PC Fair and Canon G1X

After work today, I rushed my way to Kuala Lumpur Convention Center for the PC Fair, the largest IT and gadget/gear fair in town. I went with a few intentions: 1) to search for a suitable protective casing or any casing at all for my new HTC One V, 2) to find a good earphones to replace my aging Sennheiser CX300 3) to check out any new cameras out for demo purposes. 

I found a very good casing for my new phone, which was purchased at a very good bargain. I did not find anything worthy to replace my Sennheiser yet, so I shall get the earphones elsewhere. Basically there were not that many new cameras on demo or display, but one that I have not touched before was Canon Powershot G1 X, and that shall be the main discussion in this entry. 

Before we talk about Canon, as usual, because I love Olympus so much, lets just head over to the Olympus booth and have a look see. As expected, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is out for the public to molest. I have had blog readers who emailed me saying that they were stopping over in KL within this period of time and were asking me where to purchase the E-M5. Unfortunately, the E-M5 is not ready for purchase yet, and you can't find it in any local camera stores at this moment. And obviously I would not know the street price, until the camera actually hits the street !!

Snapping OM-D with Nokia Lumia. That is a NICE phone. 

OM-D molested by everyone. 

Say hi to Joshua !!

The funniest moment of the day happened when I was shooting the E-M5 demo unit. I was shooting a dude who was checking the E-M5 out, and he did not seem to mind, so I just continued snapping away. I was completely shocked when the guy suddenly looked at me and said "You are not going to post that up on your Robin's blog, are you?" It sure was a scary experience when the subject that you are photographing suddenly speaks to you, and actually know you from your blog. We chatted further, and I found out that his name is Joshua, and he was actually in the PEN Lovers. We have also met before in one occasion but I could not recall. The world is very small indeed. 

Alright, alright, I know I have talked too much about Olympus here in my blog anyway, so lets move on to some non-Olympus stuff. 

As I was searching around for anything fresh to molest, it was not a very interesting time, because most of the cameras I have already encountered before, and are not exactly so new: such as the Fuji X-Pro 1, Panasonic GX1 and Nikon 1 System. I have tried some of them before, either from other photography events or borrowed from friends. However, something new appeared in the Canon booth, which was the Powershot G1 X. Now, this was getting interesting. 

Panasonic GF3, not bad looking actually. Too bad the lens here is oversized. Would have looked better with pancake 20mm or the X-lens. 

GX1... so ugly...

X-Pro 1. Aaaaaahhhh.. for some reasons I do drool when I see this camera. 

The not so new Nikon 1 System. 

Earlier this year, Canon surprised the world by making a debut in the mirrorless compact camera system market. They launched the Canon Powershot G1 X, targeted at advanced users, packed with features and lots of controls, and has a large sensor size (similar to micro 4/3 sensor, but smaller than their APS-C brothers). However, the one thing that separated this mirrorless Canon camera from the pack (Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, etc) is the fact that the Canon G1 X has a fixed lens. Being categorized under Powershot, this Canon advanced camera sits somewhere near their flagship compact camera G11/G12. Canon indeed has very good reputation for their G-series, which are not cheap, and considered to be high end compact cameras. 

This odd entry into the mirrorless world has sparked loads of debates and hot discussions everywhere in the internet. Many have voiced up loud opinions. I too, was curious on why Canon decided to do what they did, choosing a fixed lens over inter-changeable lens system, and why do they feel the need to get into the mirrorless world in the first place at all, since their entry level DSLRs such as the Canon 600D and 60D were selling so well. They have mentioned in their official press release that they do not feel threatened by mirrorless market, and felt that their cameras have had strong footing, targeting serious photographers. 

Now, I finally have a chance to look at it up close. 

It is either my hand is so tiny, or the camera is huge. 

That lens is not small either.

gotta love the tilt and swivel screen. Surely helps a lot in composition. 

Canon Powershot G1 X. Would you consider one?

What was the first thing that came to mind as I saw it for the first time? That Canon G1 X was NOT small, not small at all. It was a lot bigger than I expected. I am not sure why Canon made it so big, since the main point of going mirrorless is to reduce the footprint of the camera, making it compact and light. This G1 X is anything but compact and light. 

Now, about the fixed lens. I will not comment on why the choice of the focal length and the aperture opening , but I will say something about the size. When it extends to its longest zoom, that lens is rather long. It is bigger than Panasonic or Olympus micro 4/3 kit lenses (14-42mm). The fact that Olympus latest 14-42mm kit is so small, and Panasonic has come up with their X lenses which are pancake in design, this Canon G1 X built in lens seems quite big. 

