Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
Photographers who require a truly pocketable, take everywhere camera will find the G7 X III can certainly fill the bill.
Its sensor is just large enough to deliver decent image quality and Canon’s 14-bit CR3.RAW format provides enough data to enable users to produce nice-looking A3 prints from these files.
Features include the provision of neutral density (ND) filters and a friendly user interface, although it lacks a built-in EVF.
Announced concurrently with the PowerShot G5 X Mark II back in July 2019, the PowerShot G7 X III is a third-generation model in the popular, pocketable digicam line. Equipped with the same 20-megapixel, 13.2 x 8.8 mm Stacked CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 processor as the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II it also uses the same NB-13L rechargeable battery. Most of the same functions as the G5 X II are replicated in the G7 X III and it has the same tilting monitor – but, unfortunately, no viewfinder of any kind. This largely explains its smaller physical size and lower price tag.
Angled view of the PowerShot G7 X Mark III. (Source: Canon.)
Other features common to the G7 X III and G5 X Mark II include the electronic shutter, which underpins a new 30 fps RAW burst mode and the ability to recharge the battery via the USB Type-C port (but only via a USB PD source). Since battery capacity is limited, most users will probably buy a second battery, which can be recharged via the supplied battery charger.
The G7 X III stands out because of its ability to live stream video on YouTube straight from the camera, although only at Full HD 1080p resolution. It requires an internet connection, either via Wi-Fi or through a Bluetooth-connected smart device and you have to use the Canon iMAGE GATEWAY. You’re also required to implement the required streaming settings on the YouTube site.
The downloadable user’s guide provides detailed instructions on how to go use this function. Your footage won’t be recorded to the memory card, although you must have a card in the camera. Images will be streamed at 6Mbps in FHD 25p resolution but you can’t stream vertical clips.
Audio quality is normally reduced while streaming so you might need an external mic, although you’ll need some way to keep it in place away from the camera while you’re streaming. In addition, you can’t control the camera from a smart device so you might be wise to invest in the optional BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote Control (around AU$60 from Canon’s online store), which must be connected with the camera before you start streaming.
Who’s it For?
Canon is targeting this camera primarily at vloggers but it could also appeal to snapshooters looking for a genuinely pocketable camera for travel or ‘take anywhere’ shooting. While the 1-inch type sensor is relatively small (13.2 x 8.8 mm) its resolution is modest enough to produce decent images in the situations where most people would use it, including while travelling.
The lens isn’t quite long enough to be used for sports or wildlife photography but it covers a desirable range for everyday snapshooting and the digital zoom function delivers quite acceptable image quality. The camera also includes a ‘macro’ setting that focuses to within 5 cm of subjects.
An improved user interface and Creative Assist functions for both video and still shooting make it relatively easy to use, particularly for anyone familiar with Canon’s menu system. Support for raw file capture – using the 14-bit CR3.RAW format plus a compressed C-RAW setting – and 4K 25p video recording should make it more appealing to photo enthusiasts and there’s now a microphone input (although nowhere to attach an accessory mic). But recordings are limited to 10 minutes maximum.
Aside from that, most of the shooting modes are the same as in the G5 X II and the 31-point contrast-based TTL autofocusing system is also identical. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are also the same as in the G5 X II but with the extend capability of direct YouTube streaming from the camera.
Build and Ergonomics
Few changes have been made to the camera body, which retains the ‘bar of soap’ shape of its predecessors. The front panel is dominated by the lens, which has a built-in protective cover that works a bit like a shutter mechanism, opening when the camera is powered-up and closing when it’s switched off.
Front view of the PowerShot G7 X III. (Source: Canon.)
There’s also a small grip moulding on the front panel that provides a nice balance to the thumb rest on the rear. Most of the front panel is clad with a rubber-like substance that helps to make the camera comfortable to hold and operate. A small LED is tucked in beside the upper rim of the lens where it doubles as an AF-Assist lamp and self-timer indicator.
The lens is the same 8.8 to 36.8mm, f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens as its predecessor and covering the equivalent of 24-100mm in 35mm for shooting stills. The lens ring can be programmed to control one of a number of functions. Interestingly, the option to de-click it has been removed, which could present problems if adjustments are made during movie recordings.
The top panel of the PowerShot G7 X III with the lens extended. (Source: Canon.)
