Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canon Powershot G12 an honest review, first impressions.

The Brick
 Why am I calling this an honest review of the Canon G12? Because I forked the $429 bucks for it. Some of my blog readers also contributed thru their donations and I owe them a big thank you. You won't be getting a corporate song and dance here.

Notice the level at the bottom of the screen. Very practical.
First impressions are that this baby is rugged! The hard plastic shell protects the camera from abuse and feels pretty nice to the touch. It doesn't feel cheap. I've read a few comments about some of these dropping on to concrete with no ill effect.
Program mode, no flash, no tripod.
If you've ever owned any Canon Powershot camera as I have, you will feel right at home with the G12. All the controls are where they should be with the usual icon and buttons. However, the G12 affords you the luxury of a few more knobs and buttons to shortcut those controls right on the body. ISO, modes, exposure, shutter speed, aperture and manual focus can all be controlled on the camera itself. There is also a button that can be assigned a function of your choice. I use mine for white balance. It's great to be able to take care of all these things on the fly without going deep in the menu. Mind you Canon has one of the best layouts on menus that I have ever tried.

Manual mode with auto focus not given a chance to react!
Did I mention "manual"? Yes, this baby has a real manual mode. You can have as much control or as little as you want with this camera. If you only want to shoot on Auto, I don't know why you would bother with it. There are also a bunch of special effects available in the scene mode. Black and White and sepia of course, but they have also added a tilt shift, fish eye, poster and nostalgic mode as well among others. I haven't seriously played with the fish eye mode yet but the others offer some interesting results.

Scene mode, miniature or tilt shift effect.
3 things stand out for me on this camera that I wouldn't expect from a point and shoot, a flash hotshoe, a viewfinder and a swiveling LCD screen.  The hotshoe is great for a better flash unit on or off the camera, the viewfinder is not that great (but still useful) and the swiveling screen is great for street photography or self portraits. The display also offers a rule of third grid and a level on screen option.

Program mode with Macro setting no flash.

The camera is operated by a Canon specific Ion lithium battery that promises 370 shots with the LCD on. The charger is off camera so I'll be getting a spare battery.
Full manual mode with preset zone focusing.
Start up, auto focus and shutter is lightning fast. One area where this camera has done miracles compared to my last Powershot is low light performance. Wow, it even outperforms my Nikon which is very good in low light.

Scene mode with nostalgic effect (or "film", pretty much the same.)
How does this camera compare so far to the one it replaces? I know it's not a fair comparison, but the Nikon S8100/9100 is the one being set aside in my camera bag and comparing them is inevitable for me. The Nikon has a bigger optical zoom (10x instead of 5X), more mega-pixels (12 compared to 10), a better wide angle lens, cost less and it is more compact. But the Nikon, apart from some exposure control and white balance, is automatic everything. I need more control for what I want to do. This is not a DSLR but it does a whole lot for what it is and the picture quality is outstanding.

Very low light, no tripod, no flash, program mode.
The bottom line is this, would I buy another one if I would *shiver* lose this one? You bet. Keep posted as I get to learn more about this great camera and try to push it beyond, 'cause that's what I do!

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)


  1. Hi Gerry
    Thanks for the review. As I mentioned to you, I'm a fan of the concept of the Powershot series, but not Canon's customer service. My G7 is officially dead, after two breakages in 2 years due to a bad design and faulty construction- a google search confirms how many G7 owners had the same problem. Canon asked a total of $360 in repairs for a $450 camera. Search for Canon Canada customer service and you'll see how utterly unpopular they are. All this to say, nice camera when it works, but as soon as the year warrenty is finished, you are on your own!

  2. Hopefully they took care of the bugs by now. I know someone who has a G9 and it's been seeing some heavy duty work (He's a contractor and takes it on the job.). It's still going strong.