Saturday, February 19, 2011

# 5: G12 10MP digital camera with canon 5 x Optical Image stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch Vari-angle LCD

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845 of 875 people found the following review helpful: 4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic tool for serious photographers - but not perfect., October 2, 2010 This review is from: Canon G12 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.8 inch Vari-Angle LCD (Electronics) So I owned a G11 - and for whatever reason sold it a few months back. I have since tried the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and Samsung TL500. This whole time I was searching for something better than the G-series - I only found it with the GF1 - but it is too large to be a compact.

I only give this camera 4 stars instead of 5 for the following reasons.
1. External Speedlite control - you still need a "Master" unit like a 580EX II or Canon STE2 to control external Speedlites. Canon should get off their butt in this area to compete with the new Nikon P7000. I almost considered going the Nikon route just to have that feature built in. Canon - start paying attention to what David Hobby says.

2. The screen is only 460K resolution. The Nikon mentioned above is 960K. The Samsung TL500 I mentioned above sports a beautiful AMOLED screen that knocks this one out of the park.

3. The pathetic optical viewfinder. You are catering to those people that say a camera MUST have one of these - stop it. You are wasting space with something so awful that even a disposable camera does better. I would rather have a higher resolution bigger screen (or a smaller camera) than this awful piece of warped tunnel-vision.

4. The rear control wheel is too small - enlarge it so it feels more like one of your DSLRs.

5. While the lens is gorgeously sharp (I mean competing with some of my L-lenses sharp) - f/2.8 to f/4.5 is slow.

6. The lens needs to be wider - 24mm f/2 (or even f/1.8 in the Samsung) equiv is the primary reason I tried the LX5 and TL500 before going back to Canon.

7. No microphone input for video recording.

8. Just too big and bulky - slim it down (but do NOT remove the articulating display).

So 8 knocks like that might sound like a big deal - but believe me when I say this - the camera is phenomenal.

Image quality is outstanding - I have had to process my RAW files with their converter (typically use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 - but even with their converter image quality is second to none in the compact world. I actually prefer to do product shots with a G-Series than my usual 5D2 kit due to the flexibility and increased depth of field. The lens is magnificently sharp. HD video results look pretty good - but not stellar. It'll do in a pinch - but its no camcorder replacement.

Operation speed is very very good. I have read a few posts saying that focusing speed is vastly improved from the G11 - I haven't found that to be the case but none-the-less its pretty good.

Construction quality is pretty good - but I don't like the rough textured finish as much as the smooth finish on the G11 - it somehow makes it feel cheaper.

Controls are absolutely second to none. Dedicated EV and ISO dials are wonderful. The new front control dial is great. The rear dial however could use a bit of an extension - hard to operate quickly with my fat thumb. The whole camera is a little fat - slim it down and kill the awful optical viewfinder. Would like a dedicated movie button like pretty much all of its competitors. The articulating display is fantastic - PLEASE include this whenever you update the 5D.

Value for the money is mostly good - but if you are like me and need on-camera control of external flashes add a whopping $200+ for the ST-E2.

All in all a fantastic camera - even if it is a minimal update to the G11.

Why I picked it over LX5 > See my LX5 review - but I didn't particularly like that camera. Biggest reason would the articulating display followed by the awful screen resolution when composing on the LX5.

Why I picked it over the TL500 > I couldn't get the TL500 to trigger external strobes using radio triggers - that plus the lens is MUCH sharper on the Canon. I must have a bad copy of the TL500 as finding a sharp photo in my 50+ test shots is pretty hard.

Why I picked it over the S95 > Hotshoe and articulating display. If the S95 had those it would win hands down.

Why I picked it over the P7000 > Articulating display is about it here if you don't take into account I already own several Canon Speedlites.

Why I picked it over the GF1 or EP1 > Size + Nikon P7000 comments.

Hope you found my review helpful - if so please click the link below!

Edit 30 days in: I would add one more negative - once you lock focus in video to start recording - that focus cannot be changed after the fact - disappointed in that.

Also - I dropped mine this morning =( from 4ft onto concrete. Surprised that everything still works great and as expected it got marred up and one corner's metal is a little bent - but it still works which is impressive.

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140 of 147 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Feast your eyes on an upgraded G series digital camera!, October 5, 2010 This review is from: Canon G12 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.8 inch Vari-Angle LCD (Electronics) First, let me say I own or have owned a G10, G11, and G12. I am not really sure why anyone expect the G12 to be a major upgrade to the G11. The title of this review is the first line of Canon's marketing material on the Canon USA this is what I personally expected, and Canon delivered, as far as I am concerned. I am not a professional, so my observations are from the viewpoint of an average guy with a serious camera addiction. I took photos side by side using my G10, G11, and G12 and I have to be honest, I could not tell much difference, though a slight nod would go to the newest camera. They are all great, however, and suit an average user like me perfectly. My tests were not scientific and not comprehensive - I have to work for a living after all. I am very pleased with the image quality, but is it a major upgrade from previous G series cameras, I do not think so. If I were forced to choose one, I would probably go for the G12 because the photos look slightly nicer to me, and the camera is easier to work with but only if I am forced to choose!

Build quality is also as you would come to expect from a Canon high end compact camera that costs $500. It is excellent just like the G10 and G11. They all feel and look pretty similar. There is an extra rubber grip on the back for your thumb which is kind of nice. Overall, and I have smallish hands, I find the G12 the easiest of these 3 cameras I have been comparing, to hold.

