Why fix something that isn't broken? Canon decides to add the "Mark II" moniker to its latest large sensor compact camera. It worked particularly well for the 5D Mark II (and now Mark III) so why not extend that courtesy down the line to some other models?
The successor to the large-sensor G1 X looks on paper to be a very worthy upgrade. The physical size of the sensor remains unchanged at 1.5-inch, though the pixel size is larger than the older camera. This means the photo sites are able to gather more light, resulting in a less noisy image. In terms of a size comparison to other models, the sensor in the G1 X series is actually larger than a Four Thirds sensor, and just a touch smaller than APS-C. The sensor's resolution is now 12.8 megapixels (3:2) though it is able to capture images in 13.1 megapixels as well, but with a 4:3 aspect ratio crop.
In terms of physical configuration, however, Canon has totally revised the look and feel of the camera, turning it into quite a different beast. Now, the Mark II features a more traditional compact camera-like rectangular configuration complete with pop-up flash and the removal of the optical viewfinder. Users can now opt for an electronic viewfinder instead. At 558g including battery and memory card, the Mark II is no shrinking violet.
The camera's 24mm image-stabilised lens extends to 5x optical zoom with a brighter aperture range than its predecessor: f/2-3.9. Around the lens are two rotating ring elements. The ring closest to the camera body is an aperture ring that clicks in 1/3 stops, allowing you to adjust the f-stop on the fly. The outer ring provides full-time manual focus override and the screen will automatically switch to expanded focus if you choose to use it to fine-tune AF results.
In terms of connectivity, the G1 X finally gets Wi-Fi and comes with NFC for easier pairing with Android devices. For long-exposure buffs, there is a mode that helps you make a star trail image, as well as capture a starry sky behind a portrait in the dark with just one exposure. Normally to achieve this sort of effect you would need to blend separate exposures in post-production.
There is now a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen at the rear of the camera which can tilt up 180 degrees. Though we doubt that the target audience for the G1 X is the selfie crowd, it's still a useful feature to have. The screen boasts a high resolution of 1.04-million dots.
The camera also gets the Digic 6 processor which helps to deliver cleaner images and faster overall shooting results. Canon says that an image taken at ISO 1600 with the Digic 6 processor will produce the same level of noise as an image taken at ISO 400 with the older Digic 5 version. The Mark II also can churn out 14-bit RAW images, and record video in 1080/30p.
In Australia, the G1 X Mark II will not ship with a chunkier grip as standard, unlike in European markets where it will come bundled with the camera. Expect to see the camera on shelves in April this year.