Canon’s PowerShot G16 is a small and solid compact camera that can take clear and vibrant pictures if given the chance. It’s a small camera in a series of cameras that have been in business since 2000, and it’s the 13th release (Canon omitted the G13 and G14 and added the G1 X in 2012). It’s not too different from last year’s G15, but it adds a few features that make it stand out as one of the best ‘prosumer’ compact cameras on the market.
Scroll to the bottom of the review to see sample photos taken with this camera.
A versatile shooting game
The PowerShot G16 has an upgraded image processor compared to the G15 (it uses a Digic 6 but not a Digic 5) and Canon has also added an integrated Wi-Fi module that works reasonably well. to take pictures off the camera and onto your phone, tablet, or laptop. The G16 is also a faster camera than the G15 (which was noticeable when we paired it with a speedy SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card), but it doesn’t look or feel too different from the G15. .
A 28-140mm lens sits in front of the camera’s 12.1-megapixel sensor. It has an aperture of f/1.8 at the widest angle and f/2.8 at full zoom, and it’s as small as f/8 in bright conditions. This lens gives the camera great versatility. You can use it for macro and portrait photography very easily (our favorite action with this camera), or you can use it to shoot landscapes and buildings. Importantly, the wide aperture gives you good range for shooting indoors or in other low-light environments without the need to push the ISO speed too high and the shutter speed too slow (down to 250 seconds). in manual mode). Another advantage of the lens is that it can produce a beautiful background blur when used at its widest aperture.
Strong build quality
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect at a glance of the G16 is its build quality. It’s a camera that feels solid in the hand and it’s designed with usability in mind. It’s not too heavy (it sits at 354g on our digital scale) and it feels well balanced when shooting. Since the display doesn’t have a hinge, the body feels streamlined and the flash is housed in a small pop-up compartment on the left side, rather than always being visible on the front, which we think makes The camera looks neat and sophisticated.
The only thing we don’t like about the build is that an automatic lens guard is used instead of a user-removable lens cap, which would make the camera bulkier. It has two sections that meet in the middle to cover the lens, but they got stuck a few times during our tests. We should also mention that, depending on how you handle the camera, the exposure and mode dials may be inadvertently displaced from the original position you’ve set. If you’re careful with the cameras when transporting, they won’t move.
The in-body controls are plentiful, and this is because the camera is geared towards those of you who already know about photography or want to learn more. Aperture and shutter values can be changed via separate dials (one for the right index finger and one for the rear thumb), and there’s a dedicated dial at the top that lets you use exposure compensation. You can use the exposure compensation dial to match your photo to your mood, but only when using manual or one of the semi-manual modes.
The ISO setting can be activated with the press of a button and changed via the dial on the rear, and there is also a dedicated button to display the movable focus point. This can also be changed by moving the dial. There are also buttons to switch to manual focus mode, macro mode, exposure lock mode, and to display a quick menu. There are many settings that you can use in the quick menu, including white balance, exposure, color mode, and drive.
We’ll be brief about the drive as it’s an interesting aspect of this camera that adds to its usefulness as an all-around photography tool. You can use two continuous (continuous) drive modes: standard and autofocus. Standard mode is the fastest mode because it does not refocus the image if the focus changes during continuous shooting, while autofocus will bring the subject into focus as it moves while the frame is moving. recorded. With the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card, the G16 records JPEG images at 9.6 fps (fps) and it doesn’t slow down at all. When using an older Panasonic class 4 SD card in the same mode, the frame rate was 6.1 and the shutter speed slowed down significantly after 5 seconds. Using continuous autofocus on a moving subject, the rate was 4.8 fps (with the SanDisk card).
It’s basically a very fast camera that will come in handy when taken to sporting events or anywhere else you need to capture some fast action. It also has quick shot-to-shot performance when it’s working properly. The lens responds with minimal lag to zoom commands, and focus operations are accurate and quick as long as there’s enough light and our subject isn’t too close. The camera’s warm-up time is also fast – it takes about a second. Settings can be changed quickly enough on the go, but we think there’s still room for improvement here to make the system more responsive to the dials.
