If you think the Canon Rebel T2i looks sweet, but still has too much bulk for your active lifestyle, then consider its little brother, the $500 Canon Powershot G12. Next in a line of popular G-model cameras, the G12 is an updated version of the G11, which we reviewed last month.
At a glance, the camera looks almost identical, with only minor aesthetic changes. But it’s what lies beneath that’s important. An update to 720p HD video with stereo sound is quite notable. As is auto-focus tracking for moving subjects. There is a front dial (right hand pointer finger actuated) for scrolling through settings and menus.
The G12 continues the G-series reputation for a tough camera capable of pretty great photos. Unlike most compact digital cameras, it can capture a Raw file — a format usually reserved for pros. If you take the time to learn the advantages of a Raw file over the standard Jpeg, you may never go back.
I’ve been carrying the G11 the last nine months on family outings, to parties, training rides and more. Though not as small as a lot of “point and shoot” digitals, it is a welcome change from my heavy SLR cameras. It’s a purchase I am glad I made.
Accessories for the G12 camera include extra flashes for more lighting power and underwater housings. And if you like to weigh your options, have a look at the new Nikon Coolpix P7000, also $500, which boasts a similar list of features. Both look to be solid choices for the adventuring amateur photographer.