Canon's G-series could be accused of getting a little long in the tooth, with subtle range refreshes not bringing much new to the party. But the PowerShot G15 looks to change that: it's some 17 per cent smaller than its G12 predecessor and amps things up on the performance front too. After Canon's major Photokina press conference, Pocket-lint got its mitts on the latest G-series.

The G15 is noticeably smaller than the G12. That's not to say it's teeny tiny, but its downscaling is very welcome in this camera category; it's also been done with little to no impact on the range of features, which is ideal.

canon powershot g15 pictures and hands on image 1

In fact the features, at least for the most part, are improved. Ignore the so-so optical viewfinder's 77 per cent field of view shortcoming - now that's something we'd like to see improved - and there's plenty more besides to like.

The standout improvement is how much faster the autofocus system has become. As much as Canon talked the talk in its press conference, the claim for a 15 per cent improvement in this particular model can really be felt in use. It's a needed update too, as the likes of Panasonic, with it's "light speed" autofocus systems have been putting the pressure on.

The lens, too, now crams in an f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture across the 5x optical zoom range. This is big, big news - smaller body, brighter lens? Spot on, Canon.

There's no flip-out screen in the latest model however, unlike its predecessor or the latest Nikon Coolpix P7700, but that would add further bulk and cost to a product such as this. A bit of a shame it's been taken out of the feature set though.

canon powershot g15 pictures and hands on image 2

Design-wise, in terms of dials and buttons, and the layout is much the same experience as previous G-series models. And that can only be a good thing. The rear rotational d-pad and front thumbwheel work together to make quick and easy adjustments to manual settings, while the "dual stack" mode dial and exposure compensation dial are equally as easy to get a hand to.

At £549 it's not the most budget of models, but the 1/1.7-inch, 12.1-megapixel sensor ought to deliver plenty of grunt for the (rather expensive) price point. On the whole it looks like a sensible upgrade to us, despite the removal of the vari-angle screen, but the fact that competitors such as the Sony RX100 exist could be a thorn in the G15's side.