Canon PowerShot G16 Review

Canon PowerShot G16 Review

If it weren’t for the branding on the front, you could hardly distinguish G15 and Canon PowerShot G16 from the outside. The major innovations have taken place under the hood in keeping it updated. The Canon PowerShot G16 uses the new DIGIC 6 image processor, which gives it a boost in autofocus and continuous shooting, and it is becoming a social media camera. The WiFi function enables communication with other end devices such as tablets or smartphones and pictures can be uploaded directly to Facebook and other social networks. Of course, a communicative camera does not help if the image quality suffers. Whether Canon was able to maintain or even improve on the standard of the G15, we tested with the test software and in practice.

Pros And Cons Of The Canon PowerShot G16


  • Fast autofocus and high-speed continuous shooting with DIGIC 6
  • Good video function with simple post-processing in the camera and super slow-motion movies
  • Many features, which leaves nothing to be desired
  • Solid across all apertures equally good image results up to ISO 800
  • Robust workmanship with noble haptics


  • Display does not rotate and swivel and has no touch function
  • Tunnel-like viewfinder, which only helps to save power and bad lighting conditions
  • For a compact camera, it is quite big and heavy


The Canon PowerShot G16 looks very similar to its predecessor G15. The changes took place “under the hood”. [Photo: Canon]


The new top model among the compact cameras is called Canon PowerShot G16 and, like its predecessor PowerShot G15, offers a fast, optical fivefold zoom of 28-140 millimetres (KB) with a maximum aperture of F1.8-2.8 and a 1/1.7″ small CMOS sensor with 12 megapixel resolution.

With a diagonal of around 9.5 millimetres, this sensor is slightly larger than the usual compact cameras with a 6.9 millimetre sensor (1/2.3″). Together with the moderate but sufficient resolution of 12 megapixels, this results in a lower noise level and thus better image quality. The three-inch (7.5 cm), 922,000-dot (VGA) resolution screen of the Canon PowerShot G16 is permanently installed, so Canon continues to dispense with a moving screen, as it was used in earlier G models.

The optical viewfinder is still built in, however, which you will hardly find in any other camera currently available.


The Canon PowerShot G16 uses the much more powerful DIGIC 6 image processor, which accelerates autofocus by 41 percent and delivers an extremely powerful continuous shooting rate. [Photo: Canon]


New is the more powerful image processor DIGIC 6, which replaces DIGIC 5 and is not only designed to help with autofocus (14 percent faster) and image processing. In addition to SD and SDHC, the Canon PowerShot G16 also supports SDXC memory cards of type UHS I, which together with DIGIC 6 provides a continuous shooting speed of 12.2 frames per second for the first five shots and 9.3 frames per second for the following 522 photos according to Canon measurements.

Another new feature is the built-in WLAN module, which can be used to send photos to connected devices such as smartphones, tablets or PCs, and optionally even directly to social networks on the Internet. In addition, the Canon PowerShot G16 can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or tablet via app. The GPS from the connected smart device can also be used by the Canon PowerShot G16 directly to tag photos with location information.



The Canon PowerShot G16 is equipped with an image stabilizer and, in addition to numerous automatic functions, offers semi-automatic or even completely manual control, giving the photographer full control over the image.

Movies can be made in Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) at up to 60 frames per second (60p). The autofocus is automatically adjusted, but alternatively the camera offers manual focusing, which is facilitated by focus peaking, the colored highlighting of contrast edges.

Optical zoom and image stabilizer remain active during recording and the sound is recorded in stereo. The MP4 storage format used not only compresses videos effectively but is also compatible with tablets and smartphones. The Canon PowerShot G16 is available since the end of September 2013, slightly cheaper than the G15 at its launch. After a decade, it can be found much cheaper than the original price.


The three-inch screen of the Canon PowerShot G16, on the other hand, is still permanently embedded. [Photo: Canon]


Ergonomics and Workmanship

If you know the Canon PowerShot G15, you also know what the Canon PowerShot G16 looks like.

The term compact camera is still somewhat euphemistic for the Canon PowerShot G16, as it is neither light nor compact. Weighing a good 350 grams and with dimensions that are comparable to many a mirrorless system camera, it nevertheless sits very well in the hand.

