Sunday, December 19, 2010

Canon G12, Best of the G?

Ten long years after Canon launched the G1, the latest ten generation G12 became one of the most advanced fixed lens cameras on the market.

Why is it not the twelve generation? Because Canon missed out the G4 and G8 in their numbering game. Some seems to think the 4 and 8 are taboo to the Japanese, but who know ;)

Compare to other P&S, the G12 is a chunky and weighty camera; some say it is ugly, some like it because "it is built like a tank!" or "It is a MAN's camera!", follow by
Tim Allen's Man Grunt from Home Improvement :)

I suppose it falls into the either you love or hate it category.

The G12 have enough dials, buttons; and wheels to keep any photographer happy. I was told the G series P&S are the favorite "side arm" for pro shooters!
So what kind of features the Canon G12 offer a photographer? Well, only these:

Many web sites has explained the new features and post some really good test report on this little gem, I don't think I can do better than them; so why waste my time?

One of the best test on G12 that I have read came from Camera Lab, they structured their review in 14 sections and the contents are clear and easy to understand. A MUST read!

My Way...

As far as I am concern, I really like to find out first hand; by myself how good is the 10 MP sensor sitting inside the G12. Canon has decided to go the other way in the mega pixel game and stick to 10 MP instead of more than 14.7 after their G10.

So does the lower pixel sensor really give a better noise performance?

Instead of comparing it with the like of G10, I thought; why don't I put it against my Olympus E-P2?

After all, the sensor in the E-P2 is SIX TIME LARGER than the one in G12!

E-P2's sensor is the same size as the Four Thirds Systems and the G12, use the small 1/1.7" CCD.

How much disadvantage the G12 are in noise and sharpness when compare against the big guys?

I devised a simple target for this test....

Both cameras were shooting the target at f5.6 and both were sitting on a solid Manfrotto table top tripod during exposures.

Here are the results:

At ISO 100, both cameras showed exceptional tonal range and completely noise free.

At ISO 800, the tiny G12 is still holding on to fine "grain", even compared to the larger sensor E-P2. From my past experience, this is when the G9 fall flat with noise galore.

At ISO 1600, the G12 result is perfectly usable; look at how close it is to the E-P2 result! Remember the E-P2 sensor is SIX times larger!

Even at ISO 3200 the tiny G12 sensor surprise! Such quality for a P&S at that ISO were never heard of! Well done Canon!

The most amazing thing was, the E-P2's six time larger sensor seems to exhibit as much noise as the tiny G12 CCD! Mind boggles!

But what about shooting outdoor in daylight?

Thought you never ask ;)

I had the G12 for three weeks now, the only little time I have a chance to test the G12 was the weekends. And, provided the weather behave! Here are some of my shots..

Tripod - Wellington Film Industry Tribute sculpture by Weta Workshop, in Courtenay Place across from the Embassy Theatre.

It looks like a giant sci-fi spider with only 3 legs!

The articulated, flip-out screen of the G12 made such shot easy :)

The second week end, on our way home after hours of shopping at the Lyall Bay Warehouse; I decided to stop at the car park at Lyall Bay beach to watch the setting sun.

While Le General took a nap, I took some snaps with the G12 at it's maximum zoom range, this is the best shot.

Oh... and there was the Saturday three weeks ago, while driving in Newtown I noticed a nice double deck cloud formation in the sky!

Follow that cloud!!

We head for the Mt Victoria lookout, the shot below was captured with the G12 just before the lookout.

As I record the little yachts on the water of Evans Bay, tourists stopped their vehicles beside us and started snapping too!

Like the saying go, you can't beat Wellington on a good day!

What about the long white cloud I was chasing?

They are still there, in the sky; showing off! This is how it look like when I get out of my parked car, at the lookout ;)

Zooming in with the G12, I wish the zoom range is a bit longer, with more range!

The Plane! The Plane!.. I only have time to take three shots before the little plane disappeared into the cloud! What really impressed me was the G12 managed to keep a sharp focus on a scene like this!

Can you see the plane?

This is my final crop of the above picture. I output a 24" wide ink jet print of this crop and it look great!

Just to confirm the lens on this stubby Point & Shoot is "Real World Sharp", I took a snap of this information plaque while up at the lookout.

And this is a 100% crop of the top part... is that good or what?

Famous Last Words:

Compare to G9, I find the G12 have so many improvement and even though both shared some look resemblances, the G12 felt like a different camera!

From the top, the Canon Powershot G7,9 and 12

The new front dial of the G12 is a delight to use! Why did it take Canon TEN YEARS before putting it there?

The sales guy at the shop where I bought the G12 was trying to persuade me getting the G11, it is on special; $650 instead of the $888 for G12, he said.

"They are both NEARLY the same cameras!" he claimed.

Hello, NEARLY is NOT the same, the G12's marvelous front dial and its ability to shoot HD movie in stereo sound which the G11 cannot, is worth more than the extra $ ;)

Before deciding on the G12, I was actually REALLY interested in the newly released Nikon Coolpix P7000.

I change my mind after reading hundreds of complains from dissatisfied owners on the Nikon.

Comparing the two cameras in DXO Mark confirmed the G12 scored much higher "mark" (47 against 39) than the P7000.

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A Paparazzi Tale!


iml said...

Thank you for your meticulous scrutiny.

heather said...

The plane puts the clouds into perspective.It`s a great panoramic view.Maybe one day you will take a shot of an alien spaceship , which are supposedly inhabiting our skies.

yfc said...

Taking your word for it...bought one and am enjoying it!

Fred said...

I just my G12 recently, and I'm trying to do the depth-of-field kind of potraits shots by adjusting the aperture. But each picture turned out exactly the same, ie, no blurred background. Any advice for the novice user?

Erben said...

"But each picture turned out exactly the same, ie, no blurred background. Any advice for the novice user?"

I would say:
get closer to the person
use more tele

cy.leow said...

Hi Fred, Use the C2 setting,zoom in to your subject until the zooming stop; keep holding on to the zoom lever and it will go into the "digital zoom".
Because of the extra long telephoto effect of the digital zoom,you might have to use a tripod to get a shake free shot.

Anonymous said...

Good camera Black Friday G12. Great Thanks. I like this camera.

dimzPhotography said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)