The Canon PowerShot G12 is a standard point and shoot with a 10.4-megapixel resolution, but it has a few tricks to show. First, it has HDR and RAW shooting, 720p HD video recording and an HDMI port. It also has a pop-out LCD display and excellent photo quality compared to other similar cameras.
The design of the Canon PowerShot G12 is pretty much identical to the G11, but it's just slightly lighter. However at 0.78-pounds, it's still quite heavy. The body measures 4.41 x 1.9 x 3.0-inches (wdh), so don't expect to fit this camera into your pant's pocket by any means.
The 2.8-inch 461,000 dot resolution LCD display on the camera's backside pops out and swivels just like a digital camcorder's LCD, which allows you to position the screen for your viewing situation. The back of the device also has a four way navigation pad and scroll wheel for navigating the menu system, which is also well-designed. There's also a few accessory buttons, like menu, display, trash, playback, metering, focus area and others. There is a user-programmable shortcut button on the back too for added customization. The top has the zoom toggle, power bottom, a dual-dial that controls both the camera's mode but also the ISO setting, which is a great feature for avid photographers. There's another scroll wheel just under the shutter button on the front face, but it's rather awkwardly placed and is therefore, rarely used. The top also has a hot-shoe mount, however the camera already has a flash built-in.
There is also a mini-HDMI port and support for many memory card formats, including SD/SDHC/SCXC, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus and HC MMC Plus.
Some of the Canon PowerShot G12's internal specifications include a 10.4-megapixel resolution, a 5x optical zoom, a 4x digital zoom and a 28-140mm 35mm equivalent with a focal length of 6.1-30.5 mm. The camera also has an aperture range of f2.8/f4.5 and a shutter speed of 1-1/4000 second. Images have a maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736-pixels and can be saved in either JPEG or RAW formats. RAW shooting allows you to save uncompressed images for editing, which is something professionals require. Videos have a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720-pixels, which is 720p high-definition. Videos are saved in H.264 QuickTime movies that are only limited in duration by available memory space.
Another addition to the G12 over previous models is High Dynamic Range (HDR) shooting, which takes three photos in both underexposure and overexposure and combines all three to make one vibrant, detailed image. Shooting with HDR is slower than non-HDR shooting and the file sizes are much larger too, which reduces your overall number of photos you can take on one memory card. However, to get the best quality HDR images, you must have the camera completely still, so that means you must use it in conjunction with a tripod.
There is an automatic mode for users who just want a simple point and shoot, but there is also the ability to adjust all of the camera's settings if you're a more experienced photographer that wants to control the camera and not the other way around. The camera also has optical image stabilization, which does seem to help at times.
Image quality in subjective testing turned out quite good, even with very low or high ISO settings. ISO 200 seemed to be the best setting for the best images in most conditions. Low-light images were also quite admirable with only little noise seen. The 5x optical zoom lens is quite nice and produces some really sharp images, but very small barrel distortion was noticeable.
Video quality (720p) is also very good, but we had one major gripe: no zooming when recording. This is presumably to not allow the zoom motor to be herd on the audio track, but other cameras get around that issue by slowing down the zoom speed. On such a nice camera as the Canon PowerShot G12, we would've hoped to see zooming on videos. The quality of the videos produced by this camera are comparable to those of a mini digital camcorder.
The only other gripe we have with this camera is the sluggish shot-to-shot times, especially when using the built-in flash, which has to recycle between shots. Expect to get around 2.0-2.5-seconds lag between shots when using the flash, so don't expect to use it during any fast action scenes. If you're not using the flash, expect about 0.8-seconds between shots, which isn't terrible but it certainly isn't the fastest out there.
In terms of battery life, the Canon PowerShot G12 can shoot about 390 shots per charge (CIPA rating).