A man, shot from the shoulders down, stands by a lake holding a Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II in his hand.

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Small and perfectly formed: discover why the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is the ideal travel companion

Action and lifestyle photographer James North has built a career around travelling the world taking high-octane adventure shots, so he jumped at the chance to visit the Austrian Alps to shoot its green pastures, crystal-clear lakes and snow-covered peaks.
James wanted to travel light, so he swapped his usual DSLR – the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – for the new Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II advanced compact camera. Austria proved to be the ideal location to test the camera's capabilities. "It was luscious and green," he says. "The sun was really strong but as you climbed higher there was still snow in places. There was a gorgeous colour palette and interesting tones and textures in the landscape – there was something new to shoot around every corner."
London-based James – who counts skate brand Vans among his clients and co-runs The Reason Snowboard Magazine – put the super-portable Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II through its paces, experimenting with its various settings. With a premium wide-angle 5x zoom lens, a pop-up electronic viewfinder (EVF) and a 20.1 megapixel 1.0-type CMOS sensor and more, it offers far more advanced specifications than you'd expect to find in a fixed-lens camera. Here, James shares his tips and tricks for making the most of its features.

1. Switch on macro mode for crisp close-ups

Get down and dirty by revealing the intricate details and textures of things you encounter on your travels. Designed to show off close-up subjects, macro mode is ideal for shooting flowers and insects, and the pop-up EVF on the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II makes it much easier to get the right point of focus. James got the best results by keeping the camera about 20cm from the subject, shooting sharp and textured close-ups of padlocks on a bridge in Innsbruck and colourful clover in a field.
"You get amazing detail on tiny objects that would be too small for most lenses," James says. "You can spend thousands of euros on macro lenses for DSLRs, so to have a macro feature on a compact camera is amazing."

2. Harness panorama mode in wide open spaces

Whether you're looking at swathes of green countryside, ragged coastlines or sparkling cityscapes, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II's panoramic mode is ideal for scenic shots of the wide, sweeping scenes that you encounter on your journey. The camera self-stitches images as you pan around, without any blurring. James used it to capture Austria's cloud-brushing peaks and describes the result as 'seamless'.
The high-quality 5x zoom lens delivers outstanding results at any focal length and James found it was particularly effective for capturing wide angles.

3. Rely on HDR when the light's right

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James was impressed with the camera's High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, which takes multiple exposures of the same scene and combines them to get the best elements of each – the rich details in the shadows and brights of the highlights – without the image being too washed out or too dark.
James got the best results in HDR mode when the highlights and lowlights were at their most extreme. "HDR mode means the camera can expose these correctly, creating a composite in one shot," he explains.

4. Tilt the screen to try different angles

The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II features a 180-degree tilting LCD screen, ideal for low-angle shooting or taking selfies. "It's really beneficial to have a screen that tilts like that," says James. "You can go high or low and get more creative with angles, but you can still clearly see what you are doing." James found himself using the tilting LCD screen and then switching to the pop-up OLED EVF when he needed to concentrate on creativity.
The touchscreen capabilities of the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II enable you to adjust all the controls, such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO, in a fast and intuitive way. "If you're trying to shoot an interesting composition, or a famous landmark from an unusual angle, and the camera is in a bit of an awkward position, it's easier to use the LCD screen rather than scrolling dials," James explains.

5. Shoot 4K video for post-production flexibility

4K video offers four times the resolution of 1080p Full HD, at 3840 x 2160 pixels. This means you can capture breathtaking, almost touchable detail with 4K compared to Full HD video, and with no cropping – perfect for capturing an eagle soaring on the thermals, or your mate diving into the crystal-clear waters of a lake. Shooting in 4K also gives you the flexibility to zoom in, pan and crop into your footage up to 200% and still deliver your movies in Full HD resolution.
James shot some skateboarding footage on the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II to check out the quality. "The movie setting was definitely better than expected," he says. "I hung out the back of the car, filmed my assistant coming down the road and the tracking focus worked really well. I was impressed with how the footage looked off camera – it's pretty well balanced in terms of grading."

6. Don't be afraid to experiment

Equipment is key but taking great photos of the world you're exploring is also about skill and creativity. "Photography is obviously about using your eye, and the camera as a tool," says James. "You need to approach any camera you pick up in the same way, whether you're taking photos on your phone or on a DSLR. You just adapt how you use it according to the available features."
So what was James's verdict on the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II? "You couldn't really ask for much more in a compact camera," he says. "It's really good for the enthusiast – for anyone, really, who wants to develop their skills in photography while playing around with creative control."


Written by Loren Cotter

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