Canon G9 X vs Nikon 1 J4
The Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Nikon 1 J4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2015 and April 2014. The G9X is a fixed lens compact, while the J4 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 18.2 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 G9 X and the Nikon 1 J4? 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 G9 X and the Nikon 1 J4 are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The G9X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the J4 is available in four color-versions (black, silver, orange, white).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon 1 J4 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Canon G9 X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X nor the J4 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G9X has a lens built in, whereas the J4 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 G9X 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon G9 X||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||209 g||220||n||Oct 2015||529|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||100 mm||60 mm||29 mm||232 g||300||n||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||98 mm||58 mm||31 mm||206 g||235||n||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|5.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||111 mm||65 mm||33 mm||381 g||310||n||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||109 mm||82 mm||46 mm||278 g||310||n||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic FZ1000||137 mm||99 mm||131 mm||831 g||360||n||Jun 2014||899|
|12.||Sony RX100 V||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||299 g||220||n||Oct 2016||999|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||290 g||320||n||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony RX100||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||240 g||330||n||Jun 2012||649|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G9X was launched at a lower price than the J4, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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.
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 G9X offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 18.2 MP of the J4. This megapixels advantage translates into a 5 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the G9X has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 2.52μm for the J4). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the G9X is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the J4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the J4 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon G9 X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G9X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon 1 J4 are 26.2 x 17.4 inches or 66.4 x 44.3 cm for good quality, 20.9 x 14 inches or 53.2 x 35.4 cm for very good quality, and 17.4 x 11.6 inches or 44.3 x 29.5 cm for excellent quality prints.
The J4 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon PowerShot G9 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon 1 J4 are ISO 160 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the G9X has a notably higher overall DXO score than the J4 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 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.
|1.||Canon G9 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.5||12.3||495||63|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||426||53|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.9||12.5||522||65|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.8||11.9||260||62|
|6.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||1-inch||18.2||5232||3488||1080/60p||20.8||10.7||384||52|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1-inch||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||20.2||10.8||403||50|
|12.||Sony RX100 V||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.4||586||70|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||12.3||495||67|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G9X and the J4 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G9 X, the Nikon 1 J4, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G9 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||6.0/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||none||n||3.0 / 1037||Fixed||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/2000s||8.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon M10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.6/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||1440||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||15.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Panasonic FZ1000||2359||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony RX100 V||2359||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||24.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||1440||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony RX100||none||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|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 J4 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 G9 X 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.
The G9X writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the J4 uses micro 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 G9 X and Nikon 1 J4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G9 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon M10||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||-||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic FZ1000||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony RX100 V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony RX100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the G9X and the J4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The J4 was replaced by the Nikon 1 J5, while the G9X was followed by the Canon G9 X Mark II. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon G9 X better than the Nikon 1 J4 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G9 X:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 18.2MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the J4 requires a separate lens.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the J4).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the J4).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon 1 J4:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- 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 6 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 (300 versus 220) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G9X is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 G9 X and the Nikon 1 J4 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 G9X and the J4 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 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 G9 X||3.5/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2015||529|
|2.||Nikon 1 J4||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Apr 2014||549|
|3.||Canon G9 X Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||529|
|4.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||..||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|5.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|6.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|7.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||..||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|8.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399|
|9.||Nikon 1 V3||3/5||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2014||799|
|10.||Nikon 1 V2||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2012||799|
|11.||Panasonic FZ1000||4/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||899|
|12.||Sony RX100 V||4.5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||999|
|13.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|14.||Sony RX100 III||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2014||799|
|15.||Sony RX100||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4/5||5/5||Jun 2012||649|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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Specifications: Canon G9 X vs Nikon 1 J4
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 G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-84mm f/2.0-4.9||Nikon 1 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2015||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 529||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|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||18.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5232 x 3488 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.41 μm||2.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||17.18 MP/cm2||15.71 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||53|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.5||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||10.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||495||426|
|Screen Specs||Canon G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||60 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||micro or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Canon G9 X||Nikon 1 J4|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||220 shots per charge||300 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
98 x 58 x 31 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in)
100 x 60 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||209 g (7.4 oz)||232 g (8.2 oz)|
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