Ever since iPhone cameras became capable of replacing standalone point-and-shoots, interest in low-end digital cameras has declined. Emboldened by Sony’s release of the well-regarded prosumer RX100 series, Canon looks to have gotten its groove back with the new PowerShot G7 X ($700). The pricey new pocket camera is only a little thicker than Canon’s S-series models, but packs a comparatively huge 1” sensor with 20-Megapixel effective resolution, plus a super fast F/1.8-F/2.8 lens with a 24-100mm equivalent zoom range. It also has both a touchscreen and manual controls, bringing together the best of modern and traditional technologies for composing excellent photos.
The G7 X looks a lot like last year’s S120, including the ratcheting front adjustment knob around the retracting lens, pop-up flash, and 3” screen, though there are improvements: the new screen pops out and tilts, has a slightly higher 1.04-Megapixel resolution, and lets you select from 31 different focus points versus the S120’s 9. You give up a bit of shooting speed versus the lower-resolution S120, now 6.5FPS versus 12.1FPS, and lose a little battery life with a 210-shot-rated cell versus the previous 230. Other features are pretty similar, including 1080p video recording, image stabilization, and integrated Wi-Fi. As hard as it might be to spend even a little extra cash on a camera only marginally better than an iPhone’s, the G7 X’s combination of large sensor size, lens speed, and zoom capabilities make it a big step up — if you need superior photos and don’t want to tote around a DSLR to get them. The MSRP is $100 lower than Sony’s latest RX100 III, which may mark the start of much-needed price reductions for mid-range cameras in the post-iPhone 6 world.