Canon has announced its most formidable fixed-lens point-and-shoot digital camera to date: the Canon PowerShot GX 1. With a monstrous (for a point-and-shoot) 14.3-megapixel 1.5-inch CMOS sensor, this chip represents the largest sensor ever stuffed inside a PowerShot model, and the largest sensor ever jammed into a fixed-lens point-and-shoot. The Nikon 1 J1 has a 1-inch size sensor, for crying out loud. Shazam! For years I had been begging Canon to stuff a larger sensor in its high-end PowerShots and they finally listened! The Nikon Coolpix P7100 should be quivering with fear right about now.
To put things in perspective, the new 1.5-inch Canon CMOS chip is almost as big as an APS-C sized sensor found in DSLRs like the Canon 60D and Nikon D7000. The G1 X’s new sensor is slightly larger than a Micro Four Thirds sensor and is just under the dimensions of Sigma’s Foveon X3 chip.
The PowerShot GX 1’s new monster sensor will soak up nine times more light than the previous 1/1.7-inch chip. In addition, Canon’s new 1.5-inch CMOS chip will increase depth-of-field dramatically and should boost lowlight sensitivity significantly. Canon has complimented the G1 X’s new sensor with Digic 5 processing and HS system technology, which adds backside illumination for increased sensitivity in darker conditions. The processor also helps the camera’s full resolution High-Speed Burst HQ capabilities.
With a top ISO of 12,800, and wide aperture range of f/2.8 – f/16, the G1 X is looking like a depth-of-field champion. The camera has a 4x optical zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle equivalent and has the ability to shoot in RAW and 1080p Full HD. The Canon PowerShot G1 X has an even more advanced Smart Auto mode which can now recognize up to 58 scenes, a boost from the previous 32-scene benchmark. The G1 X carries over its 3-inch vari-angle LCD screen, though the resolution has been boosted to 922,000 pixels.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X is slated for a $799.99 price tag, but the camera has set a new standard for the point-and-shoot market. Stay tuned for my hands-on video with the new Canon PowerShot G1 X!