Canon PowerShot G3 X Camera Review

Hands-on with the Canon G3 X

Compact cameras don’t have an easy time any more. It’s hard for them to justify their existence, forcing the camera companies to come up with something special to lure in the photo enthusiasts. The Canon PowerShot G3 X is a high-end take on the superzoom, getting you much better build and image quality than the cheaper alternatives you might find on the high street.

It costs a hefty £799.99, but if you want an all-in-one photo solution with a gigantic zoom, the Canon PowerShot G3 X is absolutely one to look out for. We’ll be back with our full review soon. But before that, let’s take a closer look.

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Canon PowerShot G3 X – Design

There’s no mistaking this is anything but a serious camera when you get your eyes and hands on it. The Canon PowerShot G3 X is very chunky for a fixed-lens camera, and has a metal body. No plastic rubbish here.

The sheer size of the lens may rule the Canon PowerShot G3 X for some of you, though. While the body isn’t all that fat at its thinnest point, the large lens makes it far less handy than something like the Sony RX100 IV or Canon’s own G7 X. It rules-out needing to carry around separate lenses, but it isn’t small,

Consistent with the more serious style, there’s a generous handgrip, a dedicated exposure dial and a manual control wheel up on the top plate.

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Something purists will take issue with, though, is that lack of any viewfinder. The rear screen is a very high-quality 3.2-inch 1.6-million dot display, but those after a traditional feel to composition won’t get it here. Not without spending even more cash, anyway.

There’s a hotshoe up top and it’ll take a Canon EVF accessory, but as this costs £234 it adds to the cost significantly. This hotshoe also lets you attach an external mic, as there’s an aux mic input on the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s side.

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Canon PowerShot G3 X – Sensor and Lens

An EVF isn’t everything, though, and the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s packs in a sensor and lens combo I think should appeal to many. The lens offers 25x zoom and an f/2.8-5.6 aperture, getting you a significantly wider max aperture when shooting wide open than most superzooms. It’s not a patch on the Sony RX 10 II, of course, which offers constant f/2.8 max aperture throughout its range. But that camera’s zoom stops at 200mm, not 600mm.

The Canon PowerShot G3 X will focus as close as 5cm away from the subject (when shooting at the wide end) and the 25x zoom gets you a range equivalent to 24-600mm in the usual standard. It’s safari-ready.

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As a superzoom equivalent to the Canon G7 X, we’re also glad to see the G3 X use a 1-inch sensor, which has become the new standard for compacts that appeal to ‘real’ photographers. It’s a 20.9-megapixel sensor that should get you plenty of detail when you have the luxury of shooting at low ISO settings.

5-axis image stabilisation will not only make the further ends of the zoom range usable without a tripod, it’ll also help out shooting handheld at night time or dusk. Want to shoot handheld at night? That might be a bit too much of an ask, but we’ll check this out in our full review.

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The Canon PowerShot G3 X gets you an 125 – 12,800 ISO range and will burst shoot at 5.9fps. Video capture tops out at 1080p, 60 frames per second, missing out on 4K. However, from my brief go with the camera I did find its focusing to be exceptionally quick: a solid draw for stills photographers.

Wi-Fi and NFC are on-board too, and the Canon PowerShot G3 X’s battery is rated at a pretty pedestrian 300 shots per charge. You’ll probably want to keep a spare at hand.

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Early Verdict

Epic zoom range in a pro-feeling package seems to be what the Canon PowerShot G3 X is all about. And if you’re a wildlife photographer perhaps that’s just what you want.

However, with the recently announced Sony RX10 II offering a pretty compelling alternative this is one we’re keen to spend more time with before coming to any conclusions. While the Canon brings amazing 600mm-equivalent zoom, the Sony alternative offers 4K video, an EVF and constant f/2.8 aperture.

Of course, with the Canon G3 X costing £200 less, it has a chunky cost advantage that should help it win over a good few fans. We’ll be back with the full review soon.

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