Canon G7 X Mark II Camera Review
The Canon G7 X Mark II is a powerful camera in a compact body. An upgrade from the G7 X, the Mk II incorporates the same sensor and lens but is the first camera to use Canon's new DIGIC 7 image processor to support new performance improvements.
The Canon G7 X Mark II has a faster startup, better autofocus tracking, enhanced image stabilization, longer battery life and faster continuous shooting. The G7 X Mark 2 also records 14-bit RAW files instead of 12-bit like the G7 X. In simplest terms, this means more data, which means more room for advanced post-processing.
Bluewater Photo didn't hesitate to buy a G7 X Mk II to add to their rental gear, so I had a chance to shoot that in a few different situations topside and underwater. Insights and sample photos from these tests are included in this review.
If you haven't yet, be sure to read our Canon G7 X II Best Underwater Settings Guide.
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Canon G7 X Mark II Specs
- Bright f/1.8 (w) - f/2.8 (t), 4.2x (24-100mm equivalent) optical zoom lens with IS and 9-blade iris diaphram
- 1-inch 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
- New DIGIC 7 image processor
- Multi-angle 3.0 inch capacitive touch panel display
- 1080p Full HD video recording
- In-camera RAW conversion/editing (customize and view edits prior to sharing from camera)
- WiFi and NFC built-in
- U.S.A. retail price: $699.99
Changes from the G7 X
The Canon G7 X Mark II has the same control layout as the original G7 X, but in a larger body. This means that the Mk II camera will likely not fit inside the older housings. It's a bummer but just the way it is with new cameras.
The major physical differences are highlighted below:
- Front Control Ring: New switch to allow click or smooth action (smooth action is great for manual focus).
- LCD Screen Articulation: Now pulls away from the body, allowing for 45 degree downward view (i.e. used when holding the camera in the air in a crowd).
- Exposure Compensation Dial: This has been reversed. Maybe it's more intuitive now?
- Top Control Dial: Creative effects mode has been removed from the control dial.
In addition to the physical differences above and the spec upgrades we highlighted earlier, the G7 X Mark II has other new features to be discovered. One is a new timelapse mode that video shooters will find useful. Another is new in-camera RAW file editing. The theory behind this is that you can edit your photos before sharing with your mobile device (and then social media) via the camera's WiFi or NFC. I prefer to transfer the image, edit on my mobile device (using Lightroom Mobile or other apps) and then share the content. There's no right or wrong workflow though.
G7 X Mk II Body and Controls
Like the G7 X, the Canon G7 X Mark II has a great set of controls and is easy to hold and shoot. Of primary importance is the front control ring, which controls aperture when in manual mode, but can be changed quickly through a dedicated button. The rear control ring defaults to controlling shutter speed but can also be custom programmed.
The red video record button is tucked under the flared thumb grip on the back of the camera, which makes it easy to access but also difficult to hit accidentally. The quick / set button, playback and menu buttons are also tucked under the thumb so that they are out of the way but easy to press when desired.
Lastly, the LCD touchscreen works very well. You can quickly access the Quick menu by pressing the Q in the top right corner, or adjust settings by pressing the aperture or shutter speed. My personal preference is to access these controls via the physical controls, but the nice thing is that every shooter can use the camera as they wish.
Compact Camera Comparison
For detailed comparison tables with the Canon G16, G5 X, G9 X, Sony RX100 IV, and Olympus TG-4, view our article Best Compact Cameras of Summer 2016.
You can also learn about Bluewater Photo's recommended compact camera and housing combinations in Best Compact Cameras and Housings for 2016.
G7 X II for Underwater Photography
The Canon G7 X Mark II is one of the best choices for underwater photo and video with a compact camera. The Canon G7 X has been very popular, even with stiff competition from the Sony RX100 IV (which also has a 1-inch sensor plus higher-resolution video recording).
