Canon G16 review

Canon's workhouse G series premium compact gets refreshed

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Canon always produces solid performers in its G series cameras. While that's appealing to the traditionalist crowd, it is now fighting a harder battle than ever before to keep market share in the crowded premium compact market.

While it's true that the G16 is capable of producing excellent images, it doesn't quite compete with the excellent Sony RX100 II which is sitting comfortably at the top of the bestseller lists.

Canon seems to be committed to keeping the same (relatively) small sensor, but this does have its advantages, namely in price. For the moment at least, it's significantly cheaper than its Sony rival.

This will be a camera appreciated by advanced photographers, with full manual control and raw format shooting joined by a satisfying number of direct access dials and buttons. It's a bit of a shame there's not more flexibility with the more 'creative' aspects of the camera, such as digital filters and film simulation modes only being available in raw format, and the former meaning you lose control over manual settings such as aperture.

The addition of a Digic 6 processor is excellent news for both low light image quality and for boosting the very fast continuous shooting mode, making this a good candidate if you need to photograph fast moving action, perhaps for things such as street photography.

On that note, it's great to see Canon including inbuilt Wi-Fi on the G series. It's a welcome addition that is fairly easy to use making sharing images much quicker. It's a shame that you can't remote control the camera though.

We liked

The G16 is a no-nonsense premium compact that builds on the already excellent reputation of the G series. You get great image quality in a reasonably small body that still manages to cram in lots of direct access buttons and dials to make the advanced photographer feel plenty at home.

We disliked

We're not sure if it's a price thing, but it seems like a strange omission to leave out a touchscreen on a camera like this, especially when its sibling camera (the S120) has such an excellent device. It makes things like selecting the AF point so much quicker, so we'll be surprised if Canon continues to leave one out of the next generation of G series cameras. If you're a traditionalist though, there's not too much to dislike about the camera.

Final verdict

The G16 marks another incremental upgrade for the G series of compacts, which remains a solid and reliable camera in the now fairly crowded premium compact market. Canon has carved out a good reputation with this series, but it's already facing fierce competition from the Sony RX100 II which sits at the top of the current best-seller lists.

It's good to see the addition of Wi-Fi, and the Digic 6 processor does make a noticeable difference, but it's ultimately not a camera to get overly excited about.

Excellent image quality is assured though, and if you're looking for a good workhouse camera to carry around with you a lot, then it's a good bet. Take a look at the Canon S120 though if you need something a touch more pocket friendly – it features the same sensor.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Product FamilyPowerShot G
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC UHS-I), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC UHS-I)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesFace Detection, Smile Detection, Wink Detection, Live View, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor, Time Lapse Function
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeOptical
Weight (Approximate)314.7 g
Image Sensor Size1/1.7" (7.60 mm x 5.70 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height75.9 mm
Width108.7 mm
Depth40.4 mm
Product SeriesG
Focal Length6.10 mm to 30.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelG16
Product NamePowerShot G16 Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number8406B001
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationIncredible Imaging, Ready to Share
With performance and creative expression approaching that of an SLR camera, the new PowerShot G16 camera makes unlimited imaging not just portable, but now wireless, too! Built-in Wi-Fi® offers easy set-up and powerful capabilities: upload stills and video to Facebook®, Twitter®, YouTube™ and Flickr®; send to email; share to tablets and smartphones; print wirelessly; and transfer to PCs. You'll be eager to share the spectacular images you create with the 12.1 Megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor and DIGIC 6 Image Processor. Together they create the Canon HS SYSTEM for significantly improved resolution in an expanded ISO range of 80-12800. Stunning 1080p/60p Full HD video is possible thanks to the DIGIC 6 Image Processor: vividly realistic and incredibly smooth. A 5x Optical Zoom offers excellent shooting versatility, and the bright f/1.8 lens performs brilliantly in low light. Continuous shooting with full resolution has been boosted up to EOS-caliber speeds, and High Speed AF puts images in focus almost the moment the camera is aimed, so you can freeze that perfect shot. Intelligent IS counteracts camera shake for clear shots in any situation. Shoot HDR photos without a tripod, and add dynamic new finishing effects. You can also capture breathtaking images of the nighttime sky with new star shooting modes. Enjoy pro-like advantages such as Multi aspect RAW, which lets you take control over the editing process, and compatibility with Canon Speedlite flashes and a variety of EOS System accessories.