Canon Powershot G15 : fast lens, BSI CMOS sensor

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Canon Powershot G15
Canon Powershot G15

Two years after refreshing the enthusiast amateur photographer with the Powershot G12, for this Photokina 2012, Canon unveiles a really more attractive camera : the Powershot G15. The Canon G15 gets a new BackSide Illuminated CMOS sensor 1/1.7 “, a new fast lens, I mean fast throughout its focal length range and a new viewfinder.

Canon Powershot G15
Canon Powershot G15

Fast lens

The fast lens of the G15 is certainly its greatest asset and is a good demonstration of Canon’s optical know-how. With a maximum aperture of f/1.8 to 2.8, it is bright on the entire zoom range. I like that because I am always frustrated by these compact cameras coming out with impressive f/1.8 or f/2.0 aperture in wide-angle, an aperture that quickly falls to slow speeds like f/4.9. A classic ! The G15 is generous also in telephoto and the f/2.8, guarantees the camera’s ability to offer smooth bokeh. The lens is a 28-140mm, we might have liked to see a shorter focal length to offer a little more wide angle, a 25-125mm would have been perfect, but would also have turned the fast apertures as a nightmare for engineers and probably impossible to get, in a decent form factor. The optical design of this lens is very elaborate: 11 elements in 9 groups, UD glass lens, two aspherical double sided lenses. the lens the Canon G15 is stabilized by the Optical Image Stabilization “Canon Intelligent IS” which adapts its operation to the type of scene being photographed.

CMOS 1/1, 7 “, DIGIC 5, 1080p

Now, in Canon’s high-end compact cameras, you can choose between the big huge sensor of the PowerShot G1 X, and the more pocketable Powershot G15 that comes with a new high-sensitivity BSI CMOS  sensor of 1/1.7″, for 12 megapixels images. It offers Full HD video video recording in 24p with stereo sound. Its sensitivity range runs from ISO 80 to 12,800 and its signal is processed by the DIGIC 5 processor, which animates the device and manages the automatic scene detection among 58 cases for still images and 21 for videos. The G15 is not a super fast camera per se, it provides a burst rate of only 2.1 fps without AF-tracking and 0.9 fps with the Af tracking on.  autofocus enabled. however, highlights Canon’s autofocus velocity.

Canon Powershot G15
The Canon Powershot G15 screen is fixed, but the viewfinder has been improved.

The user interface of the Canon G15 is what makes it so special. Derived directly from the EOS handling, it gives priority to manual settings, rings and control wheels. The Powershot G15 offers a double wheel. I wish they had chosen a manual zoom ring though, but it remains powered. This is the smart move of Fuifilm with the X-F1 announced today. If the screen is not tiltable it is comfortable  (3 “/ 922 000 dots / PureColor II), and the optical viewfinder has been redesigned. The

The Powershot G15 will be sold 599 euros. It will be available next month.

canon G15
The Canon G15 UI is among its key assets with its lens and large sensor.

Main features of the Canon Powershot G15

– 1/1.7″ CMOS Sensor of 12 megapixels
– Sensibility: ISO 800 – 12,800
– Lens : 28-140mm f/1.8- 2.8
– Intelligent IS optical stabilization
– DIGIC 5 with iSAPS
– Autofocus: AiAF 9 points. Face Detection / AF Tracking
– 1cm macro mode
– Shutter speeds: 15s to 1/4000s
– Built-in Flash
– Sync 1/2000s
– External flash hotshoe
– Optical Viewfinder
– Screen : 3 “/ 922,000 dots / PureColor II
– Mode smartAuto: Auto 58 scene modes (21 in video)
– PSAM Mode
– RAW format
– Burst rate : 2.1 fps without AF Tracking / 0.9 fps with AF, 10 continous images
– Video: 1920 x 1080 pixels / 24p / stereo sound
– Outputs: USB 2.0 High-Speed, mini-HDMI (CEC), AV Out
– Storage on SD / SDHC / SDXC memory cards
– Battery: lithium (NB-10L)
– Battery life: 350 photos
– Dimensions: 106.6 x 75.9 x 40.1 mm
– Weight: 352 grams with battery and memory card


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