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.
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."
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.