Sunday, February 15, 2015

Canon G7 X long term review.

Update:  I had had banged up the lens retractor from daily use at work and home, and from not using a hard case on my belt. I sent it into Canon customer service repair and since it was under warranty they sent me a new reconditioned camera with charger, and battery! I love Canon customer service!

Summary: I've carried it daily on my belt for 11 months and used it at work, and home, to blog phots and videos. I'm still in love with the G7 X. Sure, it could be faster, and I wish the mics were on the front for better audio and not clogging. But it's the largest camera I'm able really carry everywhere, and so far, the best resolution and usability for me! I tried the Sony RX100 I, II, III and also loved them, great cameras... But personally I like Canon's heavier metal construction on the G7 X, Canon's UI that I'm used to, and Canon's customer service for repairs and warranty support.

Pros (for me): Canon G7 X

  • Great heavy feel and construction
  • Resolution and low light shots on Auto rock
  • Manual control is great. Dedicated exposure dial, making for three manual dials in all. 
  • Video is amazing, really. 
  • 24mm-100mm lens. I need the wide angle.
  • Flip to selfie touch screen view finder, with heaftier hinge then Sony because it only goes one way. Have to flip camera to get over crowd shots, but can flip images in post.

Cons (for me): Canon G7 X

  • Top mounted mics
  • Slow sometimes. But with a fast SD card, fine for my usage.
  • Battery life
  • External battery charger, easy to loose
  • Touch screen doesn't flip down for taking over the head shots like on the Sony.
  • Video button could be more recessed.  
  • Wireless to laptop could be way better, easier and simple to set up. Wish it didn't use proprietary software to do it at all.  
  • I'd like to be able to upload directly to YouTube, etc. if in a wireless zone.

My wife has had to get used to the fact that I always look like I have some sort of malignant growth on my right hip. It's actually just a camera case on my belt. I have it if I'm awake, and sometimes even if I'm asleep.
My "growth" as my wife calls it.

Since I always have a camera, I use it a lot. Or perhaps it's the reverse, anyway, I need a new camera every year or two. Recently, I've been neurotically trying to pick which camera to buy next.

I have a lot of good justification to get one, really. My Canon S110 is banged up, and not that great anymore (video still rocks). My second child is about to be born. I am closing in on being 50 years old (49 Feb. 16th). My desire to blog has reached a boiling point that seems to be finally pushing me past just talking about blogging a lot. My grandmother Rhoda taught me to invest in three things in life: Education, your own house, and the tools of your trade. She also liked to travel, by blue chips, and drink 1.5 oz (never more) of good Vodka every night before dinner (never after), but that's another post. I teach Web media production and do instructional design work at Marlboro College, so work demands a good camera. They have an SLR, but it's huge and not on my belt. I have naturally documented since my first Instamatic 110 camera and Mac computer.

So, it's time to shop! Often the first step in any good project, be it the hardware store or Amazon.

I have waited to get a 1" sensor, 20MP, point and shoot since Sony released the famed RX100 in early 2012. The New York Times said this camera was the best point and shoot ever made. It is an SLR sensor on your belt for sure!

I am terribly difficult to give gifts too, so asked my wife and family to all focus on birthday funds for on an RX100. I then spent weeks in my spare time researching the next two iterations of the camera - the RX100 II and RX100 III. The RX100 II has a 28mm to 100mm lens, flipable view screen, hot shoe, and wifi. The RX100 III went back to a 24mm lens, but only to 70mm, with a fully flipable view screen and a real view finder, wifi, etc.

At the last minute I returned the RX100 and got a RX100 II (DP review). I just used it for two days. It was amazing with both photos and video. Ironically, my brother David was visiting from China after being away for two years, and he had an RX100 III, but he needs the latest and greatest, and can afford it with a good job and being single still. I tried it at my birthday party. The old fashioned view finder was cool, but hard to use for the new reading-classes me. Otherwise, the flip to selfie view screen rocked. I felt one-upped, but I couldn't justify the extra cost for the III.

But I soldered on and took my RX100 II out for a few spins.

Here's some video. And some photos below. This is by far the best point and shoot I've every used.

I did notice the 28mm lens was harder to frame up for selfie type video blogging then my current 24mm lens. And the controls are hard to get used to since it's a different brand.

Then I started re-researching Canon's very late response to these Sony powerhouse RX's - The G7 X (DP review). It's a first generation, always dangerous, but it has some things I'm into. The view finder flips all the way over for selfies like the III, there's a touch screen, and the lens is 24mm to 100mm. And it's the same cost as the RX100 II.

I just ordered a G7 X and returned the RX100 II. 

I have been carrying a Canon Powershot point and shoot camera on my belt most every day, since the early 2000s. These first Powershots were awesome little cameras, metal at first, with real view finders. They would take excellent photos for use on the Web and you could carry them everywhere. I had SLRs in the film days, but they were too big for me to really use. I'm the type of photography that needs a camera that I can carry every day, all day. I buy a camera very couple of years since I use them so actively. I moved to the Canon Powershot "S" series and thought they rocked, and they did. Nice manual dial and metal body, but small. I've occasionally tried Panasonic Luminx, Sony Cymbershots, etc. Great cameras all, each with their strong points.

But I usually end up with staying with Canon since I know the controls and workflow.

We'll see if this remains true. I'll update this blog with my tests of the G7 X.

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