Especially the case with its metal chassis and roughened plastic parts feel very noble. The fivefold zoom lens disappears almost completely in the housing when switched off. At the top, the Canon PowerShot G16 becomes a little more powerful with the optical viewfinder – almost a unique selling point of the Canon PowerShot G16.

However, the viewfinder gives you a tunnel view of the subject and no markings for parallax errors or orientation. After all, there is a dioptre compensation. Nevertheless, the viewfinder can only be recommended as a power-saving and alternative in low light.

Above the viewfinder is the system shoe, to the left is the retractable flash. The mode dial is offset above the exposure-compensation dial. This looks a little clumsy optically but has its advantages for the fast operation of the camera.



On the back, Canon has moved the control buttons a little bit. The individually assignable direct selection button is now under the video button, ISO has got its own button, but the button for selecting the exposure metering has been saved.

The Canon PowerShot G16 is still mainly controlled by a dial for the index finger on the front and the dial on the back, which encloses the four-way rocker. This in turn has the select and short menu key in its center.

Because one thing Canon has not yet implemented in the modernization of its flagship: the still immovable three-inch screen with a resolution of 922,000 pixels is not a touch screen. This would have made it easier to enter passwords when connecting to networks, for example, and would have made operation less fiddly overall. With the many functions of the camera, you need to be well versed in using the buttons, for example to manually focus or shift the AF area.

Overall, however, the operation is quite smooth and the menus are well structured. And if they are too complicated for you, you can configure the two custom modes on the dial to your own liking, assign frequently used functions to the direct-dial and movie buttons, and determine the display information yourself.



The tripod thread made of metal is located off the optical axis directly next to the battery compartment, which excludes the use of the flap on the tripod. This lower flap for the battery and memory compartment closes well, which is not the case with the small flap of plastic hinges for USB, HDMI, and remote control. Spring hinges would have been more appropriate for the camera class.

Equipment And Features

Just as it should be for a compact camera of the upper class, the Canon PowerShot G16 is not poor with equipment and features details. Canon’s superbly working intelligent automatic system is complemented by the hybrid automatic, which takes a few seconds of the film before each shutter release.

This is intended to document a photoshoot and also provides an entertaining summary of the day’s activities on excursions. The HDR function can be selected directly on the mode dial, but this is not always convincing in practice. Especially bright backgrounds usually remain outshined nevertheless.

The mode dial can also be used to control the subject programs. Among them are classics like portrait, but also pearls like night scene without tripod, which the Canon PowerShot G16 manages very well. Canon has also planned a program for underwater use because there is an optional housing for the G16.



Video recordings can be started at any time using the quick button on the back of the camera, but there is also a separate program for this.

The Canon PowerShot G16 offers a pleasantly slow zoom speed, whereby the zoom noise is only audible as noise in very quiet environments. The camera does the autofocus tracking quite quickly and even children jumping on a trampoline can be captured in a reasonably sharp focus.

For the very fast movements, the super slow-motion movie is available in two speeds. A 30-second clip can thus be played back without sound in two or four minutes. Full HD resolution at 60 or 30 frames per second is available for movie recording.

The post-processing of the videos directly on the camera is very pleasant. Cutting works quite easily and the new movies can be saved as a separate file. The video function of the Canon PowerShot G16 can be described as very successful overall.


In manual mode, the Canon PowerShot G16 provides full shooting control. But here too, Canon takes the photographer by the hand – if he wants to – and incorporates aids to ensure manual control. These include the focus magnifier or the electronic spirit level, but also focus peaking with a colored underlay of the focus area or Safety MF.

This adjusts the manually adjusted focus, should you get bogged down with the monitor. But the Canon PowerShot G16 also offers a huge selection for autofocus. The tracking autofocus reacts quickly and only loses its focus in hectic movements. You can create autofocus bracketing series, register faces, and give them a priority, lock the focus point or move the AF target and change its size.

The Canon PowerShot G16 has its own button for AE lock, and the small on-board flash delivers decent performance for its size. There is a flash exposure lock and it masters long time sync and flash to the first or second shutter curtain.

The Canon PowerShot G16 has particularly gained from the faster processor. This is noticeable when focusing and especially when shooting in series. When shooting in series without focus tracking, the G16 goes off like a machine gun and slows down only slightly after a few seconds. With focus it goes a little slower, but even here the speed can almost be maintained.

