Photography News 69

Camera test 52

Photography News | Issue 69 | photographynews.co.uk

Performance: the lens

The lens has optical image stabilisation, claiming a 4EV advantage

Obviously a compact camera is not just a body, but a lens, too, so you need to know the optics are up to scratch. The G5X Mark II’s 8.8-44mm (24-120mm equivalent in 35mm format) has a fast though variable aperture of f/1.8 to f/2.8, and a construction of 13 elements in 11 groups, including three double-sided aspherical lenses, and one single-sided aspherical lens. The wide aperture gives you some scope for working in low light, but due to the size of the sensor, control over depth-of-field is limited, and f/11 is the smallest aperture setting. You can still get a shallow depth-of-field by

pushing to the long end of the lens and shooting wide open though. Testing the lens’s optical quality, we shot throughout the aperture range at 8.8mm, 18.2mm, and 44mm (equivalents of 24mm, 50mm and 120mm). At 8.8mm, results were very good in the middle of the frame at f/1.8, but quite smudgy at the edges. Centre sharpness improved to f/4, and stayed at its peak until around f/9, dropping off slightly after that. At the edges, sharpness was best at f/4. At 18.2mm, it was a similar story with a decent result in the centre at the maximum f/2.5,

improving to f/5.6where it also hit its peak at the edges. Thereafter, there was only a slight drop in sharpness towards f/11. At f/2.8 and the 44mm setting, sharpness suffered at the centre and edges were quite smeary, but things quickly improved at f/3.2 and peaked between f/4 and f/5.6. Edges hit their peak at f/11. There was some fringing noted, especially at 8.8mm and in areas of very high contrast, and at the longer setting when using the widest apertures, but no vignetting was apparent and nor was barrel or pincushion distortion a problem.

Above The camera’s small size and versatility makes it a good travel companion, though you may miss the detail from a larger sensor

There are also some decent manual focusing options, including programmable focus peaking on the main screen or the viewfinder, and a focus bracketing mode, especially useful when using the macro focus setting, which hits 5cm at wide-angle and 20cmat telephoto. The 5x zoom is versatile enough, but annoyingly it doesn’t remember its setting when the camera is turned off and on again. That’s not unusual for compacts, but it would have been a nice addition on a high-end one like the G5XMark II. If you’re shooting in JPEG, you can push the lens’s reach with 1.6x and 2xdigital teleconverters. The quality of these is not bad, despite the fact that it’s just interpolating the image. There’s also a digital zoom takingyouup to a480mmequivalent, but it gets quite fuzzy. The lens also has optical image stabilisation, claiming a 4EV advantage, and that was borne out, as our testing returned mostly sharp results down to around 1/2sec at thewide end. Shutter range is 30secs to 1/2000sec, and there’s a B (bulb) if you push past 30secs in manual. To help with those longer exposures – and for shootingwithwider apertures in bright light – there’s a built-in ND, which can be set to off /auto and on, and has a 3EV effect. You can also use the electronic shutter to get a top speed of 1/25,600sec, but this is prone to rolling shutter and flicker from artificial lighting. Exposure compensation is limited to +/-3EV, but at no point did I find that a problem – I can’t remember the last time I shot more than +/-3EV, except for a heavyweight HDR sequence. Overall picture quality from the G5X Mark II was good, and the 5472x3648 full-resolution files showed a decent amount of detail, though there’s that slightly waxy look you get from a smaller sensor. Don’t zoom in too much and you can’t tell the difference. As well as the 3:2, you also get 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios. If you’re picking up a compact like the G5X Mark II, you may also be interested in its video output. Unlike its predecessor, the Mark II has 4K at up to 30p but, more excitingly, offers Full HD at 120fps, so you can get some nice slow-motion effects. The 4Kmode is capped at tenminutes, but practically I’ve never felt the need to shoot longer anyway. Battery life is quoted at 230 shots, though it falls to 180 when using the EVF. In testing, I got 472 shots over two charges using a mix of the EVF and continuous shooting and long exposures. It’s not blessed with masses of stayingpower, sopickingup a spare is a good plan if you’re going to have an extended session. You can also charge from theUSB port.

8.8mm

18.2mm

44mm

F/1.8

F/2.5

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/4

F/4

Verdict

Features  22/25 All the essential stuff you’d expect, plus good extras like focus stacking Handling  23/25 Very good overall, just missing a front control dial and EVF shade Performance 23/25 8fps is no slouch and image quality is pretty good for a 1in sensor Value for money 20/25 Features mostly justify the price, but you could buy a budget DSLR and travel zoom for the same Overall 88/100 The camera’s spec and handling make it a decent travel option Pros Small, light, but with manual appeal and fast shooting speed Cons Raw latitude, no weather sealing, not cheap quality, while detail from the 1in sensor is good, if not spectacular. It’s only when you compare it to the performance of larger sensors that it disappoints. Handling is nice, and the manual inputs work well, up to a point. Despite not being weather sealed, build quality is high, and the unit is small and light enough to be a good travel option. With the long end of the zoom and the 8fps, it’s useful for action subjects, too. For an all-in-one package, the G5X Mark II delivers well. The 24-120mm lens gives you plenty of scope and

F/4

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

Above The G5X Mark II’s 24- 120mm equivalent lens put in a very creditable performance, with only the widest and smallest apertures showing a loss of sharpness. The enlargements here are shown at 100%

F/11

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