The Canon G12 carries much of the same DNA that make up its G11 and G10 predecessors. When Canon brought the G10 to market a couple of years ago with 14.7 megapixels wedged onto a 1/1.7-inch sensor, criticism was immediate over less than stirring ISO noise performance. The G11 debuted with the same sized sensor but - surprise! - a reduced resolution of "only" 10 megapixels.
Dropping the resolution helped the G11 achieve good ISO performance to go with fine image quality - quality so good I rated it the best compact digital I'd reviewed up to that time. Wise enough not to mess with a good thing, Canon has rolled out the G12, an updated version of the G11. Bearing a strong family resemblance to the earlier camera, the G12 could easily be mistaken for your father's G11 but for additions like 720p HD video with stereo sound, multiple aspect ratios, a high dynamic range scene mode, electronic level and tracking AF.
The 1/1.7-inch sensor, 10 megapixel resolution, DIGIC IV processor, RAW and JPEG shooting options and 5x optical zoom covering the 28 to 140mm focal range are all back. Here's what that zoom range looks like at each end:
Stabilization in the G12 features Canon's hybrid image stabilization system, which incorporates "...both an angular sensor and an accelerometer, enabling it to suppress both the blur caused by the angle of the camera and the "shift blur" that happens when your subject moves parallel to the camera." DSLR fans will feel right at home with the addition of a front dial that offers speedy adjustment of shutter speed or aperture in the appropriate manual shooting modes (and shutter speed in full manual, with the control dial setting aperture).
In addition to those manual shooting modes the G12 offers automatic and scene-specific shooting options that should appeal to a broad range of users, both experienced or not. That about covers the changes incorporated into the G12, which also retains the SD/SDHC/SDXC, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card and HC MMC Plus Card memory media compatibility of the earlier camera. Canon includes a lithium battery pack and charger, neck strap, AV and USB cables, CD-ROM software and a printed "getting started" user manual with each camera. A complete user's manual may be downloaded from Canon's website in Adobe PDF format.
The G12 looks, feels and shoots like a G11, so portions of this review may include text from the G11 review where appropriate. The G11 proved to be a wonderful camera - time to find out if the G12 is more of the same.
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