Canon G16 vs Nikon D4
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Nikon D4 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2013 and January 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the D4 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a full frame (D4) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 16.2 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 G16 and the Nikon D4? 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 Nikon D4 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 D4 is considerably larger (203 percent) than the Canon G16. It is noteworthy in this context that the D4 is splash and dust-proof, while the G16 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens built in, whereas the D4 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 D4 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the G16 gets 360 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the D4 can take 2600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL18 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D4 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|13.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|16.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||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.|
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 D4, 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 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. 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 G16 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Nikon D4 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D4 is 1948 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 1.0. The sensor in the G16 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the D4 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16.2MP, the D4 offers a higher resolution than the G16 (12MP), but the D4 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 1.87μm for the G16) due to its larger sensor. However, the G16 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the D4, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G16 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 G16 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D4 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D4 offers substantially better image quality than the G16 (overall score 35 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.7 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3.7 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.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|5.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|11.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|12.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|13.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|15.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|16.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the G16 provides a higher frame rate than the D4. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G16 and the D4 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 G16 and Nikon D4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The G16 has one, while the D4 does not. While the built-in flash of the G16 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Canon G16 and the Nikon D4 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.
The G16 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D4 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D4 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G16 only has one slot.
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 Nikon D4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G16 offers wifi support, while the D4 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D4 (unlike the G16) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The G16 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the D4 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D4 was succeeded by the Nikon D4S. 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 conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G16 or the Nikon D4 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the D4 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x76mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the D4).
- 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.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- 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 7 months after the D4).
Advantages of the Nikon D4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 18%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (35 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 (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3.7 stops ISO advantage).
- 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (2600 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D4 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 9 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 Nikon D4 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the G16 or the D4. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
|1.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|7.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|8.||Canon G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|11.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|13.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|14.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|15.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|16.||Nikon D3||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|17.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon G16 vs Nikon D4
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||Nikon D4|
|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||August 2013||January 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Nikon D4|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.44 x 5.58 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||41.5152 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||2965|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Nikon D4|
|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||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Nikon D4|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G16||Nikon D4|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|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||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon G16||Nikon D4|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||2600 shots per charge|
109 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||1340 g (47.3 oz)|
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