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If you’re seeking a fixed lens camera that has nearly every feature you could want to go with excellent performance levels, my Canon PowerShot G3 X review reveals a model that fits that description. It has a strong optical zoom lens, great image quality, and a high-quality display screen, all of which will appeal to the intermediate segment of the market. The G3X gives Canon a camera to compete with the Panasonic FZ1000 and the Sony RX10-series. It has full manual control options, including a hot shoe to add an external flash unit or a viewfinder, as well as the ability to shoot in the RAW image format. There’s even a manual focus option. Compare the Canon with our GE Power Pro X5000 review to make sure you’re making the right choice. If you want to see more cameras, check out this best digital camera list.
The Canon G3X price, though, will place this fixed lens camera out of reach for quite a few photographers. If you can wrap your mind around paying more than $800 for a non-DSLR camera, then this model is worth a look, as it clearly resides near the top of the fixed lens market.
Summary: To justify a high price tag, Canon gave the PowerShot G3 X a host of top notch features, great image quality, and a 25X optical zoom lens.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Amazing features and great images yield an impressive fixed lens camera.
Price: $849 from AmazonAvailable: June 2015
Model: G3 X/0106C001
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
(as an optional add-on)
The Canon PowerShot G3 X specs are impressive. This unit has nearly every feature you’d want to find on a digital camera.
The camera’s zoom range might be disappointing for some as the 25X optical zoom lens isn’t quite as large as some other models, but it is large enough to handle the vast majority of photographic situations you’ll encounter. Having a good image stabilization function is important with a big zoom camera, and Canon included a five-axis system here, which works well most of the time.
Related: Check out the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS review
When framing photos, you’ll use the 3.2-inch LCD screen. It has touch capabilities, which is great for beginners who may be more familiar with the interface found in smartphones, as well as a tilt function, which works well for shooting odd angle photos or for using the Canon PowerShot G3X while attached to a tripod. This display screen is one of the brightest and sharpest you’ll find on any digital camera … so much so that you may not wish for a viewfinder. However, you can add a detachable viewfinder to this camera’s hot shoe for an additional price.
Canon offers built-in WiFi and NFC capabilities with this model, which allows you to upload photos wirelessly immediately after you shoot them.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the G3 X is its large size. It has dimensions and weight that are more common in a DSLR camera, and it will not fit in any pocket.
Related: Read the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II review
The PowerShot G3 X release date of mid-2015 shows this is a relatively new camera. And with its large image sensor and extensive list of desirable features, you can expect it to remain relevant for quite a while.
When considering a Canon PowerShot G3 X vs. Sony A6000 comparison, the Sony model is less expensive and provides a larger APS-C sized image sensor. However, the A6000 is also a model that’s more than a year older than the G3 X. Canon gave its newer camera a faster image processor and larger storage buffer than the A6000, resulting in better overall performance levels for the PowerShot G3 X.
The Canon G3 X includes a 1-inch image sensor, which is one of the larger sensors you’ll find in a fixed lens camera, resulting in top-notch image quality. This model’s 20.2 megapixels of resolution are above average for a fixed lens camera too.
Its 25-600mm f/2.8-f5.6 zoom lens can cover a very wide range of photographic subjects, from sweeping landscapes to skittish wildlife. Canon G3X’s lens has a dimmer variable f/2.8 aperture at the wide-angle end of the lens which goes down to f/5.6 at the telephoto end. Plus, the 24mm focal length offers wide-angle coverage.
You’ll have the option of shooting in either the RAW or JPEG image format, which is a nice option for those photographers who are seeking advanced image quality choices. Shooting raw captures all the available image data recorded by the sensor allowing you to produce higher quality images.
There’s also a built-in neutral density filter with this camera, which is surprising to find in a non-DSLR model. The ND filter allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds in bright sunlight.
If you like to have some fun special effect shooting features in your digital camera, Canon delivers with this model, something that’s not always present in cameras at the G3 X’s price point. You can create fish-eye photos, nostalgic looking photos, and HDR photos, among others.
Burst mode performance is strong with the PowerShot G3 X too … at least when you’re shooting in the JPEG image format. You can record just shy of six photos per second in JPEG mode, which is an above average performance level. If you attempt to use the burst mode with the RAW image format though, you can expect a much slower performance level of approximately one photo every 1.5 seconds.
The one area where the image quality for the Canon G3 X suffers is when you’re shooting at the maximum telephoto setting. If you’re going to hand hold the camera at the maximum zoom, you could experience some problems with camera shake, leaving you with slightly blurred images. Because this camera is pretty heavy, it’s recommended that you use a tripod with it if you’re planning to use the maximum zoom setting.
With its 1-inch image sensor, the Canon G3 X is a strong camera in terms of low light performance. You can use either the popup flash unit or increase the ISO setting to achieve the low light image quality you want. You won’t really notice stray pixels (noise) in your low light images until you increase the ISO setting to at least 6400, which is a high performance level for a fixed lens camera.
Movie quality is also very good with this camera, offering a maximum resolution of 1080p HD at up to 60 frames per second. You’ll also be able to shoot lower resolution video, if desired, for sharing on social networks. You’ll have full access to the camera’s 25X optical zoom lens while recording movies.
Although camera manufacturers tend to over-exaggerate the performance of their batteries, Canon’s estimate of this camera’s battery life of about 300 shots per charge is accurate according to testing. In fact, 300 photos might be a bit of an underestimate, which is a rare, but pleasant surprise.
The Canon PowerShot G3 X price will be the biggest hindrance for most photographers. Being limited to only the one 25-600mm f/2.8-f/5.6 zoom lens is also a downside for some photographers. It’s tough to justify such a high price tag for a fixed lens camera, when you can purchase a best DSLR camera for beginners and a couple of lenses for a similar or lower cost. However, if you’re looking for all of the latest features in a digital camera, along with great image quality and a big zoom lens, there aren’t many cameras in the fixed lens market like the Canon PowerShot G3 X. If you’d prefer a model with enhanced image quality, richer colors and a faster shutter, check out the Sony RX10 II.