screen, the former obviously being a little more economical.
The ‘mini D-SLR’ analogy continues with the G5X’s menu system which is essentially borrowed directly from the EOS line in terms of its design and the method of navigation (including providing the customisable ‘My Menu’).
You also get a D-SLR-like range of adjustments, albeit more simplified, for dynamic range expansion, ‘Shadow Correct’, high ISO noise reduction and the colour palette. The latter takes the form of ten ‘My Colours’ presets which work like the EOS ‘Picture Styles’ except there aren’t any adjustable parameters. However, there’s an eleventh, ‘My Colours’ preset called Custom which allows for the adjustment of contrast, sharpness, colour saturation, red, green, blue and skin tone.
Bundled together – a bit confusingly it has to be said – is a choice of 15 subject/scene modes (such as portraits, various night scene scenarios and fireworks) and special effects (including the staples of fi sh-eye, miniature, toy camera and soft focus). This set includes a multi-shot HDR capture mode which, given its usefulness, really should be in the main shooting menu rather than hidden in the main mode dial’s ‘SCN’ setting. As on Canon’s latest D-SLRs, you can add a variety of edge effects to the HDR images such as ‘Art Vivid’, ‘Art Bold’ and ‘Art Embossed’.
While the G5X is undoubtedly designed as an enthusiast-level camera, it’s loaded with automatic features, including a ‘Creative Shot’ mode which captures six images at a time applying a selection special effects from preselected groupings labelled Retro, Monochrome, Special and Natural. The fifth option here is called Auto and selects effects from each of the sets. You can do the same thing with movie clips. The Canon’s ‘Smart Auto’ mode does everything on its own, including selecting the subject/ scene mode, setting the most appropriate type of stabilisation and also whether single-frame or continuous shooting is used. As on the G3X, there’s also a ‘Hybrid Auto’ mode which records a short video clip just before a still image is captured which are all subsequently combined into a movie. Not surprisingly, these full-auto modes only operate with JPEG capture.
For more conventional shooting, the G5X has a standard set of ‘PASM’ exposure control modes backed by an AE lock, up to +/3.0 EV compensation and auto bracketing over three frames. There’s also an auto bracketing function for focus – which is useful – but curiously not for white balance.
The exposure metering options are multi-zone, centre weighted average or spot, and the shutter has a speed range of 30-1/2000 second with flash sync at all speeds. A ‘B’ setting for longer exposures is available in enthusiast the manual exposure mode. The built-in flash offers both auto and manual output control, although the latter only has three settings – Minimum, Medium and Maximum. Alternatively, with auto control, fl ash compensation can be set over a range of up to +/-2.0 EV. Red-eye reduction, slow speed sync and second curtain sync modes are available. Incidentally, the flash has to be manually raised in all modes and situations.
Autofocusing is via contrast detection measurement using a 31-point system with the choice of auto or manual selection and, as noted earlier, touch control using a focusing zone that’s adjustable in size and can be moved just about anywhere around the frame. Switching between single-shot and continuous AF operation is done manually and, additionally, there are face detection and focus tracking modes.
A built-in illuminator is provided for low light/contrast assist. Manual focusing is assisted by a magnified image (either 5x or 10x) and a focus peaking display with a choice of three colours (red, yellow or blue) and two intensity levels. The zoom’s minimum focusing distance is 40 centimetres, but there’s a macro mode which reduces this to just five centimetres.
The white balance control options comprise an auto mode supplemented by seven presets (including three for different types of fluoro lighting), provisions for making and storing two custom settings and fi ne-tuning.
The live view screen – for both the EVF and the monitor – can be configured with a number of elements including a real-time histogram, dual-axis level display, one of two guide grids and shooting info. You can preconfigure three set-ups and then toggle between them but, as with the G3X, there isn’t a highlight warning. Sliding exposure scales are used to display apertures, speeds and/or ISO settings, again with the option of touch control.
The image replay screens include a thumbnail with basic capture info, a brightness histogram or a full set of histograms. The slide show function offers variable display times and a fader transition.
A number of in-camera editing functions are available for JPEGs including the ‘My Colours’ presets, ‘i-Contrast’ correction and red-eye removal.
The touch controls allow for browsing, zooming (up to 10x) and progressively accessing the thumbnail pages from six shots all the way up to 110. Images and movie clips can be easily uploaded via the G5X’s built-in WiFi which offers the convenience of Dynamic NFC ‘touch and go’ connectivity. The Canon Camera Window app – which is compatible with both Android and iOS devices – also allows for remote operation of the camera’s key features.
With our reference 64 GB Lexar Professional SDXC (Speed Class 1) memory card, the PowerShot G5X captured a sequence of 20 JPEG/large/superfine frames in 3.352 seconds, representing a shooting speed of 5.96 fps… which is spot on with Canon’s quoted specification. For the record, the typical test file size was around 5.4 MB.
All the camera’s control systems work well. The AF is fast and mostly very accurate except in some low-light situations or when the subject is particularly small. In practice, the touch AF function really proves to be the most efficient way of working, especially as the subsequent tracking – if the subject then moves – is very good. However, given the manual focusing is so comfortable to use via the control collar on the lens – and easy thanks to the peaking display – it’s an effective alternative if the AF falters. Both the metering and auto white balance control are reassuringly reliable, but again the ease with which a manual override can be applied if needed – for example, exposure compensation – maintains a high level of operational efficiency in any situation. The zoom’s performance is mostly very good, but there is a noticeable loss of sharpness towards the corners when shooting wide-open across the focal range, and colour fringing (chromatic aberration) is also evident at the wide-angle. Both are significantly reduced by stopping down to f4.0 or f5.6, but it’s a bit surprising that they’re not being dealt with more effectively via in-camera correction processing.
With JPEG capture – using the Superfine compression setting – the G5X delivers excellent imaging performance; including sharpness, colour, contrast and dynamic range (especially for a small sensor as we noted with the G3X). There are a number of in-camera options for enhancing the dynamic range, but in practice the ‘Shadow Correction’ function appears to work the best, opening up the darker shadow areas without affecting the highlights.
Small details are well defined and the tonal gradations are nicely smooth, even when using the more highly saturated Vivid ‘My Colours’ preset. The noise levels are acceptably low up to ISO 1600 and without compromising detailing. At ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 definition starts to suffer noticeably and colour noise is increasingly evident in areas of continuous tone, but both are still useable if you aren’t planning to make big prints. The ISO 12,800 setting looks to be there just to make up the numbers.
While there are a few niggles here and there, overall the PowerShot G5X is a great little package that’s exceptionally enjoyable to use and sufficiently well-featured to meet the demands of the enthusiast the level shooter. Ease of handling is probably its best asset, ironically more logical and straightforward when driving it manually than when trying to access some of the full-auto point-and-shoot functions. It really does feel ‘just right’ in the hand and everything – in terms of the manual controls – is just where you’d expect it to be.
Of course, the EVF is also a great asset and finally puts Canon in the mix when it comes to contemplating a higher-end fixed-lens compact. Anyone who already owns an EOS D-SLR will appreciate the familiarity of the menu system and some Canon-esque functionality, but the G5X is just so easy to pick up and start using, it’ll compliment any system as the compact and lighter solution for the times when you don’t want to carry the ‘big gun’. And it backs all this up with great-looking results, especially the superfine JPEGs, but also the 1080/50p video clips. It’s only a pity that it doesn’t offer a few more ‘serious’ video features. Overall, though, this is still a very complete, capable and competent camera, but which, perhaps more importantly, also has the desirability factor.