Like a Canon EOS DSLR without a lens mount is a good way to think of the manufacturer’s high-end PowerShot, the G15. It sports a similar rock solid build – here aluminium – and control layout to an EOS camera, but is of course more compact. In fact it’s a claimed 17% smaller than its G12 forebear but doesn’t have a tilting LCD. The non-removable lens offers a maximum aperture of f/1.8 (or f/2.8 at full telephoto), making it the brightest of Canon’s G-series, so allows for a wider range of low light work plus shallow depth of field effects reminiscent of a DSLR. The top resolution is 12.1 megapixels from a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor; the same physical dimensions as three of its rivals here. Additionally an image-stabilised 5x optical zoom provides a focal range equivalent to 28-140mm in 35mm terms, making it second only to Nikon’s 7.1x P7700. Take a look at Group test: what's the best interchangeable lens camera?
While its 920k dot resolution LCD is fixed where we might have again liked it angle adjustable, Canon claims to have improved auto focus speed by over 50% when compared with its predecessor – locking onto target in 0.17 seconds, a claimed fastest in the range. An advantage over most rivals is that we get an eye-level optical viewfinder too, for those who prefer to hold a camera up to the face, and naturally Full HD video, 24fps capture, stereo sound and an increasingly ubiquitous one-touch record button provided. A vacant hotshoe allows for accessory flash, while a small, stubby pop up flash with manual activation lever also features.
The front of the G15 has quite a flat profile, which on one hand enables it to slip into a jacket pocket but on the other also means its handgrip isn’t as prominent as we might have hoped. Nevertheless, leather-like padding front and back plus lightweight construction prevents the camera feeling like it might slip from the grasp when shooting and avoids image blur at the telephoto end. Overlapping shooting mode and exposure dials on the top plate with 11 manual and auto options continue the hands-on feel, whilst the lens surround is removable for the attachment of physical camera filters should users want to get more creative.
Of course, another alternative to anyone seeking a high-end Canon compact would be its maker’s EOS M, which, while build quality is not quite as impressive as the G15, is nevertheless one of the smallest cameras out there to offer interchangeable lenses.
Canon’s G15 will certainly hit the mark for lovers of tank-like compacts incorporating an arsenal of photographic features for creative camerawork