Customer Reviews: Canon PowerShot G15 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon October 2, 2012
I've long been a fan of my trusty Canon G12. Since it hasn't been upgraded in quite some time, I thought it was the end of the line for the series. When the G15 was announced, I immediately wanted one. Having had it for a couple of days now, I'm very happy with it. Out of the box, the biggest difference I noticed was that the G15 no longer has an articulated swivel screen. To a lot of people, this will be a huge disappointment. There is a positive to this though. Without it, the camera is thinner and lighter now. The screen is also larger and higher resolution. (3", 920K). The lens has the same focal length as the G12, but the new G15 lens has a wider aperture. f1.8 vs f2.8. My results show a nice improvement in low light situations. Canon has also improved the auto-focus speed. Megapixels have been increased from 10mp to 12mp. The G15 has a 1/1.7" CMOS sensor, which is larger than most compact style cameras. The DSLR style controls and menus are easy to navigate and understand. On my initial battery charge, I managed just over 300 shots, which I consider good. Now for the most important thing. Image quality. I took several hundred pictures in various conditions. Image quality was excellent under all circumstances. I shot in JPEG mode, using ISO 80-800. Images shot outdoors in good lighting conditions were almost DSLR quality. Images shot indoors were excellent too. Image noise up to ISO 400 was barely noticeable. At ISO 800, noise become more noticeable, but results were still much better than you'd expect from a compact camera. I only shot a minimal amount of video since I have little interest in using it, but what I did shoot does look good. The G15 can do 1080P at 24fps. All in all, the Canon G15 is just a great camera.

Excellent image quality.
Fast 5x 28-140mm lens.
RAW image capture.
DSLR style manual controls.
Good battery life.
Fairly thin and lightweight.
3", 920K screen.
Optical viewfinder.

No articulated screen.
Ergonomics might be awkward to some.
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on October 2, 2012
Updated 9/25/13

The first thing I noticed when I took the G15 out of its box for the first time was its impressive build quality. Everything is tightly constructed and what feels like a tough mag alloy body. It's not necessarily pocketable but is slightly smaller and thinner than the G12. One minor complaint, however, is that the handgrip up front seems shallower than on the G12 so at first it doesn't feel as comfortable to grip. The battery is of a good size and the camera gets excellent battery life.

The control layout on the back of the camera is the same as the G12 and G1X, generally straight-forward and logically placed. The menu system has not changed at all from previous models... so if you're coming from the G12, you should be able to locate where everything is rather quickly. You have the function button for the most commonly accessed settings and the menu button for all other settings. The LCD on back, while sadly, not articulated like on the G12 is gorgeous...very bright and clear. The viewfinder is the same small one found in the G1X and G12..but it works okay when you can't use the LCD.

Canon promised improved AF performance over the G12 and it is most certainly quicker. It isn't the fastest in its class but it does have reliable AF and no problems even in low light locking on. Most folks will find it perfectly satisfactory. Lens performance is quite snappy though, and you can zoom in and out relatively quickly. The camera also has some of the most rock solid image stabilization on any camera I have seen.

The image quality that this camera produces is excellent considering its sensor size. You can of course wring out more detail out of your photos if you shoot RAW. But the JEPGS are excellent as well. Color performance is excellent. It produces punchy but accurate colors and the lens is decently sharp at all focal lengths. Noise is well controlled through ISO400 but you can still get decent results up through ISO1600, especially if you shoot RAW and don't blow the photos up to huge sizes. However, with the fast lens, you may never need to go that high. My one minor gripe with this camera is that it overexposes at times. You can correct that problem very quickly though by dialing in some negative exposure compensation. But overall, I think most people will find the photos that this camera produces very nice.

I have not messed much with the movie mode but it has a few manual controls. One feature that stuck out to me is the 1280x720 HD iframe recording, which can be imported right into Apple video editing software without losing any of its quality. If this feature is important to you...the new G16 does not have this feature so it might be worth sticking with the G15.

