Canon Powershot G12 Quick Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good image quality, useable results achievable up to ISO 3200 (if shooting Raw)
- Accurate metering and focus
- Good JPEG resolution (though stick to Raw for best results)
- Fast and responsive in use
- Excellent build quality
- Good ergonomics (extra control dial makes a lot of difference)
- Lots of manual control (we love the big chunky dials)
- Customizable control dials
- Versatile and sharp 28-140mm lens with effective stabilization
- Articulated LCD screen
Conclusion - Cons
- Poor optical finder (but no worse than G11/Nikon P7000)
- No direct video recording button
- 24fps maximum frame rate in 720p movie mode (although many people prefer this to 30fps+)
- Rear control dial can be hard to manipulate precisely
- Video function lacks finesse - no zooming or AF during recording
- Bulkier than some competitors
For this Quick review we ran some basic studio tests to confirm that the G12's still image quality is essentially identical to the G11. To get all the in-depth information that you expect from a dpreview review on the Canon Powershot G12 you'll have to read both this article and our in-depth review of the Canon Powershot G11.
Although barely a year separates the release of the two models, the Canon Powershot G12 was launched into a considerably more competitive market than its predecessor the G11. Despite this, Canon hasn't felt the need to make a huge number of changes in the new model. The shape of the body is more or less identical but, most significantly, the G12 shares the same 10MP sensor as the G11, which sits nestled behind the same 28-140mm (equivalent) lens.
Those improvements that have been made, however, do add value, and make the G12 a more attractive camera than its predecessor. From the point of view of usability, the most important is the addition of an EOS-style control dial on the top of the camera. This was a feature of Canon's Powershot G-series right up until 2004, and we're extremely happy to see it come back. Not only does it make the G12 look and feel like a more serious camera, it also has the convenient side effect of making it easier to control manually.
As a stills camera, the G12 is an almost exact match for its predecessor. Apart from a suggestion of slightly better detail in high ISO JPEGs, files from the two cameras are impossible to tell apart. There is a reason why so many current high-end cameras use the same Sony-manufactured 10MP CCD sensor, and that's because it offers an extremely good balance of resolution and low-light sensitivity. The suspension of the megapixel race might well only be temporary, but there is no doubt in our minds that enthusiast photographers are better off with the 10MP sensor of the G12 than they were with the rather less impressive 14.7MP sensor inside the G10.
The G12 gives excellent image quality up to ISO 400 and, in everyday photography, noise and noise-reduction are only noticeable at ISO 800 and higher. Even then, they only become problematic on close inspection. At ISO 3200, the G12's JPEG output is poor by comparison, but no worse than its competitors. As always, with a little care and attention good results can be extracted from its .CR2 Raw files, but even the JPEGs are fine for small prints and web use (and can look very nice in black and white).
As far as image quality is concerned, the biggest changes are to the G12's video mode, which has been increased from VGA (in the G11) to 720p, at a frame rate of 24fps. Video enthusiasts will welcome the increase in resolution, and video footage from the G12 looks great, but like its sister camera the S95, the G12 does not allow optical zoom control or AF during movie shooting, which is rather limiting.
The final word
Arguably, there was very little wrong with the Powershot G11, and with the G12, Canon has smoothed out a few more rough edges. What remains is a very pleasant camera indeed. The G12 is quick, responsive and well-designed. Although it can be used as an 'auto everything' compact, the G12's real strengths only come to the fore when it is used in its A,S and M modes. The G12's twin control dials plus big, chunky, ISO, exposure compensation and mode dials offer a level of 'proper' manual control which is rare in any camera, let alone a compact model.
No camera is perfect, of course, and we do have some criticisms of the G12, albeit relatively minor ones. For one thing, we're disappointed that with all of the various buttons and dials which pepper its surface, Canon couldn't find room for a direct movie shooting button. This wouldn't be such an irritation if the shortcut button could be reassigned accordingly, but unfortunately this isn't possible. We recently criticized the Pentax K-5 for just such an omission, and arguably, quick access to video shooting is even more important in a compact camera than a DSLR.
