Canon Initial impressions of the G1X MkII

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
I’ve had he Canon G1X MkII for a couple of days now, and I thought I would share my impressions so far.

Fit & Finish

The G1X2 feels solid, dense, heavy. Barely bigger than the G12, it’s noticeably heavier and appears to be mostly made of metal. The hatch cover (on the bottom) for the battery and memory card space is apparently plastic, reinforced by metal, and the cover over the connectors (on the right side) is a piece of plastic (by contrast the G12 uses a spring-loaded metal cover for the same function).

Unlike the G12, which fairly bristles with knobs, there is only one knob on the G1X2. It’s on the top deck and is used to select shooting modes. This knob is knurled and has click-stop detents that are just right: firm, but not too firm. Also on the top deck is a shutter button, surrounded by a zoom lever, a recessed power button, and a tiny recessed playback button.

On the back are various buttons and a 4-way controller surrounded by a rotating wheel. The LCD will tilt back for overhead shots and flip up 180 degrees for selfies. In the selfies position, the entire assembly looks flimsy. Weirdly, I tend to buy cameras with articulated screens and then rarely use the articulation.


I found it easy to access the controls that I normally use. The 4-way controller has a button for ISO and another for exposure compensation. Press the button, rotate the ring outside the controller to what you want, and you’re done. There is also a button for macro and, above the 4-way, another button for manual focus.
The lens barrel has two knurled rings. The outer one has no detents, and the inner one does. To my mind, it makes the G1X2 feel like a “real” camera. The folks at Canon have done what I think is a fairly clever thing. Depending upon what shooting mode you are in, the inner ring with the detents is assigned to the main function for that mode. So, if you are in aperture priority, the detent ring is used to adjust the aperture. If you’re in shutter priority, it’s used to adjust shutter speed. The outer, detentless ring is generally used for manual focus. In auto mode, the detent ring is used for step-zoom to predetermined focal lengths: 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, etc.


The optional electronic viewfinder has not yet arrived. Shooting using only the rear LCD has reinforced my preference for viewfinders. I haven’t used the touch-screen functions and don’t plan to.

Most of the time, shooting with the G1X2 is like shooting the G12: decently fast and responsive. I like the self-activated lens cover; it fits with my opportunistic style of shooting. My initial impression is that for most daytime photography, the G1X2 produces results very similar to the G12. I haven’t yet had the opportunity really give it a work out shooting the night sky (which is the reason I bought the camera) and sunrises and sunsets.

Below are a few preliminary shots centered on low light capability. All pix are SOOC jpgs.

This was taken at "zero dark 30." The sky was not as light as it appears. The camera took multiple shots and assembled them together.

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F/2 in my sunroom before sunup.

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Not much of a sunrise, but my first attempt at one with this camera.

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Cheers, Jock


Top Veteran
Aug 7, 2010
Cheshire UK
It's funny how initial impressions can be the most important.
When I bought the original G1X two years ago I wasn't that impressed but I did admire it's heft and build quality.
Later when I realised it's potential , it became a firm favourite

This morning I got my hands on the Mk2. I hated it.
The rings look roughly made and the feel of the body material felt equally rough.
Within 10 seconds I knew that this wasn't for me. It felt cheap.It looked cheap.

On to my next choice the Sony A 6000.
I'm sure that it is a marvellous camera but it felt like a plastic toy.
Within 10 seconds I knew that I could never be happy with it.
Experience with Sony Menus has always left me dithering so back on the shelf.

And then lifting the E -M10 the build felt in a different class.
Although not a great fan of M4/3 , I have plenty of lenses but never an Olympus body.
I bought. It appears to be fantastic value and a lesson on pricing to Canon.


New Member
May 26, 2014
Just spent this morning taking my first shots with it. Very happy! My requirements are possibly not typical -

I did NOT want an interchangeable lens camera (if I wanted to change lenses I'd use my 1Dx).

I wanted the largest possible sensor in a 'compact' body (I've had a couple of earlier G series).

Need to provide at least A4 300dpi magazine quality images.

It did not have to be 'pocketable' (I have a S95 for that).

A decent zoom range/fast lens.

Only shoot in RAW.

I tested the only other camera that seems to meet all of the above, the Sony RX10, but wasn't really impressed with the quality of the file. The lens is a beauty though. Also as a long time Canon user, it's interface etc was very foreign. Reports on Sony's RAW implementation ( ) also turned me off.

I bought the EVF, large grip, filter attachment & a spare battery - just over AUD$1200 all up. The EVF (first one I've used) is excellent. It is truly a joy to be able to shoot with a compact camera up to my eye instead of being held at arm's length!

Yes the shadows are a tad noisy, but only a tad. Far worse at 100% on the monitor than printed (where they are perfectly fine). Otherwise the only two minor gripes are I wish the Exp Comp (set to the front ring) worked with the shutter button half depressed and that the EVF took more effort to move from the horizontal to vertical orientation. I wear glasses and found that the EVF's rubber eye piece "grabbed" my glasses and moved as I moved my head.

With 70 RAW images taken, all with the EVF, the battery indicator has not moved from Full.

As I said very happy with it.

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
Also, for me, the rumors on the Sony RX100 mkiii have really put out any interest in the G1Xii
I saw an RX100 "live and in person" for the first time over the weekend. The thing that impressed me was how tiny it was . . . too tiny for easy handling for me. That, of course, is a different issue from its overall performance in capturing images.

Cheers, Jock

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