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G16 Digital Zoom


Greetings, I am a new owner of a Canon Powershot G16 and have really enjoyed the camera.  I was considering leaving the G16 behind and taking my APS-C camera to an engagement due to the need for a longer focal length (around 250mm - 300mm in 35mm eq., daylight).  Then I found the digital zoom option in the G16 (1.5x - 2.0x).  Now, I've heard the horror stories about the use of digital zooms and the loss in quality, so I did a very simple test and took similar pictures with and without the 2.0x zoom.


To my surprise, the pictures taken with the 2x zoom still showed up as 12 MP and around the same file size as the unzoomed pictures (around 5.6 MB or so), and the quality of the pictures (non pixel-peeping) was similar.  Not being familiar with digital zooms, are the digitally-zoomed pixels being interpolated and therefore the pixel count is about the same?  Bottom line, how bad is the loss of quality with the use of the digital zoom feature?  Leaving the APS-C gear behind would certainly help in the weight department!  Thanks.



I think you answered the question for your use case. If you're satisfied don't let others rain on your parade.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


My advice is a bit different in that I'll ask about intended use. If you intend to print big or crop & print big some fine detail may not be there. Viewing on screen is very different than what you'll see after a big crop gets printed large. If 8 X 10 is as big as you'd go then you're probable going to get away with the G 16 files.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


The only time I found the digital zoom to be an issue on the G is when the ISO gets pushed up high due to low light conditions. Using manual mode and a tripod in low light will still get useful photos with the digital zoom as long as you don't want to go any higher than 2x digital zoom. (I believe they still call it teleconverter mode.) Bottom line is that if you're satisfied, then why not use it?


Since I shoot in RAW, I can't use digital zoom, but after cropping and processing, I can get pretty useful images as well. Just another avenue of getting some great shots with a great camera.


Steve M.

Thanks everybody for your replies, all very helpful.  My "engagement" is a once in a lifetime Formula 1 race in Montreal, so I won't have a chance to practice beforehand with the G16 to see if it is suitable for this kind of environment.  I just really enjoy the camera and would love for it to be my first choice, as opposed to my Fuji X-T10 with its 55-200mm zoom - not gigantic, but pretty bulky when compared the practility and size of the G16.  I have no intentions of blowing up the pictures to anything outrageous - probably just coming up with a nice online album for printing.  I'll try to take the G16 to some local races and see how the teleconverter digital zoom works.  Thanks again for all your feedback!

OK now that I know that I may want to try & change your mind. I shoot action & in fact live not far from Montreal & am in the Muscle Car business so I know the task at hand. I don't have a G 16 so can't test how it works for action but I do still use a G9 but primarily underwater. Shutter lag & a slow AF will work against you when shooting action. You will need to practice panning, learn how to set your camera up for action (servo AF) & maybe burst mode. You CAN practice & I recommend you do. Head to an area where you'll be roughly 100 feet from a highway where cars go fast, (as in 60 MPH / 100KPH or FASTER) & use them for your practice targets. Track each car, follow through like a golfer as you shoot & try to keep an AF point on a specific part of each car. 

Now this is optional & up to you as to whether you care but proper technique is to use a slow enough shutter speed (not as critical in tight corners) so that your nice smooth pan results in the car being in sharp focus but the wheels / tires & background are blurred to show motion. Too fast of a shutter speed can make it look like the car is parked rather than zooming by.


INGR2831 copy(1).jpg

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

The G16 has improved greatly over the G9 with a much faster AF and reduced shutter lag, especially if shooting in JPEG mode. This is one of the strengths of this camera. I agree with you that practice is crucial, and I like your suggestion about using a highway for a test bed. Hopefully his trip to Montreal goes well!


Steve M.

Thanks again everybody for all your help.  I've decided to take both cameras just in case, since it will be just this one occasion.  I will definitely practice per the suggestions above.  I've taken more comparison photos of static objects with and without the digital zoom, and must admit they both look pretty good, even when pixel peeping.  The interpolation algorithm must be pretty sophisticated in order to keep decent sharpness with the digital zoom.  Overall, I am really very impressed with the G16.  Best regards and thanks again for your thoughtful responses.

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