Canon took the wraps off a batch of new photo gear tonight, including the Powershot G1 X Mark II, which is a top-of-the-line compact camera; the Rebel T5 consumer DSLR; and a new Macro Ring Light for close-up photography. The new camera products from Canon comes just days before the start of the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan.
Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II
The G1 X Mark II is follow-up to the G1 X, which we reviewed positively (with some quibbles) back in 2012.. Like its predecessor, the G1 X Mark II boasts a 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm) CMOS imaging chip that’s a tiny bit smaller than APS-C sensors in many DSLRs and some “mirrorless” interchangeable lens camera.
But the 12.8-megapixel sensor in the G1 X Mark II is an entirely new chip, that actually has slightly less resolution than the previous camera, which used a 14.3MP CMOS imager. According to Chuck Westfall, a Technical Advisor for Canon, the drop in resolution is designed to accommodate the G1 X II’s new aspect ratio, which is now 3:2.
Westfall, who we interviewed during an NDA meeting about the new gear before tonight’s launch, said the new aspect ratio for the G1 X II is meant to make it more like a Canon EOS DSLR camera. Photographers can also switch to a 4:3 ratio on the G1 X II, without impacting the field of view.
“It’s a substantially improved product,” Westfall said about the new G1 X Mark II. “Physically, it’s in the same range [as the previous model] but there’s lots of changes and improvements throughout.”
Like its predecessor, the G1 X II will debut at a price of $799, which puts it in line with some higher-end, entry-level DSLRs. Calling this camera a compact is also a bit of a stretch: Canon lists the dimensions of the G1 X II at 116.3 x 74.0 x 66.2 mm, which makes it too big to fit into your pocket. It weighs 18.2 ounces (without the battery), which is almost an ounce more than the previous model.
There do appear to be some significant improvements to the G1 X Mark II, however. Along with the new sensor, the G1 X II has a new 5x, 24-120mm equivalent zoom lens with a f/2.0 – f/3.9 aperture range. The lens adds two control rings around its barrel, which can be programmed to adjust a range of functions including exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. (The previous camera had no external control for ISO which, for us, was a disappointment.)
The Digic 6 processor is designed to speed up the G1 X II’s overall performance, as well. (The previous camera was notoriously slow to use.) According to Canon, Autofocus time has been reduced by 42% on the G1 X II; and shot-to-shot time has been reduced by 56%. The Digic processor supports new features in the G1 X II including remote shooting and NFC (Near Field Communication) for wirelessly zapping images from the camera to NFC-compatible smartphones and tablets.
The G1 X II camera uses 31 Auto Focus (AF) points, compared to the previous model, which used nine AF points. There’s a big change on the back of the new model: it has a 3-inch tilting, LCD touchscreen, which can slant 180 degrees up and 45 degrees down. The G1 X II can shoot 1080p Full HD video, has built-in WiFI and has a 14-bit RAW + JPEG capture mode.
The new Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II is slated to go on sale in April 2014.
Canon EOS Rebel T5 & Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II
Canon also introduced the EOS Rebel T5 DSLR tonight, which is aimed at consumer photographers. The Canon Rebel T5 uses an 18MP CMOS, APS-C sensor, and has an ISO range of 100-6400, which is expandable to 12800. The T5 features a nine-point AF system (including one center cross-type AF point) and can shoot at up to three frames per second.
Canon unveiled the the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II tonight as well. The new ring light, which replaces the 14-year-old MR-14 EX, has a more modern control module that sits on the hotshoe. Recycle time is also quicker on the new Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II. It supports E-TTL wireless autoflash in conjunction with one or more Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash units. “Overall, it’s a more modern version of what we had,” Westfall said.
The Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II goes on sale in May for $549.
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