Monday, September 12, 2011

REVIEW: Canon G12 vs S95 – Part II: Conclusions

Click to view a larger shot of the Canon Powershot G11, s95 and G12
Click to view a larger shot of the Canon Powershot G11, s95 and G12

UPDATE

You may want to read this article instead:

COMPARISON: Nikon 1 V1, Fuji x10, & Canon s100 (plus Fuji x100 and Canon G12 & s95)

First, let me apologize for not publishing my conclusion to my article entitled Canon G12 vs S95 – Part I: First Impressions sooner. The good news though is that I’ve finally got some time to do it and I can now share some long-term data I’ve collected since I wrote the first portion last October.

I took a variety of sample images with both cameras in my testing and found the results between the s95 and G12 to be close enough that it didn’t warrant a big discussion. My 10/27/2010 update in my prior article showed that the s95 had a slight edge in shutter speed performance at higher ISO’s thanks to its f/2.0 lens, but the image quality of G12 has a bit more edge detail as shown in the interactive comparison tool on dpreview (choose Canon PowerShot s95 to see and download sample images).

After much deliberation, my wife and I decided to go with the G12 instead of the s95 for our everyday point and shoot camera. The primary reason for this was due to the external controls for quickly changing camera settings, the presence of a hot shoe for use with an external flash (like the compact 270EX), and the pivoting LCD which offered protection when not in use and the ability to do self portraits.

Living with the G-Series


G12 Image taken by my wife
Features my typical 15 minute editing for personal photos

As you can probably guess from the lead photo in this article, I also owned a G11 before the G12 so I’m very familiar with the G-Series. In fact, I’ve written articles on the G9, G10, and G11 so I’m actually a big fan of the G-Series. Canon has marketed the G-Series as the pro’s point and shoot and based on my experience talking to pros from both the Canon and Nikon camps, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate assessment.

Many pros I know favor the G-series for the casual use camera that offers the manual controls of an SLR with an image quality that’s significantly better than their phone (frequently an iPhone).


Actual G12 Image taken by Ron using Av Mode
Exported from
Lightroom with only minor adjustments to color, size and sharpening

I’m 6’1” and wear jeans (like these) most of the time, yet I’ve never had trouble tossing my G12 in my back pocket. Of course I wouldn’t sit down with it (or any electronic device) in there mainly for fear of crushing the LCD with my butt bone. Despite this reality, the #1 complaint I hear about the G-series is that it isn’t pocketable. In my case it is, but I guess if you wore jeans that were smaller than a size 36 or had tiny pockets that might not be the case. Of course one can also argue that if you are carrying your camera, it shouldn’t be in your pocket anyway – it should be in your hands ready to shoot. :)

In real-life my family is like many families with kids – we carry our bag around with stuff for the kids, and honestly that’s where the G12 spends most of its time. When we need it we grab it from the bag and then toss it back. The big DSLR just isn’t practical for family fun outings, so in real-world usage the G12 has been a joy to have around. We constantly capture shots that would be missed if the DSLR were with us, and the results are good enough for personal use.

RonAndMoonG12
G12 Image taken by my wife of us with the LCD flipped
Heavy stylized editing in
Photoshop done for fun

The feature I think my wife has enjoyed the most is the pivoting LCD screen which allows her to take self shots of her with me or the baby when someone else isn’t around to do it. As you can see from the image above it makes for fun personal shots and we can see what we are going to get before pushing the shutter release.

G12 –vs– Fujifilm X100


My X100 Review

One of the things I see on the web often these days are people saying that the G12 is “just as good as” the X100. Well I used an X100 for over a month and share my findings here. I’ll say right now that the X100 is not for the casual user. It’s sensor is amazing and outdoors it can be a joy to use, but the user friendliness of the G12 or S95 make them much better candidates for casual photography use. The focusing system and performance of the X100 make it a challenge to use, but you are rewarded with DSLR quality images. There’s also that little price issue which brings the advantage back to the s95 or G12.

If your ONLY concerns are quality and portability then the X100 is a phenomenally good camera, but if your needs extend to things like usability or value then Canon makes the right product for you. Check out my full review of the X100 for more info.

Conclusion

The G12 is a big hit in our household and we have no regrets. My wife doesn’t want to know about geeky camera stuff, but she likes how she can turn the exposure compensation and ISO dials to get the results she needs to take better snapshots. She never uses the menus, and I think that would have been true on the s95 where her success rate would have been much less.

The s95 I used for the original review initially had a defect that caused a line of pixels to show across the images. I’ve since heard of a few users who’ve experienced some issues with their s95’s, but overall most people tell me they their s95 has worked flawlessly.

Click here to support this blog by purchasing a G12 or click here for a s95 at B&H at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

I’m currently reviewing a super inexpensive Canon iP2702 printer to see if I can come up with an easy way for her to print her own 4x6 photos on demand. Stay tuned to see how that goes. For more advanced printing needs topics, please check out my printing series.

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

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