Canon Power Shot G15 Review: Latest in the Lineage

 

Way back in 2001 canon launched G1, which was basically to lure the SLR ( yes Manual Single Lens Reflex) user in to digital camera category. G1 was launched with top of the line features and more enthusiast friendly controls.

Even with time, canon has maintained the legacy of the series, but so many models have crowded the scene, and with advent of affordable dSLR the G series lost its charm among the users. But this G15, the newest in line is again according to cannon; is fastest and brightest camera; which I doubt but certainly it is a nice camera altogether when coming for the whole package.

Overall it belongs to High end Compacts which offers dSLRs like external manual control, yet comes in a pocketable size.

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Canon Powershot G15 Specifications

Image Sensor: 12.1 million effective pixels, 1/1.7” image sensor
Sensor: 1/1.7” CMOS.

Processor: Digic 5

Metering: Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot.
Lens: f1.8-8.0/6.1-30.5mm (28-140mm as 35 SLR equivalent), 4 stop Intelligent IS
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, manual.
Shutter Speed: 15-1/4000 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 4000×3000 to 640×480.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480.
Viewfinder: Optical turret and 7.5cm LCD screen (922,000).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 80 to 12800.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV output, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Dimensions: 125x87x110 WHDmm.
Weight: 352 g (inc card and battery).
Price: Get a price on the Canon PowerShot G15

Lens and Sensor:

The sensor is upgraded from the 10 MP of G12 to 12.1 MP to G15. Lens has the same zoom pawer of 5X but the new maximum aperture of f 1.8-2.8 is brighter and somewhat faster than the G12.

Physical and Body

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The body is clearly designed, which is minimalist in nature, body feels premium in hand and the rubberised grip solid in hand, which feels like you are holding a mini 1D in your hand.  The main layout is identical to G1X which is a bigger and bulkier cousin of it.

You can observe that there are two dials setting where the mode dial covers partially the exposure compensation dial. This is pretty effective and both dial can be controlled by a thumb also  power and zoom buttons are just millimetres apart.dd

There is a fixed screen of 3” at the back, body lay out is almost identical to G1X , Flash is POP UP type released by the sliding switch on to plate. It has huge external controls for such a small body, and also flaunts an optical viewfinder. There is a dioptre corrector just besides the OVF which helps the near and farsighted people to adjust the viewfinder to their need.   While ISO dial is removed from this model by the position of the compensation dial is a great good as it is east to set the compensation with the thumb, while ISO can be set through the menu controls. The LCD screen at 921,00 dots and 3” is a good and sharp screen, but user will miss the articulated screen as later gives more flexibility to capture difficult shots and to get good video.

The rear dial is fine, but with the cold or gloved fingers it is a bit difficult to handle.  By default, the front control dial changes aperture and shutter speed in Av and Tv modes, and shutter speed in manual exposure mode, but the behaviour of both dials can be customized if required. There is Flash hot shoe to put external flash on the camera.  There is a autofocus illuminator in the front which can be activated in case of low light to help the focus.

Battery:

It comes with a “Lithium-Ion NB-10L” battery pack, which is capable of taking 350 shots as said by the Canon in its specification but depending up to the situation this number varies specially in night, Also if you prefer taking the shots through the optical view finder, and close the LCD the shots per recharge just doubles to 700 per recharge.

Performance:

It has evolved from its predecessor G12, and since canon has tried to increase the speed of the lens but to save space the articulated screen has been replaced with fixed screen and ISO dial has been removed from the manual control. According to canon’s claims the lens is 53% percent but in actual scenarios it has been seen that it is marginally faster AF work really good in bright light and becomes little slower in dim conditions.

Continuous shooting is also improved at 2.1 frames per second (for JPEG) it is not best in class, as many models in compact cameras offer better continuous shooting, there is no limit to no of shots in continuous shooting mode. But this 2.1 rate is only when you have full zoom on and JPEG rate will not  be that fast at zoom rolled out.

AF also slows down when you actually set Noise reduction in software as HIGH and shoot as wide angle i.e. without zoom.

For RAW the shooting speed comes down to 1.2 frames per second which is slow as per today’s standards. This continuous shooting speed can be enhanced using the HIGH SPEED BURST HQ mode which is a scene mode is restricted as shutter speed or any other parameters are decided by the processor except exposure compensation which is decided by the manual dial at the top and LCD  is black during the shooting time also buffer takes around 5 seconds to clear out so the next shot can only be taken by 6th second.

Overall the Canon Powershot G15 is one of the best-handling compact cameras we have seen for a while. It turns on very quickly and is generally very responsive, all important shooting settings are accessible via a dial or button, and with its high quality materials it simply feels nice in your hands.

Fast lenses help you to remain at lower ISO for more time. It also helps in retaining the fast shutter speed as well which is good for moving subjects.

Noise Reduction

Noise reduction is main thing in compact camera since sensor size small along with battery size which does not give it much power to do lot of onboard processing. Though the noise is low in the day light photography (both luminance and chromatic noise) till ISO 1600, from ISO 3200 the noise is prominent and at ISO 6400 and above grain comes into picture.  But still it keeps the blotched noise away unlike other compact cameras.

Overall conclusion

In last couple of year there is a lot of development in the serious compact cameras, with Nikon better zooming capabilities, Sony’s bigger sensor size ( RX100), Panasonic’s fastest lenses and Fujifilm’s great innovative sensor ( EXR sensor) there is a lot of competition in the market. The decision has become harder for serious enthusiast for a serious compact camera.

Canon Power Shot G15 provides better pocketability at the expanse of some manual control and it has a smaller sensor ( which does matter) and a marginally slower lens ( from Panasonic) but brighter lens compensates that, but it is the ease of controls which win the situation for Canon here and it is quite light and solidly built too.