Canon G1 X vs Nikon 1 J5
The Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Nikon 1 J5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2012 and April 2015. The G1X is a fixed lens compact, while the J5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an 1.5-inch (G1X) and an one-inch (J5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G1 X and the Nikon 1 J5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon G1 X and the Nikon 1 J5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G1X is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon 1 J5 is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Canon G1 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1X nor the J5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens built in, whereas the J5 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|3.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|5.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|7.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|8.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon T3||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon XSi||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||n||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 4||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Sep 2012||949|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||124 mm||81 mm||95 mm||540 g||410||n||Dec 2011||949|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 features an 1.5-inch sensor and the Nikon 1 J5 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the J5 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 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the J5 offers a 3:2 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the J5 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 14.2 MP of the G1X. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.37μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X). However, it should be noted that the J5 is much more recent (by 3 years and 2 months) than the G1X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon 1 J5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the J5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G1 X are 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J5 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the J5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G1X (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits lower color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 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.
|1.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|3.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 4||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.8||11.1||501||43|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||1/2.3||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60p||19.7||11.0||430||42|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the J5 provides a better video resolution than the G1X. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/15p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the G1X has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the J5 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G1 X, the Nikon 1 J5, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|9.||Canon T3||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|11.||Canon XSi||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 4||1312||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The J5 has a touchscreen, while the G1X has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the J5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Nikon 1 J5 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G1X and the J5 write their files to SDXC cards. The J5 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the G1X cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G1 X and Nikon 1 J5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon T3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon XSi||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the G1X has a hotshoe, while the J5 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the G1X and the J5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G1X was replaced by the Canon G1X Mark II, while the J5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G1 X and the Nikon 1 J5? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the J5 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2012).
Advantages of the Nikon 1 J5:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 14.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/15p vs 1080/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 922k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x60mm vs 117x81mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 2 months of technical progress since the G1X launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J5 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G1 X and the Nikon 1 J5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G1X and the J5 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 where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|3.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|4.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|5.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|6.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|7.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|8.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon T3||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|10.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|11.||Canon XSi||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||799|
|12.||Leica V-LUX 4||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||949|
|13.||Leica V-LUX 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Dec 2011||949|
|14.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|15.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon G1 X vs Nikon 1 J5
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/2.8-5.8||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2012||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Sensor Format||1.5" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||18.7 x 14.0 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||261.8 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||23.4 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4352 x 3264 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.30 μm||2.37 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.43 MP/cm2||17.79 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||4K/15p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||EXPEED 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||60||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.7||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.8||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||644||479|
|Screen Specs||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||74%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||1.9 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G1 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||250 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
117 x 81 x 65 mm
(4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
98 x 60 x 32 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||534 g (18.8 oz)||231 g (8.1 oz)|
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