Canon G15 vs Nikon D500
The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Nikon D500 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2016. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the D500 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and an APS-C (D500) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 20.7 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 Nikon D500? 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 Nikon D500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions 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 Nikon D500 is considerably larger (108 percent) than the Canon G15. It is noteworthy in this context that the D500 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 D500 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 D500 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|10.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|11.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|12.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|13.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|14.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|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|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 D500, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and 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 Nikon D500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D500 is 758 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 1.5. The sensor in the G15 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D500 offers a 3:2 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 20.7MP, the D500 offers a higher resolution than the G15 (12MP), but the D500 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 1.89μm for the G15) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D500 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 3 months) than the G15, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G15 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Nikon D500 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-1640000.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 D500 offers substantially better image quality than the G15 (overall score 37 points higher). The advantage is based on 4.1 bits higher color depth, 2.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D500 provides a better video resolution than the G15. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G15 and the D500 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 Nikon D500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||Y||Y|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 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 D500 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 D500 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 D500 uses SDXC or XQD cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G15 only has one slot. The D500 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the G15 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 Nikon D500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|12.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the G15 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D500 (unlike the G15) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The D500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the G15 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G15 was succeeded 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.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G15 and the Nikon D500? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G15:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D500 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (107x76mm vs 147x115mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D500).
- 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 heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D500:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 34%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (37 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (4.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/24p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1240 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 3 months of technical progress since the G15 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the contest (28 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Nikon D500 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the G15 or the D500 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
|1.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|2.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|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.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|10.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|11.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|12.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|13.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|14.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|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.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon G15 vs Nikon D500
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||Nikon D500|
|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||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G15||Nikon D500|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||5568 x 3712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 1,640,000 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||EXPEED 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||46||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.9||24.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||165||1324|
|Screen Specs||Canon G15||Nikon D500|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G15||Nikon D500|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||2.1 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G15||Nikon D500|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G15||Nikon D500|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||1240 shots per charge|
107 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||352 g (12.4 oz)||860 g (30.3 oz)|
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