Canon G15, G16: Some thoughts on my new camera

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bakubo
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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:47 pm

Birma wrote:The speed of the lens is a really good point Henry, that doesn't always get considered in reviews I have seen for these high-end P&S cameras.


You may remember that more than 2 years ago I posted about my wish for a digicam with a larger sensor, modest zoom lens, IS, builtin flash, $400, and a VF. At the time there wasn't anything. At that time the choices were basically:

- Canon G12 with a small sensor, slow lens, and VF
- Canon S95 with a small sensor, fast lens at only shortest FL but slow at longer FLs, but no VF
- Fuji X100 with big sensor, fast 35mm lens, and VF, but too big/heavy
- Olympus/Panasonic had not so big m4/3 models with interchangeable lenses, but even with the smallest lens (14mm f2.5 pancake) it was too big and there was no VF
- NEX 3/5 with big sensor, interchangeable lenses, but even with the smallest lens (16mm f2.8 pancake) it was too big and there was no VF
- Panasonic LX5 with small sensor and no VF

The $400 price point was the least important, but it was about what I felt was reasonable for the camera I described in that post.

Since then there have been some big sensor digicams but they each are missing things I wanted:

- RX100 (no VF, much more than $400)
- RX1 (no VF, no zoom, much, much, much more than $400 :lol: )
- Canon GX1 (big/heavy, much more than $400)

The G15 still has a small sensor, but the tech of the sensor has improved so it is better than a few years ago. The thing that really changes things though is that fast 28-140mm f1.8-2.8 lens. A small sensor with a slow lens means you will always wish for a bigger sensor, but a good small sensor with a fast lens means that you can use lower ISOs. We all know that sensor tech is always improving at a pretty fast rate, but lens design doesn't improve nearly as fast. So, it is somewhat surprising that this fast lens couldn't have been designed and used a couple of years ago. I think it just came down to all the competition from m4/3, NEX, etc. mirrorless that caused Canon to rethink the G line of digicams to give them a reason to exist. I think the G15 is a pretty good combination of features and the first G that I was interested in getting. By the way, I paid $385 for the G15 so less than the $400. :)

This is what DxO says about the new lens:

Although it has a similar range of focal lengths to that found on the previous model, the G12 (and slightly wider range over the large sensor G1X variant) the G15 boasts a truly fast f/1.8-2.8 variable maximum aperture. Not only is this lens over stop faster (brighter), a real benefit for available light photography while permitting some extra degree of depth of field control, it has a complex optical construction including multiple aspherical surfaces as well as single UD (Ultra low Dispersion) glass element. While aspherical elements are common, UD glass is usually reserved for the firm’s L-series lenses and should help reduce chromatic aberration.


For those who are interested you can find the old thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=49&t=5011

By the way, people here who know me know I don't cheerlead for brands or cameras. I don't care one bit about brands. I am just posting here some of my thoughts about how the G15 and its combo of good small sensor and good, fast lens changes things.
Last edited by bakubo on Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:55 am

The G15 seems like it has good potential to be a quite a handy camera Henry, I trust you’ll keep us up to date during actual usage, responsiveness, user interface, IQ and so forth.
Greg

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:47 am

Argonaut wrote:Maybe I missed it, but I would be more interested in comparing the cameras set to the lens' sweet spot. F1.8 is nice, but if 5.6 is the sweet spot, that's where I use it. That's why it doesn't really bother me that the RX100 is on its way to f4.9 so quickly. It's easier to deal with noise in post than it is with non-sharp focus.


A lens for a smaller sensor can often do quite well wide open, but it depends on the lens. I think it is harder to make a fast lens for a big sensor that is good wide open.

I read several reviews and have seen comments on the G15 lens. Here is just one of the comments I saw and others would require more searching since I read the reviews a few weeks ago. This is from the Imaging Resource G15 review:

Sharpness: At maximum aperture ("wide open"), the wide-angle end of the Canon PowerShot G15's zoom shows only minimal blurring in the corners of the frame compared to what we see at center, though what is there extends a little far into the main image area. At telephoto, details in the corners are only a little softer than those at center, which are also a bit soft.

Stopping down to f/5.6 from maximum aperture (f/1.8 at wide angle and f/2.8 at telephoto) didn't produce significantly sharper results, though corner shading (vignetting) is improved.

Overall, very good results, especially considering how fast the lens.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:56 pm

harvey wrote:I replaced my G9 with a G15 last year. For me the image quality, size, propoer controls (not menus), flash, flash shoe and OVF add up to an ideal take-anywhere camera.
And you can even stick a polarizer on the front with a filter adaptor...
With smaller cameras you loose things, particularly the controls, and any larger is not so practical when you are chock full on hand luggage where every cm counts.


