Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera Review

If you’re like most people, your smartphone has taken over as your primary camera. It’s not hard to see why: it’s convenient, always in your pocket, and the easiest way to share moments with friends and family.

But there’s always room for a second camera, especially if you want something a little more capable, or one with a little more zoom. And even if you’ve already got a high-end DSLR, then something that condenses that quality into a compact package is immensely valuable.

This is where high-end point-and-shoots come in, such as the new Canon PowerShot G9 X ($499.99 MSRP). Like other high-end compact cameras it’s got some serious horsepower under the hood. But unlike its closest competition, it starts at just under $500. That’s not cheap, but if you’ve got your eye on a second camera for whatever reason, this one is worth a second look.

Design & Handling

A familiar form with more polish

When you first lay eyes on the G9 X, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for just another point and shoots. Though it’s got some serious hardware under the hood, it doesn’t really look like it does. The camera slots in perfectly with the G-series below the G7 X, and novice shooters will appreciate just how user-friendly this camera is in comparison to the other high-end Canon point and shoots.

Controls are about as basic as you get on a pocket cam, but there are a few changes that typically aren’t seen on an entry-level shooter. For example, the common control cluster was ditched in favor of a simple touchscreen, and a smattering of fairly basic buttons on the right side of the camera. Because the back of the camera is dominated by that 3-inch 1,040k-dot touchscreen LCD, some buttons and dials had to be moved. For example, the control wheel was replaced by a control ring around the lens of the camera, and the playback button was moved to the top of the unit.

While these choices might be consternating for some, it’s rewarding for those who don’t rely on manual controls all the time, and let’s face it: if you’re buying a point and shoot, do you really want to be fiddling with every setting every shot you take? I didn’t think so, but if you do, there are several modes available via the mode dial on top: aperture priority, shutter priority, and full manual shooting might be frustrating, but they’re available.

Available in either all-black or a darkish silver and brown, the G9 X has a somewhat retro feel. However, the aesthetics belie a thoroughly modern interior. Boasting the same 20.2-megapixel 1-inch CMOS sensor and Digic 6 processor that the rest of the G-series sports, this camera has all the right parts to make a compelling whole.

Top controls

Controls are very simplistic—meaning you don’t need to be a pro to pick up the G9 X and start snapping.

Because nobody wants to try to cram a huge lens in their pockets, the G9 X comes equipped with a tastefully restrained 3x (28-84mm full-frame equivalent) zoom. With a maximum aperture of f/2 when zoomed all the way out, you can achieve shots with a pleasing background blur—provided you’re close enough. While it’s not a superzoom or anything, this is roughly the focal range you’d get with a standard kit lens on an entry-level DSLR, so the G9 X is in good company.

HDMI and USB ports grace the side of the camera.

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