Sometimes you just need to use the camera and the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is one of those cameras for me. I like it. It’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket but still has a built-in viewfinder, excellent control layout, and flip-up touchscreen. It also supports 4K with no crop factor and it captures great images. If I’m really picky, I’d like a mic port and it would be great if it was weatherproof. But even without those points, I think it’s a great little camera.
- Sensor Type 1-inch Stacked CMOS
- Pixel count 20.1Mp
- Lens f/1.8 – f/2.8 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
- 3-inch 1,040,000-dot tilting touchscreen
- 0.39-inch 2,360,000-dot type OLED viewfinder
- AiAF AF system (31 points, Face Detection or Touch AF with Subject and Face Selection and tracking), 1-point AF (any position or fixed center)
- Shutter Speed 30-1/25,600 sec, Bulb
- Sensitivity 125-12,800 expandable to ISO 25,600
- Exposure Modes Auto, P, A, S, M, Auto Mix, Scene, Creative Filters
- Metering options Rating (linked to Face Detection), Center Weighted Average, Score
- Flash Modes Auto, Manual Flash On/Off, Slow Sync
- Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
- SD, SDHC, SDXC storage (UHS-1 compatible)
- Weight 340g with battery and memory card
- Dimensions 110.9 x 60.9 x 46mm
We’re still hearing that compact camera sales are falling, but it seems there are still a few models that are popular enough to make worthwhile new releases. According to Canon UK-based David Parry, the Canon PowerShot G5 X has been very popular among Canon DSLR users looking for a smaller camera. The new Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II fits the bill even better as it doesn’t have the lump at the top where the camera originally had an electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Instead, it has a pop-up EVF. This is the same 0.39, 2,360,000-dot type OLED EVF as in the PowerShot G5 X, however, it’s in the body. You just turn it on and drag the back element back when you want to use it.
In another key change, the PowerShot G5 X II features an 8.8-44mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. That equates to 24-120mm on a full-frame camera. The extra 20mm of reach at the telephoto end gives a bit more scope for framing tight subjects. It can be a popular choice for portraiture, especially with its maximum aperture of f/2.8 at its longest focal length. That allows for background blur.
Helpfully, the lens is also stabilized and allows shutter speed compensation up to 4 stops.
There’s also a built-in ND filter to reduce exposure by 3Ev as needed.
Canon has equipped the PowerShot G5 X II with a 1-inch type stacked CMOS sensor with 20.1 million effective pixels like the PowerShot G7 X Mark III released at the same time. This is Canon’s first use of a stacked sensor design, and combined with the Canon Digic 8 processor, it enables impressively fast shooting speeds.
As a result, the PowerShot G5 X II can shoot at up to 30fps (fps) in RAW Burst Mode for up to 70 shots. Additionally, it can shoot at 20fps for up to 89 C-RAW images, 55 Raw images, or 118 frames in Jpeg format.
If you want to shoot with continuous AF, the maximum speed drops to 8 fps for up to 320 Jpeg.
Additionally, the camera can record 4K videos without cropping. Rub! That means the angle of view doesn’t change when you switch from stills to video or from Full-HD to 4K video.
Construction and handling
The loss of the SLR-style viewfinder protrusion makes the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II look less Soviet than the original model. And at 110.9 x 60.9 x 46mm instead of 112.4 x 76.4 x 44.2mm, it’s smaller. It is more pocket-friendly.
The rubberized grip on the front of the camera and the thumb groove on the back help you hold the camera quite securely. And, so solid.
At the top, there is a mode dial with a few automatic settings as well as PASM options favored by the enthusiast target market.
Below this wheel, there is an exposure compensation wheel so you can quickly control the look of your image.
Additionally, there is a control ring around the lens for adjusting key settings.
The controls on the back of the camera are pretty standard. There are the usual shortcuts along with buttons to give direct access to the main menu and the quick menu.
Monitor and viewfinder
Canon also makes good use of the touch controls available on the 3-inch 1,040,000-dot display. That means you can navigate quickly through the settings and make the selections you want with ease.
The screen can also tilt up 180 degrees. That’s good news for selfie buffs or anyone who enjoys taking pictures from above or below head height.
Additionally, since the lens’ widest effective focal length is 24mm, you can feasibly take selfies or vlogs with the camera at arm’s length.
Like the monitor, the viewfinder displays a good level of detail. At 0.39 inches, the viewfinder screen isn’t the biggest, but it’s the right size for a compact camera. It seems a bit complicated that you have to pull the rear element out and then push it back before putting the EVF back down, but I would accept having a larger camera.
Honestly, I expected the pop-up and pull-out process to bother me more than it does. The mechanism also feels reasonably solid.
The Canon PowerShot G5 X II impressed me from the start. Firstly, the autofocus system is very fast, even in rather gloomy conditions. That’s great news if you’re looking for a pocketable camera to take everywhere.
I have no complaints about the colors from the PowerShot G5 X II. The auto white balance setting is a good starting point for most cases, but I generally prefer the warmer results produced by the Daylight setting – especially in shaded conditions. I tend to avoid the shade setting because I think it makes the image look a bit too warm.
Canon’s Picture Styles are available to adjust colors to suit the shooting situation. I tend to rely on Standard or Faithful, but the Monochrome setting is useful when I want to take black and white photos. However, I found that the contrast needed a little boost in Monochrome mode.
Of course, since the PowerShot G5 X II is capable of capturing raw files, you can adjust the colors to get the color you want. But it’s nice to have Jpeg up close, especially if you transfer your images to your phone for social sharing etc.
I only used the PowerShot G5X II in evaluation metering mode and it performed very well with exposure in most situations. There were a few times when I used the exposure compensation wheel to darken highlights a bit, but that was completely predictable.
With Exposure Simulation activated in the menu, the viewfinder and monitor provide an accurate preview of the exposure of the image. This means you can use your eye’s proof to get the exposure you want.
There is a lot of detail in my photos from the camera. Helpfully, the recent update to Adobe Camera Raw means I can now process raw files and compare them to Jpeg. At low ISO settings, both file types have fine detail.
Noise is also well controlled. Even the results at ISO 12,800 are quite good although you may need to limit the print size to 7×5 inches or similar. I also recommend capturing raw files so you can apply noise reduction separately. Some fine details can be blurred in Jpeg.
I’ll try to use ISO 3,200 to the max. That seems to offer the best compromise between noise, noise reduction, and detail. The result looks beautiful and natural. However, beyond that leading to visible grain, I wouldn’t worry about using ISO 6,400 if the conditions required it.
4K video from the Canon PowerShot G5 X II is great for stills. However, the dynamic range feels a bit limited at times. Also, on a sunny day at the height of summer, the built-in ND filter isn’t enough to keep the shutter speed down to twice the frame rate.
Since there is no mic port, you must answer on the built-in microphone or use a dedicated recorder. The onboard mic captures a bit of squeaking so an external recorder is the best option, or you can overlay music while editing.
Canon has made some interesting upgrades with the PowerShot G5 X II. The pop-up EVF is a great improvement, while video recording upscaling to 4K is long overdue.
I like the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, but the PowerShot G5 X Mark II is my favorite of the two. It’s a beautiful, reliable camera for photography enthusiasts. Image quality is also excellent up to around ISO 3,200, with good levels of detail and pleasing colors.
I just wish that Canon also gave it a mic port to allow for better audio recording. And can make it weather resistant.
Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II Photo Gallery