Judged by image quality alone, the Sony RX100 models are at the top of the enthusiast point and shoot heap. But if you're not interested in plunking down $650-$750, this camera offers a well-rounded shooting experience and will probably give you many years of dependable operation and great photos. This camera is soon to be replaced by the G16, which will command a $100 price premium over this model. The G16 is an overall much faster camera with about the same photo quality (maybe slightly improved high ISO performance), but if you're fine with slower AF and don't need the high burst rate of the G16, I would save your money and get the G15.
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on October 12, 2012
I have been looking for a compact for a while. First, I got panasonic Lumix lx7. Handling of the Lumix didn't feel right, and I ended up returning it. Then I tried Nikon P7700, which died on the first day. I really wanted it, so I got a replacement. The second Nikon came dead on arrival. So two lemons in the row. Not good. Then I ordered the G15. First impressions: The built quality is outstanding. It's built to last, and it is also "Made in Japan" which I think makes a statement (unlike Nikon p770 that was made in China.) The battery compartment door feels solid as well as the pop up flash. The two dials on the top are conveniently located and the ergonomics are quite comfortable. The aluminum it is made off feels good and solid. It is not too heavy not too light, just about right. There is no annoying lens cup taking on/off to worry about. Optical viewfinder is really nice to have in the bright sunlight. Size wise, it is still on a compact side, so you can fit it in a larger pocket.
The power up time till first shot is quite fast. The image quality is outstanding. Of course, due to the sensor size it's not quite up to a DSLR quality if you are looking for smaller details in distant shots, but it is still very good for a compact. I think this is the best in class (maybe second to Sony RX100). The menu is very logical. Shot to shot cycle time is relatively fast in the single mode.The shutter lag is minimal,DSLR like. You can also do up to 10 fps (burst mode) with continuing focus tracking. Awesome!!!. Really sharp pictures. You can fully customize your settings for the quick access. Macro mode is outstanding; it is really 1 cm and looks like a DSLR picture in this mode. If you need an extra rich, you can use a digital zoom extension (optical plus digital, 20x all together), which I found was helpful for some rare distant shots (minimal iq loss). Usually, I turn this feature off, but on this camera it works pretty well though. It's worth of trying. Now the wish list:articulated swivel screen, 24mm wide lens, and a larger sensor would have been nice.
Someone might wonder why not Sony rx100? To me, the built quality, size, handling, and picture quality are very important all together, and the sony is not up to the standard as far as the built quality is concerned. Sony is a very good camera and also deserves 5 stars (for the sensor size/picture quality; it's also $150 more BTW), but to me it seems like could use a little improvement making the body a little tougher,so the flash,and battery compartment don't feel that flimsy. The canon G15 seems like a good compromise with all of these qualities I have been looking for. Even though the sensor on the G15 is significantly smaller, the picture quality is still pretty darn good. I think you will enjoy G15 for casual and vacation shooting. Due to its size, you are always going to have that with you. Have a good snapping!
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on November 4, 2012
I have owned and loved my Canon G12 for the past two years. When I recently learned of the new G15 I wound up buying it on impulse due to my previous good luck with Canon and the promise of improved performance. Also influencing my decision was the fact that I was about to leave on a fall vacation trip which would provide a great opportunity to test the camera.

I could not be happier with the performance of the G15. Here are the features that impress me the most.

1. The smaller form factor does make it a bit easier to carry.
2. Low light performance is incredible. Even at higher ISO's up to 1600 this camera produces very useable images.
3. The image stabilization continues to be excellent and allows good handheld shots to be taken in difficult lighting situations.
4. I use the movie function sometimes just to insure that I capture an optimal still image for various events. The new 1080p HD shooting mode and ability to refocus while zooming are real improvements that I find very useful.
5. The elimination of the separate ISO control on the top of the camera and the rearrangement of the exposure dial control have been easy to adjust to and have not caused me any difficulty.
6. The loss of the moveable rear LCD display has also turned out to be a non-problem. I only used this feature sparingly on the G12 so the larger and sharper (although fixed) LCD on the G15 is actually another improvement for me.

A quick comment on the included software. I find the Canon Imagebrowser to be largely worthless for my needs. It has a strange interface from my perspective and takes up a huge amount of disk space. My main need is to edit movies. For this task the freeware program Video Pad is much superior. For RAW image manipulation the Canon Digital Photo Professional software is quite sufficient.

