November 2012

PowerShot G15

The newest PowerShot model represents another leap forward with a new lens, new imaging sensor, and the DIGIC 5 imaging processor

Photo 1: PowerShot G15

Photo 1: PowerShot G15

This month's technical report brings you the latest information on the PowerShot G15, which is loaded with a 12.1-megapixel, high-sensitivity, 1/1.7 type CMOS sensor and a 5x zoom lens with a lens-shift image stabilizer (35mm-film equivalent focal length range: 28 - 140 mm).

Development objectives

The PowerShot G series has won rave reviews for pairing top-class image quality for a compact digital camera with commercial-grade reliability and all the sophisticated image processing functions essential for the advanced amateur.

The new PowerShot G15 (Photo 1) was developed to be the successor to the PowerShot G12 and the sister model to the PowerShot G1 X, which was released earlier this year. The synergy between the DIGIC 5 imaging processor and the newly developed lens (35mm-film equivalent focal length range: 28 - 140 mm, f/1.8 - f/2.8) makes this camera the fastest in the G series and an outstanding performer in even dark locations. The development aim of this new model is as follows.

Realize a high-end compact camera that combines superb image quality and functionality with high speed.

Feature 1 - Advanced image quality

Figure 1: Lens construction

Figure 1: Lens construction

Canon-made high-sensitivity CMOS sensor

The G15 is equipped with a Canon-produced high-sensitivity CMOS sensor (1/1.7 type, approximately 12.10 effective megapixels) that has been designed to maximize the benefits from the Canon lens and DIGIC imaging processor combination.

Based on the CMOS sensor developed for the PowerShot S100, this CMOS sensor adds significant performance gains, especially lower noise characteristics.

Newly designed Canon lens that gets the most out of the large sensor and DIGIC 5

The PowerShot G15 is fitted with an f/1.8 (max. wide angle) - f/2.8 (max. telephoto angle) 5x zoom lens with a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 28 - 140 mm (Figure 1). Although the focal length range matches that of the PowerShot G12's lens, the new lens is much brighter with an open aperture of f/1.8 at the wide-angle end and f/2.8 at the telephoto end. The lens is constructed with 11 elements in nine groups, including two double-sided aspherical lens elements, one low-dispersion single-sided aspherical lens element, and one UD lens element.

Selecting glass with a high refractive index allowed us to shorten the zoom stroke length compared to the PowerShot G12. Plus, a newly developed coating was applied to the lens mating surfaces to curb the occurrence of ghosting and other anomalies, and the diaphragm was engineered to move independently of the lens groups to minimize flaring, which is a concern on bright lenses.

DIGIC 5 imaging processor

The PowerShot G15 comes with the high-performance DIGIC 5 imaging processor, which has gained wide acclaim on its sister-model, the PowerShot G1 X. Coordination between the high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 5 has led to the following image-quality improvements over the PowerShot G12.

  • Advanced HS System
  • Improved white balance performance
  • Better correction performance in shadow regions
High ISO setting (ISO 12800)

Because of the close linkage between the 1/1.7 type CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 5, the G15 delivers extremely high sensitivity shooting at ISO 12800 (Figure 2) without any limitation on the size of the recorded image. Even in locations where it is too dark to see with the naked eye, the G15 can take vivid photos with little noise. And by taking advantage of the top 1/4000 sec. shutter speed, the camera is great for shooting sports in dim gymnasiums.

Figure 2: ISO speed setting menu

Figure 2: ISO speed setting menu

Adjustable noise reduction level at high ISO speeds (High ISO NR)

As on the PowerShot G1 X, users can select from three noise reduction levels - Low, Standard, or High - to control the noise reduction strength applied at high ISO speeds.

Progressive fine zoom

This function increases the resolution when using the digital zoom by tweaking image processing parameters. When the digital zoom is engaged, yellow markings on the LCD monitor indicate, in correspondence with the recording pixels selection, the range where no image degradation occurs and the range where the resolution is boosted.

More accurate subject detection in backlit conditions
Optical image stabilizer with a stabilization gain of approximately four f-stops
Built-in ND filter

Feature 2 - Rich functionality

Shorter release time lag because of faster autofocusing

The shutter release time was cut to about 55 percent (at an equivalent focal length of 28 mm) of that on the PowerShot G12 thanks to improvements to the AF algorithm, faster data read-out from the CMOS sensor, and a revised processing sequence. This makes the camera even better at capturing fleeting photo opportunities.

Photo 2: Handheld Night Scene mode

Photo 2: Handheld Night Scene mode

Better Handheld Night Scene shooting mode

We introduced the Handheld Night Scene shooting mode in 2010 to let users shoot night scenes with reduced camera shake and noise without a tripod. The drawback with the original specification, which disabled the flash, is that subjects in the foreground occasionally turn out dark because of backlighting by lights in the background.