Nothing much has changed on the top panel, which still boasts a ‘proper’ mode dial that sits atop the exposure compensation adjustments dial. The combined shutter button and zoom lever is located to the front of the camera with the power on/off button behind it.
The pop-up flash is embedded in the camera body and raised with a lever on the left side panel. The flash is the same relatively low-power unit as the previous model’s, with a maximum range of about 7.5 metres.
The rear panel of the PowerShot G7 X III showing the main menu display. (Source: Canon.)
The rear panel is largely unchanged and dominated by a 3-inch touchscreen panel with 1,040,000 dots. It can be flipped up 180 degrees for selfies and vlogging or down 45 degrees for shooting with the camera held above the head. Most functions can be accessed and adjusted by touch, either via the Quick or main menus, both of which are standard Canon designs.
Front view of the PowerShot G7 X III with the monitor flipped up into ‘selfie’ mode. (Source: Canon.)
The USB and HDMI ports are located in the right side panel just behind the strap eyelet. A single drop-down port cover hinges on a rubber strip. Below it is the Wi-Fi button, which is used to establish connections with similarly-enabled devices like smartphones, printers and computers.
On the left side panel are the flash pop-up lever and the microphone port, the latter with a rubber-hinged cover. The battery and memory card share a compartment in the base of the camera, alongside the metal-lined tripod socket, which is not in line with the lens axis.
Connectivity and Playback
Aside from the USB and HDMI ports and the microphone jack, the G7 X III comes with built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11b/g/n) and low-energy Bluetooth for connecting the camera to a smart device. GPS data logging is supported via a compatible smartphone.
Otherwise, playback settings are the standard Canon fare and identical to the function provided by the G5 X Mark II. The free Digital Photo Professional software for converting raw files into editable formats must be downloaded via a link in the printed basic instructions and users can also access Canon’s Picture Style Editor and registration tool and Image Transfer Utility 2 software via this link. Raw files from the G7 X III can also be converted in Version 11.4 or later of Adobe Camera Raw.)
Subjective assessment of still images showed them to be similar to those from the G5 X Mark II, which is not surprising since both cameras use the same sensor and processor and have many of the same shooting functions. We were particularly impressed with the close-ups we took with the widest available aperture settings, which showed attractive bokeh plus remarkably shallow depths of field for the relatively small sensor in the camera.
Shots taken in bright outdoor lighting contained rich colours and the camera’s metering but had a tendency for shadows to block up, although highlights were generally recorded with adequate detail. Our Imatest tests showed JPEGs from the review camera were capable of exceeding expectations for the 20-megapixel, although only near the centre of the frame.
However, edge softening was a common problem with both JPEGs and raw files, as shown in the graph of our test results above. Softening was most problematic at wider angles of view, with the best performance occurring roughly three quarters along the zoom range (at 20mm) with an aperture of f/4.
Resolution declined gradually from about ISO 400 on as sensitivity was increased. Visible sharpness began to decline from about ISO 6400 on, leading to a noticeable softening at the two highest sensitivity settings. The graph below plots the results of our tests across the review camera’s sensitivity range.
Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible at all lens apertures and focal length settings, because it’s automatically corrected in-camera. But even with uncorrected raw files, it remained relatively low. The graph below shows the results of our tests, with the red line indicating the boundary between negligible and low CA.
Backlit scenes were usually handled very well and we found no evidence of coloured fringing in test shots. Nor did we see signs of veiling flare or flare artefacts.
The default auto white balance setting delivered similar results to the G5 X II, with close-to-neutral colours under fluorescent lighting and with the camera’s built-in flash but insufficient correction with incandescent and warm-toned LED lighting. The white priority setting went most of the way towards correcting warm biases.
No preset is provided for LED lighting but the tungsten and fluorescent pre-sets tended towards slight over-correction. No adjustments appeared to have been made with the flash pre-set. Manual measurement produced neutral colours under all four types of lighting.
Long exposures at night were mostly clear and sharp, as you would expect from the ISO 3200 limit placed upon exposures longer than one second. Noise became visible in shots taken at ISO 6400 along with slight image softening.
