Canon PowerShot G3 X Review

Canon PowerShot G3 X review
The Canon PowerShot G3 X digital camera is a strong performer, offering good image quality and a large zoom lens. Canon

The Bottom Line

I'll just mention the biggest drawback that you'll find in my Canon PowerShot G3 X review right out of the gate: If you cannot make yourself pay a nearly four figure price for a fixed lens camera, then you probably will have little desire to consider this camera. But if you want a versatile fixed lens camera that provides great image quality, full manual control options, and strong performance speeds, the PowerShot G3 X definitely belongs on your short list of cameras to consider.

Versatility makes the PowerShot G3 X a really strong camera and one of the best 5-star cameras on the market. The G3 X is very easy to use in fully automatic mode, yet Canon provided the option of using a full manual control mode too. Canon gave this camera plenty of dials and buttons to make changing the settings a simple process. You can shoot in RAW or JPEG modes with this model. And the G3 X has a touch screen LCD that you can swivel away from the camera.

The Canon G3 X also would rank as one of the best travel cameras, thanks to its 25X optical zoom lens. If you don't want to carry a DSLR camera body and a few lenses on a trip, having a fixed lens model like the G3 X is a nice option, as its large optical zoom lens provides you with the ability to shoot photos involving quite a few different types of scenes. After all, when traveling you probably won't be able to predict ahead of time what kind of photography conditions you may encounter.

Ultimately, though, it's great image quality that makes this camera stand out from the crowd. You can create extremely large prints from the Canon PowerShot G3 X that look great, even if you're just shooting in the JPEG image format. This easily is one of the best fixed-lens cameras on the market today, but you'll have to have a pretty large budget to select this camera.

Specifications

  • Resolution: 20.2 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 25X
  • LCD: 3.2-inch, 1,620,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size: 5472 x 3648 pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions: 4.85 x 3.01 x 4.15 inches
  • Weight: 1.62 pounds (with battery and memory card)
  • Image sensor: 1.0-inch CMOS
  • Movie mode: HD 1080p, 60 fps

Pros

  • Image quality is very good in all types of lighting
  • Performs fast, especially compared to other large zoom cameras
  • LCD screen is very large and offers sharp resolution
  • LCD is articulated and is touch enabled
  • Offers both manual control and automatic shooting options
  • Good ergonomic design on camera

Cons

  • No viewfinder built into the camera
  • Camera's performance speeds slow noticeably when shooting in RAW
  • Camera's menu designs don't take advantage of touch screen capability
  • Camera is a bit heavy and bulky
  • Camera carries an expensive starting price at nearly $1,000

Image Quality

As mentioned above, the image quality for the Canon PowerShot G3 X is outstanding. It can't quite match the photographs you could create with a DSLR camera, but versus other fixed lens cameras, this model's images are well above average. And if you limit your comparisons to other cameras with 20X or larger optical zoom lenses, the G3 X's image quality is easily among the best you'll find, even if you're shooting primarily in the image format of JPEG, rather than RAW.

(Oh, by the way, you also can shoot in RAW with this model.)

Canon gave this camera a 1-inch image sensor, which is quite a bit larger in physical size than what you'll find in most fixed lens cameras. For comparison, a point and shoot camera typically includes a 1/2.3-inch image sensor. Larger image sensors tend to shoot photos of a higher image quality, especially in low-light conditions.

You will be able to create very sharp and vibrant photo prints with the PowerShot G3 X, thanks to the extremely good image quality with this model. 

Performance

I was very impressed with the burst mode performance of this camera.

Cameras with large zoom lenses often don't perform all that well in continuous shot mode, but the Canon G3 X is an exception. You can shoot photos at full resolution at speeds of about 6 frames per second when shooting at the wide-angle setting for the lens. This model will perform a little slower if you're trying to use burst mode at a telephoto setting for the lens, but it still outperforms similar models. It will slow greatly if you're attempting to shoot in the RAW image format when using burst mode when this Canon camera slows to about one photo per 1 1/2 seconds.

Shutter lag is not a problem with this camera when shooting at the wide-angle focal length of the camera lens. And when you're shooting at a large telephoto setting for the lens, the G3 X's shutter lag performance still is better than most large zoom cameras.

With such a large optical zoom lens, you may find that the G3 X is difficult to hand hold in some shooting conditions without causing camera shake. When you're going to shoot at the full optical zoom measurement, consider attaching this model to a tripod to prevent slightly blurred photos from camera shake.

Another area where the PowerShot G3 X excels versus most large zoom digital cameras is in its battery life. You'll be able to shoot 400 or 500 photos per battery charge, which is well above average versus other cameras. 

Design

For those who need an easy to use camera, the PowerShot G3 X can fit your needs, even though it also contains full manual control options.

It's difficult to design a camera that works as well for beginners as it does for intermediate and advanced photographers, but Canon has accomplished this task with the PowerShot G3 X.

One reason the Canon G3 X is so easy to use is because of its touch screen LCD. Cameras that offer touch screens tend to be easier for those new to standalone digital cameras, especially those who are more familiar with operating a smartphone. It would've been nice if Canon had redesigned its menus a little bit to better take advantage of the touch screen operation of this camera. But the Q menu that provides shortcuts to icons for the camera's settings does work well with the touch screen.

With a 3.2-inch LCD screen, this model ranks as one of the best large LCD cameras, and this model also has 1.62 million pixels of resolution, making it an extremely sharp display screen.

The G3 X ranks as one of the best-articulated LCD cameras, as you can swivel and twist the display screen 180 degrees from the camera, allowing you to shoot selfies. Or you can swivel it 90 degrees to make this model easier to use while attached to a tripod, so you can see the screen without having to crouch or bend over continuously.

For a camera in this price range, it's a bit of a disappointment that Canon chose not to include a built-in viewfinder with this model. Certainly, the Canon G3 X's display screen is of a high enough quality that you might not need a viewfinder all that often, but having the option of using a viewfinder on occasion would be nice.