Canon G16 Review

 
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Canon G16 Conclusion

Pros: Cons:
  • Improved autofocus speed
  • Shot-to-shot cycle time is much improved over G15
  • JPEG continuous shooting also improved over G15 with 12+fps for first 5 frames, then around 9fps for the remaining shots with no buffer limit
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Full HD video now at up to 60 frames per second
  • Excellent, fast f/1.8-2.8 5x optical zoom lens with 28-140mm equivalent range
  • Intelligent IS with up to 4-stops of correction
  • Built-in 3-stop ND filter
  • 12-megapixel, 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor with improved SNR
  • Comfortable and ergonomic build, with a slimmer design than the G12
  • High quality images for enthusiast compact camera, exhibiting very good color and sharpness
  • Minimal geometrical distortion and chromatic aberration in JPEGs
  • Advanced photographic controls, including PASM dial, 2 control dials, dedicated EV dial and ISO button
  • Bright 3-inch, 922K-dot LCD monitor
  • Menu system is refreshingly minimalist compared to over-complicated offerings of certain competitors
  • Plenty of customization options
  • Macro focusing as close as 1cm
  • Accepts conversion lenses and filter adapters
  • Flash hot shoe
  • Very good flash range
  • Dual axis electronic level
  • AF works well in low lighting
  • Focus peaking
  • Supports wired remote
  • Slow-mo video recording at up to 240fps at 320x240 resolution
  • Surprisingly fast buffer clearing and USB transfer times
  • Good battery life
  • LCD screen not articulated
  • Fine detail and acuity not quite as good as predecessor
  • Mild blurring in the corners at wide and tele
  • High chromatic aberration and barrel distortion at wide angle in uncorrected RAW files
  • Burst mode still slow when shooting RAW files
  • Optical viewfinder has limited coverage (about 80%) and demonstrates significant parallax (though not uncommon for its type)
  • No 1080p24 HD video framerate option
  • Too big to be considered a pocketable camera, unless it's a jacket or cargo shorts pocket
  • No built-in GPS; GPS location tagging added via smartphone app, with an awkward, multi-step process
  • Wi-Fi setup is clunky and can be troublesome
  • Wi-Fi does not support remote shooting
  • No built-in GPS
  • No external mic jack for video recording
  • As expensive as some entry-level CSCs and DSLRs
  • No cables included

The Canon G16 is another excellent premium compact digital camera from the "Big C.", and while it's not leaps and bounds different from the G15, it brings a significant feature to the table: speed. Thanks to the updated DIGIC 6 image processor, the G16 is a speed demon with fast autofocus, excellent shot-to-shot performance, and stellar JPEG continuous shooting. It also gets a bump in video recording capabilities as well as with Full HD 1080p video at 60fps. Unfortunately, RAW burst mode is still quite sluggish at under 2fps, though improved over the G15.

The other big addition is built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which is a nice touch that allows you to share and transfer photos to smartphones, tablets and computers. Yes, we found it a bit clunky in both the initial setup and in general usage -- however once it's up and running, it works as advertised. Sadly there's no remote shooting capability with the smartphone companion app, however, which we'd like to have seen, as it's quite useful on Canon's Wi-Fi-enabled EOS DSLRs.

Apart from the few new features we just mentioned, the G16 is largely the same as its predecessor. On the inside, the Canon G16 has a slightly improved 12.1-megapixel, 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor and the same 5x optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent) with a fast f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture range. It also keeps the excellent macro shooting capabilities (focusing as close as 1cm!). We did however notice there's a slight reduction in fine detail and acuity compared to its predecessor's images, though image quality is still excellent for its class.

On the exterior, the design is, by and large, identical to the G15. The articulating LCD screen that we enjoyed on the G12 is still absent with the G16, which is a bit disappointing. The tunnel-style optical viewfinder is okay, as it does zoom with the lens, but it still has parallax issues and doesn't have full coverage, as do most of its type.

However, as is standard protocol for Canon's G-series cameras, the G16 is very customizable, including a couple reassignable buttons on the rear of the camera. It also features its typical vast array of advanced photographic controls, including a PASM dial and a dedicated Exposure Compensation dial, as well as the ability to shoot in RAW. The easy-to-use dials and refreshingly minimalist menu system are a nice change from other more menu-heavy compact cameras. And the camera's fairly slim design (compared to pre-G15 models) does give it a better, more agile feel than its predecessors. While it's not very pocketable, like other enthusiast compact cameras such as the Sony RX100 II, its larger design makes it very comfortable and easy to hold.

Taking the well-received G15 and giving it a healthy dose of steroids with the new DIGIC 6 processor, the Canon PowerShot G16 packs a tons of great features into a relatively small package. While it might not be substantial upgrade from the G15, the speed of the new model is certainly tempting, as is the new 1080p/60 video. For G-series lovers with older models, this is definitely a worthy upgrade. The Canon G16 takes great pictures and ranks impressively well among its premium compact camera competitors. For all this, we give the Canon PowerShot G16 an enthusiastic thumbs up and a definite Dave's Pick.

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