Canon stacks on features to Powershot cameras with better burst, new sensors

Canon is reimagining the lineup of advanced compact cameras by integrating more speed into the small cameras using a stacked sensor design. On Monday, July 8, Canon announced the PowerShot G5 X Mark II and PowerShot G7 X Mark III, both boasting updated 20.1-megapixel sensors with 20 fps stills and uncropped 4K video.

The cameras new capabilities lie largely in the design of the sensor. The 1-inch sensors use a stacked design, an approach that Sony already integrated into several mirrorless and compact cameras. By separating the sensor into layers for gathering light and processing data, the camera can handle larger amounts of data faster, resulting in the 20 fps maximum burst speed found on both cameras. (Canon hasn’t yet released full specifications with details such as the maximum burst speed with continuous autofocus). That sensor is paired with the Digic 8 processor.

The camera is also capable of handling 30 fps 4K without cropping from the 1-inch sensor, including HDR modes and HD slow motion up to 120 fps. The G7 X III can even livestream to YouTube using a Wi-Fi connection, and for pre-recorded videos, can tackle the increasingly popular vertical video designed for smartphone viewing.

The 20-megapixel sensors also have the highest ISO speed yet for Canon’s compact PowerShot series, at up to 12,800. Predecessors like the G5 X topped out at ISO 6400.

While both will deliver similar image quality thanks to identical sensors and processors, the two compacts have a few differences. The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is the more compact of the two, yet the camera manages to pull off a new 5x optical zoom with the built-in lens. Unlike the predecessor, the G5 X mark II has a new pop-up electronic viewfinder to offer the convenience of an EVF while keeping the compact body style. The screen sports touch and drag autofocus, while a new panoramic mode is also included.

The G7 X III has a few more updated features geared toward vlogging and video, thanks to the livestreaming capabilities and vertical video options. The lens on the G7 X III offers a 4.2x zoom. The body also houses a mic jack for video, along with an updated user interface.

While the stacked sensor and pop-up viewfinder channels competing compacts like the RX100 series from Sony, the Canon options will sit at a more competitive price. Expected in August, the G5 X Mark II lists at about $900 and the G7 X Mark III at about $750.

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