The Canon G series is once again the go-to choice for photographers looking for a serious compact camera, reviews say. The Canon PowerShot G15 delivers the total package: It's speedy, durable, easy to handle, shoots very nice photos and videos, and fits into a jacket pocket. Only the pricier Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 (Est. $440), with its big 20-megapixel image sensor, comes more highly recommended in reviews of pocket cameras.
"A joy to use," say the experts at DPReview.com, where the G15 earns a rare Gold Award. Unlike tiny pocket cameras, the G15 has room for a bunch of high-end features. Two textured grips make the G15 comfortable to hold. It has an optical viewfinder (rare for this class), plus a bright 3-inch LCD screen and "the most external controls in its class," DPReview.com editors say. No lens ring, but you get two customizable control dials plus a dedicated exposure compensation dial.
The G15 is a "pocketable photographic tool that offers almost the same degree of control as much larger DSLRs," say DPReview.com experts. It also includes the usual auto modes if you prefer to let the camera do the work.
Fantastic photo shooter, but few video controls. Reviewers say the Canon G15 simply shoots great photos with no fuss. The G15's relatively small, 12-megapixel sensor doesn't grab any headlines and neither does its extraordinarily bright lens, but they get the job done. Sharp images, beautifully blurred backgrounds and outstanding low-light performance -- better than some Canon DSLRs in Reviewed.com's tests -- impress experts. Owners, too: It's one of the top-rated digital cameras at Amazon.com. Video looks equally impressive, at full 1080p HD, but there's very little manual intervention and DPReview.com's testers recommend that videographers skip the G15.
Everything about the G15 works fast in tests. It autofocuses quickly, even in low light, and shoots up to 10 full-resolution frames per second. Battery life is strong, at an estimated 350 shots per charge with the LCD screen on.
Built to last. "Bomb-proof build quality" sets the Canon G15 apart from its peers, DPReview.com testers say. Other experts wholeheartedly agree. "Superb build quality," says Ben Keough at Reviewed.com. "Tank-like construction," says Mark Goldstein at PhotographyBlog.com.
Owners confirm this. "The first thing I noticed when I took the G15 out of its box for the first time was its impressive build quality," writes one buyer at Amazon.com. Another chose the Canon G15 over the highly regarded Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 (Est. $440) for just this reason. "It's built to last," this owner says of the Canon G15. "The battery compartment door feels solid as well as the pop up flash" -- two parts of the Sony that strike reviewers as flimsy.
Big-camera features; no in-camera panorama. The Canon G15 boasts two almost unheard-of features for a pocket camera: an optical viewfinder and a hot shoe for an external flash (there's a pop-up flash, too). It can also shoot both JPEG and RAW files, giving you maximum editing control. Zoom is 5x, healthy for this class.
Extra features are class-competitive, too, and include 10 picture effects and Handheld Night Scene. However, as with the pricier Canon PowerShot G1 X (Est. $550), there's no panorama photo option. You have to stitch your own photos together later, using supplied computer software. Like others in its class, the Canon G15 has a USB port to hook up to a computer and an HDMI port to attach to an HDTV.
DPReview.com calls this a "quick review," but it's more thorough than most sites' full reviews. After testing everything from image quality and video to features and speed, experts here like the Canon G15 so much that they award it their highest Gold Award.
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 Quick Review, Lars Rehm and Andy Westlake, November 2012
Outstanding image quality and a strong build earn the Canon G15 a nearly perfect score here. After thoroughly testing the camera's performance, features, handling and more, Ben Keough's only real complaint is its "bizarrely crippled video controls."
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 Digital Camera, Ben Keough, Oct. 19, 2012
Striking the right balance of size, features and image quality, the Canon G15 earns a Highly Recommended tag in this test. Mark Goldstein especially likes the G15's fast lens and snappy performance.
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 Review, Mark Goldstein, Nov. 14, 2012
Jim Fisher awards the Canon G15 an Excellent rating. Image quality and handling are outstanding. The pricier Sony Cyber-shot RX100 does better in extremely low light, though.
Review: Canon PowerShot G15, Jim Fisher, Oct. 24, 2012
Laura Hicks likes the great image quality of the professional level Canon PowerShot G15 camera, saying that it takes a lot to make her love a point-and-shoot camera. Calling the G15 "a thing of beauty," she says that deciding to buy it is a "no brainer."
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 Review: A Professional's Point and Shoot, Laura Hicks, April 30, 2013
Owners here overwhelmingly love the Canon G15. Although criticisms are posted, over 90 percent of the 300 or so owner-reviewers award it 4 or a perfect 5 stars for its impressive image quality, speedy performance and easy handling.
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014
The Canon G15 has a nearly perfect rating here, with more than 300 owner reviews posted. One owner wishes Canon had included a memory card, and a few love the camera but wish for a better viewfinder. Almost everyone else awards it a perfect 5 stars. Some of the reviews are extremely detailed, and some include sample shots.
Review: Canon PowerShot G15 Digital Camera, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com, As of May 2014