Canon PowerShot G16

The Good The Canon PowerShot G16 produces very good photos in bright light, and the fast lens, optical viewfinder, and relatively streamlined design make it nice to use. Plus, it finally delivers solid continuous shooting.

The Bad A mediocre Wi-Fi implementation, no articulated LCD, and lack of manual controls while shooting video are among the ways in which the G16 lags behind the competition. And other cameras deliver better photos in low light.

The Bottom Line While the Canon PowerShot G16 is better than the G15 and remains a nice enthusiast compact, its low-light photo quality disappoints for the money.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Image quality 8.0
7.8 Overall

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Canon PowerShot G16
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Price ... £1,119 Amazon.co.uk ... £487 Amazon.co.uk ...
Design
8
9
9
8
...
Features
7
8
8
8
...
Performance
8
8
8
8
...
Image quality
8
8
8
8
...

Review

Canon ekes out more speed for the G series

As a news announcement, Canon's PowerShot G16 enthusiast compact was a bit of a yawner: basically, it gains Wi-Fi and 1080/60p video over its predecessor, the G15. As a camera, though, the G series is slowly improving. Given that it was once one of the cameras that defined the enthusiast category it's sad to see it slip compared with competitors. Like the G15, the G16 has excellent image quality at low ISO sensitivities, but its performance is significantly improved -- still not the fastest option in its class, but no longer the slug it was. Its feature set continues to lag comparatively, but overall the camera remains a nice option for manual-control devotees who don't want to schlep around a dSLR and who still find compact interchangeable-lens cameras a bit too large.

Image quality
The G16's photo quality is about the same as the G15's, though looking back at that review I think it might have gained an extra stop of usability through tweaks in the JPEG processing. While very good for a small-sensor camera, photo quality still doesn't quite match that of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100. For JPEGs, images look good up through ISO 400, then artifacts begin to become quite apparent. While there's no great dynamic range or unsuppressed noise in the raw files, with some adjustments you can produce shots as high as ISO 1600 by processing them to better handle the tradeoffs of noise and sharpness. That said, I couldn't get decent prints out of my ISO 1600 shots.

It does have the same excellent lens as the G15, fast, bright, and reasonably sharp, albeit with some barrel distortion even at the 50mm-equivalent focal length. At its widest the lens stops down to f2.8 at about 96mm-equivalent, which is more than acceptable. The flip side, however, is that it can't narrow to more than f8, which had me enabling the ND filter more than usual in bright light.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Canon
  • Digital Camera Type Large-sensor compact
  • Weight 356 g
  • Sensor Resolution 12.1 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 14.9 mm (1/1.7")
  • Optical Sensor Type BSI-CMOS
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