With the PowerShot G15 however, the flash is allowed to fire in the Handheld Night Scene mode, so that both the subject and the background are correctly exposed even when backlighting conditions are present (Photo 2).

Enhanced Movie Digest shooting mode

The camera has been changed so that clips made with the Movie Digest mode can be played back during still-image playback, allowing more people to enjoy movie digest clips. Also, a chapter is added each time a still image is taken, separating movie digest clips by image scene or location. This makes it easier to skip forward or backward, jump, or delete by scene.

Intelligent IS
Smart Auto mode with 58 auto-detection scenes, and Smart Movie mode with 21 auto-detection scenes
Copyright information settings
Servo AF / Servo AE
Tracking AF
Continuous AF shooting
Selectable first/second-curtain flash synchronization
AE bracketing / Focus bracketing
Multiple aspect ratios
Histogram display

Feature 3 - More comfortable operation

Figure 3: Electronic level

Figure 3: Electronic level

Photo 3: New two-level dial

Photo 3: New two-level dial

Dual-axis electronic level

The PowerShot G12 had a single-axis electronic level that indicated the roll (left-right incline) when shooting. The PowerShot G15, on the other hand, has moved to the dual-axis electronic level (Figure 3) found on the EOS 5D Mark III. The dual-axis electronic level indicates both the roll and the pitch (front-back incline).

New two-level dial

The familiar PowerShot G series' two-level dial has been made markedly more visible by offsetting the levels (Photo 3). In the previous layout, the user had to grab the dial with the thumb and index finger to turn the dial. But with the G15's two-level dial, the exposure compensation can be adjusted much faster since only one finger is needed to turn the lower exposure compensation dial.

3.0 type LCD monitor with 922,000 dots

The PowerShot G11 and G12 had vari-angle LCD monitors, making it easy to view the action regardless of the shooting orientation. However, there are two drawbacks with vari-angle monitors: the screen size tends to be somewhat smaller and the body (width and depth) tends to get somewhat larger.

Therefore, for the PowerShot G15 and its priority on maneuverability, we went for a standard fixed 3.0 type LCD monitor with 922,000 dots - as found on the G10 - with excellent color reproduction, high contrast, wide viewing angle, vivid colors, and much better visibility when viewed at an angle. This decision enabled us to shave off more than eight millimeters from the G12 body.

Real-image optical zoom viewfinder
Customizable My Menu screen for frequently used shooting options

Feature 4 - Enhanced printing functions and digital communications

Select images for printing with DPOF
PictBridge support
HDMI mini connector

Feature 5 - Array of system accessories (all sold separately)

Photo 4: TC-DC58E tele-converter

Photo 4: TC-DC58E tele-converter

Photo 5: LA-DC58L conversion lens adaptor

Photo 5: LA-DC58L conversion lens adaptor

Photo 6: FA-DC58D filter adaptor

Photo 6: FA-DC58D filter adaptor

Photo 7: WP-DC48 waterproof case

Photo 7: WP-DC48 waterproof case

Tele-converter

The new TC-DC58E tele-converter (Photo 4) has been made specifically for the newly designed lens. Its construction of five elements in three groups provides 1.4x magnification. The tele-converter accepts the lens hood. Note that to attach the tele-converter, the LA-DC58L conversion lens adaptor (Photo 5) is necessary.

Filter adaptor

The newly designed FA-DC58D filter adaptor (Photo 6) lets users attach protective filters and other 58mm-diameter filters to the G15.

Able to use EX Speedlite flash units and accessories

Because it comes with a hot shoe, the G15, like EOS models, can be used with the EX Speedlite flash units, Macro Ring Light, Macro Twin Light, Speedlite Transmitter, and Speedlite Bracket.

Waterproof case

The WP-DC48 waterproof case (Photo 7) allows the G15 to be used underwater to depths of 40 meters.

Remote switch (RS60-E3)
HDMI cable (HTC-100)
AV cable (AVC-DC400)
Eye-Fi card support

This completes our look at the PowerShot G15 this month. Table 1 compares the main specifications of the PowerShot G15 and G12, and Photo 8 illustrates the kit components that come with the camera. There is no fixed suggested retail price for the PowerShot G15.

