Canon G16 vs Sony NEX-6
The Canon PowerShot G16 and the Sony Alpha NEX-6 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2013 and September 2012. The G16 is a fixed lens compact, while the NEX-6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (G16) and an APS-C (NEX-6) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 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 Sony Alpha NEX-6? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon G16 and the Sony NEX-6 are illustrated 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 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 Sony NEX-6 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon G16. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G16 nor the NEX-6 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 NEX-6 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 NEX-6 and their specifications in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|2.||Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||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 P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|13.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The G16 was launched at a lower price than the NEX-6, despite having a lens built 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 Sony NEX-6 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NEX-6 is 769 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.65 and 1.5. The sensor in the G16 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the NEX-6 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 16MP, the NEX-6 offers a higher resolution than the G16 (12MP), but the NEX-6 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.78μm versus 1.87μm for the G16) due to its larger sensor. However, the G16 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the NEX-6, 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 Sony NEX-6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NEX-6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.3 inches or 62.4 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.9 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.6 x 27.6 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 Sony Alpha NEX-6 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the NEX-6 offers substantially better image quality than the G16 (overall score 24 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.7 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.1 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.
|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|
|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 can also record movies. 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 NEX-6. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the NEX-6 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the G16 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon G16 and Sony NEX-6 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon G16||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.2/s||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0/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 LX7||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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.
The G16 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-6 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Alpha NEX-6 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.||Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|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 LX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The G16 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the NEX-6 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the NEX-6 was succeeded by the Sony A6000. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon G16 better than the Sony NEX-6 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the NEX-6 requires a separate lens.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the NEX-6).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-6:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 18%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.7 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 (2.1 stops ISO advantage).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the NEX-6 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 7 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 Sony NEX-6 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 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 NEX-6. 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 provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.||Sony NEX-6||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||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 P7800||3/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|12.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|13.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|14.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|15.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|16.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|17.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|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. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon G16 vs Sony NEX-6
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||Sony NEX-6|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-140mm f/1.8-2.8||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2013||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon G16||Sony NEX-6|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.44 x 5.58 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||41.5152 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.3 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.87 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||28.91 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||78|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.0||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||230||1018|
|Screen Specs||Canon G16||Sony NEX-6|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||80%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon G16||Sony NEX-6|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2.2 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon G16||Sony NEX-6|
|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||Sony NEX-6|
|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)
120 x 67 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||356 g (12.6 oz)||345 g (12.2 oz)|
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