With recent compact cameras closing the gap between compacts and DSLRs, Jonathan Lin had the opportunity to test out how the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, Canon’s new flagship compact, performed when shooting marine life. (Text and Photos by Jonathan Lin)
During a recent invitation to conduct a workshop, I had the opportunity to test out the PowerShot G1 X Mark III. With recent compact cameras closing the gap between compacts and DSLRs, I was looking forward to finding out how Canon’s new flagship compact performed when shooting marine life. Excellent low-light capabilities, high–speed continuous shooting, and responsive controls are all vital when capturing images in the ever–changing conditions underwater. Upon receiving the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, the first thing that caught my attention was its sturdy build. As a person with relatively large hands, I’m often wary when holding a small camera, constantly afraid that I might drop it, but the protruding grip, coupled with the textured coating, provides enough support for the camera to feel secure in my hand. My review unit came with the Canon WP-DC56 underwater housing, which is depth-rated to 40 metres. Most of the compact housings I have encountered don’t offer access to some critical controls that are needed for quick adjustments, but the WP-DC56 allowed me to alter all the necessary settings with the push of a button or the turn of a knob. While doing a wall dive, my dive guide led us to a site with relatively fast currents. Spotting a subject in the distance, I swam over, struggling to fight the current while attempting to frame the subject. Though I only had a few seconds to capture what I was after, the DIGIC 7 image processor, together with Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus and Dual Sensing image stabilisation, ensured that the camera snapped to focus at a blazing fast speed. Regardless of the conditions, I managed to capture razor-sharp images every time, and with up to 7fps burst shooting with continuous autofocus, it was a breeze to capture fast–moving subjects. In situations such as diving in strong currents, I sometimes use continuous shooting mode to increase my chances of getting a good shot. This isn’t a problem if I’m diving in shallow water and there’s plenty of ambient light. But when diving deeper, it’s necessary to increase ISO to compensate for the reduced available light, as strobes wouldn’t be able to refresh fast enough when in continuous shooting mode. With the PowerShot G1 X Mark III’s 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, which is similar to those found in DSLRs, the very low noise at higher ISOs was really noticeable. Combined with the WP-DC56 underwater housing, this easy-to-use but powerful compact camera is ideally suited to beginners, but more-advanced shooters who want to travel light will appreciate the impressive image quality and performance of the PowerShot G1 X Mark III, no matter how challenging the diving conditions.
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