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Canon Powershot G5 X Review

The Canon Powershot G5 X is Canon's latest advanced compact camera, and features a large 1inch sensor, built in electronic viewfinder, and a tilting vari-angle touch screen. Find out how it performs in our full review.

|  Canon PowerShot G5 X in Compact Cameras
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Canon Powershot G5 X (9) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

The Canon Powershot G5 X is a development of the G7 X, and features the same large 20 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor, and bright 4.2x optical zoom f/1.8-2.8 lens, but adds a tilting vari-angle touch-screen, electronic viewfinder and updated design.

Canon Powershot G5 X Features

Canon Powershot G5 X (1) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 640

There are now four models from Canon that feature a 20 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor, including the G9 X, G7 X, G5 X and G3 X, with the lower number equaling a larger camera. Here we compare the main features of each:

G9 X G7 X G5 X G3 X
3x optical zoom 4.2x optical zoom 4.2x optical zoom 25x optical zoom
28-84mm 24-100mm 24-100mm 24-600mm
f/2.0-4.9 f/1.8-2.8 f/1.8-2.8 f/2.8-5.6
3inch touch screen 3inch tilting touch 3inch vari-angle touch 3.2inch tilting touch
No EVF No EVF 2,360k dot EVF No EVF (Optional)
98x57.9x30.8mm 103x60.4x40.4mm 112.4x76.4x44.2mm 123.3x76.5x105.3mm
209g 304g 377g 733g


The G5 X features the same lens and sensor as the G7 X, with a 4.2x optical zoom lens, with optical image stabilisation, a bright aperture of f/1.8-2.8, and is equivalent to 24-100mm in 35mm terms, and a 5cm macro mode. Adding in a 3inch vari-angle touch screen with 1040k dots, and an OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), with a high resolution of 2360k dots, and an eye-detection sensor to automatically switch between the screen and EVF.

The sensor is the same 20 megapixel, 1inch BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor as found in the G7 X, with an ISO range of ISO125 to ISO12800, and continuous shooting speed of 5.9fps.

Canon Powershot G5 X (5) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

The G5 X has improved handling and controls in comparison to the G7 X, with a front control wheel in addition to a control ring around the lens, and a flash hot-shoe on top, with a pop up flash at the front. There is also a large rubber grip at the front, and a rubber thumb grip at the back. Wi-Fi allows remote shooting, easy sharing, and image backup, and NFC can be found on the bottom of the camera, along with a dedicated Wi-Fi button on the side of the camera. 

The G5 X records Full HD video at 60fps, with aperture, shutter and ISO control available in manual movie mode, and you can also use the touch screen to set the focus position while recording videos.

Canon Powershot G5 X (3) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

Key Features

  • 20 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor
  • 4.2x optical zoom lens, f/1.8-2.8, 24-100mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation, Intelligent IS with 5-axis Advanced Dynamic IS
  • 3inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1040k dots
  • Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with 2360k dots, 0.39inch
  • Wi-Fi / NFC connectivity
  • FullHD, 60p Video, 35Mbps, 5-axis IS
  • ISO125 to ISO12800
  • 5cm macro focus
  • Star mode, Handheld HDR
  • 5.9fps continuous shooting
  • USB charging

Canon Powershot G5 X Handling

Canon Powershot G5 X (6) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

The Canon Powershot G5 X is styled like a mini DSLR, with a mode dial on the left, a flash hot-shoe in the middle, and on the right, the on/off switch, shutter release, zoom control, and exposure compensation dial. The camera has a solid metal body, which feels good in the hand, thanks to a large rubber hand grip at the front, as well as a good sized thumb grip on the back where you'll also find the video record button. The camera feels very well built, with a few stylish touches, including a red ring around the front command wheel, mode dial, and exposure compensation dials. The layout of controls makes it quick and easy to adjust exposure compensation and other settings.

On the back is the electronic viewfinder (EVF), with dioptre correction, and eye sensor, so that it will automatically switch between the screen and EVF. The colour and resolution of both the screen and EVF are very good, and the EVF has a small but reasonable rubber surround. Also on the back is a scroll wheel which also doubles as a 4-way controller, with middle Q and SET button. There are playback, menu, AF-lock, and AF frame adjustment buttons surrounding the scroll wheel / 4-way controller. The AF frame adjustment button, video record button and three control wheels can be customised. 

The camera has 31 AF points, and you can use the touch-screen to select the focus position from any area of the screen, except for the extreme edges of the frame. 

Canon Powershot G5 X (7) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

The menus are clear and neatly laid out with colour coded sections, and a MyMenu section where you can add your favourite settings. The Q button brings up an overlay of options, that can be customised. The Q menu items as well as the menus themselves can all be controlled and set using the touch screen or the 4-way controller depending on which you prefer. 

Wi-Fi features - Using Canon's Camera Connect app, available for iOS and Android devices you can control the camera from your smartphone, view and transfer image on the camera, as well as add GPS location information to photos taken with the camera. 

Canon Powershot G5 X (10) | 1/60 sec | f/1.4 | 25.0 mm | ISO 500

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 210 shots using the screen, or 215 shots using the EVF according to Canon / CIPA test results, which is low, although can be extended to 320 shots by switching on the ECO mode. 

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Photographs taken using the Canon PowerShot G5 X

DaisyHerne BayFlower GirlBigleaf MagnoliaA shot of lightHerne BayFetchSimply RedHerne Bay PierA Lovely Day At The SeasideBeach Viewpink liliesSignal BoxHeadcorn 4Headcorn 3

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Niknut Plus
11 3.0k 82 United Kingdom
4 Jan 2016 4:48PM
Oh Yummy !!!!!!!!!!!!........98% perfection (20-100 lens would be 100%)...strewth it's tempting !!.Grin
4 Jan 2016 6:59PM
AlanTW 18 353
4 Jan 2016 11:16PM
Less than 1fps in RAW - pathetic!
5 Jan 2016 6:06PM
to be honest 1fps raw aint going to be and issue for the potential buyer of this camera. whats the point in it?
you can get a LX100, a X-T10, rico GR11, and many other real cameras with larger sensors for the same price and cheaper.
if a tiny 1in sensor rocks your boat. then the original RX100 can be had for less than half the price. so i think anyone who purchases one of these probably has know idea what a raw file is.Tongue
19 Nov 2016 5:53PM
Objection - Kermode111 !!RAW is important, especially in this camera which has a heavily smoothed Jpeg output. And anyway, for what you pay, you'd expect a decent RAW facility. I loved the camera for size and quality of build - I take a lot of shots with these small cameras that I just could not attempt if I lugged around a larger, higher quality, similar priced camera. The pictures are certainly more vibrant at 20Mp but not enough to justify the price and the poor performance. Also, the autofocussing is a nightmare. How Canon could put this beautifully built but terrible camera out in the market I cannot begin to comprehend.

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