In terms of shooting performance, the P7700 keeps up with the G15 in some areas - and does much worse in others. The following table gives you a quick overview of how the two cameras performed in our tests. Tables highlighted in green represent notable good performance in our opinion, and red is bad.

Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon Coolpix P7700
Startup 1.4 sec 0.7 sec
AF wide-angle (day) 0.3 sec 0.5 sec
AF telephoto (day) 1.0 sec 1.0 sec
AF wide-angle (low light) 1.0 sec 2.0 sec
AF telephoto (low light) 1.0 sec 3.0 sec
Shot-to-shot (JPEG) * 2.0 sec 5.0 sec
Shot-to-shot (Raw) * 3.0 sec 6.0 sec
Shot-to-shot (JPEG) ** 2.0 sec 2.0 sec
Shot-to-shot (Raw) ** 3.0 sec 3.0 sec
* With SanDisk Ultra Class 10 SDHC card (30MB/sec)
** With SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (95MB/sec)

Things start off (no pun intended) well enough, with the Coolpix starting up in 0.7 seconds, compared to 1.4 seconds on the PowerShot G15.

In terms of autofocus performance though the Canon has a slight edge. In good light, the PowerShot G15 took around 0.3 seconds to focus at wide-angle, and just under a second at its telephoto end. The P7700 is a bit slower - but still responsive - with focus times of 0.5 and 1.0 seconds at the two extremes of the lens range. In low light situations, the G15 focuses roughly twice as fast as the P7700, with numbers of roughly one and two seconds at wide-angle, respectively, and the P7700 taking seconds at telephoto. We would've expected better from Nikon's flagship compact camera. If you resort to flash, note that the G15's flash takes approximately three seconds to charge up, and four seconds on the Coolpix.

Coolpix P7700 write speeds

For all of its impressive features, the area in which the Coolpix P7700 is weakest is its write speeds - the speed at which the camera can write images to the memory card. This is important, because it affects how quickly you can take another photo. For those familiar with the previous models in the P7000 series, this should sound unpleasantly familiar.

With a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card installed (which writes at 95MB/sec), you'll wait two seconds for the P7700 to save a JPEG image - the same as the PowerShot G15. It takes both cameras longer to write a Raw file - 3 seconds in the case of the G15, and 3.5 on the P7700. When shooting in Raw+JPEG mode, both cameras take about 3.5 seconds, but unlike the G15, the P7700 is totally 'locked up' while writing is in progress. That means that you can't enter the menus or playback mode until writing is complete.

This performance difference is disappointing, but even more disappointing is that with a conventional Class 10 SDHC card installed (which, in this case, was a SanDisk Ultra card that writes at 30MB/sec), the P7700 slows down even more, taking six seconds to write a single Raw file and eight to write a Raw+JPEG capture. The G15 maintains its performance even with the less expensive Class 10 card.

Accordingly, bracketing is also extremely slow with the P7700, with the camera locking up for a whopping sixteen to nineteen seconds after a series of three Raw+JPEG images are taken using a Class 10 card. Using the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I card reduced that delay to a more reasonable seven to nine seconds, which is still too long in our opinion. If you're just bracketing JPEGs, the wait is a much less painful 4 to 5 seconds with a Class 10 card. As for the PowerShot G15, the wait is just two seconds, regardless of what memory card you're using.

Continuous shooting

Based on the shot-to-shot speeds above, you can probably assume that the results will be similar when shooting bursts of images. To level the playing field between the two cameras, we used the SanDisk UHS-I SDHC card (95MB/sec) for these tests.

PowerShot G15

The PowerShot G15 has three burst modes: continuous, continuous AF, and high-speed burst HQ. The first mode locks exposure and focus on the first shot, the second adjusts those between shots, and the third locks on the first shot, blacks out the LCD, and shoots a quick burst. High-speed burst HQ is for JPEGs only, and is totally point-and-shoot.

In our tests, the G15 could keep shooting Super Fine quality JPEGs at 2 fps - or Raw images at 1 fps - until the memory card filled up. The high-speed burst HQ mode captured ten fine quality JPEGs in a row at 10.7 fps. Regardless of the memory card you use, the G15 is ready to take another burst after just one second in 'regular' continuous mode, and five seconds in high-speed burst HQ mode.

Coolpix P7700

The Coolpix P7700 has a lot more continuous modes than its Canon counterpart: low, normal, and high speed, the long-standing Best Shot Selector and Multi-shot 16 features, and a pair of super-fast modes that shoot as fast as 120 fps (but at low resolutions).

With the 95MB/sec SanDisk Extreme Pro card, the P7700 can take an unlimited number of JPEG or Raw images in low speed mode at 1.0 or 0.4 fps frame rates, respectively. Switching to medium or high speed allows you to take six shots at roughly 4 and 8.5 fps. The problem with the two higher-speed settings is that the LCD is blacked out during shooting, which makes following a moving subject near-impossible.

As discussed in the preceding section, the Coolpix P7700 has very slow write speeds, which especially hurts after you've taken a burst of photos. The chart below shows you just how long the camera will be locked up when shooting continuously, with a variety of memory cards:

  Class 10 (30MB/sec) * UHS-I (45MB/sec) ** UHS-I (95MB/sec) ***
JPEG 5 - 6 sec 4 - 5 sec 4 - 5 sec
Raw 28 - 30 sec 12 - 14 sec 10 - 12 sec
Raw+JPEG 32 - 37 sec 15 - 16 sec 12 - 15 sec
Numbers indicate delay before camera can take another shot after a six-shot burst at medium speed.

* SanDisk Ultra Class 10 SDHC card (30MB/sec)
** SanDisk Extreme UHS-I SDHC card (45MB/sec)
*** SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC card (95MB/sec)

As you can see above, it takes the Coolpix P7700 between ten and fifteen seconds to clear its buffer when Raw files are involved - during which time the camera is locked up - and that's with the fastest SDHC card money can buy. If you're using a Class 10 SDHC card, it takes nearly three times as long for the P7700 to flush the buffer. Remember that you can't do anything - whether it's entering playback mode or the menus, or taking another photo - while the camera is saving images to the memory card.

Battery life

The two cameras are fairly close in terms of battery life, with the PowerShot G15 able to take 350 shots per charge, compared to 330 on the Coolpix P7700 (using the CIPA standard). We found that both cameras have enough juice to get you through a day of shooting. Here's how the two cameras compare to others in their class:

Camera Battery life (CIPA)
Canon PowerShot G15 350 shots
Fujifilm X20 270 shots
Nikon Coolpix P7700 330 shots
Olympus XZ-2 310 shots
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 330 shots
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 330 shots

Both the NB-10L battery used by the G15 and the EN-EL14 used by the P7700 are charged externally, and take approximately 110 and 90 minutes to hit full charge, respectively.