The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III may be a compact camera on the outside, but the inside is DSLR guts. The G1 X Mark III, as the name suggests, isn't the first in Canon's flagship advanced compact category, but the third installment makes a big step up to an APS-C sensor, the same size found in entry-level DSLRs. The move is the first time Canon has brought the larger sensor into a compact camera.
The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III sports at 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. The larger size over the Mark II means better bokeh or background blur, enhanced low light capability and better image quality overall. That sensor paired with the DIGIC 7 processor means that image quality will be similar to the Canon EOS 77D because both the sensor and the processor are the same in both cameras. The G1 X Mark III also has the same autofocus system with dual pixel, another first for Canon's compact cameras. In keeping with Canon's DSLRs though, the compact still hasn't stepped up to 4K video, though the HD offers a nice 60 fps speed.
The dual pixel autofocus should offer a speed boost over the Mark II, while the Mark III also has a respectable 7 fps burst rate.
The lens is a bright f/2.8, though that drops down to a less impressive f/5.6 using the entire range of the 3x optical zoom. Both the zoom range and the aperture is less impressive than the lens on the Mark II, but putting a zoom in front of a larger sensor is more difficult than putting one in front of a smaller sensor. With the larger sensor, crops make less of an impact than adjustments on the earlier model as well, which makes the digital zoom slightly less bad.
While the guts may be DSLR, the exterior is advanced compact. The camera weighs about 14 ounces and while it has less versatility than a DSLR, the trade-off is a smaller size. The camera is controlled through a control wheel at the front as well as a ring around the lens. The G1 X Mark III also sports a tilting LCD screen and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder.
The Canon G1 X Mark III looks like an excellent addition to Canon's line-up, particularly with that APS-C sensor. The camera isn't alone with the large sensor in a big body, however. The Fujifilm X100F and X70, as well as the Ricoh GR II, also sport an APS-C sensor, though lack any sort of zoom. The weather-sealing and 3x zoom make the Canon G1 X Mark III stand out compared to compacts with similar size sensors. The camera lists for $1,200, about the same price as the Fujifilm X100F (and the Canon EOS 77D) but more than the GR II and X70.