Canon Powershot G12 Review

Advanced Digital Cameras

10 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 mm    Weight: 401g

Good Points: General features, sharpness and clarity of photos, colour control, build quality, handling, pull out and twist LCD screen

Bad Points: Shutter delay could be that bit better, macro shot lacks brightness

Canon Powershot G12 Shutter Lag Rating par Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating


The Canon Powershot G12 is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking for a high quality digital camera. The sharpness and clarity of the photos it takes is hard to beat. I was also bowled over by the build quality.

Owing to the number of features the Powershot G12 has it is not necessarily easy to use, but I found the camera to be well thought through and it handles very well. There are plenty of settings that you can use to fine tune your photos to get exactly the look you want your photos to have.

Why Buy the Canon Powershot G12

This is simply a high quality camera. It may cost more than a standard digital camera, but if you think you are likely to utilise the features it offers and want the ultimate in picture quality from a compact camera it is very hard to beat.


Along with cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX5 and Nikon Coolpix P7000 you are hard pressed to find more features on a compact digital camera than you will on the Powershot G12. This camera contains more features than an entry level Digital SLR and is ideal to use when a Digital SLR is not really practical.

Standard features include 10 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens. The lens has wide angle capabilities. Images stabilisation has been built into the lens.

Looking a bit deeper there are a series of manual controls available. These include shutter priority and aperture priority as well as a fully manual mode. There are also two custom settings you can use to save your favourite settings. Manual focusing is available too.

Canon is one of the few brands to include vari angle LCD screens on any of their digital cameras. There is one included on the Powershot G12. These are a big help if you find yourself at an awkward shooting angle. You also have access to a viewfinder as a second option for composing photos. A dioptre correction dial is available to focus the viewfinder to suit your own eyesight levels.

If you use images enhancement packages such as Photoshop the RAW capture mode will be useful to you. There is the option to capture both RAW and Jpeg copies at the same time. Five different aspect ratios are available to you. These are 3:2, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1 and 4:5.

As you would expect you have access to standard fine tuning such as white balance, ISO and metering. I think Canon have done a particularly good job with white balance, making it very easy to adjust to a level that suits your requirements for a shot.

Other features at your disposal include bracketing, Servo AF and a neutral density filter. You can also adjust the power of the flash unit. Movie making is catered for with a High Definition movie mode with a maximum resolution of 720p.

You also have options for expanding the capabilities of the Powershot G12. These include being able to add an external flash unit, a waterproof case and filters via a 58mm lens thread.

Image Quality

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

This picture sums up perfectly the difference in quality at the higher end of the market. The sharpness and the clarity of this picture is very hard to beat if you are buying a compact digital camera. The brickwork on the building in the centre of the picture is pin sharp. As you move out towards the edges there is no discernable loss of focus. Areas of light shade are handled well with noise under control.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

Even for a camera of this quality zooming right out is a tough test. On the whole sharpness is good, but there is not the same clear step up in quality compared to cheaper cameras. There is just a hint of purple fringing around the trees if you enlarge the shot to full size.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

With the lens zoomed in to its full capacity we are back to outstanding levels of sharpness. I also really like the colours on display in this shot. There are a variety of different colours showing yet each one has a vibrancy about it.

Outdoor Building

In this picture the Powershot G12 demonstrates once again how it manages to pack sharpness and detail into a shot. To my eye the quality of the lens is better than those you would find sold with starter Digital SLRs.

Outdoor Portrait

Among the many points I like about the Powershot G12 are the sharpness of the photos it produces and the colours of the shots. These factors come together to produce a pleasing outdoor portrait shot. The camera has no problem moving in close and you should be able to snap lots of high quality portraits.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Despite the use of the flash the Powershot G12 still manages to produce a warm looking shot with lots of colour. This is great for areas such as the hair, but in this instance gives a touch too much colour to the skin tones for my own liking. This is a case of adjusting white balance until you are getting the combination that suits you the best.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Like the shot taken with flash this photo has plenty of warm tones to it. Although taken without the benefit of bright, natural lighting the Powershot G12 still manages to show plenty of detail in the shot.


