Canon Powershot G7X

Canon G7X

Canon G7X

I recently bought a Canon Powershot G7X, which is Canon’s high-end compact camera to rival the Sony RX100 III

These are my initial thoughts on it:

I’m really liking it so far. In auto mode a variable size square locks on to what it thinks is the main subject of the photo and this is the focus point, which then adjusts automatically as it works out how much of the subject to keep in focus. It then automatically switches to what it thinks is the appropriate scene mode – so if it detects a face it will switch to portraiture mode and throw the background into blur. It even has facial recognition and can store up to 12 people, and in group shots will favour those people and prioritise them, making sure they come out the best. It even has blink detection. It’s rather too scarily clever for its own good!
You can override the auto-selection of the subject with the touch-screen and then as you move the camera around it tracks it. It’s a really cool feature.

At 390g it feels a little heavy compared to my old Panasonic DMC-SZ9 but not excessively so.

The only annoyance so far is that it seems that you can only charge the battery by removing it from the camera and charging it on the separate charger – it seems that not only does it not charge from its USB port when connected to a PC, it actually very quickly drains its battery on file transfers whilst connected. That’s a pretty big annoyance. (Edit: Some reviews seem to suggest that it *can* be charged via USB so I’m happy to be corrected. But that was not my experience)

The other annoyance is that there isn’t a dedicated wireless remote – you use an app on your smartphone for remote shooting. I would have preferred a system like the one used by the GoPro, which has a choice of using a smartphone or a dedicated remote.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on its features or capabilities yet, so there is doubtless more to come. Those are my initial thoughts though.

Suzuki Swift Sport Mk1 vs Mk2

I’ve owned a 2008 Suzuki Swift Sport Mk1 for a year or so now, but lately have been doing a lot of motorway miles and the short gearing of the Mk1 is really starting to grate. In case you are not aware, at 70mph (GPS-verified rather than speedometer) the engine is pulling 4000rpm in 5th gear and is quite a noisy and unrefined place to be. It can get very wearing.

Today I test drove a 2015 Suzuki Swift Sport Mk2, and here are my thoughts on it.

First the good things:
It feels like it is in the next class up, with a much more contemporary interior, nicer seats, much better ergonomics, much higher level of equipment, and all altogether much nicer place to be. The leather steering wheel is a nice bit of tactile luxury. It also has a lower seating position which I liked a lot. It makes the Mk1 look and feel very dated, basic and cheap.
The 6th gear is a very welcome addition, as is the more comfortable ride and much better sound proofing. It is far quieter, more refined and more comfortable than the Mk1. When I took it out onto the motorway and set the cruise control, it felt like a car that could eat up the miles on my daily 100 mile round trip commute. Overall, a much more grown up car, and something you could use every day – far more so than the Mk1 which is extremely wearing on the motorway.

Now the bad things:
It has no character. All the fizz, vigour, vivaciousness and hooliganism of the Mk1 has been dialled back or lost altogether, and the Mk2 feels rather soulless and anodyne. The controls are way too light and lack the precision of the Mk1. Also completely gone is the way the Mk1 will pivot around you and put a smile on your face from doing something as trivial as a flick-flack through a mini-roundabout. It just all felt a little joyless in the Mk2. Furthermore, you forgive the lack of power in the Mk1 because it has such great throttle response, and because it is such fizzy fun. However, it’s much harder to forgive the Mk2 because, although it has more power and is lighter, the throttle response is much less sharp, there is more flywheel effect, there is less engine braking effect, and the whole thing feels more sluggish despite also feeling slightly more accelerative. I realise that this doesn’t really make much sense, but it’s palpable.

After I had finished the test drive and returned to the dealership, I realised that for the whole drive I had been trying to like the Mk2, and had been trying to convince myself that it would be ok if I bought it. There were rare fleeting glimpses of the Mk1 but they were mere echoes. When I left the dealership in my Mk1, it only took one mini-roundabout to get me grinning and thinking “God, I love the Mk1”. That pretty much said it all really. The clutch in the Mk1 felt really heavy after the Mk2 though, but the steering had so much more heft and precision, the gearbox was more snicketty, the brakes were more positive (although that might be down to the fact that I run EBC Yellow Stuff pads), and it just felt so much more alive.

Summary: (for those for whom the above is TL;DR)
The Swift Sport grew up and is a better daily driver for it. But also far less fun.