Body & Design

Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon Coolpix P7700

Both cameras are loaded with buttons and dials, including those for exposure mode, exposure compensation and, in the case of the Coolpix, camera settings. The G15 has front and rear control dials, while the P7700 has one in the front and two in the back. The PowerShot G15 has one customizable shortcut button, while the Coolpix P7700 has two Fn (function) buttons. The Coolpix's Fn1 button can be used with the front and rear (lower) button to quickly adjust settings, while the Fn1 + shutter release button resets a selected setting to its default value (much like the 'green button' on Pentax cameras).

The G15 and P7700 both have manually released pop-up flashes and AF-assist lamps, with the P7700 also sporting a receiver for an optional wireless remote.

The Coolpix P7700 is wider and thicker than the G15, but not quite as tall.
Both cameras have similar rear control layouts and 3-inch LCDs, but there is one major difference - the P7700 has an articulating rear screen, whereas the display on the back of the G15 is fixed.
On the top of the cameras, you'll see that again, there's a lot in common. They both have hotshoes, dials for exposure mode and exposure compensation, and combination shutter release/zoom controllers. The second of the P7700's customizable buttons (Fn2) is also visible at its top-right corner.

While the G15 and P7700's ancestors had both optical viewfinders and articulating LCDs at one time, now buyers need to select which they'd prefer. We're big fans of articulating LCDs like the one on the P7700, as they allow you to shoot over crowds, or easily take self-portraits. On the other hand, an optical viewfinder works in all lighting conditions, and makes it easier to keep a moving subject in the frame. That said, the tunnel-style viewfinder on the G15 is small, shows part of the lens at wide-angle, and only covers 80% of the frame, so you can't rely on it for exact composition.

The LCDs themselves are nearly identical. These 3-inch displays both offer VGA resolution (~920k dots) and are plenty sharp enough for both composing and reviewing photos. We found the images on both LCDs to be visible outdoors as well as in dim lighting.

Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon Coolpix P7700
The choice buyers have to make is whether they want an optical viewfinder, like on the PowerShot G15... ... or the flip-out, rotating LCD found on the Coolpix P7700.
The I/O ports on the G15 include those for a wired remote, USB + A/V output, and mini-HDMI. Two of the P7700's ports can be found behind a plastic door on the right side of the camera. They include mini-HDMI and USB + A/V output. On the opposite side of the camera you'll find ports for a GPS and external mic.