Canon PowerShot G1 X high-end compact sports dSLR-size sensor (CES 2012)

Canon updates its PowerShot G series with a high-end point-and-shoot to rival dSLRs and ILC cameras.

Canon kicked off CES 2012 with the announcement of the PowerShot G1 X, a new addition to its G series of high-end point-and-shoot cameras. Though the camera maker has yet to jump into the interchangeable lens compact (ILC) camera fray, Canon has ratcheted up the specs (and the price) of the camera enough to compete directly with the likes of the Panasonic Lumix DMC GX1 and Olympus PEN E-PL3 ILC cameras as well as entry-level dSLRs.

Priced at a good $300 more than the Canon PowerShot G12, which will remain in the G series lineup for now, the new G1 X ups the ante with a significantly larger sensor--a 1.5-inch, 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, up from the 1/1.7-inch, 10.4-megapixel CCD sensor in the G12. Although the focal length of the zoom lens has been dropped from the G12's 28-140mm equivalent (5x) lens to a 28-112mm (4x) lens, the G1 X has a bigger and higher resolution articulating LCD (3-inch, 922,000-dot TFT) and improved performance (e.g., continuous shooting is up to 4.5 fps, compared to the G12's 1.1 fps rate). Video recording capabilities have also been ramped up to 1080p.

The down side is that the G1 X is also bulkier than the already beefy G12, weighing in at a hefty 19 ounces (vs. 12.4 oz) and measuring 4.98x2.93x2.12 inches, making it a bit taller and thicker than the G12 (4.41x3.0x1.9 inches). Of course, when you consider the G1 X is housing a sensor that's much bigger -- even bigger than the Four Thirds sensors in Olympus and Panasonic dSLRs and ILCs, though a bit smaller than APS-C sized sensors in most of Canon's dSLRs and the Fujifilm X100 -- the extra girth doesn't seem like much.  Combined with the 28 -112mm zoom lens, you're likely to get similar image quality but better shooting flexibility than you can get with a dSLR or ILC with a typical kit lens, all in a significantly smaller package.

Here's a quick specs comparison with a similarly priced ILC and dSLR, as well as the PowerShot G12:

Canon PowerShot G1 X Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Canon EOS Rebel T3i Canon PowerShot G12
Resolution 14.3 megapixels 16 megapixels 18 megapixels 10.4 megapixels
Sensor size 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm)CMOS 17.3x13mm CMOS 22.3 x 14.9 mm 1/1.7 CCD
Focal Length/Zoom 28-112mm/4x 14-42mm (kit lens) 18-55mm (kit lens) 28-140mm/5x
Aperture f/2.8-f/5.8 f/3.5-5.6 f/3.5-5.6 f/2.8-4.5
Sensitivity range ISO 200-6400 (100-12800 expanded) ISO 160-12800 ISO 100 - 6,400 (12,800 expanded) ISO 80-3200
Display 3-inch, 922,000-dot TFT, articulated 3-inch, 460,000-dot TFT touch, fixed 3-inch, 1.04 million-dot TFT, articulated 2.8-inch, 461,000-dot TFT, articulating
Movie Mode 1920x1080 (24 fps), 1280x720 (30 fps), 640x480 (30 fps) 1920x1080 (30fps), 1280x720 (30 fps), 640x480 (30 fps) 1920 x 1080 (30/25/24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60/50 fps), 640 x 480 (60/50 fps) 720p
Continuous Shooting Speed 4.5 fps (up to 6 frames) 4.2 fps (20 fps at 4 megapixels) 3.7 fps 1.1fps
Dimensions/Weight 4.60x3.17x2.55 in/19.0 oz 4.58x2.67x1.55 in/17.04 oz 5.2x3.9x3.1 in/18.2 oz (body only) 4.41x3.0x1.9 in /12.4 oz
Release date February 2012 December 2011 February 2010 October 2010
Price $799.99 $799.99 (with 14-42mm kit lens) $899.99 (with 18-55mm kit lens) $499.99
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