With an appropriately fast memory card, the DIGIC 6 processor can reach its full potential. Because even the storage of the image data is appropriately fast. Also new and “Up To Date” is the WiFi connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G16. The camera connects to a suitable printer, PC, smartphone, or web service, the latter only via the Canon Image Gateway. Other manufacturers spare the user this bottleneck. The Canon PowerShot G16 can’t send e-mails either, which doesn’t make much sense without a touchscreen.

The password entry is already sufficient as a test of patience, more text is not necessary. If everything works, connecting to a smartphone or tablet for quick picture sharing, remote control, or adding location data is very useful and reasonably convenient. Also a direct forwarding of the images to the computer facilitates the work.

Image Quality Of The Canon PowerShot G16

The G15 had scored with the test software with solid and convincing results. Canon has retained the 12-megapixel resolution and the sensor size of 1/1.7 inch for the Canon PowerShot G16: the faster processor of the Canon PowerShot G16 makes a difference.

The lens, which earns plus points with its speed from F1.8 to F2.8, does not compromise itself when it comes to the loss of sharpness from the center to the edge of the image or distortion.

The deflections of the measurement curves are so minimal, even with edge darkening, that none of these lens errors are visible to the naked eye. Color fringes also keep within limits. Although the chromatic aberrations are slightly higher than in the previous model, all values are at most in the slightly visible range and are therefore negligible.

A glance at the resolution shows how well a lens harmonizes with the image processor and the camera’s internal image processing. If the Canon PowerShot G16 would like to compete with mirrorless system cameras, it will lose out here.

The resolution is good but never manages the jump over the 40 line pairs per millimeter. Other models in this price range go up to 50 line pairs. The advantage of the Canon PowerShot G16, however, is its constancy. No matter if open or closed aperture, the results are more or less on the same level. Also the differences from the center to the edge of the picture are not as extreme as with other camera models.

Restrained and solid – that’s how you could also describe Canon’s software interventions with the Canon PowerShot G16. Sharpening is done naturally, but the artifacts are unduly disturbing at no aperture and no focal length.


The signal-to-noise ratio provides a decisive insight into image quality. From a measured value of 35 decibels, the noise signal overlays the image signal so strong that it becomes visible. The Canon PowerShot G16 already breaks through this barrier at ISO 800 and thus performs slightly worse than its predecessor, which was able to maintain the level up to ISO 1,600. Thus the curve of the brightness noise also rises somewhat faster.

Color noise and grain size are consistently good in all areas. Up to ISO 800, the Canon PowerShot G16 achieves excellent 10.3 or 10.2 f-stops and can remain above nine f-stops up to and including ISO 3,200. Up to ISO 12,800, the power drops by two f-stops. Up to ISO 800, the Canon PowerShot G16 can still differentiate half of the displayable grayscales, so it holds up well and is only a little worse than its predecessor at ISO 1,600. The upper ISO ranges only provide flat, low-detail results and should only be adjusted in an emergency.

The Canon PowerShot G16’s manual white balance is usually accurate, and the color reproduction is also relatively accurate, though slightly shifted to the warmer areas. How much the new DIGIC 6 image processor actually does is shown by the shutter release delay and autofocus speed.

Here the Canon PowerShot G16 wins and in the future will be among the leaders in terms of speed. 0.26 and 0.29 seconds with shutter release delay are a good value and the Canon PowerShot G16 can be recommended with a clear conscience as a speedy companion for everyday use.


Conclusion: Is The Canon PowerShot G16 Worth It?

With the Canon PowerShot G16, Canon is adapting its flagship compact class model to the demands of the market. The WiFi connection could be made a bit more direct and convenient, but it’s quite successful overall in achieving results and connects the Canon PowerShot G16 with all the other devices that photographers use today.

With the DIGIC 6 processor, the Canon PowerShot G16 takes it to the next level and becomes a fast companion that’s always ready for snapshots and can capture even the most difficult situations.

In terms of equipment and features available, it offers the right thing for photographers of all skill levels and the image quality up to ISO 800 is also right. In order to really be at the top, the Canon PowerShot G16 actually only lacks a freely movable touchscreen and a panorama mode, what for some of our readers in the comments and in the social network, is a big reason for dismissing this model.

