We compare Canon's G12, Panasonic's LX5 and the Nikon's P7000 in real-life situations.
Like: We are big fans of the articulated screen on the Canon G12. Despite having the smallest LCD of the three camera compared (2.8”), the versatility of the screen more than makes up for those two measly tenths of an inch. The G12 is also by far the most solid feeling of the three cameras. While the camera itself is only a bit smaller, dimension-wise, than the P7000, Canon did a good job of rounding the camera down to seem a whole lot more compact than it really is. The G12 also feels far more rugged and tough than the other two compacts.
Like the P7000, the G12’s image quality seems to be quite solid for a compact (although our lab test will ultimately decide just how good it is). Its sensor, like the P7000 is also 1/1.7”. We also found the G12 to do particularly well at getting an accurate light-meter reading when set to evaluative metering on aperture priority mode, regardless of the shooting situation.
The layout and controls of the Canon G12 were the most intuitive of the three camera compared, although there is certainly room for improvement. The ISO and shooting mode dials are really conveniently located and unlike the P7000, the exposure compensation dial is located on top of the left side of the camera—a more sensible place. The shutter on the G12 was the snappiest and most solid-feeling of the three.
Dislike: Lenses on compact cameras that close on their own when the camera is turned off make us nervous, as the tiny shades that protect the lens have a tendency of getting jammed or stuck—especially if the camera is bumped around too much. Panasonic made this a non-issue with the LX5 by simply opting to give it a lens cap. Both Canon and Nikon should consider this. We would rather loose a ten-dollar lens cap than jam the lens of a $500 camera.
Overall: Canon’s G12 is an impressive little camera and more than likely will offer users the best overall shooting experience of the three compared. Its articulating screen, rugged design and intuitive controls, coupled with its solid shooting capabilities make it clear that the extra time and refinement Canon has been able to put into the G series have made it a well-thought-out workhorse and a winner. Now if they could just make it a bit smaller…