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Canon PowerShot G16 review


A fantastic compact camera with great image quality and nippy performance

Review Date: 5 Nov 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £449 (£539 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £370
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Image Quality
5 stars out of 6

Canon’s PowerShot G16 sits awkwardly in the current camera market. It’s more expensive than other high-end compacts, yet lacks the interchangeable lenses and larger sensors found on compact system cameras such as the Sony NEX and Olympus PEN ranges.

Yet despite appearances – the G16 is the spitting image of its predecessor, the G15 – Canon has introduced a number of new features. There’s a backside-illuminated 1/1.7in sensor capturing 12.1-megapixel images, and the image processor has been replaced with the DIGIC 6 model, which delivers an impressive burst rate of up to 9.3fps.

Canon PowerShot G16

The G16 has also added integrated Wi-Fi for instant sharing and mobile-device transfer via iOS and Android apps. This works well, but there are no remote-trigger or viewfinder features. There’s manual focus peaking and a 60fps Full HD movie mode, plus a number of additional creative modes.

Our favourites are the Star mode, which takes the guesswork out of creating star trails, starscapes and timelapse star movies; the Background Defocus mode, which uses focus stacking to isolate your subject and blur the background; and the Super Slow Motion video mode.

Canon PowerShot G16

In terms of handling, the G16 is as good as its forebear, with plenty of buttons and dials for accessing commonly used features. It’s aimed at enthusiasts, so you get a mode dial and an exposure-compensation dial on the top plate; another dial on the front for setting aperture or shutter speed, depending on the mode you’re in; and a D-pad on the rear, complete with dedicated movie-recording and custom buttons. There’s no touchscreen, though, which is a disappointment.

It’s very quick, too. With the camera set to snap JPEGs in continuous mode and autofocus tracking turned off, it will fire at 9.3fps – not only until the buffer fills up, but the entire memory card. Autofocus is quick and surefooted, and – in typical Canon fashion – exposures are superbly well judged, even in tricky conditions such as when a scene contains both extremely bright and dark areas.

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

The lens is bright, too, at f/1.8 wide open, and although it does close down at the telephoto end of its 5x zoom range, that’s only to f/2.8. In good light, image quality is fantastic for a compact with such a small sensor. For low-light photography, the lens’ wide aperture helps it keep ISO down and shutter speed up, producing well-exposed and sharp photographs, but noise does begin to become obtrusive before modern compact system cameras – which have larger sensors – at around 1600 ISO.

The G16 is a superb compact. It’s fast, offers all the controls an enthusiast needs, produces great photos in most conditions, and the wireless features work well. It falls short of an award, though, due to its high price – you can buy a full-blown DSLR for this money – and the lack of a touchscreen.

Canon PowerShot G16 sample pictures:

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

Shot at f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 3200. Click this link for the full resolution version

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

Shot at f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 3200. Click this link for the full resolution version

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

Shot at f/8, 1/40s, ISO 100. Click this link for the full resolution version

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

Shot at f/1.8, 6 seconds, ISO 400. Click this link for the full resolution version

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

I'd like to have had more about the Background Defocus mode, as ability to blur out the background is possibly the main difference between large- and small-sensor cameras. Any chance of a paragraph and a example photograph or two?

By Mark_Thompson on 5 Nov 2013

DSLRs are a different market to a high-end compact.
I bought the earlier G11 as a compact replacement of a whole weighty kit of film SLR + lenses of much the same total spec. Others buy it as a quick-action, lightweight alternative to their pro. DSLR set-up.
What kills this for me is that Canon dropped the articulated rear screen of most earlier models. This is a boon on my G11, facilitating shots over the heads of people at events, , TLR-style steady shots at waist-height, or steady long exposures shots with the camera resting on - for example - the floor or west walls of churches.

By Walsallian on 7 Nov 2013

Best digital compact camera

Canon, the world leader in the professional imaging technologies,Canon PowerShot G16 is also a great product with full of features and specifications of its range, view here :

By bestcamerasonline on 12 Nov 2013

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