VERY Initial impressions of the G7X

Discussion in 'Canon' started by swandy, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. swandy

    swandy Regular

    Nov 16, 2013
    OK, let me start off by saying that I have not used a Canon camera (P&S or otherwise) aside from occasionally on vacation (my wife's 5 year old SD960 and that was very infrequently) for quite a while. Had several P&S and more advanced cameras years ago (never a DSLR) but ended up switching to Olympus.

    And my reason for the G7X was I wanted something smaller to just carry around when going out for walks, dinners, parties etc. (Though my "large" camera is the Olympus EM10 which especially with a small prime is not exactly LARGE either. LOL) And I felt that the G7X would be a nice replacement for those times than my Olympus Stylus 1, which to be honest is not much smaller than the EM10.

    Now to the G7X. Initial impressions - from a shooting point of view and looking at some of my early shots - are VERY good. Obviously there are certain things that I have to get used to - especially being so used to the way the various Olympus cameras work - but that will not take away from initial impressions.

    The camera is very responsive as far as startup and shot to shot. In good light the AF is very quick for a P&S camera. In dimmer light it does slow down but that is to be expected at least as far as MY expectations. What surprised me is how often - mostly again in normal room lighting, but not what I would consider dark) was how often I got that little yellow box/? which I assume (I am not big on reading manuals) means the camera could not get AF lock. Now - since I am still very early in my G7X time - it could be that I was trying to focus outside the range for the lens. But I don't think so as I was able to do a manual focus with the same focal length. One example was taking a picture of my grandson in about 3/4 profile from about 2-3 feet away. The camera had a lot of difficulty focusing on the eye that was towards me (using single and small AF point) but when I shifted the AF point to his ear (so not much difference in lighting or distance) it did AF. I even got the dreaded Yellow Box outside in very good light today - but that only happened when I was trying to get some pictures of leaves and perhaps did not know the AF distance for the different settings.

    Aside from the AF quirks (won't call them problems/issues till I have more of a chance to RTFM and play with the camera more), I was very impressed. The dynamic range for a small camera (albeit with a larger sensor) was very good, even shooting JPEGs. Did a lot of playing with the various artsy settings - I liked the Art Filters on the Olympus cameras also BTW - and had a lot of fun.

    The control layout is pretty nice for a small camera - a bit surprised at how hard it is to move the EV wheel, though I guess that is intentional so that it does not get turned accidentally. And getting used to reaching over the control wheels/mode dial to reach to much smaller shutter button. Do miss the fact that the LCD does not tilt downward, but I guess that was a design decision because it probably would have made the camera larger and thicker (like my older Olympus XZ-2).

    Only "issues" so far are that apparently (unless I am missing something) is you cannot easily set Face Detection without going into the menus. My preferred setting for the various Olympus cameras was to have the single center AF point on all the time and also Face Detection, which would override the center AF point if it detected a face. But from what I see on the G7X is you can either choose a single AF point or the Face AiAF, which then allows the camera to choose whatever AF point it wants when there is no face detected.

    Also, I assume that there have not been any firmware updates yet for the camera, but not having a USB cable to connect to a computer I felt was pretty chinsy on the part of Canon for a $700 camera. Yes I know I can (EVENTUALLY) connect the camera via wifi to my iMac - but have not been able to get that to work yet.

    Oh well, here are some quick and dirty pics from my first outing. As I said - very impressed so far with what I have seen from the camera.

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  2. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Nice images, swandy. It's interesting... your description of the G7X's autofocus performance seems to fall in the middle between those who say it's fine and those who slam it as outright and unacceptably slow. I look forward to your eventual conclusions.
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I'm actually sort of relieved that an actual USER seems to be having some of the issues that a few reviewers (Camera Store, DPR, Cnet) have talked about. Until Steve's review, pretty much every user I'd heard from indicated the AF had been fine for them. It's certainly been fine for me. I can get the yellow square when I try to focus on an area of little to no contrast, but that's pretty much true of any camera I've used. I haven't had any problem focussing on faces or other objects at the distances discussed above. But I'm glad it's not ONLY the review sites now. I'd begun to think there were nefarious forces at work, but now I think there must be SOMEthing to it - I'm just not sure exactly what...

    Glad you like the camera generally Steve. Your findings are very similar to my own except for the AF issues you had. I'll be interested as you work through those and figure out for sure if it's an isolated thing or if more people will start having the same experiences...

  4. tennjed

    tennjed Regular

    May 25, 2013
    I could not resist, I did have to try one and decided to buy.

    On the fist day with the thing I noticed that-out of the blue- I was having some difficulty getting the camera to focus. Even in fairly bright light. The problem seemed to come out of nowhere as it was focusing well after initial setup. The problem, as it turned out, was related to the fact that I had inadvertently put the camera in macro mode while fooling around with the menus. Being over 50, this is not the first time I have inadvertently used a compact camera in macro mode without intending to. It is the first time I have found the camera simply would not focus at non macro distances when in macro mode.

    Since this initial problem, totally of my own creation, I have tried the thing in very dark areas, e.g. focusing on things under my desk at work, and found that it never fails to focus. It will hunt a bit in the dark, but always focuses.
  5. swandy

    swandy Regular

    Nov 16, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. And Ray, I don't know if I am happy or concerned about agreeing with CNET - never thought their reviews did a proper job of testing cameras. DPR on the other hand generally know how to use a camera.
    As I said, very happy so far with the camera. And until I do some more "testing" - perhaps even reading the manual, won't know if it is my attempting to focus outside the AF range of the camera (perhaps too close for the non-Macro mode) or not. Certainly not the same easy explanation as Tennjed's mistakenly having the camera set to Macro, but it might just be something as simple/plain as not knowing the camera's close focusing distance limitations.

    A question for TennJed - when you said you had no problems focusing under your desk, did you have the AF Illuminator light turned ON? I generally hate those things - pretty annoying for me and certainly for the person you are trying to shoot - and prefer to leave it turned OFF. Thanks.
  6. tennjed

    tennjed Regular

    May 25, 2013
    I tried it both ways. With the AF beam, it would not even hunt, it just locked on focus as normal. Without the beam, it would hunt a bit. In fairness, it is not pitch black under the desk; but it is pretty dim. Certainly darker than you would encounter in a lit room or before sundown outdoors. This morning, after reading your question, I made sure the beam was off and tried to focus on my black tripod, which is about five feet away in a very dark corner of the room. The G7X would not focus on the tripod. However, the Panasonic GX7 with 25, 1.4, the Panasonic GX1 with 14, 2.5, and the Nikon A will focus on it.

    Now I've waited 10 minutes; the room is slightly brighter, and the G7X will focus on the tripod. I guess the bottom line is that the G7X (at least mine,) while not as good as some cameras at focusing in the dark, is certainly not bad.
  7. swandy

    swandy Regular

    Nov 16, 2013
    Thanks Tennjed for the reply. I agree that when the AF Illuminator Light is turned on the G7X is very quick to obtain AF Lock. I just hate those lights - very annoying and distracting. The following shot is an example of the lighting where the G7X several times gave me a Yellow Box. This one came out pretty good but it is an example of the lighting where the camera could not obtain AF Lock when attempting to AF on Elliot's right eye. I certainly would not consider this "low lighting" where any decent camera could not obtain focus lock.

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