Photography News issue 28

Photography News Issue 28 absolutephoto.com

Camera test 43

Built-in ND filter One of the neatest features of the G5 X is its built-in neutral density (ND) filter. I love this feature, which is common on camcorders, and you have to wonder why more cameras don’t use it. The strength of the ND on the G5 X is three stops, which is rather handy when it comes to controlling the amount of light entering the camera and therefore allowing more choice in shutter speed and aperture. For instance, if you’re in bright light and hoping to use a wide aperture to create a shallow depth-of-field, or want to use longer shutter speeds to blur movement without overexposing the image, it makes a big difference. The filter can be manually set to on or off, and there’s also an Auto setting which brings it into play when the camera deems necessary, such as when the shutter speed tops out at 1/2000sec. As on some other compacts, in Av mode, the shutter speed is limited to 1sec at the slowest, so these shots were taken in manual mode.

Button customisation The G5 X lets you remap the input for individual exposure modes using the Function Assignment option in the Shooting Menu. So in terms of customisation, you could set the aperture control to the ring around the lens, which feels natural. However, in aperture-priority (Av), the small front dial can’t be changed, defaulting to controlling the aperture, too, which is rather odd. Controls which can be mapped to the dials also include ISO, white-balance, zoom and manual focus. But the zoom control only moves in steps from 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, etc, so it lacks precision and using any of the clicking dials for manual focus didn’t work very well in our test. Finally, the large exposure compensation dial that sits above the thumb rest is very handy in shooting, but sadly this one can’t be remapped, which is a strange choice considering the other adaptations.

Function assignment The G5 Xmakes it easy to customise its manual inputs, but options could have been more extensive.

Above The G5 X’s built-in ND filter has a strength of three stops allowing more latitude in your choices of shutter speed and aperture. Here a 1/2sec exposure becomes 4secs.

JPEG, 125

Raw, 125

JPEG, 1600

Raw, 1600

Verdict

I enjoyed using the Canon G5 X, and if you understand its advantages and limitations, it won’t disappoint. It’s got a lot more to offer than most compacts, and the design is good, but for me it could have gone further toward the manual route. For example, given the emphasis on manual shooting, I’d have liked larger controls on the rear and a smaller screen – trying to fit both leads to problems. In a range with numerous models like Canon’s X lineup, there’s room to target more specific needs. Image quality is a significant jump from point-and- shoot versions and I was pleased with the results, but there are better performing compacts out there, and size-wise it’s not much smaller than a CSC. Features There’s very little lacking here. Lots of physical inputs and creative shootingmodes Performance Not the fastest AF, processing, or battery life, but the EVF is very nice. Handling Mostly good, with a few quirks, like the customisation features Value formoney Plenty for your money here, although you could pick up a CSC and lens for less. Overall A good option as backup for your DSLR, or when you want creative shooting but need to travel light, but not a classic as it tries to cover too many bases. Very nice build quality and lots of features, while handling, performance and image quality are good, but not outstanding. Pros Excellent build, lots of features and good image quality Cons Some sluggish areas of performance andminor handling problems 24/25 20/25 22/25 21/25 87/100

JPEG, 200

Raw, 200

JPEG, 3200

Raw, 3200

ISOperformance To illustrate the G5 X’s ISO performance here you’ll see a low- light shot, that was taken in Raw + JPEG mode to observe both the native noise produced by the sensor and the extent of the camera’s default noise reduction. With its small sensor and high- resolution, it’s no surprise that the G5 X produces obvious digital noise quite soon in the scale, but overall its performance is good and, it only becomes problematic from around ISO 3200 onwards where the interference starts to downgrade the fine details more obviously. Even then, the grain is natural looking, and not unpleasant. The amount of processing applied is clear from these 300% enlargements, again from relatively early in the scale. Noise reduction is well applied in the JPEGs, the G5 X doing a good job of reducing both the colour and luminance noise, with the emphasis on the former, so detail isn’t lost too badly from over- smoothing. You can also see the work it’s doing to reduce fringing and sharpen the image, these examples being taken at the 24mm setting and f/5.6.

JPEG, 400

Raw, 400

JPEG, 6400

Raw, 6400

JPEG, 800

Raw, 800

JPEG, 12,800

Raw, 12,800

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