Probably the most important new feature is employment of Canon's HS (high sensitivity) system (combination of sensor and processing engine) which migrates from the EOS line. Does it deliver on its promise to improve image quality and allow shooting at higher ISO? I think the answer is yes it does, but not very much. The camera maxes out at 3200 ISO marked on the dial and you can bump it up to 12,800 albeit at lower resolution using the Low Light mode. Again, this is how it looks to my not professional rapidly aging, eyes. Whether it is worth running out an upgrading from a G11 is totally subjective and I cannot answer this for anyone. The camera also has the Hybrid IS system a la the updated 100mm Canon macro lens which compensates for a greater range of camera shake type. It looked to me like the camera did a more effective job at obtaining sharper photos at the same speeds as my G11. This is important to me as my hands do shake and I enjoy macro and cannot always use a tripod. Nor would I expect people buying a carry along point and shoot camera to carry a tripod with them.

There are additional new shooting modes like HDR that takes several photos then combines them for greater detail, better exposure. FYI, this feature was available in Ricoh cameras for sometime already, so Canon and Nikon are just catching up here. But I think it works a bit better on the Canon than it does in my Ricoh. The photos do look a bit richer, more detailed to me. Canon offers a level adjuster with this camera so you can keep your photos looking, well more level. Another feature that has been available elsewhere for years.

There are other niceties about this camera. Like you can pre-set the maximum ISO level (I like because a lot of cameras seem to default to a higher ISO than I would set for myself), there is a front dial to control settings (another inheritance from the EOS line), you can control the dynamic range (just like on Sony cameras from the past) for improved highlight clipping control, and you can shoot in a 1:1 aspect ratio (square which I personally like however, you guessed it, Canon is late to the party on this feature too) to name a few.

I will not comment on the video. I never use it and if I were able to trade video capability for say, a slightly bigger or better sensor, or a faster lens, I would do so in a heartbeat. But I have no idea if such a thing is even possible or practical. This is only my opinion and reflects my personal set of priorities. If it were up to me, I would dispense with most of the shooting scenes and the video if it meant a lower price or a camera with better image quality.

I share the findings of many that this is an incremental upgrade of the G11 as Canon's own literature seems to suggest. Higher expectations than this may be met with disappointment. But in my opinion, the G12 raises the bar, if only a little, of one of the best compact cameras available. I think as long as you keep what the G12 is, (an upgrade) in perspective with what it is not (evolutionary) you will not find yourself regretting your purchase.

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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Not a toy, excellent photo quality for a serius photographer, October 12, 2010 This review is from: Canon G12 10MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.8 inch Vari-Angle LCD (Electronics) I went to LA last week, from Ecuador for 10 days on vacations, I wished to have this new camera in my hands to feel it, but at Samy's store at Fairfax blvd, they didn't have the camera yet, I ordered one from Amazon, (cost ?$600 plus fast shipping! because it was the only one available at that moment, but...), finally I have it in my hands.
first impressions: small enough, not exactly a point & shoot camera, but not to big too, ideal to bring with you a better equipment than any point & shoot camera any were without to carry a big dslr and a bunch of lenses, actually y have a Canon 5d mkII, a canon 50d and I began the dslr world with the famous Canon 20d, something interesting is that I use all this cameras with a bunch of old Nikkor lenses (at least 20 years old) using an adapter ring, for me it is the perfect marriage, Canon body with old Nikkor lenses, of course I can only use the manual mode and have to use the manual focus ring to get focus but... while my sight is 20/20 love the final results.

Some features about this camera:

1 The lcd is fantastic, allows to take pictures or movie shoots in practical any position and situation, nice also when you are taking videos or do not want to be noticed when you are shooting, getting more spontaneous photos.
2 The ergonomic of the wheels for ISO,compensation and the mode selector are very well located, they work firmly.
3 The new front wheel, that works for increase or decrease the aperture or shutter speed is great.
4 The menu is easy to use and I like the new formats and sizes you can take pictures, 10:9, 4:3, 1:1, 3:2, 4:5 allows to get a better composition and photo formats without crop the image.
5 the rugged feel is nice for me, besides is only in two parts of the camera, where your hand and fingers needs more support.
6 At first instance I though the optical view finder appears to be so simple and "awful" like somebody told before, but, the diopter corrector works fine and when I clean the visor glasses, become so clear and nice that actually I am using it a lot, because do not need to open the lcd screen and it is possible to see the green or orange light which tells you that the exposition is ok or not, "going back to the old times".
7 I did not test enough the video, but at first look, it is ok and allows to record some interesting moments.
8 The quality of the pictures is awesome, really love it, finally can get almost the quality I have with my DSLRs but in a small camera.
9 It is fast, is ready to take pictures maybe in a second.
10 The quality of the lcd screen may be is not the best, but, allows you to see if the picture is ok, and normally if you see that the picture is ok, when you opened in any software the picture is !really great!
11 for me all the wheels are well located, the buttons are in the right place, I have a normal hands size, use xl gloves, but have not fat fingers.
12 The autofocus works great, fast and with an excellent accuracy, feature not easy to find in a small camera, so reduces the possibility of loosing a nice photo.
12 Could be perfect, but nothing is.

This is my first week with this camera, I will let you know more and more of my experience.

for now, I am really happy, fits my requirements.

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