Canon G7x Review: Good Enough for Advanced Photographers?

The short answer is: Yes it is.

After one and a half year intensive testing, I think every photographer should have a camera like this, a so-called professional compact camera.

Sure, it cannot compete with a Canon D1X and a 600mm F4 Lens at a safari in Africa, but I love this little cam more than my DSLR sometimes.

In this article, you can read a long time review of the Canon G7x.

It is not the newest model but the key features are the same as in the newer G7x Mark II.

It is not a classical review, where different things are compared and specs are discussed, and I cannot guarantee that it becomes a shameless ad for professional compact cameras.

The G7x is a few years old. In fact, it came out in September 2014.

I got mine on Christmas 2015 when it was a dinosaur and near to become extinct.

Nevertheless, I am still making great pictures with this camera.

One of my favorite picture, captured while hiking with the G7x – photo by Bastian Bodyl

Specifications

Now more in the classical review style some of the specs of the G7x:

  • 20 MP, 1 inch sensor (2.73 crop factor)
  • 8-36.8mm Lens (24-100mm equivalent)
  • 8 – 2.8 F-Numbers
  • 3 inch touch tilt screen
  • Dimensions 103 x 60 x 40 mm
  • 304g
  • SD Card Slot
  • ISO 125 to 12800
  • 12 bit CR2 RAW
  • Full HD 60/30 fps

There are also some other gimmicks like WIFI or NFC connectivity and some creative modes but I do not think this really matters.

As you may have notice this are not nearly the specs that you expect from a DSLR or a camera for an advance photographer.

This brings me to the next point, the cons.

The Canon G7x fits perfect in one hand – Photo by Bastian Bodyl

Cons

You can bring here the usual points when it comes to cameras with a small sensor.

The quality of the images is bad because the sensor is smaller and it has fewer megapixels than a DSLR. It has more pixels on a smaller sensor, the pictures are not as sharp as on a DSLR, and it cannot do 4k videos.

In addition, you are limited to with the lens and the F-Numbers are higher because of the smaller sensor.

There is also no viewfinder and you make noisy images at night.

After more than 1 ¾ years with this camera, I can say all these points do not really matter.

The only real minus I have found is the missing external mic input, but this is only interesting for vloggers.

In the next part, I am going to tell you why it does not matter.

Why the Cons Do Not Matter

As you may remember, this article is called “Canon G7x Review: Good Enough for Advanced Photographers?” and not “Does a compact camera make technical better pictures than a DSLR”.

It doesn't need to compete with a DSLR because the use is different.

This small camera can make great pictures in so many different situations.

Of course, it has fewer megapixels than a Canon 5D Mark IV but it has over 20 MP and that is enough to print it 30×40” if you want to.

Most of the time, you compress pictures to smaller sizes so the megapixels are not really relevant.

You can make really good pictures even at difficult conditions, like lower light or when you need faster shutter speed.

The lens is not changeable but it has a wide range and when you want to have a wider angle, you can make a panorama.

I also do not think 4k is very important because most people do not watch videos on a 4k monitor.

Two of three of this 24×24″ prints are taken with the G7x – Photo by Bastian Bodyl

Why I Love the G7x

When I was looking through my Lightroom catalog and searching for pictures for this article, I was surprised by how many good pictures I have taken with this camera.

Even some of my favorite and portfolio pictures are taken with it.

When I have guests at home and they look at the big prints on the wall, they always think I have taken them with my big DSLR.

But 75% of the photos are taken with this small camera and nobody recognizes it.

Was too lazy to bring the DSLR, hangs also printed big on my wall – photo by Bastian Bodyl

The main reason why I love the camera is because it is very compact (what a compact camera should be).

I can take it everywhere in my pocket and it is ready to shoot in a short time.

You can take in nearly every possible situation a picture.

Great situations appear often when you do not have your DSLR with you.

Now, you can say you have your smartphone in your pocket, but the quality of the smartphone pictures are not nearly as good as the ones from the G7x when you compare dynamic range or resolution, even if you shoot RAW on your smartphone.

The quality gap between a smartphone and a compact camera is much bigger than from the compact camera to a DSLR.

It is also good because the G7x can stand on its own and you do not need a tripod in every situation.

