Canon G5 X vs Nikon 1 J5
The Canon PowerShot G5 X and the Nikon 1 J5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2015 and April 2015. The G5X is a fixed lens compact, while the J5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an one-inch sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 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 G5 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G5 X and the Nikon 1 J5 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The J5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the G5X 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 (31 percent) than the Canon G5 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G5X nor the J5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G5X 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 power pack in the G5X can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G5 X||112 mm||76 mm||44 mm||353 g||210||n||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||105 mm||61 mm||41 mm||304 g||235||n||Jul 2019||749||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||195||n||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX410||104 mm||69 mm||85 mm||325 g||185||n||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic TZ100||111 mm||65 mm||44 mm||312 g||300||n||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|17.||YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. 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.
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 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an one-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.7. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the J5 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the G5X. This megapixels advantage translates into a 2 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the J5 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.37μm versus 2.41μm for the G5X). Moreover, it should be noted, that the G5X is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the J5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels. 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 J5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot G5 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 125-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J5 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with BSI-CMOS (Backside Illuminated Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon G5 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||471||62|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.2||12.4||583||65|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|7.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|11.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|12.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|17.||YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|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 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 J5 provides a better video resolution than the G5X. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/15p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G5X has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful 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 G5 X, the Nikon 1 J5, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G5 X||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/2000s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX420||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SX410||none||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||0.5/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic TZ100||1166||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||YI M1||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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 Canon G5 X and the Nikon 1 J5 both have 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 G5X and the J5 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 G5 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 G5 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon SX420||-||mono / mono||-||-||-||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon SX410||-||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 1200D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Panasonic TZ100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||YI M1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the G5X 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 G5X and the J5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The G5X was replaced by the Canon G5 X Mark II, while the J5 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the G5X and J5 can be found, respectively, in the Canon G5 X Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon 1 J5 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G5 X and the Nikon 1 J5? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G5 X:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic 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.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 6 months after the J5).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 J5:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/15p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (60 vs 5.9 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.
- More compact: Is smaller (98x60mm vs 112x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (250 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the J5 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. 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 G5 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G5X or the J5. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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 G5 X||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||799||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark III||..||+ +||4/5||81/100||4/5||..||Jul 2019||749||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX420||..||..||..||..||..||3/5||Jan 2016||299||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SX410||..||o||..||..||..||..||Feb 2015||279||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549||ebay.com|
|13.||Panasonic TZ100||4.5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799||ebay.com|
|17.||YI M1||..||..||..||69/100||..||..||Sep 2016||349||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 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 G5 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 G5 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||24-100mm f/1.8-2.8||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2015||April 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G5 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Sensor Format||1" Sensor||1" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||13.2 x 8.8 mm||13.2 x 8.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||116.16 mm2||116.16 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||15.9 mm||15.9 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||2.37 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||17.79 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/15p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||62||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.4||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||471||479|
|Screen Specs||Canon G5 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G5 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.9 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G5 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||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G5 X||Nikon 1 J5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||210 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
112 x 76 x 44 mm
(4.4 x 3.0 x 1.7 in)
98 x 60 x 32 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||353 g (12.5 oz)||231 g (8.1 oz)|
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