Flash performance was slightly better than we found with the G5 X II with a little less under-exposure at the two lowest ISO settings, probably as a result of the shorter zoom range. Exposures were consistent remained from ISO 800 on and the highest settings were not over-exposed.However, shots taken with the two highest ISO settings showed visible softening although they retained most of the contrast and colour saturation in images from lower ISO settings.
Not surprisingly, video clips recorded with the review camera were similar to those obtained from the G5 X Mark II but, interestingly, we had no problems using the camera in temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius when recording 4K clips. Clips were slightly contrasty but colours were nice and bright while appearing natural.
As with the G5 X Mark II, autofocusing locked quite quickly onto the main subject at the beginning of a clip but we found slight delays in re-focusing on moving subjects and when the camera was panned across a scene. Soundtracks were of average quality but without much stereo presence.
For our timing tests we used the same 64GB Panasonic SDXC UHS-1 U3 memory card as we’d used for the G5 X Mark II, which claims write transfer speeds of 90-95MB/second. The review camera powered up ready for shooting in around 1.3 seconds and took a similar amount of time to retract the lens and shut down.
With the lens at medium zoom we measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds, which was eliminated with pre-focusing. It took 0.3 seconds to process each high-resolution JPEG and 0.5 seconds for each RAW+JPEG pair. Shot-to-shot times were the same as the G5 X Mark II’s and averaged 0.4 seconds without flash and 4.4 seconds with.
In the normal high-speed continuous shooting mode, the camera recorded 102 Large/Superfine JPEG frames in 5.7 seconds before the first brief pause, which equates to just under 20 fps. It took 16.3 seconds to complete the processing of this burst. A low-speed continuous shooting mode is also available, which records at three frames/second and processes shots on-the-fly.
With RAW+JPEG pairs, the camera recorded 54 frames in 3.0 seconds before capture rates slowed, giving an average frame rate of 20 fps, which is in line with specifications. Processing this burst took just under 21 seconds.
In the special RAW burst mode, the review camera recorded 36 frames in 1.1 seconds before stalling. This equates to just under 30 fps, which matches specifications. Processing took a little less than 9.8 seconds.
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Image sensor: 13.2 x 8.8 mm Stacked CMOS sensor with 20.9 million photosites (20.1 megapixels effective)
Image processor: DIGIC 8
A/D processing: 14-bit (CR3.RAW images are A/D converted into 12-bit format)
Lens: 8.8 – 36.8mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens (24-100mm equivalent in 35mm format)
Zoom ratio: Optical 4.2x
Aspect ratios: 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1
Image formats: Stills – JPEG (DCF / Exif 2.31), CR3.RAW, C-RAW (compressed) RAW+JPEG; Movies – MPEG-4 AVC/H.S64 with AAC-LC stereo audio
Image Sizes: Stills in native 3:2 aspect- 5472 x 3648, 3648 x 2432, 2736 x 1824, 2400 x 1600; Movies – (4K) 3840 x 2160 at 25 fps/120Mbps, (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 at 100 fps, 120Mbps, 50 fps/60Mbps or 25 fps/30Mbps, (HD) 1280 x 720 at 50 fps/26Mbps
Shutter speed range: 30 to 1/25600 seconds (varies with shooting mode) plus Bulb
Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus custom & remote shooting
Image Stabilisation: Lens-shift type, approx. 4-stops of Intelligent IS with 5-axis Dynamic IS; Dual Sensing IS and Horizontal level correction for movies
Exposure Compensation: +/-3EV (in 1/3 EV steps), Auto Lighting Optimiser
Bracketing: AEB – 1/3 to 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments, focus bracketing,
Focus system/range: TTL AiAF with Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE, Touch AF and manual modes; range: 5 cm (at 8.8mm) or 40 cm (at 36.8mm) to infinity
Focus area selection: 31-point, Face Detection or Touch AF with Object and Face Select and Track, 1-point AF (any position is available or fixed centre)
Exposure metering/control: Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre weighted average, Spot Metering
Shooting modes: Auto, Program AE, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual, Custom, Movie, Creative Filters, Scene, Hybrid Auto
Scene presets: Self Portrait, Portrait, Panning, Star Portrait, Star Nightscape, Star Trails, Star Time-Lapse Movie, Handheld Night Scene, High Dynamic Range, Fireworks, Standard Movie, Short Clip, Manual Movie, Time-Lapse Movie, iFrame Movie
Picture Styles: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Def,1,2 & 3.
