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Canon G15 vs Contax N Digital

The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Contax N Digital are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and February 2002. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the N Digital is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and a full frame (N Digital) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Contax provides 6.1 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon G15 versus Contax N Digital
Canon G15 Contax N Digital
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Contax N mount lenses
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 50-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 2.0 LCD, 200k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.1 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
350 shots per battery charge100 shots per battery charge
107 x 76 x 40 mm, 352 g 152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Contax N Digital? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G15 and the Contax N Digital is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G15 vs Contax N Digital
Compare G15 versus N Digital top
Comparison G15 or N Digital rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Contax N Digital is considerably larger (158 percent) than the Canon G15. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G15 nor the N Digital are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G15 has a lens built in, whereas the N Digital is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
2.
 
Contax N Digital 152 mm 138 mm 80 mm 990 g 100 n Feb 2002 7,399i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
8.
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
9.
 
Canon D60 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999i
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
12.
 
Leica M10 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 i
13.
 
Leica SL 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450i
14.
 
Leica M9 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G15 was launched at a lower price than the N Digital, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G15 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Contax N Digital a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the N Digital is 1909 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the G15 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the N Digital offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G15 and Contax N Digital sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon G15 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the Contax N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the G15 is much more recent (by 10 years and 6 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Canon G15 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the G15 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot G15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Contax N Digital are ISO 50 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

G15 versus N Digital MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
2.
 
Contax N Digital Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008none........
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
7.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
8.
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
9.
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none........
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
11.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
12.
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386
13.
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188
14.
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469
15.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The G15 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the G15 can use is 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G15 and the N Digital are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G15 and Contax N Digital in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
2.
 
Contax N Digitaloptical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
11.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
12.
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
13.
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n
14.
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G15 has one, while the N Digital does not. While the built-in flash of the G15 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The G15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the N Digital uses Compact Flash cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G15 and Contax N Digital and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Contax N DigitalY-----FW---
3.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
9.
 
Canon D60Y-----1.1---
10.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Leica M10Y------Y--
13.
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--
14.
 
Leica M9Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the G15) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the G15 and the N Digital have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The G15 was replaced by the Canon G16, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Contax websites.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon G15 better than the Contax N Digital or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G15:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12 vs 6.1MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 200k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the N Digital requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x76mm vs 152x138mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the N Digital).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 100) on a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 6 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2002).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G15 comes out slightly ahead of the N Digital (12 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G15 12:11 N Digital

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Contax N Digital place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G15 or the N Digital perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
2.
 
Contax N Digital.......... Feb 2002 7,399i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
7.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
8.
 
Canon 10D....+ +.... Feb 2003 1,999i
9.
 
Canon D60....+ +o.. Feb 2002 2,999i
10.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
12.
 
Leica M104.5/5....4/54.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i
13.
 
Leica SL4/5..84/1004.5/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450i
14.
 
Leica M9......4.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
16.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon G15:
Check Ebay offers
Contax N Digital:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon G15 vs Contax N Digital

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Contax N mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 February 2002
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 7,399
    Sensor Specs Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 6.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 3040 x 2008 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 11.90 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 50 - 1,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 46 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 19.9 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 165 ..
    Screen Specs Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 80% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 200k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.1 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 Firewire
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G15 Contax N Digital
    Battery Type NB-10L 4xAA
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge100 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    152 x 138 x 80 mm
    (6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 352 g (12.4 oz) 990 g (34.9 oz)

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