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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Noise

G12 vs. G11

Raw vs. JPEG, ISO 1600

Speed

Sharpness

Distortion

Fringing

Mid-image detail

Noise and out-of-focus detail, ISO 100

The G12's image quality looks great at the lowest ISO sensitivities; you can start to see a slight bit of detail degradation starting at ISO 200 that becomes more overt (along with noisy) at ISO 400. ISO 800 is probably the highest usable setting under the most forgiving circumstances. Picky shooters really won't want to go beyond ISO 200.
Caption by / Photo by Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
The G12's images are nearly identical to the G11's; the slight differences you see here are more attributable to minor discrepancies in the elevation of the tripod head due to the temporal gap in testing.

(1/250 [G12], 1/320 [G11]; f4, center-weighted metering, ISO 400)
Caption by / Photo by Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
Processing the G12's files as raw doesn't deliver an unambiguous advantage over the JPEGs. The artifacts and colors are a bit different, and you might be able to gain a little sharpness from the raw, but it doesn't provide any shooting-exposure advantages.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Especially if you're used to shooting with a dSLR, the G12 doesn't feel very fast. But part of that's perception; it's certainly zippy enough to catch animals (this squirrel did not sit still for long).

(1/60 sec, f4.5, ISO 100, evaluative metering)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The G12's lens is quite sharp.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Though it's not terrible, the G12 does display visible barrel distortion at its widest of 28mm.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The G12 does exhibit a bit of fringing on high-contrast edges, especially close to the edges of the frame.

(1/60 sec, f2.8, ISO 100, evaluative metering)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
This 1:1 crop from the previous photo shows that general shots--wide-angle but not macro--lack the ability to really resolve detail, making the textures look a bit crunchy and digital.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
This type of noise/pattern artifact is pretty common with relatively small-sensored models like the G12.

(1/60, f4.5, evaluative metering, ISO 100)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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