Creative Filters (Post-processing): Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye effect, Art bold effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect, Resize, Cropping, Red Eye correction.
Colour space: sRGB
ISO range: Auto (ISO 100-102400), ISO 100-25600 selectable in 1/3 EV steps; Expansion to ISO 50 and ISO 102400 available
White balance: TTL Auto (Ambience and white priority), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fluorescent light, Flash, Custom; WB adjustments: G to M (+/- 9 levels), A to B (+/- 9 levels)
Flash: Manual pop-up flash
Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync, First and second curtain sync; red-eye reduction is available; 50 cm to 7.5 m (W) / 40 cm to 5.0 m (T)
Sequence shooting: Max. 20 frames/second
Buffer memory depth (based on tests): JPEGs, raw files, RAW+JPEG
Storage Media: Single slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (UHS-1 compatible)
LCD monitor: 3-inch tilting (upwards 180˚, downwards 45˚) LCD with capacitative touchscreen, 3:2 aspect ratio, approx. 1,040,000 dots; approx. 100% frame coverage
Interface terminals/communications: USB (in-camera charging via USB cable using USB Power Adapter PD-E1); HDMI (Type-D), Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11b/g/n), (2.4 GHz only), Bluetooth low energy
Power supply: NB-13L rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 235 shots/charge (approx. 320 shots/charge in Eco mode)
Dimensions (wxhxd): 105.5 x 60.9 x 41.4 mm
Weight: 304 grams (including battery and memory card)
Distributor: Canon Australia; 1800 021 167; www.canon.com.au.
Based on Large/Superfine JPEGs.
Based on CR2.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting; normal setting.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting; white priority setting.
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting; normal setting.
Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting; white priority setting.
Auto white balance with flash lighting.
ISO 125, 30-second exposure at f/3.2; 21mm focal length.
ISO 400, 15-second exposure at f/5; 21mm focal length.
ISO 3200, 2.5-second exposure at f/9; 21mm focal length.
ISO 6400, 1-second exposure at f/10; 21mm focal length.
ISO 12800, 1/2-second exposure at f/10; 21mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 125; 1/60 second at f/2.8; 36.8mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 400; 1/60 second at f/2.8; 36.8mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 3200; 1/100 second at f/3.5; 36.8mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 1/200 second at f/5; 36.8mm focal length.
Flash exposure at ISO 12800; 1/200 second at f/8; 36.8mm focal length.
8.8mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/640 second at f/5.6.
36.8mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/320 second at f/5.6.
1.6x digital zoom; 36.8mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/250 second at f/5.6.
2x digital zoom; 36.8mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/250 second at f/5.6.
Close-up in Macro mode; 8.8mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/800 second at f/1.8.
Close-up in Macro mode; 36.8mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1600 second at f/2.8.
Close-up in Macro mode with 2x digital zoom; 36.8mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/2.8.
Strong backlighting; 8.8mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/800 second at f/5.
Crop from the above image magnified to 100% showing no coloured fringing but slight edge softening.
The shot shows the problem that can occur when framing scenes with just the LCD monitor; the main subject (circled) moved just before the shutter was released but this couldn’t be seen on the screen; 36.8mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/400 second at f/4.
28mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/250 second at f/5.
Crop from the above image magnified to 100%.
Graphical subject; 21mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/250 second at f/4.
Crop from the above image magnified to 100%.
19mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/500 second at f/4.5.
36.8mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/400 second at f/5.6.
8.8mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/20 second at f/5.6.
23mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/1600 second at f/5.
36.8mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/1600 second at f/4.5.
19mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/1000 second at f/5.
36.8mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/160 second at f/5.6.
24mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/800 second at f/4.
8.8mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/100 second at f/8.
Still frame from 4K/25p video clip.
Still frame from Full HD 1080/100p video clip.
Still frame from Full HD 1080/50p video clip.
Still frame from Full HD 1080/25p video clip.
Still frame from HD 720/50p video clip.
RRP: AU$1210; US$750 (previous model – $799)
- Build: 8.8
- Ease of use: 8.6
- Autofocusing: 8.7
- Image quality JPEG: 8.5
- Image quality RAW: 8.8
- Video quality: 8.8