CES/PMA 2012: Canon Unveils 14.3MP PowerShot G1 X Compact Camera with Large Sensor

January 10, 2012

By Dan Havlik

Professional photographers looking for a smaller alternative to their digital SLRs will have a portable new camera option starting in February. Canon announced the new PowerShot G1 X, a compact camera which uses a 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm), 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, just a step down from what you’d find in a DSLR.

The G1 X will replace Canon’s former flagship PowerShot model: the 10MP Canon PowerShot G12, a popular thrown-in-the-bag camera for pros announced back in 2010.

The G1 X won’t be cheap though: when it ship in February it will sell for $800.

If the Canon G1 X lives up to the promise of its specs though, it should produce some very nice images and help out in a pinch when you don’t want to lug around your big rig.

Canon’s 1.5-inch CMOS sensor in the G1 X is significantly bigger than the chip that was in the G12. Though it’s not quite as large as an APS-C size sensor you’d find in an entry-level DSLR, it’s slightly larger than Micro Four Thirds sensors in Compact System Cameras (CSC) from Olympus and Panasonic.

Despite the uptick in resolution to 14.3 megapixels in the G1 X, the larger chip size should mean larger size pixels that absorb more light. That should help when shooting at higher ISOs without a flash in low light. The G1 X is capable of shooting up to ISO 12800. The bigger sensor should also help you shoot images with a shallower depth of field and contribute to better dynamic range.

The Canon G1 X has a 4x optical zoom lens (28mm to 112mm equivalent) with an aperture of f/2.8 to f/16. That’s actually a step down from the G12, which had a 5x lens (28mm to 140mm).

The Canon G1 X also features 14-bit, RAW+JPEG shooting and full 1080p HD video capture. There’s also HDR shooting functionality and the camera is compatible with Speedlite flashes, Macro Twin Lites or Macro Ring Flashes. It has a 3.0-inch vari-angle LCD with 922,000 dots of resolution on back.