Review – Canon Powershot G5 X

I don’t like the word “Powershot.” When I hear that word I picture a $99 pocket sized point and shoot that can’t compete with your everyday smartphone camera. I mention this because the Canon Powershot G5 X is not a cheap, pointless point and shoot. It is a heavily featured camera with specs aimed at the semi-serious photography enthusiast. Just call it the “Canon G5 X” and ditch powershot for all but the bargain basement models. IMG_2658

The G5 X is smaller than it looks. I don’t have the biggest hands and it felt very small to me. Within that small frame the G5 X is feature packed. Large 1 inch sensor with 20.2 megapixels,  24-100mm equivalent f1.8-2.8 lens, 1080p 60fps video, image stabilization, multi angle LCD touchscreen with touch shutter. high resolution electronic viewfinder, wifi, and much more.

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The lens is fast and sharp at all focal lengths and manages decent shallow depth of field with good looking bokeh, something that other 1 inch sensor cameras struggle with. The G5 X offers a background defocus feature but it looks artificial at best and you don’t really need it.

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Built in image stabilization allows some fairly low shutter speeds in lower light without needing to crank up the ISO value. That being said ISO speeds up to 1600 were very usable despite the 1 inch sensor. I found the G5 X had better ISO performance than the Panasonic Lumix LX-100 and its larger micro 4/3″ sensor. It’s nowhere near APSC or Full Frame ISO performance but it was surprisingly good.

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Macro shooting with the G5 X was a delight. Canon lists the close focusing distance at 2 inches (5cm) but I managed to get a bit closer with manual focus.  Other than dedicated macro lenses I still think smartphones are hard to beat for shooting up close although you get shallower focus area with the lager sensor in the Canon.

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Metering in tough lighting conditions is a breeze with the G5 X. It handles backlit conditions very well. you can half press on your desired exposure, recompose, and shoot. Auto mode is decent too if you need to hand the camera off to someone to take a shot for you.

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For all of my food photography pals out there the G5 X is a nice little alternative to your big gear or smartphone. It shoots RAW as well as lovely jpeg files that require little editing. Transfer the images to your smartphone via the Canon app and upload to your favourite social media site for everyone to see.

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The RAW files are as good as you’d expect from a company that’s been making cameras as long as Canon. Not much else to add really, they’re great.

The control layout of the G5 X will appeal to the control freak in all of you. There are customizable dials and buttons all over the place including a control ring around the lens, perfect for aperture or zoom control. The controls were my biggest source of frustration despite the excellent dials and front ring. The buttons on the rear, especially the menu button the the wheel around the D pad, were too easy to accidentally push with the base of my thumb while shooting.

Battery life was better than expected although the battery indicator is typical small camera terrible. It stays at a full 3 bars for quite some time then drops to 2 bars for what felt like 25 shots, then 1 bar for even fewer shots, then dead. Why is it so hard for camera makers, not just Canon, to use a percentage based battery indicator?

The G5 X seems like a good candidate for video bloggers. HD video, wide angle lens, hot shoe, a screen that can face forwards. bigheadtaco.com did some great vlogging tests with it. 

The Canon G5 X retails from $799 to $999 CAD depending on current promotions. If you can live without the EVF and hot shoe the Canon Powershot G7 X ($899) is slightly smaller with identical internals.

Don’t forget to to follow me on Instagram and Twitter and like WFLBC on Facebook.

Scott.

Do Point And Shoots Have A Point?

Smartphones have become the go to camera for most people. The images they produce are stunning considering the tiny optics and small sensors that are packed into mobile entertainment devices. What does this mean for the tried and tested Point and Shoot camera? Most Point and Shoots offer Smartphone equivalent sensor sizes and megapixel counts but they set themselves apart with better optics and in some cases optical zoom lenses. Then there are Action Cameras, they take still photos too. These are 3 budget friendly options for a quick comparison.

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Camera Squad.

The LG G4 Smartphone, the Samsung WB350f Smart Camera, and the Optex Safari HD Action Camera (a re-branded SJCAM SJ4000). The LG and Samsung have similar sensor specs, 1/2.3″ 16MP for the Samsung, 1/2.6″ 16MP for the LG. The Safari Action Camera claims to have a 2/3″12mp sensor but it actually has a 3MP sensor. If you choose 12MP the images are the same resolution but it creates bigger files. Ok enough tech talk, lets look at some pictures. All shots are unedited out of camera JPEG files.

In daylight these 3 cameras produce wildly different results. The LG (left) defaults to HDR in bright light producing dreamlike images with tons of colour. The image is sharp and fairly clean. The Samsung (middle) overexposes in bright light. The colours are a little on the yellow side and the details aren’t as crisp as the G4. The Safari Action Camera (right) looks like security camera footage. Grainy, dull, unimpressive. That being said with a little post processing they make very usable files for Instagram. Winner – LG G4.