That is so true! Our flight from Osaka to Taipei and then return a few weeks ago had tight restrictions on baggage. Check-in bags were additional cost and all carry-on items (bag plus personal item) were limited to 10kg. Since we were only there for 3 weeks it wasn't too difficult for me to only have a carry-on small backpack with my m4/3 kit and S95, but my wife had more trouble keeping hers to 10kg. :lol: I put a few of her items in my pack since I was only about 7 kg and that allowed her to stay under 10kg.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:07 am

Greg Beetham wrote:The G15 seems like it has good potential to be a quite a handy camera Henry, I trust you’ll keep us up to date during actual usage, responsiveness, user interface, IQ and so forth.


Greg, I will be sure to report back in this thread. So far, I haven't discovered anything unexpected. Keeping in mind this is a $385 digicam and not a $2000 DSLR with $1000 lens it seems to work quite well. Actually, the specs and quality are above what I would expect from $385. AF is pretty fast, responsiveness is very good, power on is fast, the external controls are very nice and well thought out, the menus are easy and much like the menus on the S95, 60D, and other Canon cameras. I have taken a hundred or so raw photos, but mostly just playing around with it. Although I have downloaded them to the computer I haven't imported them into LR yet so all I have done is look at the 1600x1200 embedded jpeg using Faststone. So far, no surprises.

If I didn't want a VF and wanted to move up from the S95 then the RX100 would be the natural choice. I have played with it and the RX1 and the RX100 is almost the same size and shape as the S95 with a lens that has almost the same specs as the S95 lens, but the RX100 has the bigger sensor. The price of the RX100 is also much higher though.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby alphaomega » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:49 pm

Hi Bakubo,
Sounds like you have found the ideal "walk about camera" after a long search. My wife uses my A550 with a Tamron 18-200 zoom and also my old LX2 as well as an even older Fuji 900 (has a built in viewfinder). I often think of letting her borrow my NEX-6 camera, but she is not good at setting up and changing settings so that's a no no. I don't know how many times I have started video, changed F stop and other changes by accident so that camera won't do.
I wonder if the G15 has a way of locking settings or is it arranged in such a way that it is difficult to change settings by accident? She really could do with a lighter quality camera with a viewfinder. Sounds like the G15 might do on both image quality and lens range.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:33 pm

alphaomega wrote:Sounds like you have found the ideal "walk about camera" after a long search.


I wouldn't say ideal, but it is the best to come out so far, I think. I was not so much after a walk about camera as a carry everywhere camera. In my mind there is a bit of a difference. For me a walk around camera is covered better by my E-M5 or previous DSLRs. I am walking around, but with the intention of taking photos. For a carry everywhere camera I am just going through normal life with no particular intention of taking photos but wanting a camera with me just in case. I have been carrying an S95 for the last 1.5 years and before that an A590IS and before that an A540 and so on. It remains to be seen whether the increased size/weight of the G15 over those other cameras will be a problem.

alphaomega wrote:My wife uses my A550 with a Tamron 18-200 zoom and also my old LX2 as well as an even older Fuji 900 (has a built in viewfinder). I often think of letting her borrow my NEX-6 camera, but she is not good at setting up and changing settings so that's a no no. I don't know how many times I have started video, changed F stop and other changes by accident so that camera won't do.
I wonder if the G15 has a way of locking settings or is it arranged in such a way that it is difficult to change settings by accident? She really could do with a lighter quality camera with a viewfinder. Sounds like the G15 might do on both image quality and lens range.


The G15 has an OVF, but keep in mind that it isn't a great OVF. It isn't so big. The Fuji X20 has a similar 85% coverage, but its OVF is bigger and nicer. At the widest angle the X20 lens intrudes into the view more than the G15 though. The G15 OVF view shows just a bit of the lens at 28mm, but as soon as you zoom the slightest amount it disappears. The X20 lens doesn't collapse so it wouldn't work for a pocket. Also, the X20 has a slightly slower, shorter focal length zoom lens. Lastly, the G15 is about $400 and the X20 is about $600. I find the G15 OVF to be adequate and much better than not having one. I don't use it all the time though. The rear LCD is quite nice and has full info, but sometimes because of light it is not as easy to see as an OVF. Also, for me the OVF allows much faster and less obtrusive operation so I like it for that reason too.

The two top dials (mode dial and exposure compensation dial) do not have locks but have fairly firm detentes. So far I have not had any accidental changes, but I haven't tried carrying it in a pocket yet. Here in Japan it is too warm now to wear a jacket and I don't wear cargo shorts in Japan so I have been using the neck strap. If I want to carry it in a cargo shorts pocket later then I will probably try to find a very thin neoprene case or sleeve for it to keep it protected from pocket dust and knocks. When I got the S95 I found a perfectly sized neoprene sleeve case for 100 yen ($1) and it provides just the right amount of protection for when it is banging around in the side pocket. I never used one for my A590IS and after about 3 years of carrying it like that dust found its way into the OVF and also behind the LCD glass cover. My S95 still looks almost new.

