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Canon G12 v S95
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NYC Hiker
(NYCHiker) - F

Locale: NYC
Canon G12 v S95 on 11/06/2010 18:15:26 MDT Print View

We've been very fortunate to take a few trips to gorgeous places. Using my SD880is, we've been able to take some great pictures of these great parks. We've also taken thousands of "eh" pictures.

Using CHDK, I've gained significant control over this camera, which is helpful, but options are buried under a number of clicks. The manual control helps improve some of the pictures. But, I feel like I'm not getting the image quality from this camera I see from other cameras.

I'm not ready to step up to a DSLR (weight, cost, inexperience, etc.), so I've been looking at the higher-end compacts. I love the Canons (especially because we can hack using CHDK), so I've basically narrowed it down to the G12 and S95.

We don't currently take many low-light shots because they are incredibly noisy with my current camera. If I had a camera that deals with low-light better, I think I'd take more of these shots. Most of the shots we take are landscape shots. Zoom is less important to me.

Does anyone have an opinion between these two? I've looked through flickr and can't really see much difference between the two (they appear to share the same sensor?). Thanks!

Edited by NYCHiker on 11/06/2010 18:16:09 MDT.

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
test them out on 11/06/2010 19:05:57 MDT Print View

I would go to a store that has them and play with both for a while. They are both great cameras. I like th S95 due to the smaller size.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
canon G12 vs S95 on 11/07/2010 00:51:08 MDT Print View

If you dont mind having no viewfinder buy the S95 its the most noticable difference ( with the bulk and weight ).
But as said Jeff, the best thing to do is handling both in a shop.

I am using either an olympus EP2 or a pana LX3 but a S95 is what i recently bought for my sister who wanted a compact for when she doesnt want to bring her bulky dslr.

Edited by Fre49 on 11/07/2010 00:52:14 MDT.

NYC Hiker
(NYCHiker) - F

Locale: NYC
Pany LX5 on 11/07/2010 01:35:22 MDT Print View

As you have experience with the LX3, what do you think of the LX5? Sounds like a few on BPL didn't think it was an improvement.

Thanks for the responses thus far. Guess I'll need to head down to B+H soon to try them out.

Will Webster
Low Light on 11/07/2010 05:56:56 MST Print View

You mention noisy results in low light. Under those circumstances even the two cameras you're looking at can't hold a candle to one with a larger sensor. You might want to look at the micro-4/3 systems or the Sony NEX 3 or 5. These will do much better in bad light at comparable weight and bulk to the G12, but you may pay as much as you would to get an entry-level DSLR. I'm optimistic that this is a growing field and we will see more light weight cameras with moderate-sized sensors (APS-C) in the next couple of years. Of course, I've been optimistic about other things in the past couple of years that haven't worked out...

WRT hacking the firmware, I don't think you'll have any need to do that with either the G12 or the S95; Canon already provides those capabilities.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Canon G12 v S95 on 11/07/2010 08:19:59 MST Print View

I had a G10 and came to the conclusion that I preferred a smaller camera or a small SLR. The G series Canons are well made and work well, but really don't provide any more image quality for the extra weight. I ended up with a Pentax Optio W90 and a Nikon D5000. If I were buying a non-waterproof small sensor camera, the Canon S95 would be my top choice. Smaller cameras get used more--- you will bring back more images.

The viewfinder thing gets me. I have have used view cameras and roll film cameras with large viewfinders much like the "live view" screens found on point and shoot digital cameras and much prefer them for composition. The trick is getting one with a bright screen. I wouldn't be put off using a dark cloth on a tripod mounted camera to help in bright sun. I've held my hat over the camera to help that way too.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Canon G12 v S95 on 11/07/2010 09:28:52 MST Print View

Has anyone seen the new Nikon N7000 in person? I'm thinking about buying that one as it is very very similar to the G12.

I want the viewfinder and wonder if the N7000 or the G12 electronic viewfinder is better than the G11- I found the G11 one a little small and dim- but maybe as good as it gets at that price since I can't afford the M9 and want a smaller camera that's not too big like an SLR.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Canon G12 v S95 on 11/07/2010 10:31:42 MST Print View

One of the primary features that you get with a larger camera are more buttons and controls. On the super compact camera, there are only a few controls and the entire user interface is in a menu system, so you have to use the rear display to navigate the menu. I find that to be lightweight, but too costly in time. On a larger camera, there is more physical room to mount controls and buttons. There is still a menu system, but most of the common user interface can be handled with just a button-push here or a dial-twist there, and that makes for faster shooting.


Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
G12 on 11/07/2010 11:13:44 MST Print View

I had a similar experience to Dale. I bought a G12 to replace my DSLR on trips, but found it was a little larger than I liked. It was too large to stuff in a pocket. Also, I didn't like the low light performance. So, now I still take my DSLR on trips, deal with the weight, and I'm happier with my pictures. Photography is a big part of my trips though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: G12 on 11/07/2010 12:44:28 MST Print View

"Photography is a big part of my trips though."

Exactly. While moving along the trail, I have my DSLR and long lens ready for wildlife. But when I arrive in camp, I get out the tripod and the rest of the gear and go photo-wandering.

I think the 5DMkII and 7D have excellent low light performance.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Canon G12 v S95 on 11/07/2010 13:04:50 MST Print View

Yes to same sensor and processing engine. Canon replaced the G11 and S90 pretty quickly because they didn't do hi-def video, now both replacements do so.

The S95 has a fast lens that helps keep ISO lower/shutter speeds higher in dim light, which is sometimes under-appreciated. Of course the form factor is much, much smaller and lighter than the G12 (quite evident in a store comparison). The latter has a rudimentary OVF and longer zoom range, but in this day and age competes directly with so-called EVIL (mirrorless) system cameras, which have interchangeable lenses and much larger sensors.

Hope that helps.



Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Canon G12 v S95 on 11/09/2010 16:54:11 MST Print View

I spent too much time handling both the G12 and the S95 in a camera store. Of the two, I preferred the S95 (after several years of shooting with a G7, so I do have experience with the G series.)

I ended up buying the Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm/1.7 lens. Similar size and weight to the G12, but image quality and manual control are significantly improved. Sure, I lose the zoom, but I found I made most of my photos with the G7 at the widest (35mm equivalent) setting anyway.

NYC Hiker
(NYCHiker) - F

Locale: NYC
Thanks everyone on 11/11/2010 12:50:49 MST Print View

A lot of great opinions and specific tips. I knew this was going to be a complicated decision, so I wanted to give myself as much time before the holidays to do due diligence.