[CES 2012] Canon’s acclaimed G-Series is getting an new member with the PowerShot G1X, which is an addition, not a replacement, on top of the Canon G12. It the heart of its capabilities lies a new 1.5” image sensor 14 Megapixel, which has 6.3X more light sensing surface than the PowerShot G12 (!). The result should be noticeably better depth of field, color clarity, color gradients, and color separation. The PowerShot G1X is capable of capturing 1080p video (24FPS, with active auto-focus) and its ISO range stands at 100-12800, which is very good for this category.To gather light, the PowerShot G1X is equipped with a 28-112mm f2.8-f5.6 lens. As you can guess, the combination of the new sensor and a relatively low f-stop lens should provide very good low-light capabilities to this camera. At the end of the chain, a Digic 5 image processor takes care of the processing aspect.
On the back, there is a high-resolution (921000 pixels) articulated 3” LCD display, which is the same than the one found on the Canon T3i DSLR. At the top, you can find a full-size hot shoe that is compatible with the Canon EOS DSLR accessories.
Physically, the difference in size between the G1X and the G12 is fairly small (a bit taller and larger at 18.5mm (h) x 116.7mm (w) x 64.7 (d), 18.9oz), but Canon has added a visibly larger lens to accommodate the larger sensor. The integrated Flash of the G12 has been replaced with a manual pop-up Flash. The Exposure dial has been moved as well, along with the ISO controls which are now on the back of the camera.
Again, Canon does not intend to replace the G12, but sees the PowerShot G1X as a light companion the advanced photographer and for professionals who want a “pocketable” camera which has a sensor almost as big as an APS-C sensor featured on most of the Canon EOS DSLR line.
With the Digic 5 processor, the camera can use an updated multi-area auto white balance (AWB). A new Intelligent IS, a 4.5FPS burst mode (6 frames max in 14.3 megapixel and 14-bit raw mode) have been added as well.
Note that the Canon PowerShot G1X uses micro-SD cards, and that its battery is different from the G12 (in case you’re thinking of upgrading…) – it can capture about 250 shots with LCD ON+ Flash OFF, if you are curious. Interestingly, a 58mm lens filter can be added to the lens, which is great for protection.
Now, it’s not clear how well the PowerShot G1X would perform when compared to EOS DSLRs within the same price-range, but the value-proposition is completely different anyway. For my part, I regret that the EOS Canon Utility software won’t be supported, but that’s why it’s called “EOS” utility… The Canon PowerShot will be priced at $799 and should ship in February.