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Canon G15 vs Pentax Q

The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Pentax Q are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and June 2011. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the Pentax Q is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and a 1/2.3-inch (Pentax Q) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Canon G15 versus Pentax Q
Canon G15 Pentax Q
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Pentax Q mount lenses
12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor 12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 125-6,400
Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 460k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.1 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
350 shots per battery charge230 shots per battery charge
107 x 76 x 40 mm, 352 g 98 x 57 x 31 mm, 180 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Pentax Q? 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 Pentax Q 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Pentax Q can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the G15 is only available in black.

Size Canon G15 vs Pentax Q
Compare G15 versus Pentax Q top
Comparison G15 or Pentax Q rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax Q is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Canon G15. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G15 nor the Pentax Q 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 Pentax Q is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

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.

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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.
 
Pentax Q 98 mm 57 mm 31 mm 180 g 230 n Jun 2011 649i
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.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 350 g 270 n Sep 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1 115 mm 72 mm 42 mm 334 g 290 n Feb 2010 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
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 naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 Pentax Q, 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.

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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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Pentax Q a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the Pentax Q is 35 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.6 and 5.6. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon G15 and Pentax Q sensor measures

Even though the G15 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the G15 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 1.53μm for the Pentax Q), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the G15 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 2 months) than the Pentax Q, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Canon PowerShot G15 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax Q are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

G15 versus Pentax Q MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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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.
 
Pentax Q 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.211.118947
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.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p........
9.
 
Fujifilm X10 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.511.324550
10.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.510.148754
15.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
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 also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the Pentax Q provides a faster frame rate than the G15. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G15 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Pentax Q relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the Pentax Q can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the O-VF1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G15, the Pentax Q, and comparable 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.
 
Pentax Qoptional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/2000s 1.5 Y Y
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.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X10optical n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 10.0 Y Y
10.
 
Nikon P7800921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n 3.0 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n 3.0 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1optional n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/2000s 3.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 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

The Pentax Q 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.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G15 and the Pentax Q write their files to SDXC 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 Pentax Q 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.
 
Pentax QYmonomono--mini2.0---
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.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereomono--micro2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X10Ystereomono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon P7800YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo---mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1Ystereo---mini2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the G15 and the Pentax Q have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Pentax Q was replaced by the Pentax Q10, 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 Pentax websites.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G15 or the Pentax Q – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G15:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (2.1 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the Pentax Q requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (350 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 2 months after the Pentax Q).

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Reasons to prefer the Pentax Q:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x57mm vs 107x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in June 2011).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G15 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 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 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 08:05 Pentax Q

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G15 and the Pentax Q place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens 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 Pentax Q 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 expert reviews 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.
 
Pentax Q3/5....4/53.5/5 Jun 2011 649i
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.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
9.
 
Fujifilm X10....76/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2011 599i
10.
 
Nikon P78003/5....4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
11.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/10071/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus E-PL1..86/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
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.

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon G15:
Check Ebay offers
Pentax Q:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon G15 vs Pentax Q

    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 Pentax Q
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Pentax Q mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 June 2011
    Launch Price USD 499 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Canon G15 Pentax Q
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/1.7" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 7.6 x 5.7 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 43.32 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 9.5 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 4.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.89 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 27.70 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 12,800 ISO 125 - 6,400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 46 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 19.9 20.2
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 165 189
    Screen Specs Canon G15 Pentax Q
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 80%
    Viewfinder Magnification
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 460k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon G15 Pentax Q
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.1 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon G15 Pentax Q
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon G15 Pentax Q
    Battery Type NB-10L D-LI68
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge230 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 107 x 76 x 40 mm
    (4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
    98 x 57 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.2 x 1.2 in)
    Camera Weight 352 g (12.4 oz) 180 g (6.3 oz)

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