The bottom line for me... I think Canon has done a great job of moving the G series along with the new G15. I am extremely pleased with the camera and strongly recommend it for those considering an upgrade.
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on October 23, 2012
I have been buying Canon Gs since the G2 have a G5 G7 G10 G11 IMHO and I am no expert, the G15 I just bought from Amazon is the best Canon G I have ever used. If you have never owned a digital camera, it's no problem getting started taking really good pictures. Just put camera in Auto and start taking pictures. Later after a brief look at the manual you can start trying the manual settings. this is a very easy camera to learn to use, and you will get quality colorful sharp pictures right from you'r fist picture. The lens is fast and auto focus is quick and right on. The size is great and this camera feels solid in my hand. The LCD is bright and sharp with true great colors. There was nothing that makes me regret buying this fine Canon G. Amazon was quick to get it to me, ordered on a Friday it was in my hands on Monday. And this was the free shipping. I have posted a few pictures on the web forum depreview [...] again I am no picture expert just someone who enjoys taking problem free pictures, and I feel the Canon G15 fills this bill.
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on November 22, 2012
The G15 is summed up by dpreview, in the conclusion to their multipage review, as follows: " The Canon Powershot G15 is a well-refined product and a joy to use. It is very quick and responsive in operation, built like a tank and offers the most external controls in its class. In combination with the fast 28-140mm F1.8-2.8 lens that makes it a very versatile and pocketable photographic tool that offers almost the same degree of control as much larger DSLRs "

The G15 is highly commended by this reviewer ( I have owned one for a few weeks ) for outdoor work, where a high quality compact camera is required for convenience and portability, and it is useable at higher iso settings than any previous G series Canon. Within the 'G' series, the G10 will produce very slightly higher quality images, but only at its lowest iso setting, above which it gives up ( unless you're prepared to post process raw files). High iso settings are essential for taking photos in low light, or of night scenes like floodlit cityscapes without a tripod, and only recently in the history of digital camera development has it been possible to achieve good high iso results with compact cameras. The G15 is as good as it gets in this regard, at time of writing, for a compact camera with a fixed zoom lens. It is wonderfully fast to focus, as well.

The G15 must be used with care for good results with flash. By default an evening scene will be transformed into bright daylight with all the atmosphere of the evening or nighttime lost. Best portraits indoors or in low light are usually taken with fill in flash and Canon is notoriously worse than Nikon or Fuji at getting this right in auto mode. To compare: If I set my Fujifilm X100 to auto, I get a perfect shot every time, retaining shadow detail and lowlight atmosphere with the flash set to 'on'. The G15 needs more work, but that's not to say it cannot be done. This is how, for an indoor portrait where you are within 12 feet of your subject:

TIP: Set the mode dial to 'P'. Click the flash up, and set it to 'ON'. Set the iso to 200 iso. Set white balance to 'auto'. As a starting point I would suggest exposing at an exposure compensation of -2, and setting the flash compensation dial to -2 as well. Too dark? Of course it is, but now you know how to find the two settings you need to adjust! Raise one or other slowly, a little at a time, and only one at a time between each trial shot. This is trial and error, to get the result you want, but with no variables because you are only adjusting one setting at a time. When you have reached the level of brightness that you like, remember your settings, write them down, and use them for indoor portraits. Finally adjust your white balance away from 'auto' if you wish to remove a colour tint ( for example if your lighting is correct but your result looks too yellow, or blue, or orange...)

TIP2:Another method: Don't use flash at all. Set the camera to auto iso. Make sure your subject is lit more brightly ( you can still be subtle about it ) than their surroundings so that they do not disappear into the shadows. Shoot. Adjust white balance as necessary. Shoot again.

Combine both of the above. or even try using an external flash, which can 'bounce' or ' diffuse' the light it produces. Photography is, after all, best described as " Painting With Light ".

The G15 is a fabulous compact camera, the best 'G' series ever, and I know of several photographers who would unhesitatingly use one to take exhibition quality landscape shots to print at sizes up to A3+. At a level of expertise where the results might be mounted and sold, most semi-pro photographers would then post process, but it is not necessary to do that to create very fine photos indeed, even in auto mode if you are a beginner.

I chose the G15 over all other compact cameras because it takes fabulous pictures and because of the size and shape of it, which better than all of the others, for me, allows me to hold it steady for best results, even on top of a dartmoor tor in a howling gale. And because of how fast it can focus, even in low light. And I still love my G10 ( see my review of that also if you're interested ), just as my wife continues to enjoy her G12.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy your photography!
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on October 4, 2012
The Canon G15 is just what I've been waiting for, after recently selling my rugged and reliable G10 to my son (for a song, I might add). It has all of the features that G series owners love, now updated to the highest level.

This camera is not a toy. It is a professional piece of equipment you will enjoy from the first time you point and shoot. The photos it takes are of amazing quality, and with the new lense, depth of field performance has never been better.

