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September 2014

The PowerShot G7 X signals the start of a new signature range of premium compacts aimed at professionals and serious enthusiasts. In an in-depth interview, CPN discovers the various technical challenges faced by the PowerShot development team – Tatsuya Yamada (product planner), Hiroshi Saruwatari (lens supervisor), Kazushige Ichino (G7 X development chief), Yousuke Fukai (G7 X lens barrel designer), Kenji Takahashi (imaging processor development) Taro Kobayashi (sensor development) and Kenichi Nishimura (G7 X design) – as they turned design into reality...

CPN: What are your thoughts about the G-series range?

The original G1 X (bottom) was a game-changer in combining a larger sensor into a compact body. The G1 X Mark II (middle) and the G7 X (top) continue this development.

Tatsuya Yamada: “The G [series] originally began in 2000 as the forerunner of high performance compact cameras, and this series has received lots of support from users over a long period of time. The G1 X, equipped with the first 1.5-type sensor, was released in spring 2012, and it created the current trend for putting larger sensors in compact cameras. Canon has continued to lead the high performance compact market in this way, but we believe that a transition to the next stage of premium models is now underway. Successors to the G1 X announced in 2014, the G1 X Mark II and G7 X are next level new models equipped with larger sensors that have a good balance between size and high image quality. Based on the idea of expanding on this new dimension of models, the premium models were redefined. While inheriting the G concepts of ‘The joy of shooting’, and ‘The joy of holding’, the intention is to continue to offer new expanded possibilities for compact cameras.”

CPN: What is the product concept of the G7 X?

Tatsuya Yamada: “It was planned with the concept, ‘High image quality in a pocket size’. Compared to the G1 X Mark II, putting a priority on the size is a feature. By achieving a balance between high image quality and size, so an even broader range of people can enjoy the camera, the best answer was to use the 1.0-type sensor. Also, particular priority was placed on background blur plus the feel of that blurring as well, so in addition to an f/1.8 (W) – f/2.8 (T) lens that is bright even at maximum telephoto, a 9-blade aperture iris – the same as that on the G1 X Mark II – was also included. In addition to this, to achieve the ‘expanded range of shooting’ that Canon is aiming for, it is also equipped with a long focal length of 24-100mm, and an LCD monitor that tilts 180 degrees.”

CPN: Were EOS users acknowledged during the development?

Tatsuya Yamada: “An important part of the development of a premium model was how it could be utilised as a sub-camera for EOS users. With this idea in mind, settings such as target exposure values were changed to make image processing on the G7 X as close to that of EOS.

We are also extremely conscious of operability. Not only Auto mode, but with users in mind who actively create images. In addition to the exposure compensation dial, there is a control ring, control wheel, and touch panel included, with emphasis placed on being able to easily and quickly respond to the desired image creation with direct controls.”

The story behind the G7 X - by the men who made it