Canon G16 review

Canon's workhouse G series premium compact gets refreshed

Canon PowerShot G16 review
The Canon PowerShot G16 improves on the G15

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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.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.