Some Mark II upgrades are significant; some, not so much. Canon’s update to its PowerShot G7 X enthusiast compact somehow falls in the middle. The G7 X Mark II doesn’t have a ton of new features or major-sounding enhancements, but it looks like Canon addressed a lot of the issues I had with the G7 X, which could make a big difference in how it fares compared with competitors.
Canon plans to ship the G7 X Mark II in May, at least in the US, for $700. That’s about £490 and AU$975 at current exchange rates.
What’s newDesign. There’s only a few changes to the body, but they’re important. First, Canon has added a much-needed grip. Also, there’s now a switch on the front to silence the otherwise clicky control ring (for operation while shooting video) and the display not only flips up for selfies, but can also tilt down. The changes have made the camera slightly larger and heavier than before, but not by much.Features. Upgrading to a new Digic 7 image processor confers some capabilities, including in-camera raw-to-JPEG conversion, Canon’s Picture Styles (formerly only available in the dSLRs), time-lapse movie and an image-stabilization mode for panning shots (so it only stabilizes vertical movement). Canon also adds wireless connection support with Wi-Fi and NFC.Image quality. The Digic 7 processor also allows the old sensor to eke out one stop of improvement in noise reduction; in other words, noise in JPEGs at ISO 1600 in the Mark II will look like the noise at ISO 800 in the original. Since raw images don’t have noise reduction applied, they won’t be affected, but I found the raws significantly better than the JPEGs in the G7 X, anyway.Performance. The processor update brings with it faster startup and an increased continuous shooting speed of 5.4 frames per second with autofocus and autoexposure, faster than the recent G5 X, as well as improvements in tracking autofocus; it has old Sony-like object tracking based on your touchscreen selection, plus less-distractable people tracking from face-detection. Canon says it’s also improved autofocus in low-contrast scenes, such as those with a lot of similar colors or low saturation.
I had a lot of trouble with the autofocus system on the G7 X, so I’m hoping the updates have fixed both the accuracy and speed. But it also needs a processing speedup, which the more recent G5 X failed to deliver. Otherwise, Canon seems to have addressed most of the issues with its predecessor, which should bring it in line with similarly priced enthusiast compacts. Fingers crossed.