Look around the Photokina show floor this week and you'll find a deluge of attractively designed and extremely compact cameras that nevertheless have the power to deliver great image quality. Bigger sensors are fitting into ever-smaller bodies and Canon's G7x is a great example of this trend. It's the storied Japanese company's first 1-inch sensor, fitting within the dimensions of a camera intentionally designed to be pocket-friendly.
Going up against Sony's well-liked RX100 range is a tough task for anyone, but Canon has put together a good challenger in the G7x. I was immediately impressed by this camera's build quality upon picking it up. There's no sense of plasticky or flimsy components, the articulating LCD screen has a reassuringly firm hinge, and the manual adjustment ring around the lens is fast and a real pleasure to use. Canon also tucks in a pop-up flash that extends a reasonable distance above the camera body. Wi-Fi and NFC are included alongside a dedicated smartphone connection button to make wireless connectivity instant.
At $699 (or £579 and €719 in Europe), the G7x is cheaper than Sony's latest RX100 model and has a wider zoom range, covering the 35mm-equivalent of 24mm to 100mm. Zoom operation by the camera is smooth and focusing performance is generally fast. Canon positions the G7x as the photography enthusiast's second camera — the one you might carry around your body when you don't want to have all your gear weighing you down. The G7x is certainly the right size for that, and while it makes some concessions to modern fads with its selfie-friendly screen and smartphone connectivity, its main selling point will still be excellent image quality. Having taken a number of sample images myself, I can say it shows the potential to live up to Canon's strong reputation.