Reviewing the Canon Powershot G16 at a Jimmy Buffett Concert

Jimmy Buffett in Concert

Before I get into the review let me tell you a little about the Jimmy Buffett concert. This is the second year in a row that I have attended a concert of Jimmy’s, and I have not walked away disappointed. Part of what makes the concerts so great is the fact that the concert is more than just about the band on the stage. The fans really make it a unique experience. During the day I saw many people going all out for the show. When the music starts they are part of the band helping Jimmy sing backup. Maybe it is the fact that summer is just starting, but this show makes me want to wear flip flops the rest of the year.

Canon G16 Review

As I have stated in the previous reviews I am not a professional reviewer. A great site like Cameralabs has the charts and the data to get really deep on many different cameras. I am more concerned about how the camera works for me. I do not shoot charts with my cameras so lab tests don’t do it for me. I like to see what the camera can do in the situations that I like to shoot in. I don’t attend many concerts, but to me this was a great test of this camera. All throughout the day I had chances to make pictures of my family which is why I own this camera. I needed something to replace my Nikon S9500. The camera was good in very good light, but faded just as quickly as the light did. This past winter I was lucky enough to use the Canon G15 camera for a couple of weeks. I loved the performance that I was able to get out of a small point and shoot. The G16 is the next step in the G series for Canon. Here are a few thoughts that I have on the camera. 

Shooting Candid Portraits

The first thing that I will say about the camera is that you have an optical viewfinder as well as an LCD screen with which to make pictures. I make photos for a living so I don’t want to hold the camera away from my face to make photos. I want to look through a viewfinder. The problem here is that the optical viewfinder is not through the lens. In fact you can see the lens as you look through it. I had some trouble last fall using the Fuji X100s with the results not matching what I saw when I looked through it. Because I wear glasses the viewfinder does not seem to work well enough for me. Sometimes I have good results, and other times the results are laughable. Now that I know what the problem is though I have adjusted, and it does not seem to be an issue. One other issue with the viewfinder is that the picture that you make will actual contain more data than what you see through the viewfinder. The viewfinder only shows you about 80% of your scene. If you do not like to crop you might have some extra space around the photo. To me that is a minor issue that you can take into account.

Using the LCD screen might be the way to go for most users. This camera can then be placed wherever you want to make an image. The LCD screen does not tilt out, but you can still see what you are shooting. For shooting portraits of family this camera is amazing. It is small and compact, and even under the varying light conditions at the concert it performed well. As the sun faded I turned on the auto ISO function in aperture priority mode. When shooting fast this helped me out quite a bit. Some of the photos were a bit noisy, but I will take a noisy RAW file over a blurry shot any day. The noise that was in the photos was easily enough dealt with in Lightroom 5. Even under the light of a glow stick this camera gave me a good result.

Using the Flash

Just like the G15 the G16 has a flash that pops up from the top of the camera. When the light started to fade I decided to try the flash out. The flash has two modes, On and Slow Synchro. The flash is what you would expect out of a point and shoot. It is hot on the subject. With a little fine tuning though it worked out very well for me. The synch options allow the user to shoot either 1st or 2nd curtain synch which is pretty cool for a point and shoot. I spent some time making some portraits of my stepdaughter as the light was fading, and it really performed well. The 2nd curtain synch option allowed me to make some interesting pictures as well. For a  small unit the flash packs a punch. A hot shoe on top of the camera also allows you to pop on a speed light, or take the flash off of the camera with a synch cord.

Using the Zoom Lens

As I said above this camera will not normally be used by me to make shots from far away. This camera is one that I can take with me to make shots of my family that should not be too far away. I really did not expect much from this zoom. I knew that it would get me in tight, but I did not expect much detail once I got in there. I was surprised at the detail that it gave me. This was not a major point for me, but it is a huge bonus. The camera is also very good at macro. You can get right up to a subject and make a photo.

Using the Video Mode

During the concert I took the opportunity to take a few videos. Early on in the great light of the golden hour the video looked great. Most cameras will give you great video and photos in good light. I really wanted to see what happened as the sun went down. When it did I was still impressed with the video quality. Just the lights from the stage were enough to illuminate my subjects, and it tracked them very well. I don’t take a lot of video with my cameras, but this camera may just change that. I was shooting at 1080p which was at 60 frames per second. A very good image stabilization mode made my video look much better than it should have. You are probably not buying this camera for the video, but it is a huge plus.

Wi-Fi Enabled

This camera is lacking GPS. That is an option that can work both ways. On the Nikon that this camera replaced the GPS was a battery drainer. It was nice to have the photos tagged with your location though. The wi-fi system on the camera will synch up to your phone, tablet, computer, printer, or to the cloud. The feature that I like the best is the fact that I can sych up with my phone and tag the photos that way. It would be easier if the camera did this itself, but it is nice to have a quick option. I cannot imagine transferring the images from my camera to the computer using wi-fi. It does not seem like an option except for remote use. This could be the one thing that makes this camera great. I will have to try it out to see how well it works.

Manual Controls

The biggest reason that I wanted this camera was for the manual controls. My previous point and shoot, then Nikon Coolpix S9500, did not have any manual controls. The results were up to the camera, and I didn’t like that. Here on the G16 you have control over the entire exposure triangle. My preferred shooting mode with this camera is in aperture priority mode with auto ISO turned on. The camera does a great job of giving you the best shot for the conditions that you are in. The images at the concert came out a bit bright for me, but next to the mode dial is the exposure compensation dial. I just adjusted a bit, and I had an image that I liked. You really have everything that you need all within your right hand here. You don’t have to dig through a menu to change settings. This is a big plus for me. This is the camera that I should have bought last summer had it been out.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • RAW imaging from a point and shoot
  • Modes and dials very similar to a dSLR
  • Dual axis level
  • Build quality
  • f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • 5x zoom
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • HDR mode
  • 1080p video 60 fps
  • Star modes
  • Roughly 480 shots per battery with eco mode turned on
  • Large LCD screen
  • Smart auto mode

Cons

  • Optical viewfinder is not through the lens
  • Price
  • Very similar to previous model
  • LCD screen does not tilt
  • No GPS
  • Mode dials may be a bit much for a beginner

Final Verdict

For what it is this a great camera. This camera will never replace my full size cameras, but it is great for those moments when you don’t want to lug around the large camera. The 12.1mp RAW file will actually give you a nice size print if you want it. I have many dSLR’s on my list of cameras to have, but this one fills the need right now for shooting around the house and on the go. The picture quality is very good, and the video is a very nice surprise. If you want a point and shoot that gives you control over the settings than this one is for you. I also like that I am back to having a Canon for all of my still images. My short foray into the world of Nikon was a disappointing one. This Canon has given me exactly what I want in a walk around camera.

Canon G16 Sample Images

Here are a few sample images from the Canon G16 from various points of the Jimmy Buffet concert. Click on any of the images to view them larger.




Photo Sale!

This image and all of my others on my website here are now 50% off until Labor Day. I thought that after the long winter that we endured a photo sale was in order. If you like the photo above just click on it, and you will be taken directly to the image on SmugMug. If you just want to browse my online portfolio you can click on the link below. At the checkout enter the code ‘summer’ to get 50% off of my images.

50% Off

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2 Replies to “Reviewing the Canon Powershot G16 at a Jimmy Buffett Concert”

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