Canon PowerShot G16 DSLR review

Perhaps you already own a Canon digital SLR but would prefer something a bit more portable that handles in a similar fashion? If you want to be able to change the lens in use, then your only option is the year-old EOS M. If however, you’d be happy with a high-end fixed lens camera then the new Canon PowerShot G16, replacing the G15, is the one to go for. And, with a suggested price of £529.99, this brick-like ‘compact’ manufactured from aluminium is thankfully every inch the professional’s back up. Imagine a DSLR that has been placed in a car compacter so that we’ve ended up with a boxy chunk of metal that feels reassuringly solid in the palm. There’s a rubber-padded handgrip for a firm hold, though size wise we’re talking roomy jacket pocket rather than trouser pocket when it comes to transportation.

The G16 certainly hits the sweet spot for those looking for a compact that handles like a DSLR but also pulls off similar top-line visual trickery and performance

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Main features of note are an initially modest sounding 12.1-megapixel top resolution, albeit one that comes via a back-illuminated 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor that’s physically larger than is average for a compact. This is married to a 5x optical zoom, providing a focal range equivalent to 28-140mm in 35mm film terms. For those of us who like the shallow depth of field look whereby your subject is sharp but whatever’s in front or behind it is subtly blurred, so that your subject really pops out of the frame, maximum aperture is a fast f/1.8 at the lens’ widest setting. Even at maximum zoom we still get a bright f/2.8 to play with. Overlapping dials on the top plate allow manual control of exposure (+/- 3EV) and selection of shooting modes without having to delve into on-screen menus, whilst a dedicated button at the back for adjusting light sensitivity settings between ISO80 and ISO12800 provides an extra and welcome shortcut.

In terms of the practicalities of shooting with the camera we’re provided with an eye-level viewfinder for framing shots with the camera held up to the face in addition to the standard 3-inch backplate LCD for arm’s length image taking, plus Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing them. Thanks to the G16 featuring Canon’s latest generation Digic 6 processor, the camera is no slouch in the speed stakes either, managing an impressive 12.2 frames per second in continuous shooting mode and up to 60fps when shooting 1920x1080 pixels video.

OUR VERDICT

Aside from rock solid build quality and DSLR-like feature set, the actual pictures the G16 produces are also worth treasuring, with colours beautifully realistic and detail pin sharp. Up to 480 shots can be eked out of a full charge of its lithium ion battery if operating in eco mode, which isn’t bad. Just stick under ISO6400 to avoid an obvious deterioration of fine detail and you’ll find this compact workhorse hard to beat.

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