Specifications For The Canon PowerShot G16

Manufacturer Canon
Model Canon PowerShot G16
Price approx. 600 dollars at market launch, much cheaper now
Sensor Resolution 12.1 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.000 x 3.000
(aspect ratio) (4:3)
Lens F1.8-2.8/28-140mm
Filter thread
Viewfinder yes
Dioptre compensation -3.0 to +1.0
Image field coverage approx. 80 per cent
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 922.000
as Viewfinder yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure
Scene modes
Portrait yes
Landscape yes
More 6 additional scene modes are available
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection System shoe
Remote release yes
Interval recording
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Format MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
Frame rate (max.) 60 frames/s
automatically ISO 80-12.800 (upper limit adjustable)
manually ISO 80-12,800
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Flash, Underwater
Manually yes
Number of measurement fields 9
AF auxiliary light white
Speed approx. 0,3 s
Languages English as the main language
More 29 additional languages
(ready for operation)
356 g
Zoom adjustment motorized via ring rocker
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible.
Battery life approx. 360 images according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available

Brief assessment


  • Fast autofocus and high-speed continuous shooting with DIGIC 6
  • Good video function with simple post-processing in the camera and super slow-motion movies
  • Many features available, which leaves nothing to be desired
  • Solid across all apertures equally good image results up to ISO 800
  • Robust workmanship with noble haptics
  • The display does not rotate and swivel and has no touch function
  • Tunnel-like viewfinder, which only helps to save power and bad lighting conditions
  • For a compact camera, it is quite big and heavy

Canon PowerShot G16 Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor 1/1.7″ 7.6 x 5.7 mm (crop factor 4.6) 12.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 1.9 µm
Photo resolution
4.000 x 3.000 pixels (4:3)
2.816 x 2.112 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 24 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 24 p
320 x 240 (4:3) 240 p
Maximum recording time 29 min
Video format
MPG4 (Codec H.264)


Focal length 28 to 140 mm (35mm equivalent) 5x zoom Digital zoom 4x
Aperture F1.8 (wide angle) F2.8 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and monitor

Viewfinder Optical viewfinder
Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 922,000 pixels


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 1 s (Automatic) 1/4,000 to 1 s (Manual)
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function HDR function
Exposure Compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 12.800 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes Automatic, Fireworks, Skin, Night Scene, Portrait, Beach/Snow, and Underwater,
Picture effects Blue, green filter, HDR effects, miniature effect, red filter, toy camera, soft focus, Colorkey, ColorSwap, saturated colors
White balance Clouds, sun, shadow, flash, underwater, fluorescent lamp with 2 presets, incandescent light
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 12.2 fps at the highest resolution and max. 5 stored photos, then 9.3 fps with up to 522 photos
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun Of The Canon PowerShot G16

Flash built-in flash shoe: Canon, standard center contact
Flash range 0.5 to 5.0 m at wide-angle – 0.5 to 4.5 m at telephoto
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, manual flash power, red-eye reduction

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer Lens shift (optical)
Power supply 1 x Canon NB-10L (Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V) 360 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Red-eye retouching, image index
Face recognition Face detection, blink detection
Connections Data interfaces: USB USB type: USB 2.0 High-Speed Video output
: yes (HDMI output Mini (Type C))
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous DIGIC 6 image processor with iSAPS technology Optical
Image Stabilizer (Lens Shift) up to 4 EV adjustable Tracking
AF, Continuous AF, Face Detection, Flexizone AFiContrast Built-in Neutral Density Filter (3EV)
Video effects (21) including Miniature, Black & White, Super Slow MotionMTP
and PTP Transmission protocols when connected to a PC

Size and weight

Weight 356 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 109 x 76 x 40 mm


standard accessory Canon CB-2LCE Charger for special batteriesCanon
IFC-400PCU USB cableCanon
NB-10L Special battery Canon
wp-dc52 Underwater case Front lens cap Strap strapImage editing software Image Browser EX for Windows and for MacintoshImage editing software
PhotoStitch for Windows and for MacintoshImage editing software
Digital Photo Professional for Windows and for Macintosh
additional accessories Canon ACK-DC80 AC AdapterCanon
HTC-100 Audio- / Video CableCanon
NB-10L Special Battery Power SupplyCamera Bag SoftCaseDCC-1620, SC-DC85
USB 2.0 High Speed


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