Canon PowerShot G15 Quick Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good low-ISO image detail and reliable metering
- Versatile, sharp and fast 28-140mm F1.8-2.8 lens
- Good balance between noise reduction and detail retention at higher ISOs
- Fast and responsive operation
- Very pocketable format
- Fast and reliable AF system
- Very effective Image Stabilization system
- Excellent 920k dot screen
- Optical viewfinder useful in very bright light (but is relatively inaccurate, and has no shooting info)
- Lots of external controls including two control dials and an exposure compensation dial
- Customizable control dials and Shortcut-button
- Excellent build quality and body materials
- Decent battery life
Conclusion - Cons
- Exposure compensation dial does not work in video mode (but you can set exposure compensation using the AEL button when the mode dial is set to movie)
- No swivel screen (vs predecessor and some competitors)
- No automated panorama mode (only stitch-assist)
- HDR mode only works well with the camera on a tripod
- Auto ISO only uses up to ISO 1600
- Matte surface a little prone to scratches
A few years ago Canon's G-series was the place to look if you were in the market for a 'serious' compact, but more recently there has been a lot of development in this sector of the market. These days there is an entire range of cameras to choose from - all with slightly different strengths and weaknesses. As a consumer this is fantastic, but it does mean that your buying decision is harder now than it was. You need to honestly assess what's most important to you in your photography and then make the appropriate choice.
If you are looking for a pocketable 'enthusiast' camera the Sony RX100 with its large 1" sensor provides the greatest pixel count, the Panasonic LX7 comes with the fastest lens, and Fujifilm's X10 and XF1 offer the innovative EXR sensor with its impressive dynamic range and high ISO performance options (in 6MP mode). However, if an abundance of external controls, responsive operation, bomb-proof build quality and pocketability are high up on your list of priorities the G15 is definitely worth looking at.
In reality the choice for many buyers will be between the G15 and the Nikon P7700, which with its 28-200mm lens is the only other camera in this class to offer a lens longer than 120mm. That said, at F4 its lens is a stop slower than the G15 at the tele end. The Nikon comes with an articulated screen and a similar level of external control as the G15, but its body is larger than the Canon and lacks an optical finder. We're looking forward to putting the Nikon through our review process and see how the two cameras perform head-to-head, but for now, you can use our image noise and studio scene widgets to compare the cameras' image quality.
Ultimately the competition is fierce in the enthusiast compact sector and no matter what camera you choose you'll have to compromise in some area or another. That said, with its combination of very decent image quality, responsive operation, quick AF, excellent build quality and its versatile and fast lens, the Canon Powershot G15 is a safe bet for most photographers looking for a 'serious' compact.
The Canon Powershot G15 produces very good image detail at lower sensitivities and shows a good balance between noise reduction and detail retention as you go up the ISO scale. Focus and metering are consistently reliable, even in difficult lighting situations.
However, the Canon G15 has a relatively small 1/1.7" CMOS sensor that comes with the limitations we are used to seeing on many small-sensor cameras. Dynamic range in highlights isn't fantastic, and the camera tends to deliver relatively bright midtones, and what this means is that in high-contrast scenes you'll often have to deal with overblown skies and other burnt out image areas. Some of this lost highlight detail can be pulled back in raw conversion, though.
High-ISO noise is well-controlled by the JPEG engine but a lot of fine detail is blurred by noise reduction from ISO 400 upwards, at default NR settings. That said, even the highest ISO settings 6400 and 12800 are usable at modest output sizes. The G15's fast lens also means you can keep the ISO sensitivity lower than on cameras with smaller maximum apertures, which means better image quality, or alternatively use faster shutter speeds - great news if you're shooting moving subjects.
Ultimately the G15 offers very good image quality for the size of its sensor, but if you are in the market for a compact camera and image quality is your highest priority cameras such as the Sony RX100, Canon's own G1 X or slightly larger mirrorless models such as the Panasonic GX1 or Olympus E-PL5 might be a better option. Of course none of these models offer the same combination of a fast and versatile lens, compactness and manual control as the G15.
Handling and Operation
In our review of the Canon Powershot G12 we found the G15's predecessor to be one of the best-handling compact cameras on the market. The new model, with its two customizable control dials, dedicated exposure compensation dial and sensible ergonomics throughout follows right in those footsteps. However, there are a few differences you should be aware of.
In terms of operation and handling the main differences between the G12 and G15 are the increased AF speed and the lack of a swivel-screen and dedicated ISO dial. The AF speed on the G15 is noticeably and measurably snappier than on previous G-series models which, in combination with the responsive overall operation, makes the camera very pleasant to use. While the loss of the ISO dial is a shame, it's compensated by the much better positioning of the exposure compensation control which is very easy to use with your thumb. ISO can still be accessed quite easily via a dedicated hard-button on the multi-controller.
The loss of articulated screen will annoy some people but it's not all bad as it means you get a slimmer camera with a larger screen. The G15 feels indeed more pocketable and compact than its predecessor but there's no doubt that a swivel screen offers more flexibility when shooting from high or low angles.
Overall, despite the removal of the ISO dial the G15, like its predecessor, offers one of the most extensive sets of external controls on any compact camera. It has customizable rear and front control dials and can therefore be operated in an almost DSLR-like fashion. Its compact size in combination with the snappy operation and well thought-out user interface make the G15 a great camera to shoot with.
The final word
The G15 is an evolutionary update from the G12, and on the whole the changes Canon has made look sensible and well-considered. The camera is clearly a well-refined product and a joy to use. It is very quick and responsive in operation, built like a tank and offers the most external controls in its class. Combine that with the fast 28-140mm F1.8-2.8 lens and you've got yourself an ultra-versatile pocketable tool that can be operated almost like a DSLR and earns itself our highest award.
