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I almost hate to post this, but.... I am a very amateur photographer. I have been looking at the G1X from Canon. I compare it on DPreview (page 10 on G1X review) and it seems beat almost every camera. When I compare it on page 18 (raw), it continues to seem to beat almost every camera. The camera seems to get no love around here. I don't want to start a controversy about which is better and which is not, but what am I missing? I have all the camera I need for large enlargements ( Pentax 67 - which...Show more →
I don't quite agree with those who think you should post this elsewhere, since I think that the main point of your post is to get at the question of how to compare other alternatives to Canon DSLR cameras. If that is inappropriate here because it involves non-Canon DSLR equipment, it would be equally inappropriate to address the comparison question in any forum focused on a single sort of gear.
The full answer to a question like this is complex, loaded with potential for controversy, subjective and relative to the individual photographer, and will be different for different photographers and even change for individual photographers over time.
Where to begin...?
Let me start by saying the the G1X, along with many, many current cameras of all types is a very capable photographic tool. For a number of photographers and a number of purposes it could, in fact, be absolutely ideal. Despite what some will say and what the "evidence" of people using cameras might imply, a) the DSLR is not necessarily the be all and end all of photography, and b) a camera of the sort represented by the G1X and similar cameras can be precisely the best camera for lots of people with their own individual approach to serious photography.
Then, of course, we get to the subject of what reviews mean and how to interpret them and then how to apply what they say to one's own photographic needs. The best camera reviews attempt to provide objective information and reliable tests that allow comparison of one device to another. However, without going into too much detail, sometimes the attempt to limit variables and try to be objective ends up pointing certain readers of such reviews in directions that don't make a lot of sense photographically. (Don't get me started on measurements of resolution among cameras with different sensor sizes, or attempts to objectively present comparisons of noise or dynamic range.)
In addition, it is far to easy to get sucked into obsessing over the details of camera "reviews," especially those that provide voluminous detail, and get caught in a sort of analytical paralysis. Couple this with the desire to get The Very Best Thing, and it is quite possible to go way off the tracks in the attempt to analyze and decide.
Compounding this problem of obsessive focus on masses of tiny data points, is the tendency of people who write about "photography" to spend an awful lot of time and words writing about photographic technology, all to often without the context of real photography to give it some meaning. There are several reasons, I think, that might explain why there is some much writing about gear and equipment, as if it has any value in and of itself, and so little good writing about actually photography:
- there is an industry and a market behind all of this stuff that is, obviously, based on selling stuff - so it should be no surprise that "stuff" is the subject of much of the writing supported by that industry. (I'm not complaining, just observing.)
- frankly, it is a lot easier to write about "stuff" than to write about how good photographs are made and what distinguishes them from less than great photographs, and about how to move in the direction of understanding and making fine photographs.
- photography, like computers, stereo equipment, cars, certain kinds of sports equipment, and other things that you can probably think of has a strong appeal to the techie and the person who is as (or more than) infatuated with the technology of "stuff" than with what one actually does with it. There are certainly plenty of talented photographers who know their "stuff" pretty well... but the evidence of the number of those who aspire to acquire great "stuff" but don't produce a lot interesting photographs is there for all to see.
- in addition to the fact that almost every available piece of equipment is the right equipment for someone, it also seems to be true that different sorts of gear seem ideal to people at different points in their development as photographers. Although I've been a photographer for decades, starting with black and white film developing and printing, I can tell a few embarrassing stories about things I was certain were true when I began shooting digital cameras. The more I shot with this equipment and the more photographs I produced with it, the more I was able to separate the background of breathless background noise of camera reviews and photography forums from what actually turned out to be true for my photography... and I went through a series of cameras that included a contemporary semi-equivalent of the G1X along the way.
Believe me, I could write a ton more about this broader subject, but (I'm sure many will agree!) I have written too much already. :-)
So, if the G1X looks like a fine camera to you and for your needs, I say get it. Shoot the thing a lot, and focus on making interesting and compelling photographs. If it continues to be the right camera for you, you'll be one happy photographer! If not, it will still be a fine learning tool as you continue to develop as a photographer, and it will make you an even smarter shopper the next time.