If you're looking for a high-quality, upper-level point and shoot and are tired of toting a SLR, this camera is for you.
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on November 10, 2012
This review is directed at those considering whether to upgrade. I have owned multiple G7s for years, not having the desire to upgrade because none of the newer G series cameras brought enough to the table, or even less to the table. The G15 brings more to the table in a big way for the following reasons:

1. Larger apperature and more sensitive sensor = much much much much much better ability in low light. No flash needed even in very low light.
2. High definition video at higher frame rates (The G7 had high def, but some of the models after didn't).
3. Can zoom in and out while taking video!!!! (note: at a slower rate than normal zoom, but enough)
4. Adjusts exposure while taking video.
5. Separate video button so you can quickly start/stop videos and take photos in rapid succession, no stopping to spin the mode dial.
6. Much faster zoom.
7. Can take photos at significantly shorter intervals.
8. Smaller and lighter; not much, but noticeable when you tote in your pocket. Battery is much lighter than G7's so it is a big contributor to this.
9. Nicer screen - not enough to warrant an upgrade, but a nice improvement.
10. Rougher finish - nice feel and easier to hold one handed.

Some cons:
1. The separate video button is where I like to put my thumb when one-handing it. Not that big a deal, I expect to get used to this.
2. Non articulated screen - I almost never use this, but it would be nice to rotate the screen around when non needed to protect it. Not a big deal, but I would have paid another $60 for it.
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on March 5, 2013
I am a photography enthusiast turning semi-pro and a very picky individual when it comes to my cameras. I have to admit I was slighty skeptical when it came to dropping all that cash on a point and shoot camera instead of looking at new lens for my Canon DSLR.

I will not write any specs or any of the stuff all of you are most likely tired of reading or watching on YouTube, but things I know you will ALL be interested to know if the G15 is part of your wishlist.

It's worth the high cost. It's literally a professional level point and shoot intended as a DSLR companion which can take advantage of your Speedlite Flash if you own one! It gives FULL manual control to your pictures as if it was your DSLR! Amazing noise control when using ISO up to 800 (noticeable after that) and of course, it's huge aperture even while fully zoomed makes it ideal for low light situations and offers excellent bokeh shots! Amazing macro capabilities.

It has no tilting screen unfortunately, this in an effort to keep it's size under control. Not a big deal for me, but for others it can be an issue when comparing it to the G12.

Please people, I noticed you CAN'T judge the quality of the picture you just took by looking at it from the camera itself. When looking at the from your computer, the difference is quite amazing. I was disappointed when zooming into the picture I just took from the camera itself to notice high noise and color issues only to see a perfect picture when transferred to my computer.

Ability to shoot RAW+JPEG is also a very refreshing thing to see! A SanDisk Extreme 32 GB SDHC card will be ideal with this purchase. Amazing battery life in my opinion.

Did I mention it feels just, right? It's tank-like construction makes me feel like if I am holding nothing but pure quality! Yes, it's not all metal like the G1X (which I don't really like at all when comparing it to this camera) but it is constructed extremely well. It can definitely survive some punishment!

It's video quality of 1080p is superb! You won't be able to really obtain film-quality video with it like a camcorder but it will surely please your video recording needs when on the go! Simply look up "G15 Video Samples" on YouTube and turn on the 1080p option. It's really good considering everything this little camera can do.

I often notice people comparing it to the Sony RX100 which is an amazing compact camera as well! But keep in mind there are a few things to consider here. I went with the G15 over the fact that I am a big Canon guy, with a Canon DSLR, lens and flashes. I want to be able to use my flash and I've grown close to Canon products. If you want to spent more money on a DSLR companion, then perhaps the Sony RX100 will be a good choice (over the G1X "yes, I hated it") but I personally don't see a reason to give out my G15. It feels solid, it' packed with amazing features able to satisfy my manual mode cravings and it performs beautifully (even better than the Sony RX100 based on many video reviews) when it comes to low light situations.

I am happy with my purchase. It's an amazing compact companion and I take it everywhere I go! If a great picture opportunity arises where my DSLR is not available, I would feels just as comfortable to snap a picture if I have this baby with me.
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on December 15, 2012
Shopping for a new digital camera was one of the most challenging endeavors I've had to make into the consumer electronics world.

