Compared to Canon Powershot G11

On this page we describe the areas in which the Canon Powershot G12 and its predecessor the G11 are identical and where the differences lie. If a particular aspect of the camera goes unmentioned, you should assume that it is exactly the same as its predecessor in whatever regard. Reading this article plus our in-depth Canon Powershot G11 review will give you all the information about the G12 that you'd expect from a full dpreview review of a high-end compact camera.

Visually, the G11 and G12 are hard to tell apart, and both have the same overall dimensions, and almost exactly the same styling and ergonomics. The G12's LCD screen is the same design (and size, and resolution) as its predecessor's, which means that the only significant ergonomic difference is the addition of a front control dial on the G12, which pushes it slightly closer to Canon's EOS-series DSLRs in terms of operation.

In every other respect, the G12 is a carbon-copy of its predecessor, which is to say that it handles very nicely indeed. Recent G-series cameras have featured plenty of manual control, and the G12 is no different. Key to the 'hands on' ergonomics of the G12 are the large manual function dials on the top of the camera, for ISO, exposure compensation and shooting mode. In concert with the controls found on the cardinal points of the 4-way controller, these dials make most of the G12's key shooting parameters accessible without reference to its menu system. In common with all current high-end Canon compacts, other settings, such as image quality and white balance, can be quickly adjusted from the FUNC/SET menu.

Key differences

From the front, the G12 is similar, but not completely identical to the G11. At a casual glance, the most obvious difference is the new position of the 'G12' name plate, from the top of the camera, above the hand grip, to further down, set into the grip itself. A closer look reveals why this change has been made - where the logo used to be on the front of the G11 is an additional control point. The G12 now sports an EOS-style front control dial - the first G-series camera to do so since the G6.
From the back (and barring the addition of the front control dial, from the top as well), the G12 really is virtually indistinguishable from the G11. The only change of any significance is the addition of a small area of rubber on the top right of the camera, which aids handling when the camera is used one-handed. The G12's LCD screen is exactly the same as the G11's.

Front Control Dial

There is only one significant ergonomic difference between the G12 and its predecessor the G11, but it's a biggie. Unlike recent Canon G-series camera, the G12 has both rear and front control dials. The new dial sits above the handgrip, just in front of and slightly below the zoom rocker switch - exactly where a Canon EOS D/SLR user would expect to find it. The last G-series compact to feature a front control dial was the G6, of 2004, and every model since then has made do with just a single dial, on the rear of the camera.

The G12's rear dial is fine, but it can be tricky to manipulate precisely. The leftmost point of its circumference falls awkwardly close to the right hand side frame of the fold-out LCD screen, and there isn't much relief between the buttons of the 4-way controller and the dial which rotates around it. Cold or gloved fingers? Forget about it. But the front dial is exactly where it needs to be for quick adjustment with your index finger, right in front of the shutter release, and stands proud enough from the camera's body to be easily manipulated even when wearing gloves.

By default, the front control dial changes aperture and shutter speed in Av and Tv modes, and shutter speed in manual exposure mode. If desired, the behaviour of both dials can be customized. It is possible, for example, to assign the unused dial in Av or Tv modes to scroll through aspect ratio modes, or toggle the iContrast function on/off (there's a choice of three functions that can be assigned).

The front control dial works in collaboration with the rear dial for changing major shooting settings, and for menu and image navigation.

When adjusting key shooting parameters (like aperture in Av mode, and shutter speed in Tv mode) we greatly prefer a dial in this position than one on the rear of the camera. It is quicker, easier, and feels more natural to adjust.