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Canon G16 versus Canon M

The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Canon EOS M are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2013 and July 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and an APS-C (Canon M) sensor. The G16 has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the Canon M provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon G16 vs Canon M

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon G16 and the Canon M is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G16 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon G16 vs Canon M
G16 versus Canon M top view
G16 and Canon M rear side

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the Canon M are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens build in, whereas the Canon M is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.

Concerning battery life, the G16 gets 360 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the Canon M can take 230 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 power pack.

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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G16 (⇒ rgt) 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 no 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 no 2012 599discont. check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 no 2017 499 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 no 2015 499discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 no 2014 799 latest check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 no 2013 649discont. check
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 no 2013 549discont. check
Canon G15 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 no 2012 499discont. check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 3.2 in 2.6 in 18.8 oz 250 no 2012 799discont. check
Canon G12 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 no 2010 499discont. check
Fujifilm X30 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.7 in 2.8 in 2.4 in 14.9 oz 470 no 2014 599 latest check
Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.5 oz 270 no 2013 599discont. check
Fujifilm X10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 12.3 oz 270 no 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 no 2012 499discont. check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G16 was launched at a lower price than the Canon M, despite having a lens build 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: Canon G16 vs Canon M

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G16 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Canon M an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the Canon M is 690 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 1.6. The sensor in the G16 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the Canon M offers a 3:2 aspect.

Canon G16 and Canon M sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the Canon M offers a higher resolution than the G16 (12MP), but the Canon M nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 1.87μm for the G16) due to its larger sensor. However, the G16 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the Canon M, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

G16 versus Canon M MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M offers substantially better image quality than the G16 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.8 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.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon G16 (⇒ rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p 21.0 11.7 230 54
Canon M (⇒ lft) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.1 11.2 827 65
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 23.5 12.9 1272 78
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.2 11.4 753 65
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 3120 1080/30p 21.5 10.8 581 58
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.7 11.2 681 61
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 21.8 11.3 843 63
Canon G15 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 12.0 4000 3000 1080/24p 19.9 11.5 165 46
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 3264 1080/24p 21.7 10.8 644 60
Canon G12 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736 720/24p 20.4 11.2 161 47
Fujifilm X30 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2/3 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2/3 12.0 4000 3000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2/3 12.0 4000 3000 1080/30p 20.5 11.3 245 50
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736 1080/60p 20.7 11.7 147 50

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 G16 provides a higher frame rate than the Canon M. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Canon M is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison: Canon G16 vs Canon M

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G16 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G16, the Canon M, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon G16 (⇒ rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.2 7 YES
Canon M (⇒ lft) no no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.3 no no
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.1 5 no
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.6 5 no
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 5.2 6.8 YES
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 swivel YES 4000 5.0 13 no
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 4.9 9.4 no
Canon G15 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 fixed no 4000 2.1 7 YES
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 922 Swivel no 4000 1.9 7 YES
Canon G12 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.8 461 swivel no 4000 1.1 7 YES
Fujifilm X30 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 12.0 7 YES
Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.8 460 fixed no 4000 12.0 7 YES
Fujifilm X10 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 2.8 460 fixed no 4000 10.0 9 YES
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 920 fixed no 4000 11.0 8.5 YES

The G16 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the Canon M has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the Canon M was succeeded by the Canon EOS M3.

Review summary: Canon G16 vs Canon M

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G16 or the Canon M – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Ready to shoot: Has a lens build-in, whereas the Canon M requires a separate lens.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the Canon M).

Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 109x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2012).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 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.

G16 08:10 Canon M

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 G16 or the Canon M handle or perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon G16 (⇒ rgt) Rec - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 549 latest check
Canon M (⇒ lft) Rec - 4/5 3.5/5 4/5 2012 599discont. check
Canon M100 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec .. 4/5 .. 3.5/5 2017 499 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed 4/5 2015 499discont. check
Canon G1 X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 799 latest check
Canon T5i (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 649discont. check
Canon SL1 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 78/100 Gold 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 549discont. check
Canon G15 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 76/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check
Canon G1 X (⇒ lft | rgt) 79/100 Rec 76/100 Silver 4/5 4/5 4.5/5 2012 799discont. check
Canon G12 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 73/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2010 499discont. check
Fujifilm X30 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2014 599 latest check
Fujifilm X20 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 - 5/5 2013 599discont. check
Fujifilm X10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 Silver 4/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 2011 599discont. check
Panasonic LX7 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 75/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2012 499discont. check

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 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. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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