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Canon G1 X Mark II versus Canon G3 X

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Canon PowerShot G3 X are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and June 2015. Both the G1X Mark II and the G3X are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and an one-inch sensor. The G1X Mark II has a resolution of 13 megapixel, whereas the G3X provides 20 MP.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Canon G3 X. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G1X Mark II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Canon G1 X Mark II vs Canon G3 X front
G1X Mark II versus G3X top view
G1X Mark II and G3X rear side
Body view (G1X Mark II on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G3 X is notably larger (10 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. Moreover, the G3X is markedly heavier (33 percent) than the G1X Mark II. It is noteworthy in this context that the G3X is splash and dust-proof, while the G1X Mark II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 no 2014 799 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft) 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 YES 2015 999 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 YES 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 no 2015 529discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. no 2015 2,499 latest check
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 no 2015 849discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 no 2015 799 latest check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 YES 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 no 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 no 2012 799discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 no 2014 899discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 99 mm 60 mm 36 mm 211 g 220 no 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 115 mm 66 mm 55 mm 393 g 300 no 2014 899 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 no 2015 999discont. check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G1X Mark II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the G3X, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G1 X Mark II features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Canon G3 X an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G3X is 56 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 2.7. The sensor in the G1X Mark II has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the G3X offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X Mark II and Canon G3 X sensor measures
Sensor size
noscript
Sensor size

Despite having a smaller sensor, the G3X offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixel, compared with 13 MP of the G1X Mark II. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 4.49μm for the G1X Mark II). However, it should be noted that the G3X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the G1X Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

G1X Mark II versus G3X MP
Sensor resolution
noscript
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the G3X has a markedly higher DXO score than the G1X Mark II (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.1 bits lower color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 3120 1080/30p 21.5 10.8 581 58
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.4 12.3 521 63
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.6 13.2 1135 79
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 21.5 12.3 495 63
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 12.0 4000 3000 4K/30p - - - -
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/30p 22.6 12.0 915 70
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p - - - -
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 22.4 11.8 1082 70
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 1080/60p 23.0 12.7 556 71
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.0 5472 3648 1080/30p 22.5 11.6 926 68
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 3264 1080/24p 21.7 10.8 644 60
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.1 11.7 517 64
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 1080/60p 22.1 11.7 721 66
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Four Thirds 12.7 4112 3088 4K/30p 22.3 12.5 553 67
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.6 591 70

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the G3X provides a faster frame rate than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the G1X Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G1X Mark II and the G3X are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G1 X Mark II and Canon G3 X along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 5.2 6.8 no
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft) no no 3.2 1620 tilting YES 2000 5.9 6.8 no
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 2000 6.0 6 no
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1030 tilting YES 2000 3.8 no no
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 2000 5.9 7 no
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 fixed no 8000 10.0 11 no
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 2000 6.5 7 no
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 1040 swivel YES 8000 7.0 12 no
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 no
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 Swivel no 4000 1.9 7 no
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 12.0 13.5 no
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1166 no 3.0 921 fixed YES 500 5.8 no no
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2764 no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 11.0 7 no
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1228 tilting no 2000 16.0 10.2 no

Both the G1X Mark II and the G3X have zoom lenses build in. The G1X Mark II has a 24-120mm f/2.0-3.9 optic and the G3X offers a 24-600mm f/2.8-5.6 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the G1X Mark II and G3X provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the G3X has more tele-photo reach at the long end. The G1X Mark II offers the faster maximum aperture.

Both the G1X Mark II and the G3X are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The G1X Mark II replaced the earlier Canon G1 X, while the G3X does not have a direct predecessor.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon G1 X Mark II better than the Canon G3 X or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 2000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/2.8).
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 180g or 25 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2014).

Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G3 X:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 13MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p vs 1080/30p).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1040k dots).
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (300 versus 240) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G3X is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points.

G1X Mark II 05:10 G3X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G1X Mark II or the G3X handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 799 latest check
Canon G3 X (⇒ lft) Rec - 4.5/5 3.5/5 4/5 2015 999 latest check
Canon 80D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 84/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 1,199 latest check
Canon G9 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec - 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 529discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 - - - 2015 2,499 latest check
Canon T6s (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 849discont. check
Canon G5 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 78/100 Silver 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2015 799 latest check
Canon 7D II (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 84/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 1,799 latest check
Canon G7 X (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2014 699discont. check
Canon 70D (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Canon G16 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 79/100 Rec 76/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 799discont. check
Panasonic FZ1000 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 899discont. check
Panasonic GM5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2014 749discont. check
Panasonic LX100 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 5/5 4/5 5/5 2014 899 latest check
Sony RX100 IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 999discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Other comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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