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Canon PowerShot G12 Digital Camera Review

canon20120522aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers 

It’s nice to know what you’ll be getting when you’ve set out to spend a decent wad of cash. When purchasing an item that I’m not familiar with, sometimes I just wish it would make sense. How hard would it be to just have a list that says, “Reasons A costs less than B”. When buying a TV recently I was presented with two different TVs: same brand, same size, same resolution, different price. Let’s not even consider bringing different brand TVs into the equation, my maths isn’t quite up to that standard. Yes, price relates to the features, manufacturing costs and quality, but it sure does make it confusing. When it comes to digital cameras it can often be much the same. However, with the Canon Powershot G12, this is quite a lot easier. 


Appearance and functionality

When it comes to a leading manufacturer such as Canon, you can be quietly confident that they won’t compromise on quality in order to deliver a cheaper camera. In the case of the G12 and the next in line Canon Powershot G1X, the quality is fairly similar. The G12 has a more plastic design and finish and feels only slightly cheaper to hold however it is still designed well and has a solid build.

canon20120522ab.jpgAs the Canon Powershot G12 sits almost at the top of it’s market you can be sure that it’s designed for functionality and is therefore easy to use. There’s plenty of dedicated buttons and dials for the most common functions. The exposure compensation dial has been pushed over to the top left of the body making it slightly awkward to use as there’s no body grip on that side. The ISO settings have been given a dedicated scroll wheel, just below and larger than the function select dial on the top right. This makes it easy to quickly change values and with third stop notches between key ISO values you have more than enough options.
Just in case every function possible hadn’t been given it’s own dedicated button there are two scroll wheels for easy menu access. One on top below the shutter and the other on the back along with the directional buttons. Scroll wheels make easy menu navigation possible and allow you to easily change functions and settings.


Image Quality / Lens Quality


So, if you’ve gotten to this point and as far as you can tell the G12 gives almost the same build quality as the more expensive G1X you must be thinking that it lacks in image quality. This is however not true. The Canon Powershot G12 gives almost the same image quality and colour handling as the G1X.

canon20120522ac.jpgIn terms of low light the G12 handles ISO100 - ISO800 with no to only slightly visible grain within the images. Options for ISO1600 take it up a notch with grain but images are still more than usable. ISO3200 has considerably more noticeable grain but in a scenario where images would otherwise be impossible you can’t complain. If worst comes to worst and you’re stuck for options you still have the chance to switch to low light mode and bump the ISO up to ISO6400. This’ll create considerably more grain but will still work well in certain scenes.

In terms of colours and skin tones, the Powershot G12 handles almost as well as it’s older brother. Colours are vivid and skin tones appear natural.

As quality appears much the same, you may question what the main differences are. In this case they’re simple: lower mp sensor. While the G1X has a sensor of 14+mp the G12’s sensor is only 10mp. Where resolution matters most in digital cameras is when you’re looking to make considerable enlargements, 10mp will be satisfactory to print enlargements up to 30cm x 50cm. In terms of internet sharing of images or slideshow viewing 10mp will be almost too many pixels for the average user.

Images on the G12 are sharp at all levels of zoom. The 28mm wide angle lens zooms up to 5x optical and handles well all the way along with Image Stabilization or IS. IS stabilizes the image allowing for easier handholding in low light and long zooms to produce crisp sharp images.



canon20120522ad.jpgWhile the addition of a viewfinder as well as LCD screen may be seen as unnecessary for many an inexperienced snapshot artist, those who know their benefits will no doubt be thankful for it. When the sun comes up, the clouds go down and the little dancing reflection  man comes your way and settles himself somewhere around the direct middle of your LCD screen, you’ll be able to put down your weapons of anti-reflection because someone at Canon is looking out for you. While the viewfinder isn’t a through the lens option it still offers the ability to compose scenes accurately when light becomes too bright.

