Canon PowerShot G15 Digital Camera Review$499.99
Color accuracy is a strength of the PowerShot G15, but not an overwhelming one. The camera's best uncorrected color error value of 2.72 was recorded when shooting in the "Neutral" My Colors mode. As is typical for Canon's compact cameras, this best color mode was also the only one to report a sub-100% saturation score (92%). All of the other color modes cranked saturation up to at least 113%.
Like other PowerShots we've tested recently, the G15 showed the largest errors in its yellow and orange tones, which can be critical in reproducing skin tones. Cyan was another problem, but it's less critical. If you plan to shoot a lot of portraits, we recommend that you use either the Lighter Skin or Darker Skin color settings, which have much lower yellow and orange errors (at the expense of errors in other colors), or shoot using the Portrait scene mode, which probably employs these by default. More on how we test color.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
While it can't match the performance of the Panasonic LX7, the G15 is a massive improvement over its predecessor, and is clearly one of the better-performing models in its class with regard to color accuracy.
Like virtually every other digital camera, the PowerShot G15 is horrible when using automatic white balance and shooting under incandescent light—an average of 1900 kelvins off. That's the bad news.
The good news? It's competent-to-great in every other lighting situation. When using AWB under compact white fluorescent light, the G15 was only 185 kelvins off. In daylight it did even better, recording an error of just 80 kelvins. If you have the time and patience (and a white card) to set your own white balance, the G15 is also remarkably consistent in its manual white balance performance. It scores nearly perfect kelvin temperatures for whites, while rendering greys only slightly cooler than ideal.
White Balance Options
There are a total of eight white balance presets on the G15, as well as two custom white balance settings. The presets include AWB, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, and Underwater. Any of these presets can be manually adjusted by pressing the Menu button and using either the front and rear command dials or the four-way control pad to move a cursor around a dual-axis grid.
Custom white balance is set by selecting either Custom preset from the white balance menu and then pressing the dedicated metering button to take a reading. This is a very intuitive solution, and one we wish Canon's DSLR designers would take under advisement. It's a bit embarrassing that it's far easier to set a custom white balance on a point and shoot than on a high-end interchangeable lens camera.