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.

IMG_4166

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.

IMG_4181

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.

IMG_4136

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.

IMG_4155

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.

IMG_4119

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.

IMG_4167

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.

Advertisements

Review – Soda Stream Source

Carbonated water is awesome. No really, it is. As someone who has recently abstained from alcohol it has been a great replacement for the ubiquitous after work beer I enjoyed on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes you just want something cold and carbonated. Pop (soda for my American friends) is loaded with sugar among other things so using it as a beer substitute is a horrible idea.

IMG_1049

I started drinking San Pellegrino in place of my favourite alcoholic beverages but I was uncomfortable with the amount of glass I was pumping into my recycling bin. I was also not keen that Nestle owns San Pellegrino. Bottled still water is among the most pointless, wasteful things in modern society. I’d heard of Soda Stream and decided it was worth a try. I picked up the Source model at my local London Drugs on sale for $99.99, regularly $129.99.

IMG_1054

Setup was a breeze. There are no cords, it is powered by a Co2 canister and only uses a built in battery to light the LED carbonation level indicator. It includes the machine, one Co2 canister good for 60L of carbonated water, and a carbonating bottle. I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t read ALL of the instructions and I missed the part about the fill line on the bottle. Let’s just say it made a bit of a puddle on my counter. After filling the bottle to the proper level the Source worked flawlessly. All three carbonation levels are noticeably different and consistently delivered.

IMG_1050
Co2 canister.

I may or may not try the flavours Soda Stream offers but I purchased it to replace store bought carbonated water and it does the trick. 750ml San Pellegrino costs $1.50-$2.00 per bottle, it doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up and the glass saved is worth the initial investment. Over the long run this will be cheaper and better for the planet. Plus our tap water in Greater Vancouver is some of the best in the world and I’d much rather drink it than Italian fizz.

Scott.