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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.

Headline Specifications
Canon G16
versus
Panasonic GF5
Canon G16   Panasonic GF5
Fixed lens compact camera Mirrorless system camera
28-140mm f/1.8-2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses
12 MP – 1/1.7" sensor 12 MP – Four Thirds sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 80-12,800 ISO 160-6,400 (160 - 12,800)
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.0" LCD – 920k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed touchscreen
2.2 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
360 shots per battery charge360 shots per battery charge
109 x 76 x 40 mm, 356 g 108 x 67 x 37 mm, 267 g
Canon G16:
Check current price at
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Panasonic GF5:
Check current offers at
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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.

Body comparison

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.

Size Canon G16 vs Panasonic GF5
Compare G16 versus GF5 top
Comparison G16 or GF5 rear

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.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF5 108 mm 67 mm 37 mm 267 g 360 n Apr 2012 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
8.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X30 119 mm 72 mm 60 mm 423 g 470 n Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 117 mm 70 mm 57 mm 353 g 270 n Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Nikon P7800 119 mm 78 mm 50 mm 399 g 350 n Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Panasonic G6 122 mm 85 mm 71 mm 390 g 340 n Apr 2013 599i
13.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
14.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
15.
 
Panasonic GF3 108 mm 67 mm 32 mm 264 g 300 n Jun 2011 549i
16.
 
Panasonic G10 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 388 g 380 n Mar 2010 499i
17.
 
Panasonic G2 124 mm 84 mm 74 mm 428 g 360 n Mar 2010 599i
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.

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Sensor comparison

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.

Canon G16 and Panasonic GF5 sensor measures

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.

G16 versus GF5 MP

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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
2.
 
Panasonic GF5 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
4.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
5.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
6.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
7.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
8.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
9.
 
Fujifilm X30 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.411.2-31249
10.
 
Fujifilm X20 2/3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p20.110.9-46246
11.
 
Nikon P7800 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p21.211.720054
12.
 
Panasonic G6 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
13.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
14.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
15.
 
Panasonic GF3 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
16.
 
Panasonic G10 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
17.
 
Panasonic G2 Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
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.

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Feature comparison

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.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
2.
 
Panasonic GF5none n3.0 / 920 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
5.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
8.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1/s Y Y
9.
 
Fujifilm X302360 n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
10.
 
Fujifilm X20optical n2.8 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
11.
 
Nikon P7800921 n3.0 / 921 swivel n 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic G61440 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GF6none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0/s Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic GF3none n3.0 / 460 fixed Y 1/4000s 3.2/s Y n
16.
 
Panasonic G10202 n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 2.6/s Y n
17.
 
Panasonic G21440 n3.0 / 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.

Connectivity comparison

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.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
2.
 
Panasonic GF5-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Fujifilm X30Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
10.
 
Fujifilm X20Ystereo / mono--micro2.0---
11.
 
Nikon P7800Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Panasonic G6Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
13.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic GF3-stereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic G10Ymono / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic G2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

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.

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Review summary

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.

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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).

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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.

G16 08:07 GF5

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.

Expert reviews

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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
2.
 
Panasonic GF53/5......4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499i
3.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799i
4.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
5.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
6.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
7.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
8.
 
Canon G124/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
9.
 
Fujifilm X304/5....76/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2014 599 i
10.
 
Fujifilm X204/5+ +..77/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2013 599i
11.
 
Nikon P78003/5......4/54.5/5 Sep 2013 549i
12.
 
Panasonic G64/5+ +....5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 599i
13.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
14.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
15.
 
Panasonic GF33/582/100..71/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549i
16.
 
Panasonic G103/5....70/1004/54/5 Mar 2010 499i
17.
 
Panasonic G2......72/1004/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599i
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.

Canon G16:
Check current price at
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Panasonic GF5:
Check current offers at
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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.

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    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 Specifications
    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 Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 4.65x 2.0x
    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 AidFocus Peakingno Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno 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 Type NB-10L DMW-BLE9
    Battery Life (CIPA)360 shots per charge360 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 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)
    Canon G16:
    Check current price at
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    Panasonic GF5:
    Check current offers at
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