Canon PowerShot G1 X Digital Camera Review$799.99
A few important ergonomic features aid in the handling of this camera, specifically a knurled and rubberized right handed grip on the face of the camera, and a large rubberized thumb rest in between the playback and video shortcut buttons. Texture goes a long way here, particularly on the thumb rest, which has to rely on surface friction rather than a raised lip on the side.
Unfortunately those important features are largely undone by the body's overall design. The flat right hand grip encourages more palm on the back of the camera, right on top of the button layout. Frequently, you'll finish framing up a shot only to have the menu pop up, or the flash settings to pop up, or something else to pop up and interrupt the process. Very frustrating.
Still, the camera is at least quite stable in hand, so we're awarding a decent score here.
Buttons & Dials
The rear and top panel buttons have been arranged in a highly intuitive way, though some of the symbolic labeling does assume a familiarity with photography. We love how the most commonly used shooting options have receiver their own dedicated buttons, such as program shift, focus area, and metering. These keys surround the excellent directional pad, which doubles as a rotating dial for versatile input and menu navigation. The far off playback and shortcut buttons are raised and angled, which makes it easier to strike them quickly.
On top, the decision to remove and replace the ISO dial with an exposure compensation dial was a good one. Both this and the adjacent mode dial are sturdy and fun to use, and each are unlikely to turn accidentally. The shutter release, sadly, is just so-so. The stroke is nice and long, but the bottom of the first stage is imprecise and frustrating at first. And of course, just like the G12, the front dial is great for controlling priority modes and many other features.
The swing-out, rotating LCD screen is a little bit larger than its predecessor's, coming in at a full 3.0 inches with 922,000-dot resolution. This versatile panel is useful for video or tripod work, and the gorgeous picture is quite accurate to the final recorded image.
The same viewfinder used for the G12 makes a return here. This is an optical viewfinder, another rarity in the fixed-lens market. The finder isn't through-the-lens, but runs on a parallel vector and allows pretty accurate framing to the final image. As the lens zooms in, so does the viewfinder. The edge of the lens barrel is visible in the corner of the viewfinder, since they're so close together, and we were hoping Canon would've come up with a workaround for this since the G12.
Turning on the G1 X's continuous image stabilization mode actually worsens sharpness by about 22%. This isn't entirely unheard of, but the G12 did at least have a moderately effective stabilizer. We recommend G1 X users deactivate the feature during general use for the best image quality.