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Canon PowerShot G5 X a camera for photo enthusiasts

The Canon PowerShot G5 X has a control ring around the lens to adjust aperture, an exposure compensation dial next to the shutter-release button, and a command dial above the grip.
The Canon PowerShot G5 X has a control ring around the lens to adjust aperture, an exposure compensation dial next to the shutter-release button, and a command dial above the grip.PHOTO: CANON

The Canon PowerShot G5 X is the bigger brother of last year's G7 X prosumer compact camera.

The G5 X uses the same 20.2-megapixel 1-inch image sensor and 24-100mm f/1.8-f/2.8 lens as the G7 X. However, it has an electronic viewfinder (EVF), more physical dials and controls suitable for photography enthusiasts.

Unlike the fixed display of the G7 X, the G5 X's 3-inch touchscreen display is tiltable up to 270 degrees, which will please selfie lovers.

Although the EVF is not as big as some of its competitors, it is sharp and helps you to compose photos easily, even when there is a huge glare from bright sunlight.

Design-wise, the G5 X looks more like a mini DSLR than a compact camera. That is because it needs to house the EVF and various dials.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $999

    IMAGE SENSOR: 20.2-megapixel 1-inch CMOS

    DISPLAY: Tiltable 3-inch touchscreen with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 125-12,800

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 5.9 frames per second

    LENS: 24-100mm f/1.8-f/2.8

    CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication

    WEIGHT: 353g (with battery and memory card)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

On the back is a clickable dial that allows quick access to the Drive, Flash, Macro and Display settings; and a dedicated video recording button beside the thumb rest.

There is also an exposure compensation dial beside the shutter-release button on the top right, while the Mode dial sits on the top left.

A control ring around the lens lets you adjust aperture. And there is a command dial above the large grip.

The rubberised grip is contoured, giving you a secure hold on the camera, with your fingers able to access the various dials easily for the changing of settings.The G5 X handles really well, almost like a DSLR.

The camera is also quite responsive. Start-up takes 1.3sec while shutdown takes 1.7sec. It zooms from 24mm to 100mm in 1.5sec.

Autofocusing (AF) is fast and accurate in bright sunlight, with an almost instant lock to focus. In dim conditions and with the aid of the AF assist light, it takes about 1sec. During video recording, the focus is nailed in less than 2sec.

Image quality is great. I saw crisp details across the entire focal range. There is slight softness at f/1.8 aperture, but that is to be expected at wide apertures. Corner to corner sharpness is generally good at the longer focal length, with smaller apertures like f/5.6.

Image noise performance is average. Some noise artefacts are visible at ISO 400, but they are not significant. At ISO 1,600, noise artefacts are clearly visible, but the images are still good enough for web use.

Video quality is good, but it picks up too much wind and ambient audio for my liking.

The biggest downer of the G5 X is its poor battery life. It can shoot only up to 220 still images before the battery goes flat. You probably need a spare battery or two if you are taking this camera on vacation.

  • Verdict: Other than its sub-par battery life, the Canon PowerShot G5 X is a great prosumer compact camera with good image quality, great handling and a convenient fast lens.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline 'A camera for photo enthusiasts'. Print Edition | Subscribe