Compared to Canon Powershot G12 and G1 X

On this page we give you an overview of the design and operational differences between the Canon Powershot G15, its predecessor the G12, and both cameras' large sensor cousin, the G1 X.

Camera body comparison

When seeing the G15, G12 and G1 X side-by-side, at first it's hard to tell the three cameras apart. They share almost identical styling and ergonomics, and their dimensions are pretty close as well. However, upon closer examination the differences become quite obvious. The G15 is the smallest and lightest of the three, which makes it the best option if pocketability is far up your list of priorities. As you can see from the top-town view, the G15 is considerably slimmer than either the G12 and G1X.

The difference in dimensions compared to the G12 is largely caused by the lack of the swivel LCD, which makes the G15 about 17% slimmer. This margin is by no means massive, but it makes a difference when handling the camera and storing it in a coat pocket. The G1 X of course is a totally different kettle of fish. Although it closely follows the G-series design ethos, its much larger sensor (vs the G15 and G12's 1/1.7" sensor, see diagram at the bottom of this page) requires a much larger lens which protrudes from the body even with the camera switched off. This is also the reason why the G1 X is approximately 180 grams heavier than the G15, at 534 grams.

Despite small differences in design and dimensions, all three cameras look very similar from the front. The main difference on the G12 is the built-in flash on the top right, which has been swapped for a pop-up variant on the G15 and G1 X. Meanwhile the G1 X lacks an integrated lens cover, and needs a separate cap instead.
The button layout on the rear is essentially identical on all three cameras, but while the button in the top right corner of the G12 locks the exposure, this has been converted into a dedicated movie button on the G1 X and G15. The other element on the camera back that separates the three cameras is of course the LCD screen. The G12 comes with a 2.7" screen, while the larger G1 X finds space for a 3" variant. The G15 has done away with the swivel screen and sports a 3" fixed variant, resulting in a thinner camera profile.

The top-down view illustrates the different depths of the three Canon G-series models, but also shows the evolution in terms of control layout. The oldest model, the G12, sports an exposure compensation dial to the left of the flash hotshoe, and a stacked ISO/mode dial combination on the right. On the G1 X the number of dials has been reduced to two - to make space for the pop-up flash but presumably also because the expanded ISO range makes the use of a physical dial less feasible. The exposure compensation dial has taken over its location.

The G15's dial layout is almost identical to the G1 X, but the mode and exposure compensation dials have been slightly offset, making the latter more easily controllable with your thumb without altering your grip on the camera.

Key specification comparison

The table below compares the G15's key specification against its predecessor G12 and Canon's large-sensor compact, the G1 X. Compared to the G12 the G15 has a sensor with a slightly higher pixel count, sports the newer Digic 5 imaging processor, a faster lens, higher resolution screen, expanded ISO range (on the G12 ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 are only available in a very limited high sensitivity mode), faster continuous shooting and higher resolution video recording.

Canon Powershot G15
Canon Powershot G12
Canon G1 X
Sensor 12.1 megapixels
1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
10.0 megapixels
1/1.7" (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
14.3 megapixels
1.5" (18.7 x 14 mm)
Processor Digic 5 Digic 4 Digic 5
ISO 80-12800 80-3200 100-12800
Lens 28 – 140mm equiv
28 – 140mm equiv
F2.8 - F4.5
28 – 112mm equiv
F2.8 - F5.8
LCD Fixed
Con drive 2.1 fps 1.1 fps 1.9 fps
Video 1920 x 1080 (24 fps) 1280 x 720 (24 fps) 1920 x 1080 (24 fps)
Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.21 x 2.99 x 1.57")
112 x 76 x 48 mm
(4.41 x 2.99 x 1.89")
117 x 81 x 65 mm
(4.61 x 3.19 x 2.56")
(inc. batteries)
352 g
(0.78 lb / 12.42 oz)
401 g
(0.88 lb / 14.14 oz)
534 g
(1.18 lb / 18.84 oz)

The G1 X's specification reads more similarly to the G15's, but the camera is larger and heavier due to its larger sensor (see diagram below). It also means that the image quality, especially at higher sensitivities, is considerably better than the G15, with more image detail and less noise. That said, the G15's faster lens means that you can select a lower ISO setting to achieve a certain shutter speed in a given light situation, reducing this particular advantage of the G1 X's larger sensor. The diagram below shows the size of the G15 and G12's sensor (1/1.7") in comparison to the G1 X's and other popular sensor formats.

The Canon Powershot G15's 1/1.7" sensor is slightly larger than the 1/2.3" sensors found in most compact cameras, but significantly smaller than the 1" sensor that can be found in the Nikon 1 system cameras and the Sony RX100, or the 1.5" sensor of the G1 X.