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Performance enhanced with the new “DIGIC 6” image processor! PowerShot G16 Photo Review

A new member, PowerShot G16, has been added to the lineup of the PowerShot G series, a popular choice as a sub camera for DSLRs. The PowerShot G16 is equipped with a back-illuminated CMOS sensor that performs well in shooting under lowlight conditions, as well as a newly-developed image sensor, "DIGIC 6." The following is a photo review of the PowerShot G16. (Reported by: Kazushi Momoi)

Features of PowerShot G16

Red: Functions can be registered to the Mode Dial

You can register ISO speed, white balance compensation and other frequently-used functions for each shooting mode.

Blue: Bright up to the telephoto end

The maximum aperture of f/1.8 to 2.8 is the same as that of the PowerShot G15. Paired with the DIGIC 6 image processor, high ISO speed shots with further noise reduction are made possible.

Red: New Wi-Fi function

This is the first in the PowerShot G Series to be equipped with a Wi-Fi function. You can use it to transfer data to smartphones or upload photos to online albums.

Blue: 3-inch rear LCD monitor

Built in with a non-movable, three-inch TFT color LCD monitor with approximately 922,000 dots.

Red: Unique two-tier dial

Inheriting the concept of the PowerShot G Series, the G16 adopts a two-tier dial design, with a Mode Dial at the top and an Exposure Compensation Dial at the bottom.

Blue: Hot shoe for Speedlite flash

The hot shoe is compatible with the Speedlite EX series flash units.

Highly popular as a sub camera to SLR cameras, the PowerShot G series has undergone further evolution. While there is no distinct difference from the appearance of its predecessor, the PowerShot G15, it is powered by a newly-developed image processor "DIGIC 6," and utilizes a new 1/1.7-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor with approximately 12.1 megapixels. In addition, it is the first in the G series to be built in with a Wi-Fi function.
Coupling the strengths of the back-illuminated CMOS sensor's performance in low light and the DIGIC 6 technology, improvements have been made to the high ISO speed characteristics, even though the ISO speed ranging from ISO 80 to 12800 remains the same as that of its predecessor. There are no feelings of dissatisfaction when photographing at speeds of up to about ISO 1600. Test shots were also taken in an almost pitch-dark room, which required the use of the AF-Assist Beam. The subject was able to stand out from the background in the resulting photo, suggesting the excellent high ISO speed characteristics of the camera.

Wide Angle, High ISO Speed

PowerShot G16/ FL: 6.1mm (equivalent to approx. 28mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (1/100sec., f/1.8, +0.3EV)/ ISO 3200/ WB: Auto

Boasting excellent high sensitivity and with the use of a bright lens, handheld photography is possible even at night. Also, a high shutter speed can be obtained, which prevents light trails from being produced from the headlights of the cars.

These are not the only benefits of the DIGIC 6. Featuring a continuous shooting speed of up to about 12.2fps for the first five frames and maintaining at about 9.3fps for subsequent ones, you can enjoy photography at a speed that surpasses that of general SLR cameras. Wide-angle AF has also been improved to about 0.1 second from about 0.17 second on the PowerShot G15, while the shooting time lag is also reduced to about 0.13 second from about 0.22 second on the PowerShot G15. Although I did not feel that the predecessor model was slow, my impression is that once you have experienced the swift operation of the latest model, there is no turning back.
The charm of the camera is also furthered by the addition of shooting modes such as the Star mode and Background Defocus mode. Still, it would be even more desirable if a Vari-angle LCD monitor and EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) can be incorporated in future.


PowerShot G16/ FL: 30.5mm (equivalent to approx. 140mm in 35mm format)/ Program AE (1/1,600 sec., f/2.8, -0.3EV)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

Continuous shots are taken at the maximum speed in the Continuous shooting mode. The subject remains in sharp focus up to the distance where the train is at the edge of the frame.


PowerShot G16/ FL: 6.1mm (equivalent to approx. 28mm in 35mm format)/ Aperture-priority AE (1/80sec., f/1.8)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

The closest focusing distance is 1cm from the front of the lens. Careful attention is needed during handheld photography due to the difficulty to achieve focus and the likelihood of camera shake occurring.

Background Defocus [High]

PowerShot G16/ FL: 19.1mm (equivalent to approx. 87.7mm in 35mm format)/ Background Defocus: High (1/250 sec., f/2.5)/ ISO AUTO (ISO 80)/ WB: Auto

Shots that are in and out of focus are taken continuously and merged automatically to bring out the subject.

PowerShot G16

No. of pixels: approx. 12.1 megapixels/
Image sensor: 1/1.7-inch back-illuminated CMOS/
Focal length: 6.1 to 30.5mm (equivalent to approx. 28 to 140mm in 35mm format)/
Maximum aperture: f/1.8 to 2.8/
Closest focusing distance: 1cm/
Size: approx. (W)108.8 x (H)75.9 x (D)40.3mm/
Weight: approx. 314g (body only)

Click here for detailed specification

Kazushi Momoi

Born in Kyoto in 1968. After studying under photographer Kenji Nagatomo, Momoi became a freelance photographer in 1990. He is actively involved in a wide range of genres, from interview to commercial photography.