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Canon G1 X Mark II versus Sony A9

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II and the Sony Alpha A9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2014 and April 2017. The G1X Mark II is a fixed lens compact, while the A9 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X Mark II) and a full frame (A9) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 13 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A9

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X Mark II and the Sony A9. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 – the G1X Mark II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A9
Compare G1X Mark II versus A9 top
Compare G1X Mark II and A9 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A9 is notably larger (42 percent) than the Canon G1 X Mark II. It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 is splash and dust-proof, while the G1X Mark II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X Mark II has a lens build in, whereas the A9 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A9 and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1X Mark II gets 240 shots out of its NB-12L battery, while the A9 can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II» 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Sony A9« 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Canon G5 X« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.7 in 12.5 oz 210 n Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon XC10« » 4.9 in 4.0 in 4.8 in 36.7 oz .. n Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon G1 X« » 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 n Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.3 oz 400 n Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Panasonic LX100« » 4.5 in 2.6 in 2.2 in 13.9 oz 300 n Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch 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 lower price than the A9, despite having a lens build in. 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: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A9

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 Sony A9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A9 is 223 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.85 and 1.0. The sensor in the G1X Mark II has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A9 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G1 X Mark II and Sony A9 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A9 offers a higher resolution than the G1X Mark II (13MP), but the A9 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.49μm for the G1X Mark II) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A9 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 2 months) than the G1X Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

G1X Mark II versus A9 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A9 offers substantially better image quality than the G1X Mark II (overall score 34 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.4 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II» 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158Canon G1 X Mark II
Sony A9« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971Canon T6i
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon T6s
Canon XC10« » 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p----Canon XC10
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon G1 X« » 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« » APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363Canon T1i
Canon XSi« » APS-C 12.2 4272 2848-21.910.869261Canon XSi
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Panasonic LX100« » Four Thirds 12.7 4112 30884K/30p22.312.555367Panasonic LX100
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A9 provides a better video resolution than the G1X Mark II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A9

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A9 has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the G1X Mark II relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the G1X Mark II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G1 X Mark II and Sony A9 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II»- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y Canon G1 X Mark II
Sony A9«3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y Sony A9
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 2000 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »- n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 2000 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »optical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 4000 1.9 Y Y Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 3.4 Y n Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.5 Y n Canon XSi
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Panasonic LX100« »2764 n 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 11.0 n Y Panasonic LX100
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G1X Mark II has one, while the A9 does not. While the build-in flash of the G1X Mark II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the A9 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (flickering).

The G1X Mark II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A9 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G1X Mark II only has one slot.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II»Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G1 X Mark II
Sony A9«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
Canon G5 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
Canon G16« »Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0---Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »Y----mini2.0---Canon XSi
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Panasonic LX100« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Panasonic LX100
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II

Both the G1X Mark II and the A9 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 A9 does not have a direct predecessor.

Review summary: Canon G1 X Mark II vs Sony A9

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon G1 X Mark II better than the Sony A9 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II:

  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the A9 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (116x74mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a build-in lens (unlike the A9).
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2014).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A9:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 13MP), which boosts linear resolution by 39%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (34 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.4 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 240) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the G1X Mark II launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A9 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 6 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 when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

G1X Mark II 06:19 A9

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the G1X Mark II and the A9 in practical situations. 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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon G1 X Mark II»Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i Canon G1 X Mark II
Sony A9«HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Canon G5 X« »HiRec78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799 i i Canon G5 X
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i Canon T6i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon T6s
Canon XC10« »-80/100--- Apr 2015 2,499- i Canon XC10
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon G1 X« »Rec76/1004/54/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799- i Canon G1 X
Canon T1i« »HiRec74/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799- i Canon T1i
Canon XSi« »HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799- i Canon XSi
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Panasonic LX100« »HiRec85/1005/54/55/5 Sep 2014 899 i i Panasonic LX100
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A7R III« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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