Canon PowerShot G16: Image Quality
One of the hallmarks of Canon’s G-series to date has been the reliability of the cameras in terms of image quality, with the G15 continuing this tradition.
As the G16 features the same lens and sensor, albeit with an improved processor, it would be fair to assume a similar level of performance.
On the whole this rings true with the G16 delivering some of the very best images a compact camera can produce with very few, if any, major concerns.
1/250 sec @ f/8, ISO 400, AWB, Spot metering (Click to full res)
To begin with, the model’s metering system is as reliable as you would expect. The G16 handles almost any lighting scene – be it softly lit portrait or high-contrast daytime shooting – with ease, delivering even exposures in all conditions.
Furthermore, the G16 exhibits a dynamic range that’s certainly above average, while the camera’s automatic DR correction gives even more flexibility should the need arise.
1/125 sec @ f/4, ISO 80, Custom white balance (Click for full res)
In extreme conditions you can opt for the HDR setting, although simply shooting Raw files should deliver enough exposure depth to satisfy your needs.
Auto white balance is similarly reliable, with the new multi-area white balance mode proving particularly impressive in mixed lighting conditions.
1/400 sec @ f/4, ISO 1600, AWB, Spot metering (Click for full res)
Although the 12MP resolution might be lower than some competing compacts on paper, the way in which the G16 processes images, along with the sharpness of the lens, means that the camera resolves an impressive level of detail.
1/40 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 400, AWB, Spot metering (Click for full res)
The only real area in which you could criticise the G16 is in terms of the way it handles noise at higher ISO settings in comparison to some of its peers. Although images are sharp and noise-free between ISO 80 and 800, between ISO 1600 and 6400 noise becomes more of an issue.
Although the G16 sports a high ISO 12,800 setting, by this point noise renders images almost unusable so should be best avoided.
Should I buy the Canon PowerShot G16?
There’s no escaping the fact that, at over £500, the Canon G16 is an expensive camera by any standards, let alone those of an advanced compact.
At that price the G16 will set you back more than some entry-level DSLR kits – such as the Pentax K-500 or Sony A58 – as well as some other impressive advanced compacts, including the Fujifilm X20 or Sony RX100.
With that in mind the Canon G16 does currently look a touch expensive. However, if you do decide to pick one up you’ll be doing so safe in the knowledge that it’s a fantastic camera that delivers on all fronts, and will certainly last you a good number of years.
While there’s no denying the Canon G16 is a pricey advanced compact, the combination of great build quality, stellar performance and fantastic image quality makes it one of the very best advanced compacts currently available.
Next, read our in-depth group test: the best cheap compact system cameras under £500
Score in detail
Image Quality 9