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Panasonic G1 versus Canon G16

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and the Canon PowerShot G16 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2008 and August 2013. The G1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the G16 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (G1) and a 1/1.7-inch (G16) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Canon G16

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic G1 and the Canon G16. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the G1 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic G1 vs Canon G16
Compare G1 versus G16 top
Compare G1 and G16 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon G16 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Panasonic G1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G1 nor the G16 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G16 has a lens build in, whereas the G1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the G1 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the G1 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLB13 battery, while the G16 can take 360 images on a single charge of its NB-10L power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G1» 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 12.7 oz 410 n Sep 2008 599- i
Canon G16« 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 4.6 in 2.9 in 2.6 in 19.5 oz 240 n Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon SL1« » 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i
Canon G15« » 4.2 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.4 oz 350 n Sep 2012 499- i
Canon G12« » 4.4 in 3.0 in 1.9 in 14.1 oz 370 n Sep 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GF5« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 9.4 oz 360 n Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic LX7« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 10.5 oz 330 n Jul 2012 499- i
Panasonic GF3« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.3 oz 300 n Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.3 in 10.9 oz 300 n Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 15.1 oz 360 n Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 2.9 in 13.7 oz 380 n Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF1« » 4.7 in 2.8 in 1.4 in 13.6 oz 380 n Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« » 4.9 in 3.5 in 1.8 in 13.6 oz 300 n Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« » 5.3 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 450 n Aug 2007 599- i

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 G1, despite having a lens build 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Canon G16

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. 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic G1 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Canon G16 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G16 is 81 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 4.65. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic G1 and Canon G16 sensor measures

Even though the G1 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixel. This implies that the G1 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 much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the G1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

G1 versus G16 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic G1» Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000-21.110.346353
Canon G16« 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
Canon G1 X Mark II« » 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
Canon SL1« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
Canon G15« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
Canon G12« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic GF5« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.411.661861
Panasonic LX7« » 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
Panasonic GF3« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i20.610.045849
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Panasonic GF2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/60i21.210.350654
Panasonic G2« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.349353
Panasonic G10« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.141152
Panasonic GF1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 3000720/30p21.210.351354
Panasonic GH1« » Four Thirds 12.0 4000 30001080/24p21.611.677264
Panasonic L10« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.310.842955

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The G16 indeed provides for movie recording, while the G1 does not. The highest resolution format that the G16 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic G1 vs Canon G16

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the G1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic G1 and Canon G16 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic G1»1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4001 3.0 Y n
Canon G16«optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y
Canon G1 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 5.2 Y Y
Canon SL1« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n
Canon G15« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.1 Y Y
Canon G12« »optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 4000 1.1 Y Y
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic GF5« »- n 3.0 920 fixed Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic LX7« »- n 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 11.0 Y Y
Panasonic GF3« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 3.2 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Panasonic GF2« »- n 3.0 460 fixed Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G2« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic G10« »202 n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 2.6 Y n
Panasonic GF1« »- n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic GH1« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n
Panasonic L10« »optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 4000 3.0 Y n

The G16 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the G1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G1 was succeeded by the Panasonic G2.

Review summary: Panasonic G1 vs Canon G16

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic G1 and the Canon G16? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (4001/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G16:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 460k dots).
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the G1 necessitates an extra lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x76mm vs 124x84mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the G1).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the G1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the G16 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 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.

G1 08:10 G16

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 G1 or the G16 handle or 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic G1»HiRec70/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2008 599- i
Canon G16«Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i
Canon G1 X Mark II« »Rec77/1004/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799 i i
Canon SL1« »Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i
Canon G15« »Rec76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499- i
Canon G12« »Rec73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic GF5« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Apr 2012 499- i
Panasonic LX7« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499- i
Panasonic GF3« »82/10071/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 549- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Panasonic GF2« »82/10070/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2010 549- i
Panasonic G2« »-72/1004/54/54.5/5 Mar 2010 599- i
Panasonic G10« »-70/1004/5-4/5 Mar 2010 499- i
Panasonic GF1« »85/10069/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2009 749- i
Panasonic GH1« »HiRec72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2009 1,499- i
Panasonic L10« »85/100Rec3.5/5rev4/5 Aug 2007 599- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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