In my previous article, I began my observations of the difference between the new G15 over the G12 and G1X as well as the s110. In this article I just focus a bit on image quality using my well-known bookshelf test and a couple portrait photos taken by both the s110 and G15.
I only had a short time to shoot a small set of portraits with this camera this weekend, but the following were done in natural light on a very gloomy and rainy day in Seattle. The images chosen were the sharpest (not necessarily the best photos) of the handheld images taken. Honestly, even under these decent conditions I really struggled to get a sharp shot. Both cameras ended up going to ISO 800 (both set to Auto ISO and Av to the minimum f/stop number for the focal length shown).
Both images are untouched in-camera JPEG originals with camera default settings shot in Aperture Priority at the minimum aperture for the zoom level chosen. Blurry shots are omitted.
The s110 has a wider angle lens and it quickly felt like I was getting in the models personal bubble when I tried to shoot at f/2, so I settled on f/4 and the 12mm focal length. Of all my handheld test shots, this was the sharpest but I was a bit disappointed with the indoor performance.
The G15 isn’t as wide as the s11, but it’s aperture range is more helpful indoors. The brighter lens of the G15 allowed me to zoom in more and use faster shutter speeds to get the shot. Overall the G15 was definitely easier to use indoors under these conditions (which are a dream for a DSLR shooter).
While I still had my share of blurry shots from the G15, I was still pleased with what this camera had to offer under these tough conditions when photographing people. Neither of these shots are going to win awards, but the image quality was decent for a point and shoot.
For those who are wondering, my subjective opinion of the much heavier G1X is that definitely does a better job at shots like this (especially at ISO 800), but I’d still prefer my X10 in conditions like this over all the Canon models.
You can see more images and pixel peep to your heart content at the following galleries:
My high level subjective observations were as follows:
- The s110 lens outperforms the G15 when wide open (f/2 and f/1.8 respectively), but at f/4 the G12 appears to be sharper than the s110.
- ISO performance has improved over the G12 for both the G15 and s110, but the G15 as a slight edge at higher ISO’s.
- Both the G15 and the s110 outperform the G12 at higher ISO’s, but it’s also clear that they use a more aggressive noise reduction algorithm that doesn’t seem as good at preserving detail as what you’d find in Noiseware or Dfine. As a result, I’d probably not exceed ISO 1600 on the new cameras (which is equivalent to ISO 800 on the G12).
- The dynamic range of the s110 seems to be the best, even though I expected them to be identical.
- Overall none of the Canon point and shoots are high ISO top performers, so don’t count on these cameras for your low light shooting needs.
There was less image quality progress made on this generation of camera updates than I expected. That’s a shame too because Canon used to be a trusted name for compact cameras, but there’s so many competitors like Fuji and Nikon that are really trying to up their game. As a result I’d give them a mediocre image quality rating, but the s110 has such great portability that it might make it worth while to sacrifice some image quality.
If a friend asked me on the street what point and shoot they should get, I’d still say the Fujifilm X10. If they said, what Canon should they get I’d say I’ve switched camp from the G series that I loved in the past and now favor the smaller s110.
s series camera owners have a lot of reasons to justify an upgrade, but G series owners should stay put. I wouldn’t tell them to rush out and buy a G1X either as I think that camera is just too big and bulky without the benefit of significantly better image quality.
Where to Buy
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B&H loaned me the new gear for this article but the G12 was my personal camera that I paid full price for myself. If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission.