Sony Set to Launch an APS-C G1 X Competitor?

by on February 21, 2012

in Sony

Canon G1 X

Sony Alpha Rumors is pegging a compact Sony APS-C camera that will go head-to-head with the Canon G1 X.  Reportedly, the camera would use a pancake zoom lens to keep the size down.

I think Sony has a great thing going with the NEX line. So, I’m very interested to see what such a camera could add to Sony’s lineup.  If anything, I think a fixed-lens camera seems more accessible to a larger market.  This isn’t necessarily in terms of price (the Canon G1 X isn’t cheap), but rather in terms of perceived user experience.

I still think that, even a 2-3 of years deep into the mirrorless market, the casual consumer base perceives a more advanced experience-level required to operate a camera with interchangeable lenses as opposed to a fixed lens camera.  And, I think Canon’s G1 X is a response to those perceptions in the market.

Unfortunately, I think those perceptions are now misplaced.  The level of sophistication required to operated a Sony NEX-C3 vs. a Canon G1 X is the same.  (In fact, I would recommend the NEX-C3 over the G1 X to most casual users.)  Likewise, other capable compact point and shoot models (with smaller sensors) require the same minimal level of sophistication as these “more advanced models.”

However, when consumers are looking on the camera shelf at Best Buy, I think there’s an intimidation factor that steps in when comparing interchangeable lens cameras with fixed lens cameras like the G1 X.  That’s where I think a camera like the G1 X wins big – in the unsophisticated market – even though both cameras are relatively simple and easy to use.

That said, I think there’s a place in the market for the G1 X and more cameras like it.  If Sony’s planning a direct competitor to the G1 X, it has a lot of foundation to build on with its NEX line.  The limitation that enthusiast users will see, however, is in the lens range.  The G1 X suffers from a very slow lens on the tele end, as well as a rather long minimum focus distance. (See my Canon G1 X hands-on experience.)

Physics are physics and there’s only so small that Sony can make a lens without sacrificing max aperture and focus distance too.  That said a 3x zoom doesn’t sound too sexy for marketing purposes, so we’ll likely see something similar to the G1 X in terms of lens specs.

Whatever comes out, I’ll be sure to pass along the news as well as my thoughts on it when/if it hits the market. Stay tuned.

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{ 9 comments }

1 Tim L February 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

All other things being roughly equal, if all Sony does is copy the G1 X but with a 3:2 APS-C sensor then it would likely be my first choice despite my fondness for Canon gear.

At its current price, the G1 X is a disappointment. Yes, the IQ is better than a small-sensored compact and I do love its body style but value has to play into the equation and, at $800, it is reasonable to expect a better, faster lens. That being said, the idea that it will be a successful product among unsophisticated consumers may be exactly right.

2 Eric Reagan February 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments regarding the G1 X.

3 nik February 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm

hopefully it will have fully-articulated lcd like g1x, otherwise i’ll still take g1x for travel

4 Ben February 24, 2012 at 12:14 am

Didn’t Sony sort of have a crack at this segment several years ago with the R1?

5 Phiroze B. Javeri February 24, 2012 at 5:29 am

When a mirrorless camera professes to be superior to a compact point-and-shoot, one expects more from it than just a larger sensor. I sincerely believe that the future of sophisticated mirrorless cameras lies in their displacing DSLRs, and not stagnating as a better point-and-shoot alternatives.

6 Phiroze B. Javeri February 24, 2012 at 5:32 am

When a mirrorless camera professes to be superior to a compact point-and-shoot, one expects more from it than just a larger sensor. I sincerely believe that the future of sophisticated mirrorless cameras lies in their displacing DSLRs, and not stagnating as merely better point-and-shoot alternatives.

7 Al K February 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

Having used G9, G10, and G12′s as backups for my DSLR system for years, Canon’s G1 X is exactly what I always hoped the “G” series would become. When freinds asK for recomendatins on a “better” camera, I ask them if they want to carry a 6 to 12 lb camera bag around. If they answer “No”, then I used to recommend a Canon G12 or Nikon P7000. That recomendation has now changed to “get a Canon G1 X”, as it’s upgrade in image quality will be noticable to even the casual snap shooter.

8 Alejandro del Piélago February 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

I am not su sure about the Canon G1 X speeds, I mean shutter lag and etc. I still love my G10 and those 14MP with good light; but right now although all my gear is Canon I have to confess that my humble C3 is amazing. It would be nice a complete comparison between the G1 X and the Nex 5n.

9 JERRY SCHNEIR February 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I used dpreview’s compare high ISO and the NEX5N blew away the G1 X. The thing that makes me so in love with the 5N is how fast it auto focuses. Traveling in both India and Cuba within the last few months and shooting from a car moving at 40-50MPH with the 5N and I got tack sharp pictures. That cameras grabbed focus as fast if not faster than my Nikon D90 with a 18-200 lens. Fast AF has moved very high in my list of wants and I don’t think the Canon will do that. If it does then I would be interested in either ths G1 X or the Sony equivalent. Of course I don’t shoot at ISO 6400 very often.

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