Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Canon's G1X Is... Better
So it was with the stupid G1X. The lens was slow, soft, and slow to focus. The camera operations were slow and cludgy. And the price was way beyond what was warranted.
Irritatingly, it was still a decent hit. Not as big a hit as the inexplicably popular EOS M (I think it was because the camera dropped below $400 less than a month after launching), but it was still a solid success for Canon. It's amazing what a large network of resellers can do for your product.
Canon has released the inevitable follow-up, and it is... an upgrade. Based on the numbers alone, I still don't think that it will prove worthy of its price, but it's... No. I can't bring myself to do it. I want to like something Canon produces. Anything. But this camera ain't it. It's an acceptable product for a price that should only be attached to something innovative and market-leading.
The two most notable differences are the body and lens. The body ditches the bloody-stupid "viewfinder" of the old G1X, which is good, but it also ditches some of the physical controls, which is bad. Again, who the hell is this camera for? Anyone willing to plunk down the cash for this will want pro features. Why take them away?
The second big change, the lens, is the only major upgrade and one worth recognizing. It has a wider range than the old lens while also being faster by a full stop at the wide end, and over a full stop faster at the far end. That is impressive. The lens is almost enough to make me say "Hunh... yep, that's a camera," but it's still not a complete enough package, especially in a market where a similar price will buy you an E-M5.
This is Canon responding to the increasing erosion of their compact camera business. The original G1X was supposed to be that response, but, well... yeah. This is a legitimate response. It's too little, too late, and for too much, but if Canon had released this for $499 or $599, they could have stood a real chance of regaining some market share. But since this is Canon, they're releasing it for $799.
Obviously, if you're looking at this camera with a desirous eye, wait. Wait for the camera shows later in the year. Other companies are not standing still, and both Sony and Fuji are producing amazing things.
Perhaps, if Canon's market share collapses in the same way that it has been collapsing in Japan, they will finally get off their asses and produce the amazing products that they are damn well capable of producing.