Canon has a long reputation for excellent image quality and the G7 X II holds true to this, delivering crisp images, bold contrast and great color. The new DIGIC 7 processor and resulting performance upgrades make the camera feel fast - faster than some top mirrorless cameras I've recently tried.
On white balance: Underwater videographers will find that the Canon G7 X Mark II has no one touch custom white balance. Videographers looking to record with a custom white balance must take a photo at depth, then enter the camera's menu (camera menu tab 6), select Custom WB, and then follow instructions to set the WB off the desired image (2 more clicks). The white balance mode can be adjusted through the Quick menu (in 2 clicks) or through customizing the Ring Control button (1 click), but note that this simply provides access to the menu for selecting the WB mode (auto, cloudy, tungsten, etc.).
The Canon G7 X II is fun to shoot underwater. The small size of a compact setup (I was using a single SeaLife Sea Dragon strobe in Lembeh) makes it great for those who want to travel light but still have great image quality. The camera controls are simple to operate, with aperture and shutter speed at your fingertips, ISO one tap away, and immediate control of focus box placement within the frame. Image review and scrolling through the different info displays (i.e. to see the histogram) and zooming in on areas of the photo is simple and quick.
Macro with the G7 X II is very nice. You can zoom in a bit past halfway and still use autofocus, or switch the camera to macro mode and get closer to the subject without zooming in. Autofocus had no trouble finding the subject. It tracked well for video, however did jump off the subject from time to time - an issue which plagues most video shooters using AF.
The G7 X Mark II will be supported by a number of housing manufacturers, which means that accessories like wet diopters for macro and wide-angle wet lenses will be readily available for capturing any underwater scene.
Canon G7 X Mark II Sample Photos
G7 X II Fast AF Tracking
Image Quality at 100% Crop
Image Quality at 100% Crop
High ISO at Night
Canon G7 X Mk II housings are now available from several leading manufacturers. Unfortunately, the larger size of the Mk II means that it will not fit in the original G7 X housings.
Canon G7X Mk II (approx: 105.5 x 60.9 x 42.0 mm). Canon G7X (approx: 103.0 x 60.4 x 40.4 mm).
Below are some great housing choices from our sister company, Bluewater Photo. Check out the housings and be sure to reach out for the best recommendations on accessories like macro and wide-angle lenses, lights and strobes.
This compact and lightweight underwater housings provide full operation of the camera up to depths of 200 feet (60m). Large, easy-to-reach controls are provided for all camera functions including the front and rear dials. Rear controls are marked with easy-to-see laser engraved symbols which never fade or fall off.
Action Housings are designed for water sports and travel. It is built for toughness yet compact and lightweight. Housings depth rating of 200 feet (60m).
Although inexpensive, the polycarbonate Fantasea Housings give you access to all of the important camera controls and dials. A double o-ring provides extra security while large buttons make it easy to operate. Read our Fantasea G7XII housing review.
The Nauticam Housing is one of only two housings to offer an optional short port option for better wide-angle wet lens options. Also has an optional vacuum check system, and includes a shutter release extension.
This tiny housing fits the G7X II like a glove. The material is vey high quality, you will even think it is an aluminum housing. Easily fits in your BCD pocket.
Recsea's aluminum housing. Very small, high quality housing with precision controls rated to 100 meters. Optional vacuum check system and LCD viewfinder. Short port options for several wide-angle lenses including the UWL-04 fisheye lens.
The Canon G7 X Mark II delivers excellent image quality in a very small camera body. While it faces tough competition from the Sony RX100 IV for underwater video, the G7 X Mk II holds its own for still photography. 'Shutter Lag' (actually focus lag) is barely noticeable, even when shooting in low light underwater.
The 1" sensor delivers great color, and the speed of the DIGIC 7 processor is readily apparent when powering on the camera, shooting in burst mode and focusing. Pair the G7 X Mk 2 with a nice underwater housing and you have an excellent, and versatile, photo rig for macro and wide-angle.
Below are some sample photos from shooting the Canon G7 X Mk II in the Fantasea G7XII housing.
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