Sunday, July 29, 2012

Canon Powershot G12, a long term honest review.

So it's been 7 months since I got my hands on the Canon G12 and I figured you folks would like to know how my relation is with the little black brick.

G12 with hood/adapter and $5 flea market fish eye lens.

First off I must admit that I couldn't hold back and got a few accessories for the thing right off the bat. I purchased an adapter/hood for it on Ebay for a few bucks which has helped me stretch the boundaries a bit. The adapter was followed by two 58mm neutral density filters from the bay, a polarizer filter from a flea market, a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens from the same source that fit the adapter as well. All this for another $40, good deal. New, this stuff would go for much more.
4 second exposure done in bright sunlight. Possible only with 2 neutral density filters, a tripod and the use of the timer (5 second delay).

The G12 is a Jack of all trades and I'll try to break them down one by one. It does one thing very well and I'm keeping that one for last. Reliability wise, it's been a trooper so far, no issues after 10 000 images +.

Controls and user friendliness

The G12 excels in that department. The big buttons here and there provide instant control without going into the menu. Even if you do have to go in the menu, it is the same user friendly Canon menu that I'm used to. Very simple. I've had experience with the Nikon menus and I prefer Canon's.


Three things I love about this camera's hardware, the screen that flips, the hot-shoe and the viewfinder. Impossible shots are easy with the flexible screen and the possibility to use an external flash adds even more possibilities. The viewfinder is not very precise but it follows the zoom and gives you an idea when you are in very bright sunlight that just blinds the preview screen. The solid build is also quite impressive although I haven't dropped it yet (crossing my fingers!).
G12 with hood/adapter, taped up blinker, vintage flash handle and remote flash (flash must not exceed 6 volts or it will fry the camera's electronics.).


A flurry of modes are available with this thing but the one that counts is Manual mode. Again, with the help of the on-camera controls, this makes for a great camera to learn with, experiment and push things.

Stars shot at 15 second exposure in manual mode. Auto focus was turned off and set to infinity(and beyond!).


Pretty simple stuff to do, the camera does a good job of it. I've seen no major changes from my previous cameras except for bigger file sizes. The images come out looking great as they should. No complaints there.

Macro/close ups

Nice job there as well. Bring it right up to 1cm and it will take the shot no problem. Details are crisp and the colors come through.


The sensor on the G12 is too small for any serious blurred background or bokeh for portraits. One way around this is to use the zoom and make sure that the background is far away from your subject. You will get better looking portraits but nothing near what you could pull with a DSLR.

Street portrait

Action shots

Here's another tricky one. The camera comes with a few things that can help you with action shots: subject tracking, sport mode and continuous shooting. However, I found that the processor is some times too slow in order to follow the action. Let's be honest here, the G12 is not made for action shots. Here's my recipe to do action shots with this point and shoot, shut off auto everything! First off go to manual mode, figure out your best shutter speed and aperture setting. Two, set the ISO manually for the lighting conditions. Three, set your focus to manual at the distance your subject will be. Four, activate continuous shutter mode. Five, anticipate when and where the action will take place. Six, hold the shutter down, follow your subject and pray! One of them might be good. Shutting off all the auto stuff demands less from the processor and seems to accelerate things a bit. The results are not great but sometimes you can get lucky.

Low light conditions

In a lighted room at 400 ISO, this camera will pull off some great shots. Out in the streets at 800 ISO and above you will get a lot of noise on your image. The available low light mode works great but image quality is reduced. Outdoors at night in city streets isn't fantastic. Long exposures with a tripod while using the timer are however amazing.

Typical night shot

Street photography

Here's where the G12 is at its best. This thing was made for candid street shots. Some street photographers take their shots right in the subject's face and some hide in order to avoid contact. I do neither. I'm in the open but I still want a candid shot, so I must make the camera invisible. Mute the sound to eliminate the beeps, tape over that annoying white LED blinker in the front and flip that viewing screen. It is amazing how people ignore you when you are looking down on your screen versus pointing the camera up at them. It is the same viewing position as a TLR and it works great. Use the setting you prefer and the G12 will deliver every time.

Montreal street scene


Is the G12 a semi DSLR or a good substitute for one? Neither. Is the G12 a good all around high end point and shoot? You bet. If you want to learn the basics of photography, you need a manual mode. The G12 is a great option where you can learn the basics and then some without forking DSLR bucks. If you get the hang of it and really enjoy it, you can get a DSLR later. The G12 will still be a useful camera in your bag(If you get bitten by the photo bug, you'll never have enough gear anyways.). If not, toss it in Auto and you have yourself an excellent hardcore point and shoot that is tough as nails. If you feel adventurous, you can even try the different scene modes.

Bottom line, would I buy one again? Yes, I would.

Thanks for reading me.

Gerry :)

1953 Maserati 250F, a photo essay.

This 1953 Maserati 250F was at the Legends of racing week end at the Mont-Tremblant circuit in Quebec. Funny thing happened there, I asked what had to be done in order to be able to shoot over the wire. I observed a few photographers with orange vest inside the track perimeter and I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask how it would be possible to do the same. The answer I got was get a bigger and better camera while pointing at my G12 from a track official! Turns out that someone else with more brains told me you had to be registered media.

So I put away my G12, pulled out the most ordinary camera in my bag, a Nikon Coolpix S8100, found a small gap in the fence and shot this:

Never insult a man's gear! Anyways, I took some detail shots of the car with the G12 and my medium format 1939 Voigtlander Brillant. Enjoy.

Thanks for watching.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Porsche Kendall GT-1 race car, a photo essay

Spent the day at the Tremblant race track week-end of racing legends. A great place where you can walk around the pits and shoot some nice vintage race car up close. Here are a few shots from a Porsche 911 racing car.

 All shots were taken with a Canon G12. The first one is straight up and the remaining pictures were done with a Fish eye lens attachment.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

St-Laurent St Montreal, a street shoot

Spent a vacation Friday clicking away on St-Laurent, what is called here in Montreal "The Main".

All taken with a Canon G12 which is an exceptional street photography camera.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vacation pictures Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

Spent some time East of Quebec City at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica and village. I'm not a religious guy but the site is just amazing with great craftsmanship and the locals are very friendly.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vacation pictures Île d'Orléans Quebec

I spent a few days in July this year on the Island just off of Quebec City and took some nice shots. Up at 4H30am on the first morning it was crazy not to take some pictures of the sunrise. Of course the island is home to some very picturesque scenes typical of rural Quebec as well.

St-Jean d'Orléans church

St-François d'Orléans


Saint-François d'Orléans

1960 Buick Le Sabre that just showed up at the pier.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)