Canon PowerShot G16 review

Price when reviewed

Canon’s PowerShot G16 sits awkwardly in the current camera market. It’s more expensive than other high-end compacts, yet lacks the interchangeable lenses and larger sensors found on compact system cameras such as the Sony NEX and Olympus PEN ranges.

Yet despite appearances – the G16 is the spitting image of its predecessor, the G15 – Canon has introduced a number of new features. There’s a backside-illuminated 1/1.7in sensor capturing 12.1-megapixel images, and the image processor has been replaced with the DIGIC 6 model, which delivers an impressive burst rate of up to 9.3fps.

Canon PowerShot G16

The G16 has also added integrated Wi-Fi for instant sharing and mobile-device transfer via iOS and Android apps. This works well, but there are no remote-trigger or viewfinder features. There’s manual focus peaking and a 60fps Full HD movie mode, plus a number of additional creative modes.

Our favourites are the Star mode, which takes the guesswork out of creating star trails, starscapes and timelapse star movies; the Background Defocus mode, which uses focus stacking to isolate your subject and blur the background; and the Super Slow Motion video mode.

Canon PowerShot G16

In terms of handling, the G16 is as good as its forebear, with plenty of buttons and dials for accessing commonly used features. It’s aimed at enthusiasts, so you get a mode dial and an exposure-compensation dial on the top plate; another dial on the front for setting aperture or shutter speed, depending on the mode you’re in; and a D-pad on the rear, complete with dedicated movie-recording and custom buttons. There’s no touchscreen, though, which is a disappointment.

It’s very quick, too. With the camera set to snap JPEGs in continuous mode and autofocus tracking turned off, it will fire at 9.3fps – not only until the buffer fills up, but the entire memory card. Autofocus is quick and surefooted, and – in typical Canon fashion – exposures are superbly well judged, even in tricky conditions such as when a scene contains both extremely bright and dark areas.

Canon PowerShot G16 - sample shot

The lens is bright, too, at f/1.8 wide open, and although it does close down at the telephoto end of its 5x zoom range, that’s only to f/2.8. In good light, image quality is fantastic for a compact with such a small sensor. For low-light photography, the lens’ wide aperture helps it keep ISO down and shutter speed up, producing well-exposed and sharp photographs, but noise does begin to become obtrusive before modern compact system cameras – which have larger sensors – at around 1600 ISO.

The G16 is a superb compact. It’s fast, offers all the controls an enthusiast needs, produces great photos in most conditions, and the wireless features work well. It falls short of an award, though, due to its high price – you can buy a full-blown DSLR for this money – and the lack of a touchscreen.

Canon PowerShot G16 sample pictures:

Shot at f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 3200. Click this link for the full resolution version

Shot at f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 3200. Click this link for the full resolution version

Shot at f/8, 1/40s, ISO 100. Click this link for the full resolution version

Shot at f/1.8, 6 seconds, ISO 400. Click this link for the full resolution version


Image quality5

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating12.1mp
Camera screen size3.0in
Camera optical zoom range10x
Camera maximum resolution4000 x 3000

Weight and dimensions

Dimensions108.8 x 40.3 x 75.9mm (WDH)


Battery type includedlithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard)360 shots
Charger included?no

Other specifications

Built-in flash?yes
Aperture rangef1.8 - f2.8
Camera minimum focus distance0.01m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)6
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)31
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed1/4,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed1s
RAW recording mode?yes
Exposure compensation range+/- 3EV
ISO range80 - 12800
Selectable white balance settings?yes
Manual/user preset white balane?yes
Progam auto mode?yes
Shutter priority mode?yes
Aperture priority mode?yes
Fully auto mode?yes
Burst frame rate12.2fps
Memory-card typeSD
LCD resolution922k
Secondary LCD display?no
Video/TV output?yes
Body constructionAluminium
Tripod mounting thread?yes
Data connector typemicro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual?yes

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