After weeks of research, I was torn between two models: The Canon G15 and the Panansonic FZ200. When the price of the FZ200 actually dropped to the same neighborhood as the G15, it made the decision all the more difficult. However, in the end, I just really liked the Canon. I finally bit the bullet about three weeks ago and bought the Powershot.

This is the first camera we've ever had that cost more than $200. Our previous was a basic Panasonic Lumix TZ4.

Neither my wife nor myself have any basic photography knowledge. I was looking for a camera that was beginner friendly, while still offering advanced manual controls to satisfy the experts, with superior build quality and feel, and portability. Of all the cameras I researched, the G15 seemed to offer the best combination of what we were looking for.

My first impressions: This a serious, quality-made instrument. You get that "man, big-boy toys are so cool" moment when you handle it and feel that nice rough metallic finish and how it lays just right in your hand when you hold it (it doesn't hurt to see the "Made in Japan" label, either). It's got enough weight to convey that it packs a lot of electronic goodness inside...I do not find it to be heavy at all, as some pro reviewers complained about.

This is the first camera I decided to actually sit down and learn how to use in Manual mode. So far, I can now begin to properly adjust Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO on the fly and in different lighting situations (I have yet to even think about the more advanced chroma controls, such as white balance).

The G15 is great for a beginner like me. The control dials are metal, thick and have that satisfying "clickiness" to them. The two main dials are situated so that you can easily reach them with your thumb and/or forefinger and they adjust very nicely. You don't have to worry about flying past the desired setting because the flywheel is set too loose. I know G12 users complained about the lack of a dedicated manual ISO control but since I never had it, using the ISO button on the directional pad on the back of the camera works just fine. Manual focus is a bit of a pain, since you have to use up/down buttons to adjust but I don't use it enough for that to matter much and it actually does work well when I do need it.

The LCD screen is a thing of beauty. It's made of dark glass that isn't too reflective at all, and it's very bright and with excellent contrast. In anything less than direct sunlight I have not had any problems seeing the screen. The other big complaint about this G series camera is the lack of an articulating screen and, to be honest, it did factor into my looking at other cameras. However, in the end, I figured I won't miss what I never had, and it was not a deciding factor for me. I do appreciate the size difference versus cameras that have the rotating screens.

The optical viewfinder was also on my list, and I've tried it out but since the last optical viewfinder I used was on disposable 35mm's from Walgreen's from like 15 years ago, I don't have any complaints about this one.

The zoom is very fast and the auto focus works quite well. I rarely have to set it manually. Also, Auto mode is great for my wife, as she just wants to "point and shoot" the family events most of the time.

The thing I've been most impressed about this camera has been what, oddly enough, several "pro" reviews have complained about...low light shooting. I mean, it's PHENOMENAL to a beginner like me. Last night, it was dark out...I mean way beyond twilight, just a glimmer at the horizon type of scene...and I just bust out the G15, adjust some settings in Manual and I got great pics.

Of course, I have yet to crop and print any photos and that is where most "pros" said you can see the low light deficiencies, but again, since I have nothing even close to the quality of this G15 to compare it to, I find it's low light performance to be absolutely impressive for a Point and Shoot.

Details are also amazing on close ups. I took some pics of a cured flower bud and you can zoom in and see the little crystallized hairs on it! I took a pic of my red towel and zoomed in to see each individual fiber as well as the dust clinging to them.

Battery life is good. I have yet to reach full discharge in anything less than two to three days of moderate to heavy use.

Another big complaint from reviewers is the lack of manual control while shooting video. While I would certainly love to have that control, I don't find myself missing it so far. This camera takes very good 1080p videos, and they look great on my 60" 16:9 HDTV. Most modern TVs, including ours, can properly display 24fps content, so the lack of 60fps video shooting does not concern me.

I use the mini HDMI to HDMI cable that came with my Kodak ZX3 to connect it to my home theater system to view photos or videos. You can also remove the SD card and use that, if your equipment supports that media.

The only software I use is the Digital Photo Professional to view, edit, and convert RAW photos. I find it to be more than adequate for my needs. You have the option to install only what components you are interested in when running the setup CD.

I needed to justify spending over $400 on a camera...and the Canon Powershot G15 has provided me with ample evidence that it was an excellent decision. Both my wife and I recommend it.

UPDATE: It's been a little over 9 months since we purchased this camera and we love it. Every once in I while I wish it had a higher zoom, but the fast lens and bright aperture more than make up for that. I am constantly getting compliments on the family photos we take. I definitely recommend this camera.
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