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Lots of great new prosumer cameras have been announced recently, and if you thought you had settled on the one to buy, think again—it's time to add the new Canon PowerShot G12 to your short list. Had you decided to buy a Canon G11, but haven’t yet made the purchase? You're in luck, because Canon took the already fabulous G11, polished it just a bit and announced the new PowerShot G12.
For those who live by the saying, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it,” fear not, because Canon has only improved upon a good thing. The same basic size, feel, layout, build quality, feature set and specifications of the G11 are all present in the G12.
The Canon PowerShot G12 digital camera still features a 1/1.7-inch, 10-megapixel CCD image sensor and DIGIC 4 image processor. Now before you say, “Hey, why is this thing only 10 megapixels when I see cheap point and shoots with higher resolution?” let me explain. You see, the PowerShot G10 was a 14-megapixel camera, which dropped to 10 megapixels with the introduction of the G11. Canon engineers found that a higher-quality image sensor with fewer megapixels would yield better image quality than similarly priced, higher-resolution sensors.
The PowerShot G12 still has a 2.8-inch LCD screen with 461,000 dots and a swiveling hinge that lets you position the display at any angle you like. It also still has the crisp 28mm lens with 5x optical zoom; it ranges from 28mm at the wide end to 140mm at the telephoto end (these are 35mm equivalents).
The PowerShot G12’s Hybrid IS optical image stabilization corrects camera shake from two sources. It uses an angular sensor to eliminate blur caused by the angle of the camera, and an accelerometer to correct for the shift blur caused by having a subject move parallel to the camera. If you want to make things easy, you can set the G12 to Smart Auto and the camera will select the proper settings for you every time. More advanced photographers can take advantage of full manual exposure control. You can record images in JPEG or RAW file formats—or record both formats simultaneously.
The G12’s standard ISO range is unchanged from 320 to 3200, but ten new settings within that range have been added. In addition, the camera automatically jumps to an expanded ISO speed of 12800 depending on ambient brightness, subject movement and camera shake.
So what’s new in the PowerShot G12? While the G11 could capture VGA and QVGA video, the G12 kicks it up a notch with the ability to capture 1280 x 720p HD video at 24 frames per second with stereo audio. Perhaps the G13 will capture 1080p? Maybe, if there will be a G13. For now, you've got to love the G12. Also new with the G12 is the ability to record on SDXC memory cards in addition to all the older formats supported by the G11.
The G12 can capture stunning HDR, or High Dynamic Range photos. This helps create well-balanced images with a full range of highlights and shadows by combining several auto-bracketed images for a perfect exposure range every time. The user can set the degree to which HDR correction is applied. The G11 could shoot in 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios, but the G12 adds 1:1, 3:2 and 4:5 ratios as well.
Convenience features of the G12 include a front dial that lets you quickly select the settings you want. A mini HDMI connector can make a one-cable connection to your HDTV, where you can enjoy HD video to its fullest or display up to 130 still images at once. The PowerShot G12 is smaller and lighter than a DSLR, and is easier to carry around in your bag. And it’s compatible with Canon’s Speedlite flashes that work with all EOS-series SLRs.
Included with the Canon PowerShot G12 digital camera is an NB-7L lithium-ion battery, a CB-2LZ battery charger, an AVC-DC400ST stereo AV cable, an IFC-400PCU USB interface cable and a neck strap. The camera is backed by a 1-year limited warranty. The PowerShot G12 will be available in early October for $499.99.