Canon has just announced updates to two of its compact PowerShot G-series cameras, the G7 X Mark III and the G5 X Mark II. These two new cameras share a lot of DNA both inside and out, and there are both similarities and stark differences relative to their predecessors as well. But have no fear – we’ve dug through the details of each camera for you, to bring you all that you need to know about these two new models.
Both will be available in August 2019, and the G7 X III arrives at $749 US and the G5 X II at $899 US.
Updated sensors and processors
Canon has updated the sensors on the G5 X Mark II and G7 X Mark III to a new ‘stacked’ design, which has been exclusive to Sony cameras up until now. They offer the same 20MP of resolution and 1″-type dimensions as before, but now come with DRAM chips attached right to the back of the sensor. This helps allow for extremely fast readout speeds that the updated Digic 8 processor can then take advantage of.
So how do the G5 X II and G7 X III take advantage of all that extra speed? By offering…
Fast burst speeds
To say the G5 X Mark II improves on its predecessor in this regard is the understatement of the article. The older G5 X could only shoot around 1.1 fps in Raw mode – now, both the G5 X II and G7 X III can shoot Raw + JPEG at 8 fps and 8.3 fps with autofocus, respectively, and up to 20 fps with fixed focus and exposure. (The G7 X II improved on the G5 X somewhat, offering a maximum of 5.4fps burst shooting with autofocus).
But that’s just with the mechanical shutter. Switch to a fully electronic shutter, and you gain access to 30fps bursts (focus and exposure locked), even in Raw. There’s also an option for ‘pre-recording’ 15 images for the half-second before you even press the shutter.
That new sensor and processor combination also mean the G5 X II and G7 X III are capable of…
4K video capture
On the video front, both models now capture full 4K/30p video and Full HD at up to 120fps, both without a crop – quite the step up from the 1080/60p maximum of the older models. Of note is that neither camera features Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus technology, but we’ve found contrast-detect autofocus on the older G7 X II to be surprisingly effective, and so we’d expect the same performance here.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Canon has opted not to include a 24p option for 4K recording, and only the G7 X III has seen the addition of a microphone input (but no headphone jack). But the G7 X III has one additional trick up its sleeve, which is…
Live YouTube streaming (and external power)
The older G7 X Mark II has long been a favorite of vloggers, and so with the new G7 X Mark III, Canon’s upped the ante with the ability to stream YouTube Live straight from the camera. Using YouTube’s tools, you can choose to schedule those videos instead of publishing straight away depending on your preference. Note – this is only a G7 X Mark III feature.
In case you’re wondering just how much stamina the diminutive NB-13L battery pack has for the likes of live-streaming high-resolution video over Wi-Fi, Canon’s made the G7 X III able to be powered over USB, not just charged. This will be particularly useful for those with small hand-held gimbals and stabilizers that can supply power to the camera being used. And unlike the YouTube streaming, Canon’s brought USB power to both the G7 X III and G5 X II models.
If you aren’t using external power for either the G7 X III or G5 X II, battery life is rated at 235 or 230 shots per charge (CIPA), respectively. This is definitely on the short side, but enabling ‘Eco mode’ will raise that number to around 320 shots per charge, according to Canon.
Exterior design and controls
While there is little change in the G7 X Mark III’s appearance relative to its predecessor, the G5 X Mark II gets a major redesign. It closely resembles the G7 X III, whereas the older G5 X looked a lot more like a ‘mini DSLR’ with a central viewfinder hump. They both share the same well thought-out controls, with a mode dial, top-plate exposure compensation dial, rear dial surrounding a four-way controller and so on, but we’re bummed that the G5 X II has lost its predecessor’s front control dial.
Both models retain a customizable control ring around the lens, but unfortunately, neither has the switch on the older G7 X Mark II that allowed you to ‘click’ or ‘de-click’ its movements. Canon has decided the permanent mode for both cameras will be ‘clicky.’
Lastly, the G5 X II has a subtle textured finish on its top plate, and is a bit stretched in dimensions over its stablemate, to help make room for…
A pop-up EVF and a new lens
Two of the biggest differentiators between these two new cameras (aside from price) are the addition of a pop-up electronic viewfinder and a newly designed lens for the G5 X Mark II.
The pop-up EVF reminds us of a similar unit on recent Sony RX100 models, and we have to say, we’re fans of the design – it keeps the overall size of the camera down, but the EVF is there when you need it. It retains the same 2.36M-dot resolution as the G5 X (which is plenty on this type of camera), and we expect good quality – plus, the maximum refresh rate of 120 fps makes it easier to follow moving subjects, and will give the viewfinder a more ‘immediate’ feel.
The G5 X Mark II’s updated lens retains the same F1.8-2.8 maximum aperture of its predecessor, but adds some reach. It now zooms from 24-120mm equivalent, instead of maxing out at 100mm. We found the older lens (which is still on the G7 X III) to already be a good combination of fast aperture, small size and versatile zoom range, so we’re pleasantly surprised by this update on the G5 X II, but we’ll have to wait for a review unit to assess its overall quality.
All the rest
There are a handful of other features that have been either added or improved on both the G7 X III and G5 X II. These include a new focus bracketing mode, improved panoramic shots, and supposedly, simpler Wi-Fi + Bluetooth connectivity that includes GPS syncing and auto-transfer of images.
You can record HDR movies for playback on compatible displays, there’s a new maximum shutter speed of 1/25600 sec with the electronic shutter, an a special new Star mode that includes 4K star time-lapse movies is also available. Lastly, the user interface is said to be very similar to that of the company’s EOS lineup of interchangeable lens cameras.
In all, while we have to wait to get our hands on review samples to make any concrete judgments, it looks like Canon’s shoehorned an impressive amount of refinements and updates into two cameras whose predecessors we found to be solid offerings.
But what do you think? Are these updates enough to tempt you to pick up one of these compacts for yourself? Let us know in the comments.