ad
ad
A potelyt.com – Photography & Imaging Resources
ad
PW

Canon G15 vs Nikon D3

The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon D3 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and August 2007. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the D3 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and a full frame (D3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 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
Nikon D3
Canon G15   Nikon D3
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
12 MP – 1/1.7" sensor 12.1 MP – Full Frame sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 200-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.1 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
350 shots per battery charge4300 shots per battery charge
107 x 76 x 40 mm, 352 g 160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1300 g
Canon G15:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon D3? 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 Nikon D3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon G15 vs Nikon D3
Compare G15 versus D3 top
Comparison G15 or D3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3 is considerably larger (209 percent) than the Canon G15. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3 is splash and dust-proof, while the G15 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G15 has a lens built in, whereas the D3 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G15 gets 350 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D3 can take 4300 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.

scroll hint
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.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
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 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
10.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
11.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
13.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199i
14.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
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
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The G15 was launched at a lower price than the D3, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G15 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Nikon D3 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3 is 1900 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 D3 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G15 and Nikon D3 sensor measures

With 12.1MP, the D3 offers a higher resolution than the G15 (12MP), but the D3 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.43μm versus 1.89μm for the G15) due to its larger sensor. However, the G15 is a much more recent model (by 5 years) than the D3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon PowerShot G15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

G15 versus D3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D3 offers substantially better image quality than the G15 (overall score 35 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.6 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

scroll hint
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.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
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 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.7107871
9.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.110.9-46246
10.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
11.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
12.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
13.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
14.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
15.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
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
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

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 D3 does not. The highest resolution format that the G15 can use is 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G15 and the D3 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G15 and Nikon D3 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

scroll hint
Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1/s Y Y
2.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
9.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
14.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D700optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G15 has one, while the D3 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 Nikon D3 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The G15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3 uses Compact Flash cards. The D3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G15 only has one slot.

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 Nikon D3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

scroll hint
Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY- / ----2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
10.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3XY- / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D700Y- / ---mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3 (unlike the G15) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the G15 and the D3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3 was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the G15 was followed by the Canon G16. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G15 better than the Nikon D3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G15:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D3 requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x76mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D3).
  • 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 5 years of technical progress since the D3 launch.

ilogo

Advantages of the Nikon D3:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (35 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • 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 (11 vs 2.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • 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.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4300 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G15 08:15 D3

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Nikon D3 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G15 or the D3 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.

scroll hint
Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 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.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
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 1D Mark III............ Feb 2007 4,499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +..77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
10.
 
Fujifilm X10......76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
11.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
13.
 
Nikon D3S5/5....89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199i
14.
 
Nikon D3X......86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D700..89/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
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 ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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
Nikon D3:
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

~
    loader

    Specifications: Canon G15 vs Nikon D3

    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 Nikon D3
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 4,999
    Sensor Specs Canon G15 Nikon D3
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4256 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 8.43 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 1.40 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 200 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 46 81
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 19.9 23.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 12.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 165 2290
    Screen Specs Canon G15 Nikon D3
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 80% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G15 Nikon D3
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.1 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon G15 Nikon D3
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G15 Nikon D3
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NB-10L EN-EL4a
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge4300 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    Camera Weight 352 g (12.4 oz) 1300 g (45.9 oz)
    Canon G15:
    Check Ebay offers
    Nikon D3:
    Check Ebay offers

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Canon G15 vs Nikon D3