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Ulla Lohmann <br class="br_visual" />on the G7 X:  <br class="br_visual" />Power to every shot!

Ulla Lohmann
on the G7 X:
Power to every shot!

© Ulla Lohmann

November 2014

When you give a new camera to Canon Explorer Ulla Lohmann, you can be sure of one thing: it will be properly used. CPN Editor David Corfield discovers just what her PowerShot G7 X went through to earn its place in her kitbag...

Ulla Lohmann, the dynamic first lady of adventure, has certainly won her stripes when it comes to testing herself – and her equipment. Her love of travelling to the world’s most extreme places has given her experiences that we are fortunate to savour through her stunning adventure photography.

With a career that has taken her all over the world – for commercial and editorial clients including BMW, National Geographic and Geo magazines – her equipment choice is fundamental to the job at hand. She travels light, but what she sacrifices in weight she never loses in quality.

“That’s why the PowerShot cameras have always been a welcome part of my equipment,” she reveals. “In the past I have used the PowerShot S120 and then the G16 but this one – the G7 X – is the best yet.”

The Canon PowerShot G7 X includes a fast 4.2x f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens, a large 1.0-type sensor, super-quick 31-point AF and manual exposure control for both stills and movie shooting.

Scaling new heights

Prior to the camera’s official launch back in September at the photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, Ulla was asked by Canon to take away a pre-production model and shoot a few images with it. Little did they know that “a few images” would involve Ulla walking and climbing around South-west Germany’s stunning Alsace region on the border of France. If you’re anything like her, you “go where the light is.” And for Ulla it just so happened that the light was half way up a mountain...

“This is in many ways the perfect camera for an adventure photographer like me,” she admits. “It’s professional quality but in a pocket size. My most favourite thing about it is the f/1.8 aperture in the brilliant f/1.8-2.8 24-100mm 4.2x zoom lens. Because of the G7 X’s large 1.0-type sensor it invites you to be more creative. You can introduce nice bokeh and blur into your shots and thanks to the flip screen it is easy to get creative with your compositions too. That’s very cool. It encourages you to be ‘looser’ with your photography, experimenting and being more creative than you might have otherwise been with a DSLR.”

For Ulla, though, the angles she chose were not just at ground level but high up, dangling from a rope. She continues: “We went rock climbing, and it was actually a quite difficult climb (a 7A level, for those in the know) so we needed lightness and strength to do it properly. That means not taking too much heavy equipment.”

“I was getting some great shots thanks to the wide-angle lens on the G7 X,” she remembers. “I could stop mid-climb and reach into my backpack, pull out the camera with one hand and hold it stretched out to get some really nice angles.”

The power of touch

© Ulla Lohmann

Full manual control allows for creative exposure in this stunning silhouette. Taken on a PowerShot G7 X with the lens at 24mm; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/11, ISO 125.

One of the key features on the PowerShot G7 X that Ulla found very easy to use – and highly advantageous from the perilous position she found herself in on the climb – was the compact’s intuitive touchscreen functionality.

“It was fantastic to have a professional compact with that feature,” she admits. “It allows you to choose the focus area, and that is incredibly useful especially when I’m busy hanging off a rope!” she jokes. “And even for filmmaking it’s brilliant, because on the screen I can touch two different parts of the scene and it will pull focus automatically from one part of the scene to another giving you a really professional looking film with the minimum of effort. And it will zoom all the way at the f/2.8 aperture, which is another fantastic thing, especially in low light.”

Ulla is clearly enthusiastic about this little pocket marvel and she has every justification. This PowerShot is the first in a new line of G-series professional compacts that make use of a new large 1.0-type sensor that is coupled to a brand new lens that offers a fast continuous aperture. Designed to reflect the ‘spirit of EOS’ the new design features a look and signature feel which is perfectly in keeping with Canon’s renowned DSLR and EF lens system. Near-instant start-up and rapid focusing means it is always ready to capture the moment.

Stunning image quality

Ulla was mightily impressed with how the camera performed on the mountain but was also very pleased with how little post-production the resulting image files needed once they were downloaded. “After the mountain adventure, we went to Lake Kochel, south of Munich, and got some really nice shots in amazing sunshine,” she explains. “I couldn’t believe how rich and clear the images were. The colour depth and density was incredible, and that’s all because of the large 1.0-type sensor. It really performs incredibly well with contrasty subjects.”

