Canon PowerShot G15 review: Have Canon got the balance right?

By Kevin Carter - Thursday November 29 2012

Sensor Review
Introduction | Canon PowerShot G15 sensor performance | Canon PowerShot G15 versus competition | Conclusion

Canon’s PowerShot G15 is the latest iteration of the popular G-series compacts aimed at enthusiasts. It packs a number of refinements over its predecessor, not the least being a new f/1.8-2.8 high-speed zoom, larger, high-resolution screen and a smaller, more compact body. It also marks the move from CCD to a Canon made CMOS with a fourfold increase in maximum sensitivity and full HD (1080p) video capture. Will the new Canon show any advance in image quality over the earlier G12? Read on to find out.

Canon’s PowerShot G-series cameras need no introduction to enthusiasts; they’ve been instrumental in defining the ‘prosumer’ compact category since the introduction of the original G1 over a decade ago. The PowerShot G15 is the latest iteration based around a ‘High Sensitivity’ 12-MP 1/1.7-inch type Canon CMOS sensor in combination with a new high-speed image-stabilized zoom lens, the equivalent to 28-140mm. As mirrorless cameras have impacted the sales/desireablity of high-end compacts, the G15 sees a return to the more compact dimensions of the earlier G7 and G9 models.

Although it has a similar range of focal lengths to that found on the previous model, the G12 (and slightly wider range over the large sensor G1X variant) the G15 boasts a truly fast f/1.8-2.8 variable maximum aperture. Not only is this lens over stop faster (brighter), a real benefit for available light photography while permitting some extra degree of depth of field control, it has a complex optical construction including multiple asperhrical surfaces as well as single UD (Ultra low Dispersion) glass element. While aspherical elements are common, UD glass is usually reserved for the firm’s L-series lenses and should help reduce chromatic aberration.

Elsewhere, the G15 continues to provide auto, semi-auto and full manual exposure control along with raw file option, an optical viewfinder, and a new larger 3-inch LCD (920k dot) PureColor II G (albeit now fixed instead of articulated). The G15 is the first in the series to feature a CMOS sensor and Digic 5 processor which boosts maximum ISO settings fourfold to ISO 12,800 and adds faster AF with face ID and tracking. Video shooters shouldn’t feel left out either. The G15 gains a new dedicated video-capture button to go with the vital 1080p (up from 720p) 24fps clips for today’s movie-making moguls. Moreover, all of this squeezed into a new smaller lighter and more pocket-friendly body.

Canon PowerShot G15 sensor performance

Canon PowerShot G15 versus competition