What you see is what you get
You can frame photos using the 3in display, which has a great feature: what you see is what you get (aka WYSIWYG). Any changes you make to the exposure are reflected on the screen in real time, and when you press the shutter button, you’re just telling the camera that you want to keep what you saw on the screen. Figure. It’s a feature we always talk about when we review Olympus cameras (see the Olympus PEN E-P5 as an example), so we’re glad the G16 has it too.
The screen is bright and clear, but it’s not suitable for a bright day. It can be difficult to see exactly what you’re shooting outdoors unless you cover the screen, and focusing can be especially difficult. We found it best to manually select the focus point of a photo when shooting outdoors, just to make sure the camera picked the point we intended to focus on. You get an optical viewfinder just above the screen, but lack the electronic viewfinder (EVF). We missed the ability to tilt and rotate the screen, which means it’s not easy to take shots from low and high angles.
We really liked the results we got from the PowerShot G16, with most shots having good detail and color saturation defaulting to JPEG mode (you can also shoot in RAW if you like). color test yourself). The images shown have a slight pattern when they are viewed at the pixel level, with close-ups and macros looking sharpest of the bunch. For the most part, you can crop the photo to a certain extent without losing too much sharpness, but you’ll have to determine this on a case-by-case basis with the types of photos you’ve taken since 12.1 megapixels are not. All of that compares favorably with some cameras in other market segments that you may already be familiar with.
Basically, we like shooting in macro mode and also shooting close objects in general. The circular background blur that lenses can produce makes photos look fun and interesting, but depending on your experience with the camera, the narrow focal length of the lens can be difficult to control. There are instances where we thought we had the right focus in our photo, but it turns out it’s actually a bit off from where we intended it to be.
If you’re shooting at the widest angle of the lens, there can be noticeable distortion on the vertical lines and this can cause shots of buildings to look skewed, for example. Looking closely at the image, we see a slight hint of chromatic aberration, but it’s not immediately noticeable and certainly not an issue. If you just upload small photos to Facebook, Flickr or other sharing services, it won’t get noticed at all. As for noise in low light, the G16 can do well even up to ISO 3200, as long as you don’t intend to view the photos at their original size (or crop them). If you do, you’ll notice a lot of speckle and softness. All of that starts to become noticeable above ISO 800 when you look closely at the photos, but the camera still manages to do quite well at higher ISO speeds.
File transfer over Wi-Fi
One of the most surprising features on the PowerShot G16 is Wi-Fi. It works in a way that is simple to understand, and sometimes it even works reliably. To use it, you must enter playback mode on the camera, then tap the button with the blue antenna icon. This will give you several options: you can set up the camera to transfer photos to a laptop or desktop computer on your network, or you can set up to transfer photos to mobile devices. . (When establishing a Wi-Fi connection, we wanted the screen to be touch-enabled – we kept touching the screen to press ‘OK’ and to select other on-screen settings).
Interestingly, the transfer happens over your existing wireless network, and once you set it up, the camera remembers it. The only thing you have to do after that is add any different devices you want the camera to communicate with (these will also be remembered). If you want to transfer files to a smartphone, you will have to install the Canon CameraWindow app, then tell the camera that you want to allow the connection to the phone. From your phone, you’ll be able to browse photos and select the ones you want to transfer. They are sent in their original size. Of course, if you go out, you’ll have to set up your phone as a hotspot so the camera can connect to it directly.
However, it is not always reliable. We were able to easily transfer photos to a Windows 7 laptop, but we had no luck capturing images to two Windows 8 laptops on the same network, even though the camera was shown as a device for connection. It is also a battery draining feature on a camera that on the other hand has very good battery life.
The bottom line is that the Canon PowerShot G16 is a great compact camera if you’re after something where you can have a lot of control and something that will deliver very good overall image quality. We love the WYSIWYG display, the fast lens, and the way the lens renders the background. Macros and close-ups are capable of producing highly detailed results.
Other than that, it’s a camera that feels solid and intuitive to use. The lack of an EVF is a sore point, and the lack of a hinge on the screen can limit how you use the camera in certain situations, but the body is more streamlined because it doesn’t have the features. this.
Definitely consider this camera if you want a small, yet versatile, fixed-lens model that’s useful for all types of photos, even action and long exposure shots.