Caffeine Priority: The Canon G5X delivers great performance (and has a viewfinder!)
In many ways, the Canon PowerShot G5X is similar to the G7X. The sensor and the lens are the same, but the camera body itself is very different. Although slightly bigger than the G7X, the G5X includes a built-in 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder above the center of the lens. There’s also a small grip on the front of the camera.

The built-in 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent lens works very well. Due to the 20.2-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor being 1” (13.2mm X 8.8mm), the actual focal length of the lens is only 8.8-36.8mm and it is able to remain very compact when the camera is powered off. With the built-in viewfinder, the camera is not quite as easy to pocket as other compact cameras, so there’s the trade off.

The camera body itself feels good to use. There’s a front command dial, an exposure compensation dial on top, and a good amount of buttons scattered around the small camera body. Canon did not put a function button in the center of the command dial, which I would have preferred.

As you can see, the center of the front dial could have been a good place to put a function button.

With the touchscreen capabilities of the 3” rear display, choosing one of the 31 contrast detect AF points is as easy as tapping the subject on the display. By tapping on your subject, the G5X also attempts to maintain focus as you recompose the image.

Image has been resized. 24mm equivalent, f/4.5, 1/640s, ISO 125, -2/3 exposure compensation

Metering performance is impressive with the G5X. It has evaluative, center-weighted average, spot (linked with autofocus), and face detect AE metering options, all of which work well. When exposure compensation is needed, the exposure compensation dial on the top deck of the camera is very easy to reach with your thumb. This dial does rotate very easily however, and I found myself accidentally rotating it on a few occasions until I got used to it.

Despite being a relatively small 1”-type sensor, the G5X’s high ISO performance is impressive. The native ISO range of 125-12800 is robust, although naturally the higher end of the ISO range is very noisy. The G5X can obtain good-quality images even above ISO 1600, which is quite a feat on a sensor of this size, so the G5X earns high marks there.

Image has been modified. 24mm equivalent, f/8, 1/25s, ISO 6400

For more information about the Canon G5X, check out an overview of the camera by Mike Tomkins. Look for my full field test of the G5X in the coming weeks which will have much more discussion about the camera’s performance and its many features.