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Canon PowerShot G1 X Gordon Laing, March 2012
 
 

Canon PowerShot G1 X vs PowerShot G12 vs EOS T3i / 600D image quality

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To compare real-life quality I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G1 X, PowerShot G12 and EOS T3i / 600D within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on all three cameras were set to approximately the same vertical field of view. Each lens was also focused on the same point on the image and set to an optimal aperture to maximise sharpness and minimise diffraction.

The sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting on each camera: 100 ISO on the G1 X and EOS T3i / 600D, and 80 ISO on the G12.

 

  Canon G1 X results
1 Canon G1 X vs G12 vs T3i / 600D Quality
2 Canon G1 X vs GX1 Quality
3 Canon G1 X RAW vs JPEG
4 Canon G1 X vs G12 Noise
5 Canon G1 X vs T3i / 600D Noise
6 Canon G1 X Sample images

The image above right was taken with the Canon G1 X with its lens set to 20mm (37mm equivalent) and the aperture set to f5.6 in Aperture Priority mode. F5.6 was chosen to maximise sharpness while avoiding diffraction, and also selected on the EOS T3i / 600D for a level playing field; I used f4 on the G12 for the same reasons. The original JPEG measured 4.12MB.

On this page you're comparing cameras with different aspect ratios: the G1 X and G12 employ a squarish aspect ratio of 4:3, while the EOS T3i / 600D with its APS-C sensor delivers slightly wider 3:2 shaped images. Where aspect ratios differ, I always match the vertical field of view in comparisons, which obviously penalises models with wider ratios. As such on this page, I'm only effectively comparing a 4:3 crop from the middle of the T3i / 600D image and ignoring thin strips on either side. This means the T3i / 600D is effectively operating like a 16 Megapixel camera in this test, although this is still the highest effective resolution of the three, with the G1 X and G12 following with 14.3 and 10 Megapixels respectively. As such, the crops taken at 1:1 show larger areas for the lower resolution models.

Looking at the crops below there's definitely a family resemblance in terms of processing style with all three Canon's displaying similar colour, contrast and sharpening. Most obviously there's some optical differences to point out, such as the minor coloured fringing around the mountain ridge on the T3i / 600D kit lens, and to a lesser extent on the G12. On the RAW vs JPEG page you'll see the same image converted without chromatic aberration correction, and reassuringly it reveals the uncorrected optics are still delivering a great result. Meanwhile, there's some softness in different areas of the frames to note: the G12 is a little soft in the upper left corner of this shot, but makes up for it with a uniform result pretty much everywhere else.

So what about the actual resolved detail then? Looking closely at the fine building and foliage details, the G1 X is recording a little extra fine detail than the G12, although it's pretty close between the G1 X and the T3i / 600D. But occasional softness and coloured fringing on the T3i / 600D kit lens lets it down compared to the sharp built-in lens of the G1 X.

As such I'd say the G1 X wins this particular contest, out-resolving the G12 and essentially matching the real-life detail of the slightly higher resolution T3i / 600D while minimising optical artefacts. Of course the benefit of an interchangeable lens camera like the T3i / 600D is the ability to fit better (or different) optics, but if you're comparing a Canon DSLR with the basic 18-55mm kit lens alone, you'll probably find the G1 X slightly out-performing it.

A great start for the G1 X, but some of you may be wondering how it compares to the best of the current crop of Micro Four Thirds models: find out on my G1 X vs Panasonic GX1 results, or if you'd like to check the RAW performance, head over to my G1 X RAW vs JPEG page. If you're ready for some low light comparisons, check out my G1 X Noise results and for some high res downloads, check out my G1 X sample images.

 


Canon PowerShot G1 X
 
Canon PowerShot G12
 
Canon EOS T3i / 600D
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Canon G1 X results : Quality vs G12 vs T3i / 600D / Quality vs GX1 / RAW vs JPEG / Noise vs G12
/ Noise vs T3i / 600D


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