Canon PowerShot G15: Bright lens, big performance?


posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 3:02 AM EST


With their latest enthusiast powerhouse camera, Canon leapfrogged the G13 and G14 names for the superstitious among us, landing instead on PowerShot G15. Luckily, this jump wasn't in name only. The Canon G15 boasts a bevy of advanced technologies, especially the 28mm wide-angle 5x zoom lens which starts out at a G-series-best of f/1.8 wide open and ends at a G-series best f/2.8 at full telephoto. That's some impressive speed and brightness throughout the entire zoom range. Add in the upgrade to a 12.1-megapixel, 1/1.7-inch High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 processor, and the G15 definitely has more imaging firepower to compete against its competitors' flagship compact digital cameras, which have arguably leapfrogged the G12 in recent months. It's nice to see that Canon's paying attention.

The new CMOS sensor is the same one built into the new S110, and it includes technology brought over from Canon's EOS DSLR sensors. The company says the sensor has "a wide range in the light-receiving surface area per pixel," thus improving light reception even in low light. ISO ranges from 80 to 12,800 -- a huge upgrade. The new sensor and the DIGIC 5 processor work together to help make AF speeds and shutter lag considerably faster in the G15 (53% and 45% reduction compared to the G12, respectively), according to Canon.


Dominating the back of the Canon PowerShot G15 is a 3-inch, 922,000-dot, fixed LCD screen. That's right, Canon ditched the hinged, vari-angle screen of the G12 -- definitely not a plus.

Some thought the Canon PowerShot G12 was a bit too chunky, but the G15 has slimmed down a bit. The G15 measures 4.2 x 3 x 1.6 inches with the zoom lens retracted, and weighs almost 12.4 ounces, nearly 2 ounces less than the G12. Unfortunately, it's still too big to be considered a pocketable camera; that is, unless you're wearing cargo shorts or a jacket.

The Canon G15's appearance hasn't strayed too far from formula. One instantly noticeable difference is the pop-up flash that replaces the embedded flash of the G12; this should help a little with red-eye issues. The top dials have also radically changed configuration.

The Canon PowerShot G15 comes at a suggested retail price of US$500 at launch, and will be available in October 2012. An optional WP-DC48 Waterproof Case, rated to depths of up to 130 feet, will be sold separately.

Read more about the Canon PowerShot G15 in our preview.