By Jean Rydberg
If underwater photography isn't the prime focus of your travels- and even if it is- you may not want to be lugging around a full professional grade system. That's where a compact point-and-shoot with a 1" type sensor comes in. We're talking about cameras that are kind-of-pocket-sized and pack fast lenses, larger sensors, and good 4K video processing capabilities.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is exactly that type of camera. It's compact and enjoyable to carry around and shoot. It's a great example of Canon's legacy for vibrant color quality and superior ergonomics. Perhaps more than any other camera manufacturer, Canon knows how to design cameras that feel good in your hands.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III takes a place on the list of top compacts to shoot underwater for quality, travel friendliness, and ease of use.
Nirupam Nigam of Underwater Photography Guide / Bluewater Photo Store shows a little bit of what the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is capable of underwater. This photo was taken with dual DS161 strobes.
G7 X Mark III Camera Features:
- 20 megapixel 1" BSI-CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 8 image processor
- RAW image capture
- 4K 30p and 1080 60p video recording
- 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 lens (4.2x optical zoom)
- Minimum focus distance 1.97" (5 cm)
- Manual exposure controls
- Built-in flash
- CIPA battery rating 235 shots per charge
- 10.72 oz (304 g)
- 4.13 x 2.4 x 1.61" (105 x 61 x 41 mm)
In addition to tilting up and down, the rear LCD screen can flip up to be forward facing for selfies or to see yourself while live vlogging.
The G7 X Mark III can capture up to 4K/30p video resolution with no crop. That means that it's recording video using the whole sensor for clarity and good low light performance. You can also choose 1080/60p video capture for slow motion effects.
Video recording time is limited to 10 minute intervals. This may affect you if you're planning to use it to record a recital or soccer game but generally won't negatively impact its use underwater. Editing your underwater video is a lot easier if you capture action in segments of 30 seconds or less, taking care to have at least a few seconds both before and after the primary action to provide a buffer for any transitions you want to use. Shooting video in shorter bursts also keeps the camera running cool during your dive.
Balanced Weight and Buoyancy
ABS-PC, aluminum, and acetal construction make this one of the lightest housings on the market both on land and underwater. It is designed with a small amount of air space around the camera to balance the system's weight for the most comfortable near-neutral buoyancy underwater. The air pocket also helps to prevent camera fogging and overheating, particularly when shooting video.
Rapid Fire Shutter Lever
The unique rapid fire shutter lever imitates a curved trigger for increased sensitivity and faster reaction times. It can be quickly and easily extended using the Trigger Extension # 4077.93 to put it right at your fingertips when you have a tray with handles attached the housing.
The unique trigger-style shutter design can be extended for comfortable reach when you have your hand on a handle.
Soft Touch Controls
The Mode Dial, Control Ring, and Control Dial are all accessed via premium soft-touch knobs. Push button controls are made of lightweight and corrosion resistant hard-anodized aluminum. Each control symbol is laser engraved, not painted, for high visibility that does not flake off over time.
Wide Angle Dome Options
The housing's standard glass lens port allows use of the camera's full 24-100mm equivalent zoom range underwater. The optional WD-3 Wide Angle Dome # 6430.3 is a great option for a semi-wide field of view underwater that's super crisp corner-to-corner. It can be removed underwater to shoot macro with a close-up lens.
Any 67mm threaded wide angle or macro close-up lens attaches directly to the front of the standard housing port with no need for an adapter.
This housing is also compatible with the DC4 6" Dome Port # 6404. The original port simply unthreads and the DC4 threads onto the front of the housing. The DC4 is essential to avoid the dreaded double water-lines that occur when shooting over-unders (half-in, half-out of the water) with a wide angle wet lens.
The DC4 6" Dome Port replaces the housing's standard lens port. You can shoot wide angle and over-unders, and still utilize a portion of the camera's zoom range for macro close up work.
Vacuum System Compatible
The housing provides a spare port to attach a 1/2" vacuum valve. Using a simple hand pump you can pull a vacuum on the housing to check for major leaks prior to entering the water.
Since the back of the housing is completely clear, a vacuum system is not necessary to check the seal or to monitor your camera during the dive. There's a completely unobstructed view of the o-ring seal, camera, and dry interior.
The back of the housing is completely removable from the front of the housing. This makes it easier to install the camera and maintain the o-ring seal. Unlike a hinged back design, the o-ring is compressed evenly around its circumference during closure which provides a more consistent, repeatable seal. Lubricant is not recommended on the rear o-ring, eliminating a potential source for assembly error.
The side of the housing features a spare 1/2" port for the attachment of an optional vacuum valve. The rear o-ring seal and camera are 100% visible through the back of the housing.
Made in the USA
This is the only underwater housing for the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III made in the USA and backed by nearly 60 years pioneering underwater photographic equipment. Each housing is built with a diver's love, individually tested for fit, and water pressure tested to 200 feet (60 meters).
Soft touch control knobs and smooth action push buttons make the controls enjoyable to use with or without gloves. The o-ring compression is controlled by heavy duty stainless steel locking latches.
How does the G7 X Mark III compare?
Compared to the previous model the G7 X Mark II, the major differences are that the new Mark III processes images faster and provides 4K video recording. It's also capable of burst shooting in RAW at up to 30 frames per second, though not with continuous focus.
The completely redesigned Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II was released at the same time which features a slightly longer 24-120mm equivalent zoom lens. It also has a pop-up electronic viewfinder which is good for surface shooting though not usable within a housing.
Sony's latest RX100 series cameras including the VI, VII, and VA, will provide better video quality and can autofocus continuously during burst shooting. However continuous shooting has limited usefulness underwater when you're relying on the camera's built-in flash to recycle and trigger an external strobe. Sony and canon ergonomics are pretty much the same inside of the respective housings, but the Canon has an edge topside where we prefer its built-in grips and larger video recording button. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is also significantly less expensive than RX100 series cameras.
The Canon PowerShot G7 X III is a powerful contender among compact cameras with 1" sensors. If you're looking for a compact camera with manual exposure controls that won't break the bank, then this is probably the right camera for you.
Jean Rydberg is the President & CEO of Ikelite. She has lived her whole life in landlocked Indianapolis, Indiana, but is no stranger to the water as a daughter of Ikelite’s founder Ike Brigham. She has traveled around the world shooting and testing gear and enjoys new challenges in both photography and diving. Jean loves to learn about the creative ways photographers achieve their visions. More than anything she wants to show aspiring underwater photographers that excellence is attainable with any system. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband and two daughters.