Photo 8: PowerShot G15 and its kit components

Photo 8: PowerShot G15 and its kit components

PowerShot G15 PowerShot G12
Imaging sensor 1/1.7 type CMOS sensor with ~12.10 effective megapixels (~13.30 total megapixels), high-sensitivity type 1/1.7 type CCD sensor with ~10.00 effective megapixels (~10.40 total megapixels), high-sensitivity type
Color filter type RGB RGB
Photographic lens (35mm-film equivalent) 28 - 140 mm, f/1.8 (max. wide angle) - f/2.8 (max. telephoto angle), 5x zoom 28 - 140 mm, f/2.8 (max. wide angle) - f/4.5 (max. telephoto angle), 5x zoom
Digital zoom ~4.0x (~20x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom); Progressive fine zoom: ~10x when combined with the optical zoom (recording pixels set to Large) ~4.0x (~20x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom)
Optical viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder with dioptric adjustment Real-image zoom viewfinder with dioptric adjustment
LCD monitor 3.0 type (TFT color LCD, ~922,000 dots, excellent color reproduction, and wide viewing angle), brightness adjustment, Quick-Bright LCD 2.8 type (TFT color LCD, ~461,000 dots, excellent color reproduction, and wide viewing angle), brightness adjustment, Quick-Bright LCD, vari-angle type
Focusing Autofocus: Continuous, Servo AF (tracks Servo AE), Face AiAF, Tracking AF, Center, FlexiZone, Manual focus Autofocus: Continuous, Servo AF (tracks Servo AE), Face AiAF, Tracking AF, Center, FlexiZone, Manual focus
Focusing range Auto mode: 1 cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 40 cm to infinity (max. telephoto angle)
Macro mode: 1 to 50 cm (max. wide angle)
Auto mode: 1 cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 30 cm to infinity (max. telephoto angle)
Macro mode: 1 to 50 cm (max. wide angle) / 30 cm to 50 cm (max. telephoto angle)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter speeds 1/4000 to 1 sec., 1/4000 to 15 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes) 1/4000 to 1 sec., 1/4000 to 15 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes)
Light metering methods Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot (fixed to center / linked to AF frame) Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot (fixed to center / linked to AF frame)
Exposure compensation ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments
• ±3 stops for exposure shift (in movie modes), but not adjustable while recording movies
±2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
• ±2 stops for exposure shift (in movie modes), but not adjustable while recording movies
ISO speeds
(Standard Output Sensitivity, Recommended Exposure Index)
When in P shooting mode: Auto, ISO 80 / 100 / 125 / 160 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000 / 5000 / 6400 / 8000 / 10000 / 12800 When in P shooting mode: Auto, ISO 80 / 100 / 125 / 160 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200
Flash ranges 50 cm - 7.0 m (max. wide angle), 50 cm - 4.5 m (max. telephoto angle) (when ISO speed is set to Auto) 50 cm - 7.0 m (max. wide angle), 50 cm - 4.0 m (max. telephoto angle) (when ISO speed is set to Auto)
White balance Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater, Custom 1, Custom 2 Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater, Custom 1, Custom 2
Shooting modes C1, C2, M, Av, Tv, P, Auto, Movie Digest, SCN,*1 Creative Filters,*2 Movie*3
*1. Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, Face Detection Self-Timer), High-speed Burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Underwater, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist
*2. High Dynamic Range, Nostalgic, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
*3. (Standard), iFrame Movie, Super Slow Motion, Miniature Effect
C1, C2, M, Av, Tv, P, Auto, Low Light, Easy, SCN,*1 Movie*2
*1. Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Sports, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, Face Detection Self-Timer), Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, High Dynamic Range, Nostalgic, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist
*2. (Standard), Miniature Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
Continuous shooting Normal: ~2.1 fps (when in P shooting mode); ~10 fps (when in High-Speed Burst HQ shooting mode)*
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
*Max. number of frames per burst: 10
Normal: ~2.0 fps (when in P shooting mode); ~4.2 fps (when in Low Light shooting mode)
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
Recording pixels
(still images) (when set to a 4:3 aspect ratio)
RAW: 4000 x 3000, Large: 4000 x 3000, Medium 1: 2816 x 2112, Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480 RAW: 3648 x 2736, Large: 3648 x 2736, Medium 1: 2816 x 2112, Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480
Aspect ratios 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 5:4
• Selectable in RAW mode as well
16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 5:4
Compression
(still images)
Super fine, Fine Fine, Normal
Movies 1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
iFrame movies: 1280 x 720 (30 fps)
Super Slow Motion movies: 640 x 480 (120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Miniature Effect movies: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), played back at 30 fps
Movies generated with the Movie Digest function: 1280 x 720 (30 fps)
1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)
Miniature Effect movies: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), played back at 30 fps
Recording media SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card, MMC card, MMCplus card, HC MMCplus card
Color space Standard (sRGB) Standard (sRGB)
File format Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF
Data types Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG) / RAW (12-bit, CR2)*
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (stereo))
*Digital Photo Professional is used for developing RAW images
Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG) / RAW (12-bit, CR2)*
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (stereo))
*Digital Photo Professional is used for developing RAW images
Power supply Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-10L; AC adapter kit: ACK-DC80 (sold separately) Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-7L; AC adapter kit: ACK-DC50 (sold separately)
Dimensions
(CIPA standard)
106.6 x 75.9 x 40.1 mm 112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 mm
Weight
(CIPA standard)
~352 grams (including battery and memory card) / ~310 grams (body only) ~401 grams (including battery and memory card) / ~351 grams (body only)

Table 1: Comparison of the PowerShot G15 and PowerShot G12's main specifications