Canon PowerShot G16 review - Quality

Quality

Canon G16 vs Sony RX100 II Quality JPEG

 
To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

Both of these cameras have the same 28mm wide angle setting on their zoom lenses, but the Sony RX100 II’s 3:2 proportions provide it with not only a wider field of view but also a slightly taller one. To provide an equivalent vertical field of view I zoomed the Canon G16 in fractionally.

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and all camera settings were left on the defaults.

  Canon PowerShot G16 results
1 Canon G16 Quality JPEG
2 Canon G16 Quality RAW
3 Canon G16 Noise JPEG
4 Canon G16 Noise RAW
5 Canon G16 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G16. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and f4 was selected as this produced the best result from the lens. With the sensitivity set to 80 ISO the G16 metered an exposure of 1/640. The G16 was mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was turned off. As usual for this test, the cameras were otherwise left on the default settings. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II also produced its best results at f4, where it metered 1/800 with the sensitivity set to 160 ISO. The G16 JPEG file measured 6.09MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

Overall the PowerShot G16 has produced an excellent set of crops with little visible noise and a good level of detail. Looking at the first crop, the people standing outside the chapel are a little indistinct, but you can see a fair bit of detail in the stonework and the edges are clean and free of halos. There’s a little bit of atmospheric haze in the second crop but, despite that, the lighthouse is a distinct white column and the lamp house is just about visible on top. In the foreground of this crop, where the haze is less of a factor the window frames are nice and crisp and there’s a good level of detail in the tiled roofs.

Crop number three, from close to the edge of the frame is also quite impressive. Again, there’s a good level of detail in the brick and tilework and it’s only a little softer than in the crops from closer to the middle. There’s very little distortion, though, and no visible color fringing to be seen. The final crop from close to the middle of the frame shows a similar level of detail and sharpness to the the first and second crops. While it’s difficult to make a comparison between these and my earlier G15 tests the consistency of the results across the frame is once again testament to the quality of the 28-140mm zoom lens.

So how do the PowerShot G16 crops compare with those from the Sony RX100 II? Just to remind you, the RX100 II’s one inch sensor is physically larger than the G16’s as well as having a higher resolution of 20.2 Megapixels. Consequently the crops show a smaller area with larger detail. I also think there’s a little more detail in the RX100 II crops. The detail is bigger, so it’s easier to see, but if you look at the stonework in the first crop, the roof tiles in the foreground of the second crop, and pretty much anywhere in the final crop the RX100 II is making a better job of resolving fine detail. It’s only the third crop from the frame edge where the Sony falls down, with softer detail and a little bit of colour fringing. So where the G16’s lens out performs the RX100 II’s, the latter’s bigger, higher resolution sensor produces images with a higher level of detail than the PowerShot G16.

Check out my Canon PowerShot G16 RAW quality results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon PowerShot G16 Noise results.

Canon PowerShot G16
 
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO


Canon PowerShot G16
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

Canon G16 vs Sony RX100 II Quality RAW

 

To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their RAW settings.

Both of these cameras have the same 28mm wide angle setting on their zoom lenses, but the Sony RX100 II’s 3:2 proportions provide it with not only a wider field of view but also a slightly taller one. To provide an equivalent vertical field of view I zoomed the Canon G16 in fractionally.

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and all camera settings were left on the defaults.

  Canon PowerShot G16 results
1 Canon G16 Quality JPEG
2 Canon G16 Quality RAW
3 Canon G16 Noise JPEG
4 Canon G16 Noise RAW
5 Canon G16 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G16. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode and f4 was selected as this produced the best result from the lens. With the sensitivity set to 80 ISO the G16 metered an exposure of 1/640. The G16 was mounted on a tripod and image stabilisation was turned off. As usual for this test, the cameras were otherwise left on the default settings. The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II also produced its best results at f4, where it metered 1/800 with the sensitivity also set to 160 ISO. The G16 RAW file measured 15.9MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

I processed the files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Comparing these files with the JPEGs on the previous page I see the same consistency, which is to be expected, but not much, if any more detail in these crops than in the JPEGs. I do see more noise, which is also to be expected given that all noise processing for my RAW files has been turned off and there’s a high level of sharpening. In the first crop the noise is really getting in the way of the finer detail, but if you look at the level of detail in the brickwork and tiling in the fourth crop, it looks like there may well be potential for squeezing more out of the RAW files than you can get with the in-camera JPEGs. So there’s potential, but unlocking that detail while avoiding exaggerating the noise will be a challenge.

