Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canon G12 - Initial Impressions

I upgraded from my Canon G11 to a Canon G12 earlier this week.  I've really enjoyed shooting with the G11 for the short time that I've had it.  Although my time with the G11 was relatively short, I did take it all over the place with me... Las Vegas, India, etc.  I had ample time to get acquainted with the little Canon.

But soon after picking up my G11 Canon announced the G12.  I immediately checked out the specs of the G12 and decided it really wasn't a big enough upgrade in terms of features and capabilities to make the jump.  I planned on staying with my G11.

That was until my buddy decided he wanted to buy my G11 for his wife.  Ok, I'll do it now... why not?

Some of the key new features of the G12 that differentiate it from the G11 are:
  • New front wheel for making adjustments to either the aperture or shutter settings.
  • New 720p resolution video with stereo audio
  • New HDR mode (High Dynamic Range)
  • New ability to set ISO in 1/3rd stops
  • New auto-level that helps you keep your images perfectly horizontal
  • New image size modes:  3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 16:9 and 4:5 modes
  • New support for Eye-Fi wireless cards
My Thoughs:
First off, I'll say the G12 is almost identical to the G11 it replaces.  The image quality for still images is identical.  It uses the same DIGIC 4 processor and 10mp sensor as its predecessor.  The size and weight is identical although there have been some minor cosmetic changes.  I've noticed the texture of the G12 is more "rough" textured whereas the G11 is more "slick".  The G12 has slightly more rounded edges on the case as well.  The G12 also has a new thumb rest for your shooting hand which, believe it or not, is really nice.

I've only used the video a couple of times but honestly, I'm not impressed.  Unlike the new Nikon CoolPix P7000 the G12 lacks the ability to focus in real-time while shooting video.  You must compose the scene, half depress the shutter button to achieve focus, then record.  If the subject moves or you move to another subject, the video goes out of focus.  You can zoom in now while shooting, but again, you lose focus.  If you want the G12 for video,  consider buying the Nikon P7000 instead.

The new scroll wheel on the front of the camera is a nice addition.  This alone makes me prefer the G12 over the G11.  It's a minor thing to some, but for me, being a DSLR shooter it's quite comforting having it there.

I've have noticed an odd problem with the G12 that doesn't exist on the G11.  Any non-Canon accessory you attach to the hotshoe mount causes the screen to go black when you attempt to focus the camera.  Things like Pocket Wizards, CyberSyncs, eBay triggers, etc. cause this issue to occur.  I've shot short video that showcases this issue.

video 

I will admit, this issue is a bit annoying and I hope Canon addresses it in a future firmware update.  Aside from this annoyance, the G12 is still one amazing little camera.  It is small enough to go everywhere with you and powerful enough to not leave you yearning for your DSLR.  The image quality is ample for family photos and capturing those key moments while out and about.  The ability to control your manual settings quickly and easily really make this camera shine over the competition.

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