You have also the same control options as on your DSLR, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Could not bring the DSLR. Put the G7x on a handrail and made this nice long exposure – photo by Bastian Bodyl

My DSLR is also a Canon and it was really easy to switch to the small camera because the menu is similar to the DSLRs.

It is also possible to shoot a nice portrait without the fake computed bokeh effect.

Because of the range from 24-100 mm, it is a good second cam when you have a long or wide-angle lens on your DSLR.

The camera is also built very solid.

I dropped mine a few times and the display has a crack but it still works perfectly and you do not see anything in the image quality.

The G7x is also good for portraits – photo by Bastian Bodyl

The smaller camera gives me more freedom to try different things.

Maybe that is a problem that only I have but when I am out with my DSLR—I pressure myself to take good pictures that can me limit sometimes.

When I have my smaller G7x with me, I am freer and try creative things because I am not pressured to take beautiful photos all the time.

Because it is so light, you can also try better, different angles.

It is easier to hold down low or high above your head than a DSLR.

You can hold it with one hand and take selfies or hold on something with one hand while photographing with the other hand.

Also, I am less careful with the gear because it is less likely you're gonna lose it.

When you drop a DSLR in the water, you can easily lose over 2000 bucks.

Skating on a frozen lake, had to pack light – photo by Bastian Bodyl

Less Expensive and Lighter Gear

The camera itself is not really cheap. You can find several of the Canon G7x Mark II available on Amazon.

The price range is almost the same price you have to pay for a beginner Canon Rebel SL2 with an 18-55mm kit lens.

But I think it is a fair price for what you get: a fully equipped camera with a lens.

It becomes interesting when you want to buy additional gear like an underwater case or a tripod.

The underwater case for the G7x Mark II is also affordable. This gives you a waterproof camera up to 40m.

You can find also cheaper underwater cases but I do not know if I would trust them.

For the cheaper DSLR, it is hard to find an underwater housing and the prices are much higher than for the smaller compact cameras.

Also, other gear is also less expensive.

You do not have to buy a big solid tripod, because the camera is lighter than a DSLR.

Put the G7x in the underwater case and made this beautiful pic – photo by Bastian Bodyl

The gear is also lighter and smaller for compact cameras. This makes it easier to bring your gear to any location.

I sometimes bring my underwater case on longer hikes to take split pictures of mountain lakes or creeks.

The weight and the size are also good for traveling when you have to pack light and do not have big cabin luggage.

Took the G7x with the underwater case to fishing and made this pic – photo by Bastian Bodyl

Key Features

For me, these are the most important features of a camera. These make the G7x a very good camera in every situation.

The most important feature on the camera is the possibility to shoot in RAW.

I had a cheaper compact camera before which could only shoot JPG and this limited me so much in post-processing that I used it rarely.

The RAW format gives you so many more options in post-processing that I think it is the most important feature in every camera.

The second thing is the compact size (103 x 60 x 40 mm) and the light (304g) weight.

You can almost always put it in your pocket and bring it everywhere you cannot bring a big DSLR.

I bet every photographer has missed really good moments because he had no camera with him or could only make a smartphone pic.

I have the camera always in my pocket and, over the years, took some great pictures because the situation was just right.

The smaller size is also good when you do not want to attract attention.

When you are doing some street photography, you do not want to attract attention.

With a small camera, it is less obvious that you are photographing other people.

after work I found this fern in a beautiful light and had the G7x in the pocked – photo by Bastian Bodyl

The G7x has the shooting modes like a DSLR.

You can choose between aperture priority, shutter priority, manual and some creative modes, like on every beginner DSLR.

All settings can be controlled as on a DSLR.

In manual mode, it is possible to set all values (ISO, aperture and shutter speed).

It is also possible to set a general ISO limit, so you do not have to deal with too grainy pictures.

To change the aperture or the shutter speed, there is a wheel at the lens which makes it really easy to control everything.

Additionally, the tilt screen is a very valuable feature as it gives you more freedom to be creative.

You can easily go very low without lying on the ground and get dirty.

It is also good to get low over water, so you can capture reflections.

When I compared cameras, I was thinking the tilt screen is not so important but nice to have.

During the years I have used the tilt screen, I miss it on cameras where I do not have one. It is also nice for taking selfies.

Took this on a walk in the evening – photo by Bastian Bodyl

 

Bonus Features

These are some nice to have features but not essential. I use them from time to time but I could live without them.