Our other main criticism of the G12 also relates to video. Although video resolution has increased from VGA to 720p resolution, a 24fps frame rate lags behind the best of the competition (although it should be said that a lot of videographers prefer it to 30fps+), and the video functionality is still fairly limited. Disabling optical zoom during movie shooting makes sense in one respect - it avoids the issue of zoom noise on the soundtrack - but it would be nice to have the option in some situations. Likewise AF during movie recording. Not an essential function, perhaps, but handy, and something which is offered by some of the G12's competitors.
In the final analysis, the Canon Powershot G12 is an excellent compact camera which offers an exceptional amount of manual control. However, as we mentioned in the introduction to this review, as well as its 'traditional' rivals like the Nikon Coolpix P7000 and Panasonic LX5, it also has to compete against a new crop of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras like the Olympus E-PL2 and Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5.
This is a problem, because whilst there is no doubt that for some photographers, the (slightly) smaller size of the G12, plus the convenience of its fixed 28-140mm zoom will be points in its favour, these photographers are less likely to value its abundance of manual control options. Fans of 'hands on' photography that actually need all of the buttons and dials might well find a camera like the Olympus E-PL2, with its much larger sensor and interchangeable lens capability, more attractive. We have no hesitation in saying that the G12 is the best Canon G-series camera to date, but its original USP - as a bridge between compact cameras and DSLRs - is in danger of being eroded.
Canon PowerShot G12
Category: Premium Enthusiast Compact Camera
Ergonomics & handling
Exposure and focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Movie / video mode
The G12 is an excellent compact camera, with a proven 10MP CCD sensor and effective ergonomics. Fans of 'hands-on' photography will love the big chunky dials, and the addition of a front control dial makes the G12 easier to get to grips with than its most recent predecessors. Our only significant concern is with the G12's uninspiring movie mode.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean
Jan 17, 2014
Jan 19, 2011
Dec 15, 2011
Nov 27, 2010
|Rocks at Dawn by phucthang|
from The Rock
|Sarlat, France by poppyjk|
from Your City - Dinertime!
|Double Eagle by herbymel|
|Great White Egret vs Lizard by jose garcia|
from Strong - Weak
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.
The two hour long video covers everything an aspiring drone pilot needs to know.
This is what happens when a Canon 17-85mm F4-5.6 lens meets 60,000 PSI of water pressure. Spoiler Alert: the water jet always wins.
Andrew Harnik discusses the challenges – and rewarding moments – of a career making images for the Associated Press in his native DC.
The VMic Pro, VMic Recorder and VMic microphones are targeted at DSLR users who want to record high-quality audio.
While our full OnePlus 5 review is underway, we've put together a sample gallery with images that were taken with both the wide-angle and tele lens in a variety of lighting situations.
The OnePlus 5 main camera comes with a 1/2.8" 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and a fast F1.7 aperture. It is supported by a 2x tele-module featuring a 20MP 1/2.8" Sony IMX 350 sensor and F2.6 aperture.
In this video, Vincent Laforet explains why the RED 8K Weapon camera has mostly replaced his still cameras, and it's not all about resolution.
Dupe, Dupe Negative is not a pop song, and Newton's Rings are not NASA's next destination. If you've ever wondered what all that film terminology means, Kodak has you covered.
Fujifilm's X-A3 is the company's only offering to use a new 24MP sensor without their trademark X-Trans color filter array. We've had it out and about with a variety of lenses to see how it compares.
If you thought Nikon had the market cornered on expensive commemorative products, we've got news for you.
The simple drag-and-drop web app reveals the Lightroom edits applied to any JPEG, along with its associated EXIF data, provided that metadata is intact.
Danish photographers Ulrik Hasemann and Mathias Svold spent time documenting the 75,000 refugees currently in Serbia's capitol city. Most are young men from conflict zones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It takes a highly-skilled drone operator to execute a video like this in one take.
According to a report by Nikkei Ricoh is facing its biggest crisis ever and will have to cut costs in order to survive.
Air Koryo started flying in 1952, and much of its current fleet still dates from the 1960s. Danish commercial photographer Arthur Mebius has taken 24 flights on some of its oldest airplanes, so you don't have to.