Canon G16 vs S120
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Canon PowerShot S120 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced in August 2013. Both the G16 and the S120 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch 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.
|Canon G16||Canon S120|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||24-120mm f/1.8-5.7|
|12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor||12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 80-12,800||ISO 80-12,800|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0 LCD, 922k dots||3.0 LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed touchscreen|
|2.2 shutter flaps per second||12.1 shutter flaps per second|
|360 shots per battery charge||230 shots per battery charge|
|109 x 76 x 40 mm, 356 g||100 x 59 x 29 mm, 217 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G16 and the Canon PowerShot S120? 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 G16 and the Canon S120 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. 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 the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon S120 is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Canon G16. Moreover, the S120 is substantially lighter (39 percent) than the G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the S120 are weather-sealed.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon G16||4.3 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.6 oz||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||3.9 in||2.3 in||1.1 in||7.7 oz||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||4.6 in||2.9 in||2.6 in||19.5 oz||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon SL1||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon G1 X||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon G15||4.2 in||3.0 in||1.6 in||12.4 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon SX50||4.8 in||3.4 in||4.2 in||21.0 oz||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon G12||4.4 in||3.0 in||1.9 in||14.1 oz||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|Fujifilm X30||4.7 in||2.8 in||2.4 in||14.9 oz||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X20||4.6 in||2.8 in||2.2 in||12.5 oz||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|Nikon P7800||4.7 in||3.1 in||2.0 in||14.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|Panasonic LF1||4.1 in||2.4 in||1.1 in||6.8 oz||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic LX7||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||10.5 oz||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 S120 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the G16, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/1.7-inch sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the S120 is 2 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 4.65 (G16) and 4.5. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around BSI-CMOS sensors.
Even though the S120 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the S120 has a lower pixel density and marginally larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 1.89μm versus 1.87μm for the G16), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. The two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The Canon PowerShot G16 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The Canon PowerShot S120 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
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, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
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 S120 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 S120, and comparable cameras.
|Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The S120 has a touchscreen, while the G16 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Canon G16 and the Canon S120 both have 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.
Both the G16 and the S120 have zoom lenses built in. The G16 has a 28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 optic and the S120 offers a 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the S120 provides a wider angle of view at the short end than the G16, but less tele-photo reach at the long end. Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G16 and the S120 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 G16 and Canon PowerShot S120 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G16 has a hotshoe, while the S120 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The G16 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the S120 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the S120 from Canon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon G16 better than the Canon S120 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (360 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot S120:
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12.1 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
- More compact: Is smaller (100x59mm vs 109x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 139g or 39 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S120 comes out slightly ahead of the G16 (6 : 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 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 G16 and the Canon S120 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G16 and the S120 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||+ +||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon G1 X Mark II||+||77/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|Canon SL1||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon G1 X||+||76/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon G15||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Canon M||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon G12||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|Fujifilm X30||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|Fujifilm X20||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|Nikon P7800||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|Panasonic LF1||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.
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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon G16 vs Canon S120
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 G16||Canon S120|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||24-120mm f/1.8-5.7|
|Launch Date||August 2013||August 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Canon S120|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.44 x 5.58 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||41.5152 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.3 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Digic 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||246|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Canon S120|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%|
|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|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Canon S120|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/2000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||12.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|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||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G16||Canon S120|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon G16||Canon S120|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
109 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
100 x 59 x 29 mm
(3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||217 g (7.7 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.