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.
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.
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.
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.
|1.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|2.||Contax N Digital||152 mm||138 mm||80 mm||990 g||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|7.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|8.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|9.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|12.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|13.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|14.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|15.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|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.
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.
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).
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.
| DXO |
|2.||Contax N Digital||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||none||..||..||..||..|
|12.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|13.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|14.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
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.
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.
|2.||Contax N Digital||optical||Y||2.0||200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
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.
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.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|2.||Contax N Digital||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|1.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|2.||Contax N Digital||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2002||7,399|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|6.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|7.||Canon G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|8.||Canon 10D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|9.||Canon D60||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|12.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|13.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|14.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|15.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|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.
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.
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 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 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|
|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%|
|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|
|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 Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||100 shots per charge|
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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