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Canon G12 vs S95 I currently have a little Sony Cyber Shot and am looking for a camera with more manual controls and much better image quality. I generally take lots of macros and would like to expand into more candid people shots, so a camera that lets me be fast and subtle in not perfect lighting conditions would be ideal. I think I have narrowed it to the Canon G12 or S95, but I am unsure how to decide between them. Advise??
asked by Angie Kukla on November 25, 2010
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For me the big difference is that the G12 has the flip out screen. If you like to take pictures from different angles the movable screen lets you get these shots without having to get down on the ground or climb up on stuff. My old Canon A620 has this kind of screen and it is worth the extra money.
Kustom Jeff answered on March 17, 2011
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I own and use both. But I'm thinking of getting rid of the G12. Yes, it has more direct controls without drilling down into menus. But the s95 is no slouch in that area. I'm almost as fast adjusting exposure compensation (requires one extra shift button push over G12) and actually faster adjusting iso, aperture, white balance and the rest.

ND filter? I fitted the Lensmate quick change filter system on the s95 and most of the time it makes zero difference in the pocketability of the cam. I keep filters in the glove box of my car and if I anticipate needing the ND or the polarizer or the graduated +4, I pocket them and go. Something I could also do with the G12 but it would require larger diameter, more expensive filters. So I'm glad it has a built-in ND filter because I use it all the time in daylight shots. It kicks butt and is a major reason to have the G12. Another daylight shooting advantage of the G12 is the (cropped) optical finder. You can compose most of your shot in bright sunlight when you can barely see the image on the preview display. Also, the G12's hotshot articulating lcd will give you angles you just can't get with a fixed view screen like the S95's, no matter how pretty it is. I bring the G12 to parades and political rallies--anywhere I might need to hold the camera over a crowd to get the shot.

Also if I sell the G12 I'll be giving up hot shoe capability. But honestly, if I'm using a flashgun, it is going to be attached to my Sony DSLR, not the G12. Before the S95 came out, the G12 made more sense. I had a G10 before my G12, and the new camera is a massive improvement in imaging and the front finger dial made image adjustment insanely quick compared to its predecessor. You now have the jog wheel, the d-pad, the dedicated exposure compensation wheel on the top, dedicated iso wheel on top, assignable finger dial under the shutter button, dedicated AE lock button, dedicated delete button in view mode (THAT I do miss on the S95 and hear the new S100 corrects that oversight), as well as an assignable shortcut button. There are so many tactile controls on the G12 that you seldom have to get into menus after initial situational setup. If you can't get the shot with a G12 either it is a moving target (no p&s I know of handles action well), the light is very bad or far too much shadow and highlights, or you just suck as a photographer.

Now, everything I just said in that last sentence goes for the s95 as well. It has exactly the same guts and sensor as the G12, a faster lens, is cheaper to accessorize with filters, and you can trust it to get the shot just as much as you can trust the G12. Once you get used to image parameter adjustment on the s95 you won't miss the G12's extra knobs and buttons (much), and you'll LOVE having the camera with you when the shot presents itself. I preprogram the s95's shortcut button for AE Lock most of the time. I find with the way I have the camera set up, I only need to go into soft menus to set up difficult shots, and then only to access stuff like bracketing or white balance trim or flash brightness, etc. All of those features are only one menu in, and are fast to access so I don't have to fiddle much for that shot.

If you have a G12, you have a kick butt camera that will get better shots than your brother's 14 megapixel superzoom point and shoot. And he will still wonder why you paid so much more than he did for a camera with "less capability" (meaning, in his mind, a shorter zoom and fewer megapixels). All else being equal, the G12 will flat out destroy that super zoom when it comes time to print the actual images instead of comparing zoom lengths.

But surprise: so will the S95! I must say, I love this pocket camera so much I've fallen out of love with Canon's scintillating G series. I HAVE FOUND A G I CAN PUT IN MY POCKET. That's the bottom line. If you're looking for better images with the G, you may get a few in the situations I described. And it may be a bit easier to use in tough situations requiring a lot of adjustment. But the size and weight penalty just kills it. My S95 is with me now everywhere I go. For so long I was just taking snapshots with my iPhone 4 because the G was just to bulky to carry around. Since I got the S95 the iphone camera is used strictly for Facebook shots.

