Canon G15 vs Sony A7S II
The Canon PowerShot G15 and the Sony Alpha 7S II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2015. The G15 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7S II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G15) and a full frame (A7S II) 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G15 and the Sony Alpha 7S II? 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G15 and the Sony A7S II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 Sony A7S II is considerably larger (50 percent) than the Canon G15. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7S II 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 A7S II 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 A7S II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G15 gets 350 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the A7S II can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The power pack in the A7S II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|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 A7S II, 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 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 Sony A7S II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7S II is 1870 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 A7S II offers a 3:2 aspect.
Even though the A7S II has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the A7S II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 8.40μm versus 1.89μm for the G15), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the A7S II is much more recent (by 2 years and 11 months) than the G15, and its sensor will 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 Sony Alpha 7S II are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
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 A7S II offers substantially better image quality than the G15 (overall score 39 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 1.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|13.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|17.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|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. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7S II 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. For example, the A7S II has an electronic viewfinder (2400k dots), while the G15 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon G15 and Sony A7S II 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.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|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 P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0 / 1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|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 A7S II 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 reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A7S II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The G15 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7S II uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7S II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 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 Sony Alpha 7S II 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.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||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 P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7S II 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.
Both the G15 and the A7S II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The G15 was replaced by the Canon G16, while the A7S II was followed by the Sony A7S III. Further information on the features and operation of the G15 and A7S II can be found, respectively, in the Canon G15 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A7S II Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon G15 and the Sony A7S II? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G15:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7S II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (107x76mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7S II).
- 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).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha 7S II:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (39 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.7 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (4.2 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.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the G15 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7S II is the clear winner of the contest (20 : 7 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 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 Sony A7S II 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G15 or the A7S II. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon G12||4/5||+||..||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499||ebay.com|
|8.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599||ebay.com|
|9.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549||ebay.com|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499||ebay.com|
|12.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499||ebay.com|
|13.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499||ebay.com|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? 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 Sony A7S II
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||Sony A7S II|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||September 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G15||Sony A7S II|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4240 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||8.40 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||1.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 409,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||46||85|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||19.9||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||165||2993|
|Screen Specs||Canon G15||Sony A7S II|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G15||Sony A7S II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.1 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G15||Sony A7S II|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro 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|
|Body Specs||Canon G15||Sony A7S II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
107 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||352 g (12.4 oz)||627 g (22.1 oz)|
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