The PowerShot G-series has always been the flagship, 'serious' digital compact camera from Canon - the camera for those willing to sacrifice the 'compact' part for a chunkier camera because it comes with manual controls and brilliant images.
To understand the G-series, you have to go back a little in time before the advent of mirrorless system cameras. For a period of time, photographers could only choose between DSLR and digital compact cameras - mirrorless hadn't come along to fill in the middle between size and performance yet. But there were other cameras which stood for the middle ground back then, like the superzoom bridge cameras which kinda looked like DSLRs, and the 'serious compacts' like the Canon G-series.
Today, of course, photographers are spoilt for choice with the sheer number of mirrorless system cameras to choose from - cameras smaller than DSLRs, offering image quality better than any compact (and comparable to DSLRs in some instances) with the ability to pick and swap lenses for richer photographic effect. Mirrorless system cameras have started to catch on since their debut in 2008; in 2011 mirrorless system cameras accounted for 50% of all interchangeable-lens camera sales (read: DSLRs) in Japan, and nearly 30% in Asia. That's just from three years' worth of growth.
None of the camera makers can afford to ignore the rise of mirrorless system cameras, which is why nearly every one of them has a system on the market. The other half of the big two, Nikon, launched their 1 series mirrorless cameras just last year - which makes the absence of a mirrorless system from the largest camera maker in the world rather conspicuous.
Canon's Answer to Mirrorless System Cameras
Instead of launching a mirrorless system camera, Canon has released the PowerShot G1 X, the successor to the two-year old G12. It warrants a break-away from the G numbers, not because number G13 would make an unlucky name, but because the G1 X comes with a brand-new 14MP CMOS sensor. It's the largest sensor ever in a G-series camera, six times larger than the one in the G12, and slightly larger than the Micro Four Thirds sensor in Panasonic and Olympus' mirrorless system cameras.
Other new features include the Digic 5 image processing engine, a higher maximum ISO setting of 12,800, 14-bit RAW images, Full-HD 1080/24p video recording, and a bigger 3" vari-angle LCD with double the resolution of the G12. To accommodate the larger sensor, the G1 X is bigger and heavier than the G12, as well as pricier; retail price is S$999 compared to the G12's S$749.
That's a lot of coin to drop for a compact camera, so you'll want to know how the G1 X measures up. You know what we're going to say: Keep reading to find out!