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Probably the most important technical companion on your journey is a good camera. Of course, you want to record your travel memories and that as good as possible. Hence, choosing the right camera for the journey is crucial.

Travel camera test – Canon PowerShot G9 X

On our very first trip to Asia in 2012, a holiday with friends on Koh Samui, Tobi and I both still took pictures with a DSLR camera. Of course, even though the photos were great, we quickly realized that these cameras were way too big for us. One year later, for our first long-term trip through Asia and Oceania, we decided to try system cameras. A small downgrade in size and weight. For many years we photographed with these cameras.

Since we started traveling only with carry-on, we quickly realized the importance of space and, above all, to save weight. The system cameras did a good job, no question. But still we wanted to save space on our technical equipment. So we decided to try a high-end compact camera and bought the Canon PowerShot G9 X.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X in use
Small and compact: the Canon PowerShot G9 X is a great travel camera!

Since the end of 2016, we are now using the camera on our travels. Today we would like to give you a small review of the Canon G9 X. Please keep in mind that we are not professional photographers and rather report from the point of view of a travel blogger or vacationer looking for a compact, yet qualitatively still reasonably professional travel camera.

Please note: This article is not about the newer version Mark II of the G9 X, which came out a little later. However, there shouldn’t be big differences and at best the Mark II is even a bit more advanced in terms of quality and performance.


Why we chose the Canon PowerShot G9 X and its advantages

On the one hand, it was about saving space and weight, and on the other, of course, continuing to shoot good photos for our blog. Saving weight was not allowed to be a disadvantage for the quality. Thus, we needed a high-end compact camera that meets our quality requirements. Through a friend in Thailand, we finally became aware of the Canon G9 X.

Size

Even more compact is hardly possible – at least in this quality class! The Canon is so small with its approximately 9.5 cm width and almost 6 cm height that it fits into almost any pocket. The thickness is not much more than 3 cm at the thickest point (lens). We always wear it in a neoprene protective bag and even with this bag, it’s not much bigger. The weight is also only about 200 g and so this camera is perfect for us, who mostly travel with hand luggage. Also for your vacation, it’s a perfect companion and you can always carry this cam with you.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X in use

Handling and quality

The use of the camera is in our opinion easy and intuitive. Most of the functions are self-explanatory and you may only need to look into the manual for specific functions. We were able to find the most important functions, as well as advanced functions for taking pictures (exposure, ISO, aperture, autobracketing, etc.) right away.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X is robust and is well-made. The 3″ touch screen (7.5 cm) is very easy to use and it reacts well. It gives you almost the feeling of using a smartphone. Especially when browsing photos and quickly changing settings, a touch screen is a nice feature. If you are used to photographing with larger cameras with many buttons and wheels, you will miss them first. But you quickly get used to this, especially as someone who also takes pictures with the smartphone.

Photo quality

When comparing directly from our previous system camera to the Canon PowerShot G9 X, there are hardly any differences in terms of quality. Briefly speaking, it absolutely meets our standards and is perfect for our needs. The 20.2 MP JPEG photos with a resolution of 5472 x 3080 pixels (at 16:9) have mostly good colors, even without any RAW processing (sometimes they could be a bit stronger for our taste). The autofocus works perfectly and also with the help of the touch display.

It’s important to us that the camera should support RAW and it does. There is not much to say here. The RAWs have a super quality and can be edited very well. However, this is only interesting for you if you are a bit more involved with photo editing. In practice, you don’t really need RAWs for your vacation photos, so you can basically just shoot in JPEG.

An unedited JPG photo directly from the Canon G9 X (taken on Koh Phangan)
An unedited JPG photo directly from the Canon G9 X (taken on Koh Phangan)
Another unedited JPG photo taken with the Canon PowerShot G9 X (shot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
Another unedited JPG photo taken with the Canon PowerShot G9 X (shot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Good in bad light

This is one of the big strengths of the Canon PowerShot G9 X! Even in low light conditions, photos and videos are still sharp, even without a tripod. Where other cameras are no longer useful without a tripod, the G9 X is still relatively clear. The colors also make a good impression. Here are some examples.

Even in low light conditions, the Canon G9 X is still sharp and rich in detail (taken in Surat Thani)
Still sharp and detailed in low-light conditions (freehand photo, taken in Surat Thani)
The illuminated bar of the Yangon Yangon Skybar, taken with the Canon G9 X
Rich colors in bad light (freehand photo taken in Yangon)

Since we only travel with hand luggage and not necessarily always have a tripod with us, it’s just awesome! So we can shoot freehand photos, which comparatively still have a top quality and don’t have to hide behind those of professional cameras.

Video quality

The maximum video resolution is Full HD, which is 1920 x 1080 pixels. The maximum is only 30 frames per second. Normally this is quite enough for holiday memories etc. and we even use the camera for our vlogs, but we’d still like to see a little more pixels or frames per second. The video quality, however, is still good for us at this resolution!

Battery life

The life of the 1250 mAh battery feels like forever and the battery just won’t get empty. Once charged, we can easily use the camera for 1-2 days. For example, if we explore a new place somewhere all day and use the camera from morning until evening, we don’t need to recharge it for the next day. In many cases, we could even use it at least one more day.

Even if the battery is about to die, you can quickly change it with a replacement battery. With the small battery size it’s no problem to have a second one with you. But as I said, in practice this is usually not necessary. Recharge at the hotel in the evening and the Canon G9 X is ready for the next whole day.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X in use

Other handy features of the Canon G9 X

For us as a travel blogger, a great thing is the Wi-Fi feature. You turn on the cameras Wi-Fi, connect to your smartphone (or tablet, etc.), launch the Canon App and you have access to all the photos on the camera. That is really convenient if we post photos on Instagram. But even if you only want to share photos with your friends, this feature is great! Since we have the Canon G9 X, we would never again use a camera without Wi-Fi.

What we don’t like so much

One thing that we noticed while traveling and that we don’t like so much is the wheel on the front of the lens. This will allow you to quickly change the exposure, which is certainly handy for some situations. In everyday life, however, it has often happened that we took the camera out of the pocket or the protective case and accidentally changed the setting by rotating the wheel unknowingly. As a result, we have already messed up one or the other spontaneous photo (even if it’s still possible to post-edit).

In most cases, the focal length that ranges from 28-84 mm is enough for simple traveling situations, but a little more zoom would be helpful sometimes. Of course, it’s difficult to process a larger lens with this compactness. It’s not really bad, but it would still be a “nice to have”.

Canon PowerShot G9 X: Technical specifications

For detailed technical information about the PowerShot G9 X, and a comparison to other Canon compact cameras, visit Amazon.

What can not be missing: Accessories for the Canon G9 X

In any case, as mentioned above, we recommend a protective bag (be it neoprene or leather) and a spare battery if you are traveling longer without being able to recharge.

Conclusion

We can recommend the Canon PowerShot G9 X in any case and are still very satisfied with it after more than a year. It’s a very good travel camera and suitable for every situation. Whether beach photo or city skyline at night: the photos are absolutely amazing!

Any questions about our Canon PowerShot G9 X review? Which high-end compact camera is your favorite? Write us a comment.