Canon Powershot G16 review

All photos are shot with the Canon Powershot G16, and have adjustments in exposure and clarity. No sharpness was added, nor were specific colours edited. Photos of the G16 are made with the Fujifilm X-E1.


The Canon Powershot G16 is a point and shoot camera released in 2013. It has a 12 megapixel 1/1.7” sensor coupled with a sharp 6.1-30.5mm f/1.8-2.8 lens. It has a very nice (non-touch) screen on the back, optical viewfinder purely for composing, it has no info but it does zoom in and out with the lens. The camera has very intuitive wifi connectivity. The buttons feel great and it has two, yes two, dials for aperture and shutter speed. The exposure compensation dial is a thing of beauty too. It ranges from -3 to +3 and it has the most satisfying click I have ever experienced.

 

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The body is made of metal and feels quite heavy, but not too heavy. The little piece of rubber next to the recording button is a great place to rest your thumb. The camera fits perfectly into my larger hands, and every button is within reach of my right thumb when I hold it.

IMG_0006.jpg
12mm, f/2.2, 1/50, 400 ISO

All these specs sure make it look like a professional camera on paper, and let me tell you, it sure feels like one. It is wonderful to use. The G16 feels solid and perfectly heavy. The lens is great, colours are distinctly Canon-esque and the camera does everything to make photography easy.

Settings go from beginner-friendly with nice jpeg profiles to fitting for a pro with, as mentioned, dual dials, manual settings and uncompressed RAW. The mode dial has auto mode, video mode, scene mode and the usual P, Av, Tv and M settings as well as custom profiles. Due to its size, weight, great build quality and options it is a wonderful camera to use and I cannot seem to put it down. The AF of the G16 is fast enough and accurate, so you almost never have to worry that you will miss a shot. Note that I sail almost, as the AF can sometimes be a little bit too slow. But then again, it has surprisingly good face detect auto focus, which is very nice.

The macro capabilities of this little camera are wonderful. At the widest focal distance, the camera focuses right down to 1cm. At this point, the object you’re photographing is actually touching the lens. Using the manual focus and moving the camera, you can get some great macro shots.

 

The manual focus is a little strange. You have to push the MF button, then you can focus with the back wheel, but if you want to change any settings the focus is locked at the point you set it at. To change it, you have to press the MF button again. You get used to it, but it does feel unusual at first. To exit out of MF mode, you press the right button (which is the macro button), which looks like a reverse play button in the display. This again is a little weird. Works perfectly for zone focusing though, stop down to f/8, and set it and forget it.

IMG_0025
8mm, f/2.8, 1/1250, 200 ISO

What I like most about the camera is the whole experience of using it. Slip this into your jacket pocket, grab it whenever something happens, press the tactile power switch, zoom in with the smooth zoom lever next to the shutter and take your shot, especially when zone focused. It is ready for you to take that photo without having people waiting for you to catch up.

This, to me, is one of my favorite street and vacation cameras due to the focal lengths and the ability for you to focus on photography, not start-up times or processing speed. The G16 is fast, easy and made for people who want to take photos. Plenty of room to play around with in Lightroom with the RAW files (have a look at the bottom of the page), awesome JPEG photos and easy sharing with the wifi and Canon app (note: JPEG only!). I love taking photos with this camera, it makes me feel like a pro because of the build, and it is a joy to use.

IMG_0018
16mm, f/4, 1/100, 200 ISO

Oh, did I mention the video? This little point-and-shoot has full-HD 1080p 60fps video with continuous AF, smooth zoom with the electric optical zoom and image stabilization! This beats my Canon 7D for video, by far.

In conclusion, this camera is amazing for taking photos. It may not feel as fancy as a Leica or Fuji, or as grand as a full DSLR, and the smaller sensor is less than perfect in low light situations, but this camera is great for taking photos and video. Colors are great, handling and feel are amazing to perfect and the features are plentiful. For anyone searching for a all-around small camera, I would recommend this in a heartbeat.

Here are some edited/ RAW comparisons

 

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Sample photos

IMG_0014
6mm, f/4, 1/50, 100 ISO
IMG_0014-2
6mm, f/4,1/100, 200 ISO
IMG_0033
6mm, f/8, 1 sec (handheld), 200 ISO
IMG_0009
17mm, f/4, 1/100, 400 ISO

 

Thank you for reading. Do not hesitate to take a look at my other reviews! If you want to help make this site possible, share this with your fellow photographers or support me directly here. Feel free to request something, I’ll see what I can do!

– Robin

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