By comparison the Sony crops look very crisp and clear. There’s some noise, but not to the same extent as in the G16 crops. These RAW files confirm that while the Canon G16’s 1/1.7 inch sensor raises it above what you could expect from a typical compact, the Sony RX100 II’s 1 inch sensor gets you closer to DSLR quality.

Now see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon PowerShot G16 Noise results.

Canon PowerShot G16 RAW
 
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II RAW
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO
f4, 80 ISO
f4, 160 ISO


Canon PowerShot G16
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

Canon G16 vs Sony RX100 II Noise RAW

 
  Canon PowerShot G16 results
1 Canon G16 Quality JPEG
2 Canon G16 Quality RAW
3 Canon G16 Noise JPEG
4 Canon G16 Noise RAW
5 Canon G16 Sample images

To compare RAW noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their RAW settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

Both of these cameras have the same 28mm wide angle setting on their zoom lenses, but the Sony RX100 II’s 3:2 proportions provide it with not only a wider field of view but also a slightly taller one. To provide an equivalent vertical field of view I zoomed the Canon G16 in fractionally.

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and all camera settings were left on the defaults.

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G16. From my outdoor test I’d discovered that the both the G16 and the RX100 II produced their best results with the aperture set to f4, so both were set to f4 in Aperture priority mode. At its base sensitivity of 80 ISO, the G16 metered an exposure of 1/6 at f4, and at its base sensitivity of 160 ISO the Sony RX100 II metered 1/8 at f4. The G16 RAW file measured 12.9MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangle.

I processed the files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what’s really going on behind the scenes – as such the visible noise levels at higher ISOs will be much greater than you’re used to seeing in many of my comparisons, but again it’s an approach that’s designed to show the actual detail that’s being recorded before you start work on processing and cleaning it up if desired.

These crops from the processed RAW files provide confirmation that what we saw with the JPEG noise results is largely related to sensor performance and the comparative levels of noise on these crops are pretty much in line with what we saw on the previous page. The G16 starts out with higher noise levels at its base 80 ISO setting and the incremental change is larger than on the Sony RX100 II resulting in a widening gap as you progress up the ISO scale.

If you compare the G16 800 ISO crop on this page with the JPEG equivalent, you’ll see that the G16’s noise processing is actually working pretty hard to pull a noise free result from what the sensor is producing and given the levels of noise the detail loss is no surprise, in fact the result when looked at in this context is quite impressive.

Now head over to my Canon PowerShot G16 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions or if you’ve seen enough, check out my verdict.

Canon PowerShot G16 RAW
 
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II RAW
f4 80 ISO
Not available
f4 100 ISO
f4 100 ISO
f4 125 ISO Not included
f4 125 ISO
f4 160 ISO Not included
f4 160 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 800 ISO
     
f4 1600 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
     
f4 3200 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
     
f4 6400 ISO
f4 6400 ISO
     
f4 12800 ISO
12800 ISO
 

Canon PowerShot G16 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

Canon G16 vs Sony RX100 II Noise JPEG

 
  Canon PowerShot G16 results
1 Canon G16 Quality JPEG
2 Canon G16 Quality RAW
3 Canon G16 Noise JPEG
4 Canon G16 Noise RAW
5 Canon G16 Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

Both of these cameras have the same 28mm wide angle setting on their zoom lenses, but the Sony RX100 II’s 3:2 proportions provide it with not only a wider field of view but also a slightly taller one. To provide an equivalent vertical field of view I zoomed the Canon G16 in fractionally.