The G7x and also the Mark II comes with a built-in 3-stop ND-Filter.

It is nice to have when you want to have longer exposure times but it is not very important.

I play with it from time to time but I do not use it regularly.

Because the camera is light, it is easy to hold it still even for longer exposure.

Internal ND Filter turned on and a 1/8s shutter is possible during the day – photo by Bastian Bodyl

The screen is a touchscreen, which is standard in newer cameras.

It is nice to have but, most of the time, I use the buttons on the camera.

The display is a bit small and the menu points are also too small that using them would be easy, but it is nice to set the focus points in live view.

Because the lens is fixed on the camera you will not collect dust on your sensor.

I will not say it is impossible to get some dust in the system but it is more unlikely.

This is good when you want to take pictures in a dusty environment where you do not want to bring your expansive DSLR. I bring my G7x regularly to the beach and never had problems.

What to Consider When Buying a Compact Camera?

Here are some features a compact camera for an advanced photographer should have and some things you should consider if you are thinking about buying one.

I recommend going to a store and playing a bit with different cameras and seeing what you like the most.

Sometimes, an older version of a camera is also an option; the changes are usually not very big.

RAWThe camera should make RAW images. It is, as I mentioned earlier, the most important things to have for an advanced photographer
Small and LightBuy something small and light. You already have a big heavy DSLR and you want something that you can always have with you.
ControlCheck if you can control the camera like a DSLR (ISO, aperture, shutter speed).
Additional GearIf you want to make special things like underwater photography, check if the gear is available before you buy the camera.
Same Brand as you main CameraWhen you have a big camera, you should look at a compact camera of the same brand. The use is similar to the bigger cameras.
Big ApertureYou are losing light because the sensor is smaller. So be sure that you choose a camera with a big aperture.

Most cameras have some other features but they do not really matter.

These are things like a viewfinder, 4k, a flash, a hot shoe, or connectivity with Bluetooth or W-Lan.

Do not look too much at these features because you most likely would not use them.

Also, do not care too much about the specs like megapixels or the zoom.

Similar Options

Here is a short list of actual compact cameras from different brands if you are interested.

Canon, Sony, and Panasonic are big in the game and it seems that Sony is in the first place at the moment.

Best Canon G7X Alternatives

Canon PowerShot Digital Camera [G7 X Mark II] with Wi-Fi & NFC, LCD Screen, and 1-inch Sensor – Black, 100 – 1066C001

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 MP Digital Still Camera with 3″ OLED, flip Screen, WiFi, and 1″ Sensor DSCRX100M5/B

PANASONIC LUMIX DC-ZS70K, 20.3 Megapixel, 4K Digital Camera, Touch Enabled 3-inch 180 Degree Flip-front Display, 30X LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR Lens, WiFi (Black)

From other brands like Nikon, Olympus or Fuji, I did not find something that would fit in this camera class.

Conclusion

The Canon G7x is a very good camera for every photographer no matter what skill level.

Every photographer should have a professional compact camera.

Smartphone cameras are nice and getting better, but are not on the level of image quality and control possibilities that an advanced photographer needs.

The image quality is good enough and the camera is small and light so you can bring it always with you.

By the way, nearly all the photos in this article were made with the G7x.

What is your opinion? Let me know in the comments!

5 thoughts on “Canon G7x Review: Good Enough for Advanced Photographers?”

  1. Love the review of older gear! I was hunting for a pocketable point and shoot to compliment my X-T2. I looked long and hard at the G7X but I ended up going with the Fuji XQ2 as it had all the features minus the flip screen, slightly less MP (12 X-Trans CMOS) but has huge plus of fuji film simulation and it’s remarkably easy to get for under $200. Worth adding to the list of competitor options.

  2. Bastian, thank you for the great review! I am looking for a compact camera to compliment my dslr. I need it for vlogging, street photography and travel. I still have old Canon 870 IS which was a great little camera 10 years ago and I took thousands pictures while traveling. But now I need somthing with higher quality, faster operation and effective image stabilization for video. The only drawback is lack of microphone connector, but no compact camera has it anyway. Your review just confirmed that g7x is the camera i need. Thank you!

  3. Excellent review brother, I love my G7x too and bring it with me for daily travel. The wifi capability for remote shoot also incredible.
    Your photos with the G7x are Great !!!????????????????

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