Indoors with mixed lighting the results are a bit closer. The LG (left) and Samsung (middle) do a decent job with the exposure but the G4 pulls out a lot more detail in the shadows. If you open the images and look at the detail on the wall tile you can see how much better the G4 renders it. The Safari Cam (right) puts out a lot of noise, colour fringing around the windows, and muted colours. Winner – LG G4.

In harsh lighting situations the LG (left) picks up good detail in the shadows while controlling the exposure in the bight areas. The detail in the copper lead is quite good and the colours are accurate. The Samsung (middle) handles this situation well. The shadow detail is very good but the light areas are slightly over exposed. It loses some detail on the copper lead as well. The Safari Cam (right) actually does a nice job with the tricky exposure here. Too bad the colours are washed out and that 3MP sensor doesn’t give much detail. Winner – LG G4

Macro shooting is something a lot of cameras struggle with. The LG (left) produces sharp details and a nice shallow depth of field with its f/1.8 lens. The Samsung (middle) is an impressive macro shooter. It produces great detail and it focuses faster than the laser autofocusing G4. The Safari Cam (right) doesn’t do macro, not even a little bit. Winner – Samsung WB350f.

Shooting in low light is a gamble with all three cameras. The LG is good for city lights and dim restaurants but the LED flash is weak. The Samsung is awful in low light, anything over ISO400 is a disaster but the built in flash makes up for it in indoor situations. The Safari Cam should stay home at night. There’s no winner here, so much so that photos aren’t necessary. If you shoot in low light do some research and spend some money.

The clear winner here is the LG G4. Does this mean that Point and Shoot cameras are pointless? That’s a tough question to answer. Entry level Point and Shoot cameras are fairly pointless but spend a few extra dollars and you get a decent zoom like the Samsung WB350f. 21x optical zoom on its small sensor is equivalent to 483mm in 35mm terms. That’s impressive. What does this mean to the average traveler or casual shooter? It means wildlife photography and cool telephoto shots are possible with a camera that fits in your pants pocket.

All of these cameras are still available but there are newer models with higher specs and different features being released regularly. There are also similar devices available from dozens of manufacturers. The choice comes down to your personal tastes. Can you get by without a big zoom? If so most modern Smartphones will be all the camera you need. Do you want a little more control and like the options a zoom lens gives you? If you do then a Point and Shoot with a decent zoom might be for you. If you do a lot of action sports and take HD video the Safari Cam is a great choice, easily keeping pace with much more expensive Action Cameras in video quality. It doesn’t really have the goods to replace your Smartphone or Point and Shoot camera for still images though.

If you like what you see here please share and comment below!

Scott.

Disclaimer – I didn’t include an iPhone in this test because the images they produce are very underwhelming. I know some people have very strong opinions about the iPhone and that’s ok. I have a 6 Plus which does a decent job in most situation but the G4 is noticeably better.

 

 

 

Pictures of our city

It seems like you guys like pictures of Vancouver. It’s a pretty good looking city so I don’t blame you. Sometimes I take pictures of our beautiful city from some interesting places. I like to sneak into areas that most people never see and show them what I see. Early in the morning before I start my day, during my lunch or after hours only, just to be clear…

These are my favourites, follow me on Instagram if you like them!

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Scott.

 

New photography project – Where In Vancouver

Instagram is pretty cool, right? My personal/blog account is a mix of food, architecture, my kid, and random other stuff thrown in. I wanted to start a side project that was somewhat unique and a little more focused than my regular Instagram page. Where In Vancouver is very simple, 2 pictures per day taken within seconds of each other. One of my feet pointing in the direction I’m looking, up for north, left for east, down for south and right for west. The second picture is the view my feet are pointing at. Pretty simple right?

I’ll be using a Nexus 4 from Monday to Friday during the day and a Nexus 5 for weekends and evenings.

Check out the first 3 days of Where In Vancouver

Day 1. Facing east.
Day 1. Facing east.
Day 1. The Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.
Day 1. The Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.
Day 2. Facing south.
Day 2. Facing south.
Day 2. A murder of crows near Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby.
Day 2. A murder of crows near Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby.
Day 3. Facing south.
Day 3. Facing south.
Day 3. A 1950's Texaco gas station on 216th street in Langley.
Day 3. A 1950’s Texaco gas station on 216th street in Langley.

 

You can follow Where In Vancouver on Instagram – @whereinyvr and on Twitter – @WhereInYVR . To see more pictures of peoples shoes (because why wouldn’t you) check out the #whereistand hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

Scott.