Both cameras were set to Aperture priority mode and all camera settings were left on the defaults.

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot G16. From my outdoor test I’d discovered that the both the G16 and the RX100 II produced their best results with the aperture set to f4, so both were set to f4 in Aperture priority mode. At its base sensitivity of 80 ISO, the G16 metered an exposure of 1/6 at f4, and at its base sensitivity of 160 ISO the Sony RX100 II metered 1/8 at f4. The G16 JPEG file measured 3.93MB and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangle.

At its base 80 ISO sensitivity setting the Canon G16 produces good results which though not noise free are reasonably clean and hold plenty of fine detail. The text is reasonably clear, but there’s visible texture in the wall and the left hand edge of the memorial panel looks a little grainy. At 100 ISO there’s a very slight increase in noise, but nothing worth worrying about. The G16 increments ISO in 1/3EV steps, so there are 125 and 160 ISO settings and increments between the other 1EV ISO settings, but I haven’t included them here. (100, 125 and 160 ISO are included for the RX100 II because they are the extended and base ISO settings; more about that in a moment).

At 200 and 400 ISO, there are further fairly small linear increments in the noise, but though the text and other fine detail is suffering a little a this point, the overall quality is just about good enough for full sized reproduction, and certainly better than you’d get from a typical 1/2.3 inch compact sensor.

At 800 ISO there’s a fairly dramatic drop off in the quality though, with more noise visible and the processing clearly struggling to keep it in check and producing some smearing as a result. The 1600 and 3200 ISO crops are characterised by an increassing fuzziness and beyond that it really is a bit of a noise-fest.

You don’t have to look too hard to see that the Sony RX100 II has a clear advantage when it comes to noise performance. The first thing to note, though, is that the RX100 II’s base ISO sensitivity is 160 ISO and that’s the crop you should be comparing with the 80 ISO crop from the G16. The 100 and 125 ISO settings are an extension to the ‘normal’ range. Having said that, the RX100 II’s 160 ISO crop looks cleaner than the G16’s 80 ISO crop with less texture in the wall and the monument.

The gap has already widened by 200 ISO and with each step up the sensitivity scale the RX100 II looks better and better by comparison with the G16. By 3200 ISO even the RX100 II crop is looking quite splodgy, but the text is still just about readable and it doesn’t have anything like the levels of noise in the Canon G16 crop. The evidence is pretty indisputable, the RX100 II’s 1 inch 20.2 Megapixel chip outperforms the Canon G16’s 1/1.7 inch 12.1 Megapixel sensor throughout the ISO sensitivity range.

I’ve also included a crop from the G16 in Handheld NightScene mode which shoots a quick burst and creates a low noise composite at Auto ISO, in this instance the G6 chose 800 ISO and, while there’s less noise in the composite shot than in the 800 ISO single-shot crop, there’s a lot less detail too. By comparison I’ve included at shot taken at Auto ISO in the Sony RX100 II’s Multi Frame Noise reduction mode. The RX100 II has opted for 640 ISO, but it’s a fair comparison in which the RX100 II comes out on top. It’s also worth noting that, unlike the G16’s Handheld NightScene mode, you can manually set the ISO for MFNR on the RX100 II.

To find out how much of a role processing plays in keeping noise at bay in these crops take a look at my Canon PowerShot G16 RAW noise results page to see just how much noise is present behind the scenes. Or head over to my Canon PowerShot G16 sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon PowerShot G16
 
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
f4 80 ISO
Not available
f4 100 ISO
f4 100 ISO
f4 125 ISO Not included
f4 125 ISO
f4 160 ISO Not included
f4 160 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 200 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 400 ISO
f4 800 ISO
f4 800 ISO
     
f4 1600 ISO
f4 1600 ISO
     
f4 3200 ISO
f4 3200 ISO
     
f4 6400 ISO
f4 6400 ISO
     
f4 12800 ISO
12800 ISO
     
Handheld NightScene f1.8 800 ISO
Multi-frame Noise Reduction f4 640 ISO
 

Canon PowerShot G16 results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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