In addition to the above there’s the option on the G12 to flip out and rotate the LCD screen around. Up, down and backwards allows ease of more creative shots or allows shots to be possible that would otherwise be impossible. It’s always disappointing trying to hold your camera wildly above the heads of a crowd and snapping blindly to try and capture one simple shot of a scene. With the flip out screen you can do the same without the need for blindness. Simply rotate the 7cm LCD screen down and you’ll be able to see a whole new world.



While the video on the G12 is not Full HD it does come capable of exceptional HD, 720p shots and with the Image Stabilization within this camera the video will remain smooth and steady for increased re-watchability in the future.





Canon makes their range of digital cameras simple. The G12 is a solid, feature enriched camera for a solid price. The quality of image and video is good and at the higher end of it’s market’s cameras and will satisfy most users. Zoom range is good, functionality is good and the Canon Powershot G12 handles low light well. It can’t be denied that if you’re in the market for a new compact digital camera that’ll handle itself well you’d be mad to not take a closer look at the G12.


Accessories Used During Testing:

Tamrac Aero 94 / 3394 Camera Bag 

SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s SD Card


Recommended Retailer:

View / Buy The Canon Powershot G12  



Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
3 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4 stars
Value for money 3 stars
Street Price $549.95
Effective Pixels 14.3 Megpixels
Sensor Type
1.5-inch / Primary colour filter (Bayer), High Sensitivity CMOS, DiG!C 5
Image Sizes 5 Sizes / 5 Aspect Ratios
Lens 15.1 (W) - 60.4mm (T) (35mm film equivalent: 28 (W) - 112mm (T)
Lens Mount
Resolution Settings: Stills [16:9] Large: 4352 x 2448, Medium 1: 3072 x 1728,
Medium 2: 1920 x 1080, Small: 640 x 360
[3:2] Large: 4352 x 2904, Medium 1: 3072 x 2048,
Medium 2: 1600 x 1064, Small: 640 x 424
[4:3] Large: 4352 x 3264, Medium 1: 3072 x 2304,
Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480
RAW: 4352 x 3264
[1:1] Large: 3264 x 3264, Medium 1: 2304 x 2304,
Medium 2: 1200 x 1200, Small: 480 x 480
[4:5] Large: 2608 x 3264, Medium 1: 1840 x 2304,
Medium 2: 960 x 1200, Small: 384 x 480
Resolution Settings: Video [iFrame Movie] 1280 x 720 (30 fps*1)
[Miniature Effect] 1280 x 720*2 / 640 x 480*2
[Other than the above*3] 1920 x 1080 (24 fps*4), 1280 x 720 (30 fps*1) / 640 x 480 (30 fps*1) 
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 1 - 1/4000 sec. 60 sec. to 1/4000 sec. for Manual and Tv modes.
ISO AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
LCD Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G (TFT). Approx. 461,000 dots, Approx. 100%. Adjustable five levels. Quick-bright LCD
Viewfinder -
Flash Yes, Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater, Custom 1, Custom 2
Self Timer Approx. 10 sec or 2 sec delay, custom
Stills Format/s
Exif 2.3 JPEG, RAW (14 bit, CR2 (Canon Original)) Video: MOV (Image data: H.264; Audio data: Linear PCM (2 channel stereo))
Video Format/s MOV (Image Data: H.264; Audio Data: Linear PCM (2 channel stereo))
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD / SDHC / SDXC Memory Card
Storage Type - Internal
Connectivity USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B compatible), PAL or NTSC selectable / Stereo
Power Source CB-2LCE / AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC80 (Compact Power Adaptor CA-PS700, DC Coupler DR-80, Power Cord)
Battery Options Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery NB-10L
Battery Life LCD Monitor on 250 shots;
LCD Monitor off 700 shots and Playback 7 hours
Dimensions 116.7 mm (W) x 80.5mm (H) x 64.7mm (D
Weight Approx. 492g (camera body only)



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