Canon has just released the s100 with a slightly longer zoom than the s95, a new 12 MP CMOS sensor (getting mixed initial reviews), 1080p HD video to the S95's 720p, and...the G12's nifty built-in ND filter. I will not be upgrading. I don't trust that new sensor yet. Many are reporting the images they got with the S95 were better. When Canon irons out the issues with the new sensor I think it will be a good'un. Then I might consider the S105 or whatever the next in the series is called. For now, for me, the Canon S95 is quite simply the best point and shoot camera in the world. I'd rather be carrying a Leica digital rangefinder with $5k in glass hanging on the front but only pros and richies can justify that expense.

One thing the introduction of the S100 has done is push down the price of both the S95 and the G12. If you can't see spending $430 or more on a pocket cam then you can get the S95 these days at unprecedented bargain prices. If I needed a new p&s, I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on an "obsolete" S95 rather than the unproven S100 which costs WAY more. The S100 is the very first p&s with a CMOS (DSLR) sensor, miniaturized by Canon for this application. The technology needs to mature. When it does, Canon will be giving us new frontiers in image quality from compact cameras.

For now, even with the S100 out there, the S95 is still the pocket imaging king of the hill for me. Even when I'm setting up my SLR with its magnificent legacy Minolta lenses, I have that S95 in my pocket, just in case.

So if you didn't get my drift, I prefer the S95 in a runaway over the (WONDERFUL) G12. There are some very expensive point and shoots out there like Fuji's incomparable X100, but it costs more than three S95s. It's good but not over a thousand bucks good. The S95 is the best way I know to spend 300 bucks on a camera. Your mileage may vary depending on your needs.
Coug Moog answered on November 10, 2011
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The S95 has a nice f/2.0 lens, while the G12 is f/2.8. However, just about everything else tips the G12's way. The ergonomics are better (it actually helps a lot that it's significantly larger), it has a built-in optical neutral density filter that buys an extra three stops in bright light, and slightly longer zoom. The G12 is absolutely killer.
Chysn answered on May 2, 2011
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Check the f numbers. I think the S is faster over the G. Probably the same under the hood though.
Michael Miner answered on March 30, 2011
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Hi Hammysg1....

The S95 does NOT have a manual viewfinder and no, it does NOT have the capacity to allow you to put lenses and filters. The G12 is hands down, the best if you're seeking these two options not available on the S95.

Plus, the G12 has a hot shoe so you can put external flash! =) Don't get me wrong the S95 is cute, as I saw it finally at the store the other's sleek, cute but the G12 has the extras I mentioned above and the S95 doesn't!

I HOPE this helps. =)
thefrenchelf answered on March 27, 2011
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It usually happens to amazon when a new model of a camera is to be released. In this case, the new Canon Gx1 flagship camera is the new 'breed' of the G series. Either that it the G12 production has completely stopped, meaning that's it. Hence price hike.
thefrenchelf answered on February 20, 2012
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I have had several G series (G7 and G9) and am now working with the s90. Although these are earlier models of the ones you are looking at, the general pros/cons remain the same.

The positive for the S90 is that it is great for low light (F 2.0 and in-between ISOs of 125 and 160).

The bad news is that the image quality of the s90 is just not the same as the G series. Prints that are crops or over 24x30 inches have too much pixellation to be exhibited professionally. However, if you print at 8x10 inches or smaller, the s95 should be fine for you.

As for me, I'm planning on returning to the G series with my next camera purchase.
phulana answered on April 10, 2011
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I am on the same predicament here....Tough choice. From the reviews I 've read/viewed, they are practically the same. The only big difference is the portability of each camera. The S95 is more 'pocketable' versus the G12. I think I'm going for the G12 since I've got the G10 and I'm familiar with the G series anyway.
I hope this video helps:
thefrenchelf answered on December 7, 2010
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I did buy the G12 and I love it! I find the flip out screen extremely useful, because I like to take photos at wacky angles, especially since I am short and this way I can hold the camera over my head and still frame the shot.
Angie Kukla answered on March 17, 2011
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I am also considering this choice and I'm wondering if any s95 owners could answer something for me, does the S95 allow you to use add-on lenses, like telephoto and wide angle lenses, and, if so, are they 52mm lenses or 58mm? And secondly, does the S95 have a manual viewfinder or can you only frame shots using the LCD screen? I am trading up from an old Powershot A70 and I don't want to lose the features that I love so I'm thinking that I need a G12 but I'd rather get an S95 if it has the same features.
hammysg1 answered on March 27, 2011
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