As I powered the camera on, and started to shoot away, the next thing I noticed was the AF issues. When I half pressed the shutter button to lock the focus, the screen froze for a short while, and then it went back to normal. When I released the shutter button (not pressing all the way, just let it go back up, cancelling the AF lock) the screen froze for a short while again. This happened EVERY single time I half pressed and released the shutter button, and this lag can be a real problem when you want to time your shots perfectly. Any delay in display on the screen will risk you missing that crucially timed shots. The speed of the AF was not very encouraging either. For the price tag of RM2299, I would have expected the AF to be similar to Sony NEX-5n, Panasonic G3 or GX1, or Olympus E-PL3/E-PM1. The AF speed on Canon G1X was rather sluggish, but to be fair, the lighting condition in the PC Fair hall (KLCC Convention Center) was very bad. Lets look at this from another perspective, any of the Canon G-series camera, G10, G11 or G12 would have performed much better in terms of AF, and even their smaller compact series from Ixus line have very respectably fast AF. I just do not see how they cannot make the G1X as fast, if not faster. I am not joking about this AF speed, as I tried Fuji X-Pro 1 immediately after the Canon G1X, the AF speed on X-Pro 1 was actually FASTER, though not by much, but very noticeable. This was bad, because one of the only few things that marked Fuji X-Pro 1 down was the slow AF. I surely did not expect the Canon G1X (knowing their reputable G-Series) to be any slower !!

I am not sure about many photographers out there, but to me, AutoFocus is extremely important. Not having a reliable and fast autofocus is a turn off. I sure hope Canon will come up with a firmware update of some sort to boost their AF performance on the G1X. 

The PC Fair is filled with promo-girls, but I shall not flood my blog with their pictures this time. 

Enough complains, I do like the tilt and swivel screen they decided to put at the back of the camera, which helps a lot in many composition situations. I did not get the chance to try the camera's image quality, because a line was building up behind me. Knowing Canon, I am sure the image quality has little to be questioned. Dpreview has suggested that it has "excellent High ISO performance". This is what makes Canon, Canon after all. For the rest of the camera, it is only fair for me to comment if I have the chance to shoot with it extensively. 

This weekend will be one that is filled with adventures. I shall have my shutter therapy session tomorrow. Looking forward to that, can't wait already !!


  1. Hey Robin! I said "you are going to put this up on your robin blog." not "aren't". >_<||

    Anyways nice to meet you and see the results of the photos. They look awesome!

    1. Hey Joshua, LOL I must have mis-heard. No worries.
      Nice meeting you and thanks for the compliments.

  2. Robin- hello again- I commented several times in your E-M5 review posts. Just wanted you to know I got my EM-5 yesterday! It may actually be better than I anticipated. That 45mm sure sings on that camera, doesn't it? Matches the silver OM-D finish perfectly too. Add the grips- SEXY. Thanks again for all your insight- I really felt like I knew what I was getting into before I set down the cash. No buyer's regret here!

    1. Hello Matt,
      You got the E-M5 !!! You must be really excited and happy at the same time. I am glad I could help out. And yes, indeed 45mm and the grip, pure sexiness. Now go out and snap some great photos !!

  3. Oh no... Robin is switching to Canon / Fuji! :P

    On the serious note, I'm so lagging behind in camera world that I didn't know the existence of Canon G1X. We need to catch up over drinks... so I can 'download' some info from you. Haha.

    1. Hello Chong,
      No problem !! Breakfast sounds great as well !!

  4. Hi, Robin, the last shot is great!
    I am using a Powershot G10 and I wouldn't consider the G1x at all. It's big, slow lens (shorter, but brighter zoom would've been better) and still has this idiotic viewfinder.
    But, every camera should have a swivel screen!

    1. Hello Vladimir,
      I have always been an admirer of Canon G-series camera, but this time, even the slow AF is a put off. Yes, I agree that the tilt and swivel screen is a must have !!

    2. Intersting you say that Valdimir, I was thinking that the G1x would solve for me all the problems I see with my G10. I am trying to purchase an Oly E-M5 for a trip I am taking but I can't get one in time, so I am thinking of upgrading my G10 to a G1x... honestly the size and bulk don't bother me at all, but the AF sure does!

    3. I must admit, I am also thinking of buying an E-PL3 and then selling it after I can get my hands on the E-M5

  5. So you wrote,"The PC Fair is filled with promo-girls, but I shall not flood my blog with their pictures this time." Ok, then when should we check back?


    Your OM-D coverage was awesome...now Oly needs to ship!

    1. Hello John,
      Nah, this time I shall not publish their photos !! I have done so for the past few PC Fair. Its getting repetitive.
      Oly is shipping !! Many parts of the world have received the E-M5 by now.

  6. So you wrote,"The PC Fair is filled with promo-girls, but I shall not flood my blog with their pictures this time." Ok, then when should we check back?


    Your OM-D coverage was awesome...now Oly needs to ship!

  7. Canon!! Eyeing the SX model.. coming soon!!

    Compact at SLR quality =)

  8. Like all the pictures and OM cameras. I wish one day Olympus will make a XA lookalike digital camera with good sensor up to 1600 iso. Thanks.

    Chi Lee

    1. Thanks Chi Lee. I am not sure if reviving all the older generation cameras is a good idea, it is getting repetitive !

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