The front dial is programmable so you can choose among many functions. For the moment I have it set so that each click changes the zoom to standard focal lengths: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 140mm. The shutter button collar lever still does continuous zoom. There is also a programmable button on the back. Currently I have mine set to switch between raw and jpeg.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby alphaomega » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:04 pm

Thanks for your detailed information Bakubo. Jessops have opened again here in Glasgow and I think I will take my wife there to try out Canon's G15. Sounds like the camera for her.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:59 pm

I discovered something yesterday that is a bit surprising and I have not seen it written anywhere before. A couple of days ago I imported the first G15 raw files into LR 4.4. I was disappointed to discover that even though Adobe claimed that 4.3 had support for the G15 that when I loaded them and started working with the G15 raw files that although the raw files were handled there was no G15 lens profile. :( Upon further investigation I discovered that it appears like the G15 raw file may be like m4/3 raw files in that it contains embedded lens correction data. The m4/3 raw files contain the lens correction data for distortion and shading, LR reads it, and automatically does corrections without a separate lens profile. The G15 lens also is automatically corrected by LR without a separate lens profile.

I shot a stone wall yesterday at 28mm using raw+jpeg. Of course, the jpeg was corrected by the camera, but when I looked at the raw outside of LR I could clearly see the distortion. I loaded the raw into LR and it looked like the jpeg. I have not seen one mention of this new behavior by a Canon camera. My S95 has a separate LR lens profile.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:04 am

Here are few photos I have made recently with the G15.

Fish head hanging outside a door in Japan to scare away evil spirits:

Image

An o-henro-san (Buddhist pilgrim) at a temple on Shikoku writing in his pilgrimage diary:

Image

A bamboo forest:

Image

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby agorabasta » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:44 am

bakubo wrote: Upon further investigation I discovered that it appears like the G15 raw file may be like m4/3 raw files in that it contains embedded lens correction data. The m4/3 raw files contain the lens correction data for distortion and shading, LR reads it, and automatically does corrections without a separate lens profile. The G15 lens also is automatically corrected by LR without a separate lens profile.

That's the ugly new universal approach by Adobe.

They do it for RX100, too; and for most new compacts as well if the support is 'full'. It can't be switched off in Lr/ACR. So if you need better corners at expense of some barrel at the widest position, you need to look elsewhere, like using DxO or C1 to first make DNG with geometry corrections switched off. But those two ugly proggies make demosaiced DNG's, so you are stuck with their inferior processes.

Adobe is also doing some partial corrections that can't be switched off to the other lenses, like Sigma EX DN 19&30mm. And then using further automatic CA correction makes some further small changes that tries to treat asymmetric PF as if it were CA and doing so it actually introduces CA where it was not without that.

I'd say that Adobe's approach to lens corrections is in total disarray, and getting worse and worse.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:40 am

I'm quite interested in the Fuji X20 it seems to address some of the issues on the X10. I think that's the direction I'd head in, give it a bit of time and the price might be right for me.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:02 am

agorabasta wrote:That's the ugly new universal approach by Adobe.


Does Canon put the correction data in the raw file like m4/3 does or are you saying that Adobe has an internal to LR lens profile that it uses instead of having a separate one like for the S95, G12, and DSLR lenses?

agorabasta wrote:They do it for RX100, too; and for most new compacts as well if the support is 'full'. It can't be switched off in Lr/ACR.


Yes, it is unfortunate that we no longer have the option of not using the correction. Before I started using LR I would use PS or PSE with PTLens. Sometimes I used PTLens to do correction, but sometimes I didn't depending on the image and which way I preferred for that particular photo.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby bakubo » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:20 am

bfitzgerald wrote:I'm quite interested in the Fuji X20 it seems to address some of the issues on the X10. I think that's the direction I'd head in, give it a bit of time and the price might be right for me.


I have held and played with all the Fuji cameras, including the X20. I haven't read any reviews so I know very little about how it works in practice, but it is quite nice to hold and the OVF is bigger and clearer than the G15. The X20 lens at wide angle intrudes more into the OVF than the G15. The lens always sticks out even when the camera is off so that right away took it out of consideration for me. The G15 may work out to be put in a jacket or cargo shorts pocket and easily taken out, but the X20 is a no-go for me. The X20 price is 50% higher than the G15.

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Re: Canon G15: Some thoughts on my new camera

Unread postby agorabasta » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:29 am

bakubo wrote:Does Canon put the correction data in the raw file like m4/3 does or are you saying that Adobe has an internal to LR lens profile that it uses instead of having a separate one like for the S95, G12, and DSLR lenses?

I don't really know how it works in the Canon case.
What I know, though, is that both scenarios are used by Adobe. In case of RX100, switching off the geometry corrections in IDC and resaving the ARW does not disable auto corrections in Adobe - that speaks for embedded profile being employed in Adobe proggies.
Then there's the case of Sigma DN lenses that are not even recognised automatically by Adobe, yet the CA corrections are always applied even if the whole lens correction module is switched off. Moreover, those lenses work on Nex5N with full corrections too which means that the info is in the lens itself and is somehow translated into the raw file since the 5N was out much earlier than those DN lenses were even announced. And Adobe then picks the CA part of the info and applies it without any possibility to disable that.

Well, like I said - that's total disarray...


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