Image Quality

The PowerShot G16 features the same sensor as the previous-generation G15, so I wasn't expecting any huge surprises from the new camera's image quality. Canon claims that the move to Digic 6 gives a benefit to high ISO image quality due to improved noise reduction, but in general use the G16 offers pretty well equivalent images to its predecessor ion JPEG mode (and of course Raw too). This is no bad thing, because it means that between ISO 80-800, the G16's JPEGs are smooth and detailed, and noise doesn't become too severe until you get up to above ISO 1600.

At ISO 80, the Canon PowerShot G16 delivers crisp, detailed JPEGs with no visible noise.  100% Crop
As we've come to expect though, very fine organic detail like this distant foliage can be rather 'mushy' on close inspection (Raw files can look better if you have time to tweak sharpening)  100% Crop
This is a relatively tough scene to meter, given the large expanse of bright white sky but the G16 has delivered a very well-balanced exposure.  100% Crop
At ISO 1600, detail is definitely compromised by noise, but it's not the end of the world and this shot is perfectly acceptable for making medium-sized prints. Even at 100% it looks pretty good. 100% Crop
At ISO 12800 noise is much more of an issue. This shot was taken under truly horrendous lighting, but it's well-exposed and there's enough detail for a satisfactory small print or for web sharing. Impressively, the G16 had no problem achieving focus here, either - despite the low light and cluttered foreground.  100% Crop
Hand-held, very close to the G16's minimum focus distance this macro shot is sharp and detailed. It took a couple of attempts to achieve focus on my subject, but the end result is impressive given the challenging conditions.  100% Crop

Benefits of Shooting Raw

Shooting Raw, a lot more detail can be extracted from exposures taken at low ISO sensitivity settings and at high ISOs, the extra control over noise reduction can pay off in critically better images, too. This won't be news to enthusiasts, but for those who are starting to get interested in the more technical aspects of photography and post-processing, the G16 is a great camera to start with because unlike most of its peers, there's virtually no performance penalty from shooting in Raw mode (in normal use that is - you do lose the ultra-fast framerate options which are JPEG-only). 

JPEG, ISO 80

This ISO 80 JPEG is nice, but the very fine organic detail on the car and surrounding foliage is a little mushy.
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Adjusted RAW, ISO 80

A few minutes in Adobe Camera Raw and I've been able to give this detail a more natural sharpness. The difference doesn't matter for small prints or web sharing but I'd be much more confident using this adjusted image for more critical output. I also took the opportunity to adjust white balance here, for a more natural daylight warmth. 
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JPEG, ISO 3200

There's noise in the midtone areas of this ISO 3200 JPEG, but nothing serious. It's obvious though that detail lacks a certain crispness, and the color rendition is a little cool too. I can fix both issues by adjusting the simultaneously-captured Raw file.
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Adjusted RAW, ISO 3200

Here I've tweaked exposure, white balance, noise reduction and sharpening to improve image quality. There's some 'grain' here, because I didn't want to smooth out any more detail than necessary but the final result has a more natural sharpness - and a better all-round color balance. 
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JPEG, ISO 80

For this ISO 80 portrait I didn't want to adjust sharpness (too much sharpening isn't generally flattering) but the JPEG is a little flat, and my subject's skin is rather too purple.
Adjusted RAW, ISO 80

Taking the simultaneously captured Raw file I've adjusted the white balance, opened up the shadow areas and also applied some slight highlight recovery. The end result isn't dramatically different, but it's more representative of how the scene in front of the camera actually looked when I took the picture.