Canon PowerShot G12 Review

4.5
October 27, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Canon PowerShot G12 produces images of excellent quality. It recorded noise-free images at ISO 80-400, with some noise and slight colour desaturation at ISO 800. ISO 1600 shows more obvious noise and loss of colour but still remains perfectly usable, and even the fastest setting of ISO 3200 doesn't suffer too badly.

The Canon PowerShot G12 handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The lens exhibits a little barrel distortion at the 28mm wide-angle setting, along with softening of detail towards the corners. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure, although there's noticeable vignetting at 28mm. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds being long enough for most after-dark shots.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Canon PowerShot G12 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Canon PowerShot G12. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot G12's 5x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as illustrated by these examples:

28mm

140mm

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

At full resolution, there are two JPEG quality settings available including Fine and Normal.

Fine (2.39Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (1.05Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot G12 handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with fairly limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Canon PowerShot G12 allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot G12 are Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Canon Powershot G12's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Canon Powershot G12 IS has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length Anti-Shake Off (100% Crop) Anti-Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 28mm
     
1/4th sec / 140mm

High Dynamic Range

The High Dynamic Range scene mode automatically takes three exposures of the same scene at different settings, then combines them in-camera to create a single image with greater dynamic range. Note that you need to mount the G12 on a tripod or stable surface to avoid camera-shake.

Off

On

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, wide-angle, 720p, hdmi, 5x zoom, dslr, 10 megapixel, prosumer, 2.8 inch LCD, vari-angle, optical viewfinder, powershot g12, canon g12, Canon PowerShot G12 Review

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