© Ulla Lohmann

Canoeing across Lake Kochel as the sun starts to set. Taken on a PowerShot G7 X with the lens at 24mm; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/11, ISO 125.

On our digitally connected world, Ulla is having to constantly keep pace with how we communicate, and cites the PowerShot G7 X’s WiFi function as particularly useful, allowing her to use it to connect to her phone, tablet and laptop for file sharing to social media. “We are asked more and more these days, as contributors, for pictures of ourselves in context. And that’s why I like the flip-up screen on this camera. It makes it very easy to take a ‘selfie’! And to be able to use your phone to shoot remotely with it makes even better use of WiFi technology,” she affirms.

Not content with her lakeside images, Ulla went a little bit further – in typical Ulla Lohmann style. “I am actually a qualified dive instructor and usually dive with my EOS 5D Mark III DSLR in a big housing,” she explains. “So to be able to dive with this little camera, and still get images that are every bit as good as those from the 5D [Mark III] was a revelation.”

“In previous jungle expeditions, for example, bringing along a full-sized DSLR diving kit is clearly not always practical, which is why I loved the new possibilities for underwater images this camera gave me. The housing for the PowerShot G7 X is smaller and makes it easy to get some cool water-based images, such as the half-and-half shots I like to take to show the river and life within it. These are the kind of images that National Geographic and Geo magazines like to have. It’s all about giving the reader the chance to discover a little bit more in an image, and this camera allows me to do that with every shooting situation.”

© Ulla Lohmann

Preparing the tent, for a night beside the lake. Taken on a PowerShot G7 X with the lens at 24mm; the exposure was 1/6sec at f/11, ISO 500.

“The camera is so small, it doesn’t scare people. So for candid portraits of tribal people it is perfect. You can go in close and your subject won’t feel so intimidated as perhaps they would be with a DSLR. The closer you get, the more emotions you can see.”

Designed to perform

As the crowds passing through Canon’s hall at this year’s photokina will testify, Ulla’s images taken on the PowerShot G7 X were truly impressive. From being displayed on the large screens on the Canon presentation stage to the prints coming off the Canon imagePROGRAF large-format printers, the quality of the images taken from the original files were full of colour and detail.

“The camera has won its place in my camera bag totally on its own merits. It really it amazing how something so small can deliver such great images. The design of the camera makes it so easy to take good pictures and encourages you to be creative,” she says. “The control ring around the lens makes it handle like a small DSLR which is another great thing Canon engineers have done: they have taken the spirit of EOS and put it in a PowerShot to make a compact that is small in size but big in quality. And for me that’s what it’s all about: getting the best possible image from every single situation in a camera that really does feel like it sees the world as I see it.”


  • Bright f/1.8-2.8 24-100mm 4.2x zoom Canon lens; 8.4x ZoomPlus.
  • HS System: 20.2 Megapixel 1.0-type CMOS sensor, “DIGIC 6” for stunning results up to ISO 12,800.
  • Intelligent IS adapts to the situation for sharp shots; 5-axis Dynamic IS for steady movies.
  • Expert handling with Lens Control Ring, customisable menus, shortcut buttons, touchscreen and dedicated exposure compensation dial.
  • Multi-aspect RAW and RAW+JPEG recording.
  • Large 7.5 cm (3.0") tilting PureColor II G Touch LCD (1040k sRGB) with Touch AF.
  • Super-fast 31-point AF; MF Peaking for accurate focusing.
  • High-speed sustained continuous shooting and support for UHS-I SD cards.
  • Full HD 60p movies with stereo sound recorded in high quality MP4 format.
  • Manual control in movie for extended creativity (Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO sensitivity).
  • WiFi with NFC and Mobile Device Connect Button. Remote Shooting possible via smartphone or tablet.
  • Star Mode (Star Portrait, Star Nightscape, Star Trails, Star Time-Lapse Movie), Background Defocus and HDR mode.

Biography: Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann

Ulla Lohmann is a German photojournalist and documentary filmmaker with a BSc degree in Natural Resource Management. She works freelance for clients including National Geographic, GEO, Stern View, the BBC, The New York Times and many others. She specialises in documenting the changing world of indigenous tribes and in photographing erupting volcanoes, and some of her photo stories have been exhibited at the Visa pour l’ Image international festival of photojournalism.


One of Ulla’s fellow climbing partners, captured precisely with the help of the stunning 24-100mm lens. Taken on a PowerShot G7 X with the lens at 24mm; the exposure was 1/160sec at f/11, ISO 160.