A number of you have Canon G12s and I was curious about the camera, so I rented one. My primary reason for renting one was to let Debra try it out. She has a smaller camera, a few years old, and wanted to see what a more advanced camera might offer her. After she finished with it, I got to play with it for a few days. Today, it goes back to LensRentals.com. This is not a review, merely some impressions that I had while using it.
What’s the same?
The one thing that I noticed about the camera was that, from what I could tell, it was just a bigger S90, with controls in different places. This made it very easy to use as I was familiar with the meaning system and, or the most part, where things were located on the camera. I was able to operate the camera flawlessly … well, almost. The front ring is there. The screen size is about the same.
Ergonomically, the G12 feels better in my hands. Though Canon still doesn’t have the same talents as Nikon, as far as ergonomics go, it felt better. There’s a grip on the front, a thumb rest on the back, and some things are well thought out. As Debra mentioned, I don’t feel like I’m going to drop the camera, which is how I feel most times when I pick up the S90 and why I always use the strap around my wrist.
I did, however, initially have trouble. My thumb and the AE lock button kept getting together. It was rather annoying. Over the few days that I used the camera, I had to always be aware of the position of my thumb so that I didn’t hit that button unless I wanted to.
Another control that I kept hitting was the Function Set button. It is raised above the surface on a small platform. It resided directly at the base of my thumb. If I adjusted my hand a bit, my thumb kept hitting the button and bringing up some mode that I didn’t want. So, I had to be aware of my hand position. This was distracting.
I like the slightly longer zoom range, 28-135 vs 28-105, though I would really love something like 28 – 200, but we can’t have everything.
The viewfinder was interesting, but not useful. It does have a diopter adjustment, but no information inside. It might be somewhat useful for framing, but after looking through it a couple of times, I pretty much abandoned it in favor of the rear LCD.
The rear LCD swivel idea is nice, but I found that, in practice, I didn’t use it except to flip it around and place it flat against the camera, just like the S90 or an other P&S that I’ve seen. I guess that it could be useful, but I’ve gotten use to not having one so, not a selling point.
I did really like the ISO dial on the top as well as the exposure compensation dial, which I did not use. I prefer exposure lock and recomposing. It’s faster than messing with that dial, but it was a good idea to put LEDs there to be able to see in dimly lit conditions.
Of course, being larger, it’s quite a bit heavier than the S90, twice as much actually: 396g vs 197g and you can really feel it. I had it in the pocket of my windbreaker and there was a noticeable drag weight there. Also, it’s big enough that it didn’t fit into my pants pockets so well, unless I was wearing cargo pants. Then, again, the weight on one side is noticeable.
I had no complaints whatsoever on the picture quality. They were pretty the much the same as the S90. Of course, the G12 has better video capabilities than the S90, but my iPhone incredible HD video capabilities and it is rare that I use video.
Overall, I enjoyed using the camera and can see why those of you who have them enjoy it. It is a great camera. However, I didn’t see it, necessarily, as an upgrade to the S90, just a different S90, or perhaps the S90 is just a smaller G12.
Up next, I have a Nikon 1 – V1 on the way. This weekend is Chinese New Year’s festival at The Peaceful Dragon. I’m really curious about the ability to do 60 fps with an electronic shutter as well as 400 fps slow motion video. The camera arrives tomorrow so I’m going to have to immerse myself in it quickly so I can get some good use out of it on Saturday … since my D300 is STILL in NY at Nikon’s repair facility waiting on parts.