This Review for Canon G15 is purely from a user’s perspective and not the Technical Review, I’ll try to focus on the things that ordinary people care about such as Price and usability instead of Professional Points.
The first time I was introduced to Canon’s G series was when I got a chance to use G10 which was indeed a great camera. It inspired me so much that when Canon released G12 I immediately bought it and used it quite heavily for almost an year before I switched to the DSLR. But then I sold it and since then I’ve always missed its features in a portable body.
But things were different few years back, the competition wasnt that high in the Advanced Point & Shoot market. Today we’ve Panasonic Lumix, Nikon’s Coolpix series and above all we’ve the two most popular cameras Sony RX100 and Fuji X100. Canon just cant expect to come up with an upgraded model and simply rule the market, things are different now and people have lot more choices than before.
I needed a Point & Shoot Camera for its portability features and after my research I came down to the following short listing:
- Fuji X100: Great camera with an absolutely stunning f2 lens and an View Finder that actually works. Unlike others, fixed Prime Lens actually doesn’t bother me (in fact I shoot with Primes only on my DSLR). I got a chance to test this camera in office when a co-worker brought it and the result were absolutely great. However, the lowest price I could find on internet was around 850$ which was bit too high for me to spend on an additional camera in my bag
- Sony RX100: Another great camera, however two reasons forced me to drop this camera in favor of Canon G15. First is the brighter lens as the RX100 has f1.8-4.9 lens when zoomed while the Canon G15 has f1.8-2.8. This made a huge difference in my tests as the difference in amount of light made a huge difference on the overall look and feel of picture. Secondly, Price was bit too high for RX100 (roughly 650$ +). A larger Sensor is definitely a plus point for RX100 but only if they could have made the Lens bit faster when its zoomed
- Canon G15: This camera had several advantages, first it was a familiar territory secondly a faster / brighter lens and third (most importantly) Price. I managed to strike a deal for 439$ on EBay Australia which was a throw-away price in my opinion
Body, Build Quality and Usability: Camera arrived last week from Hong Kong along with an International Adapter that can be used with Australian Plugs, this was expected so not a shock as such. Size is noticeably smaller and slimmer compared to Canon G12, swivel screen is gone but that doesnt bother me as I never use that feature on cameras anyways. Though this has been quite a disappointing move for many but this move has indeed cut down the size and weight of the camera. This fits in my jeans pocket, not as easily as Sony RX100 would have but still you can carry it in your Jeans Pocket as long as you dont mind people knowing what are you hiding in your pockets. Build Quality is excellent, feels solid in your hands and it doesnt take you long to get used to of the buttons of the locations of Dials etc.
For some reason they have made the Aperture Dial (on front) way too slim and smaller which sometimes makes it hard to quickly change the aperture settings. Also, when you somehow manage to fit it in your jeans pocket you often end up accidentally rolling the Top Dials (Camera Mode) and you may have to change the settings back to the one you prefer when its finally in your hands.
Picture Quality: Very nice in my opinion. Is it the Best ? perhaps not, could it better ? Yes it definitely could be better. But it does an excellent job as the second Camera (besides DSLR) and specially when you want to travel light. Lens delivers what it promised, its sharp wide open at f1.8 and very useful for indoor photography. At 28mm a lot of people may not find it wide enough but again it depends on the kind of photography you do. Stopping down to f2.8 it improves the sharpness and during daytime I’ve used it at f4 and found it to be the most optimal setting to work with. Camera has a built-in ND (Natural Density) Filter that does a great job, I managed to assign ND Filter to the Quick SET button on top left corner (rear side) of Camera which makes it very easy for me to switch on or off when I need ND Filter.
Image Stabilization: I wouldn’t say more about it except that it does help to have IS in this camera. Since the Camera Body is considerable smaller and lighter I noticed it was bit hard to keep my hands stable while taking pictures through LCD Screen (did I mention that Optical Finder in G Series has always been on the weaker side and G15 isn’t any exception, its simply unusable) and having an IS in camera definitely helps.
Auto-focus: You’ll be happy with the speed of Auto-focus as long as you’ve previously used G12 (Slower AF) and don’t keep comparing it with your DSLR or Fuji X100. It is faster and responsive, something that works.
Macro: This is perhaps the best feature of G15 in my opinion. I was actually surprised to see how close I could get to the objects in Macro mode, my lens was almost touching the object but I could still focus with no problems. Macro might be the feature where I may have to give 10/10 to this camera.
Low Light / Indoor Photography: This was the prime reason for me to buy a Point & Shoot and I’m happy to say that this camera works great in late evening time. Excellent Colors and great picture quality up to ISO 800, built-in Noise Reduction comes quite handy and if you know how to further reduce noise during post processing then its even better. I’ve not had to use Flash so far and not sure if I’ll ever do it with this camera.
G15 is a camera that works, whenever you need to take a picture, simply turn it on and it does its job and it does it quite well. Its definitely worth the kind of money you spent on it. With smaller size in hands its quite discreet unlike the big and bulky DSLR which sometimes unnecessarily attracts a lot of attention while you’re traveling.
As I said, a slightly larger sensor would have helped to improve the picture quality and perhaps this is where Sony RX100 beats G15 but this camera comes as rather more practical option at a reasonable cost.
If you’re in market for an advance Point & Shoot, G15 is worth giving a serious consideration.