Canon G16 vs Panasonic GF5
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and April 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the GF5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and a Four Thirds (GF5) 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 G16 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5? 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 Panasonic GF5 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GF5 can be obtained in three different colors (black, red, white), while the G16 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GF5 is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the GF5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens built in, whereas the GF5 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 GF5 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Panasonic GF5||108 mm||67 mm||37 mm||267 g||360||n||Apr 2012||499|
|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 P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic GF3||108 mm||67 mm||32 mm||264 g||300||n||Jun 2011||549|
|16.||Panasonic G10||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||388 g||380||n||Mar 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic G2||124 mm||84 mm||74 mm||428 g||360||n||Mar 2010||599|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Panasonic GF5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the GF5 is 436 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 2.0. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
Even though the GF5 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the GF5 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.33μm versus 1.87μm for the G16), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the G16 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the GF5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Canon PowerShot G16 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 are ISO 160 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 160-12800.
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 GF5 has a markedly higher DXO score than the G16 (overall score 7 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.4 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.
|2.||Panasonic GF5||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||21.4||11.6||618||61|
|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|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|15.||Panasonic GF3||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||1080/60i||20.6||10.0||458||49|
|16.||Panasonic G10||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.1||411||52|
|17.||Panasonic G2||Four Thirds||12.0||4000||3000||720/30p||21.2||10.3||493||53|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the G16 provides a higher frame rate than the GF5. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from 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 GF5 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 Panasonic GF5, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Panasonic GF5||none||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2/s||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9/s||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1/s||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon M||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.3/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon G12||optical||n||2.8 / 461||swivel||n||1/4000s||1.1/s||Y||Y|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||2360||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||optical||n||2.8 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||12.0/s||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P7800||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||8.0/s||Y||Y|
|12.||Panasonic G6||1440||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Panasonic GF3||none||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||3.2/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic G10||202||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic G2||1440||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||Y||1/4000s||2.6/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GF5 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 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 G16 and the GF5 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon G16||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Panasonic GF5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SL1||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon M||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon G12||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Fujifilm X30||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Fujifilm X20||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon P7800||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Panasonic G6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic GF3||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic G10||Y||mono / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic G2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the G16 has a hotshoe, while the GF5 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 GF5 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the GF5 was succeeded by the Panasonic GF6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon G16 or the Panasonic GF5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the GF5 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 4 months after the GF5).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 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 (108x67mm vs 109x76mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G16 comes out slightly ahead of the GF5 (8 : 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 G16 and the Panasonic GF5 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 G16 or the GF5 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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 G16||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Panasonic GF5||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||499|
|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 P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|15.||Panasonic GF3||3/5||82/100||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||549|
|16.||Panasonic G10||3/5||..||..||70/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2010||499|
|17.||Panasonic G2||..||..||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2010||599|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 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.
- Canon D30 vs Canon G16
- Canon G16 vs Canon T6i
- Canon G16 vs Fujifilm X-E2
- Canon G16 vs Hasselblad X1D II
- Canon G16 vs Nikon D700
- Canon G16 vs Nikon D7000
- Canon SX50 vs Panasonic GF5
- Panasonic GF3 vs Panasonic GF5
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic GH4
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic LX100 II
- Panasonic GF5 vs Panasonic S1H
- Panasonic GF5 vs Ricoh GR II
Specifications: Canon G16 vs Panasonic GF5
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||Panasonic GF5|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||April 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Panasonic GF5|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.44 x 5.58 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||41.5152 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.3 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||4.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||5.34 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||160 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||Venus FHD|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||21.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||618|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Panasonic GF5|
|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||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Panasonic GF5|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-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||Panasonic GF5|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon G16||Panasonic GF5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
109 x 76 x 40 mm
(4.3 x 3.0 x 1.6 in)
108 x 67 x 37 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||267 g (9.4 oz)|
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