Canon PowerShot G15
Category: Premium Enthusiast Compact Camera
Ergonomics & handling
Exposure and focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Movie / video mode
The Canon Powershot G15 is a well-refined product and a joy to use. It is very quick and responsive in operation, built like a tank and offers the most external controls in its class. In combination with the fast 28-140mm F1.8-2.8 lens that makes it a very versatile and pocketable photographic tool that offers almost the same degree of control as much larger DSLRs.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Review
- Fujifilm X10 Review
- Canon PowerShot G12 Review
- Nikon Coolpix P7700 Hands-On Preview
Nov 18, 2015
May 29, 2013
May 29, 2013
Nov 17, 2015
|Big Steaming Pile by WhistlerOne|
from Product Shoot: Coffee
|AU4_6418_BB-35 by DaveInHouston|
LEE has released a new series of Reverse ND filters that are most opaque in the middle and become progressively clearer towards the top. This makes them ideal for capturing scenes where the sun is close to the horizon.
A former New York Times photographer is suing both the newspaper and its photography director Michele McNally for over $500,000 for age discrimination and unfair classification as a freelancer for nearly a decade.
"CPS Platinum members will now enjoy next-day service, with equipment serviced and shipped the business day after an estimate is approved. For repairs that will take longer, Canon will offer next-day loaner equipment."
Irix is introducing a new filter system called the Irix Edge 100. The ultra-light, ultra-thin system is build specifically for wide angle lenses like Irix's own 15mm F2.4.
After conducting a series of safety tests, the FAA is recommending that all airlines ban cameras and other electronics with Lithium Ion batteries from checked baggage. The agency believe the risk of a catastrophic fire and explosion is too great.
The Pixentu jackets keep you and your gear warm and dry, offering useful features like lens and tripod pockets, in addition to some quirky ones like an extended hood to protect your camera from the rain.
Adobe gave the audience at MAX a sneak peek at some exciting new technology its developing. It's called Adobe Cloak: a highly capable Content Aware Fill-like feature for video editors.
Earlier today, Flickr moved its photo book printing service over to a third party services, and stopped offering any wall art options entirely.
The patent details a flipping rear LCD screen so large, Canon has had to hide the rear dial and several buttons underneath.
We've added a selection of extra images to our Nikon D850 gallery. As part of the process of rounding off the review we made sure a number of us had shot the camera in a variety of situations, we've added those shots to the gallery to give a broad cross section of how the camera performs.
Wiral LITE is an affordable, easy-to-use cable cam system that can do things a portable slider simply can't do, and go places no slider would dare go.
Not happy with the recent demise of Lightroom as a stand-alone, subscription free service? Macphun's got your back... or they will in 2018.
Once connected to a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, Pholio automatically searches through the device storage and backs up all images and videos—complete with auto-tagging and intelligent search capabilities.
The 360 Round uses eight horizontally positioned camera pairs and one upward-pointing single lens to capture and livestream panoramic 4K 3D content.
Introduced just three years ago, the Samsung NX1 was both a technological tour-de-force and a great camera to use, earning one of the highest scores we've ever awarded and winning our 2015 Innovation Award. But its short-lived run in the photo world leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Fujifilm X-E3 is styled like a classic rangefinder, but features a built-in touchscreen, AF joystick, and electronic viewfinder – truly an old school meets new type of camera. Lay some eyes on our sample gallery to see how it performs in the real world.
Like it or not, Adobe is embracing a cloud-centric, AI-rich future with the introduction of Lightroom CC. And that's a great thing, though you may not see it now, argues Rishi Sanyal.
The announcement of a more cloud-integrated Lightroom product sees the death of the company's standalone version. This need to make payments in perpetuity (whether you choose Lightroom Classic or CC), chips away at the idea that your Lightroom library is a long-term solution, argues Richard Butler.
The XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger that Godox released for Canon users last month now has a Nikon equivalent—the aptly named XPro-N. Sony, Fujifilm and MFT versions are in the works.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, camera and lens maker Sigma is extending its standard product warranty to cover damage caused by these three natural disasters.
The F4 Plus can can capture 360° stills, videos and broadcast livestream footage at 8K resolution... that's 7680 x 3840 pixels!
Lightroom is hogging the spotlight at Adobe MAX, but Photoshop CC got some substantial improvements as well. Find out what's new in the latest version of Photoshop CC.
The aptly-named 'Nude' app automatically detects NSFW images on your iPhone, moves them to a protected vault and deletes the original files in the camera roll and on iCloud.
The Zeiss Milvus family of manual-focus full-frame lenses just gained a new member. Meet the Zeiss Milvus 24mm F1.4: a fast, rugged new lens designed primarily for landscape and architecture photography.
Lightroom has built a brand new Lightroom CC from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, and cloud-based. The application formerly known as Lightroom CC will continue to exist, and will go by "Lightroom Classic CC."
Google Research did a deep dive on the Pixel 2 smartphone's background-blurring portrait mode that uses neural networking and dual-pixel technology instead of a dual-camera setup.
With the arrival of the PowerShot G1 X III, there are now seven Canon cameras built around the 24MP Dual Pixel sensor and Digic 7 processor. We take a look at the differences and what might prompt you to choose one over the others.
Meet the HP ZBook x2. The so-called 'world's most powerful and first detachable PC workstation,' it was built with creative professionals in mind, and is being debuted at Adobe MAX.
PDN sat down with Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com, to talk about how the famed publication is adapting to the changing photo and video needs of the modern era and how he 'evaluates the skills of potential contributors.'
Kudos to Canon. Earlier today, the camera giant announced that it had produced its 90 millionth EOS camera and 130 millionth EF-series lens.