When Canon brought out the G10 a couple years back with 14.7 megapixels on a 1/1.7" sensor, ISO noise performance came in for a steady diet of criticism. The G11 kept the sensor size but backed off resolution to 10.1 megapixels and the gripes about ISO performance disappeared. The G12 has made its debut and you'll be happy to know Canon didn't mess with success - the 1/1.7" sensor returns along with the 10.1 megapixel resolution.
At first blush the G12 looks to be a modest update of the G11 - adding a 720p HD video capability with stereo sound, and some other goodies like multiple aspect ratios, a high dynamic range scene mode, electronic level and tracking AF. Physically, there is a strong resemblance between the G11 and 12, with the 12 picking up a front dial not found on the 11. Beyond that, you'd be hard pressed to tell one from the other without seeing the badging on the front of the body.
After a quick shoot with the G12, image quality seems to be another thing you'd be hard-pressed to tell apart from the G11, and that's a good thing. A very good thing. When I reviewed the G11 on this site last year, I felt it had the best image quality of any compact I'd reviewed up to that point. The G12 doesn't look to have slipped any, which is not surprising since the sensor, lens and Digic IV processor of the G11 appear to be largely unchanged.
Also unchanged is the robust metal construction (the G12 is a big, heavy compact as compacts go) and good AF and shutter lag performance.
Additional Sample Images
Canon G12 Review Coming Up
The G11 is still shown on Canon's website as of today, and listed at the same $500 MSRP as the G12. We're not through putting the G12 through its paces but based on preliminary results if I was going to sink $500 into one or the other, make mine the G12. Our full review of the camera will follow along in the not too distant future.