Canon G12

Canon G12 premium compact

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

It’s not difficult to understand why the Canon G12 is such a highly regarded digital camera. Learn why I fell in love with it.

I never owned a Canon G series compact camera but have always admired them from afar. They are often the compact digital cameras of choice among professional photographers and photo enthusiasts, and rightfully so. These premium compacts have highly advanced features, sharp lenses and excellent image quality.

I recently got to use the Canon PowerShot G12 for an extended time. It’s not difficult at all to understand why it’s such a respected camera. I confess that I fell in love with it.

Much has been written about the G12 so it’s not my intention to give my typical user-oriented review. I just want to make a few points to help others decide if the G12 is the right camera for them.

G12 size

While not as small or lightweight as my Canon s90 or the s95, it is nowhere as heavy or bulky as it sometimes looks in photos. The G12 is a really nice size though it’s not one you can readily slip into a pants pocket. It comes with a neck strap and is quite easy to carry. Belt pouches are also available for the camera.

G12 sensor

The G12 has the same type and sensor size as it’s predecessor, the G11, and the well-regarded, smaller Canon s95. The sensor is larger than found in many compacts and provides excellent overall image quality, with great colors right out of the box.

Photos take in low light at higher ISO numbers have less visible noise and more detail compared to cameras with smaller sensors. Just don’t expect the high ISO performance of DSLRs or other interchangeable lens cameras that have much larger sensors.

G12 advanced features

What makes the G12 so attractive for many photographers is it’s advanced features and controls like those found on DSLRs. If you typically tweak camera settings, the G12 will not disappoint.

The main control dials are located on both the top and back of the Canon G12. The controls can be used for easily switching between shooting modes and changing key settings such as ISO, Exposure Compensation and AE/AF Lock.

It has a DSLR-like front control dial to change the aperture in Aperture Priority (Av) mode and shutter speed in Shutter Priority (Tv) mode. In Manual mode, the dial is used to change shutter speed. The dial can also be customized.

In addition to all the dedicated buttons, the G12 has a shortcut button that can be programed to register a frequently used setting.

G12 Smart Auto mode

If you hand the G12 to someone who doesn’t want to fuss with manual or semi-automatic modes, simply switch the camera to Smart Auto mode. This intelligent auto mode determines the subject and shooting conditions and automatically selects optimal exposure settings. For example, the camera senses when you’re taking a landscape, portrait or macro shot, or if a subject is backlit. It may not get perfectly exposed photos for every shot but you can expect many satisfying keepers.

In other words, if you personally prefer an advanced camera, the camera can be easily used by those who prefer to point-and-shoot. Plus, if you prefer shooting in an automatic exposure mode but want more control, use P Mode.

The G12 is recommended for:

  • those who want a relatively lightweight companion to their interchangeable lens camera
  • photo enthusiasts who only need one camera but want advanced features
  • novice digital cameras users who sense they may want to delve into advanced photography in the future; use Auto mode until you’re ready to learn about camera settings

Sample photos taken with the Canon G12:

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For best view of photos, click slideshow icon for full screen mode.