The sharpness of the shot is impressive and you can also get in close to your subject. My only gripe is that I would like to have seen the shot a little brighter with the automatic settings I used.


Colours produced by more expensive cameras tend to have a more natural look to them. This is another area where there is a clear difference between cheaper models and more up market cameras. You also have access to extra controls for fine tuning the colours in your shots.


As with the colours the Powershot G12 has produced noise is another area where you get what you pay for. A more expensive camera such as this one does a good job of limiting any noise in a shot to a minimum.

Picture Quality Summary

In terms of picture quality the Powershot G12 is a clear step up on cheaper rivals or cameras with extra long lenses. There are one or two areas where the leap in quality is not as pronounced, but on the whole you get what you pay for with this camera.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Panasonic DMC LX5 Rating 91/100

This camera is one of the very best I have ever reviewed. Picture quality is excellent and I love the small size of the camera. It is packed with advanced features and I found it was able to handle a variety of different shooting conditions without a problem.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC LX5 Review

Related Pages

Canon Powershot G12 Specification

Canon Powershot G12 Sample Images

Canon Powershot G12 vs Nikon Coolpix P7000

Digital Camera Reviews

Canon Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: November 2010


The Canon Powershot G12 is hard to beat if you are looking for a high end, compact digital camera. Images are pin sharp in most cases and the options for fine tuning your photos are impressive. The attention to detail in the build is outstanding too. Recommended.


Ease of Use:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:


Photo Quality:
Value for Money:




Main Features

LCD Screen:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

2.8 inches
112.1 x 76.2 x 48.3 mm
Lithium-ion Rechargeable

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.38 seconds
10.39 seconds
0.94 seconds
12.75 seconds
2.61 seconds

Shutter Lag Table


I have always felt that the Canon Powershot G range cameras are a bit like holding a brick in your hands. I mean that as a compliment! They give a feeling of a well made, sturdy camera.

As you would expect a camera with this amount of features has plenty of buttons and dials to give you fast access to the various controls.

Starting off on the top of the Powershot G12 there are dials to control exposure compensation, ISO and shooting mode. There is also a hot shoe for attaching a flash unit, on/off button, shutter button and a small zoom ring. The control dials have a solid feel about them and it is difficult to move them accidentally.

The front of the camera is home to a selection wheel or jog dial. These are an important addition to advanced cameras as they make it much easier to change settings such as aperture size and shutter speed quickly. Also on the front is a button to release the lens ring. This allows you to add lens accessories.

Moving round to the back the first thing you are likely to notice is the LCD screen. This pulls out away from the camera body and can be twisted through 270 degrees. This is a big help if you find yourself at an awkward shooting angle or the glare of the sun is falling on the screen. I found the screen to be of excellent quality and is much less prone to problems of sun glare than most digital cameras.

Above the screen are buttons that give you access to any shortcut that you have nominated and to review photos. The viewfinder sits in between these two buttons. Moving further along is a place to rest your thumb when taking a shot. This is conveniently positioned and helps you to get a good grip. In the top corner is a button for AF/AE lock.

Next come two buttons for controlling the focusing frame and the type of metering you wish to use. These double up in review mode as picture deletion and rotation buttons.

Moving further down is a standard circular section giving you access to manual focusing, flash options, the self timer and macro mode. These controls surround a button that accesses common functions.

Finally there are buttons for changing the LCD screen display and accessing the menu system.

There are two separate buttons for accessing functions and the menu. Functions include controls such as white balance, bracketing and flash power. The menu system covers many more options including the AF frame, servo AF and continuous AF. It runs to over 20 options. There are also a further group of setup options available.

Product Shots

Front View

Canon Powershot G12 Front View

Back View

Canon Powershot G12 Back View

Top View

Canon Powershot G12 Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4