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HolidayBuyer's Guide


Please reinvent the wheel, redux

Exposure compensation dial

Dial it up

Stereo microphone

Quick Shot mode

Hints and Tips

Keep it level

Though a few ounces lighter than the G11, the G12 remains the largest camera in its class. Its design is almost identical to the G11's, including the usable optical viewfinder and large, easy-to-turn dials.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Wow. Looking back, I realized I've been complaining about the G series' controller, a four-way switch plus Set/Function button, for the past three generations. So this will be four: I love the scroll wheel, but find I tend to accidentally hit one of the Manual focus, macro, self-timer, or flash switches when I'm trying to press the middle button. As for the wheel, I frequently press one of the switches while I'm scrolling as well. It's especially difficult to control in cold weather with numb fingers (why am I always testing this camera in winter?)
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The exposure compensation dial is a useful and retro control.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
In addition to giving the camera a retro feel, the dials on the G12 are, for the most part, practical and much faster to use than even direct-access buttons, which always require at least some navigation. Movie mode is new on the G12; having it on the mode dial is always a pain, and there's no discrete record button. But the video recording is pretty limited anyway.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Though the G12's video capabilities are a bit limited--par for its class, but not particularly notable--it does have stereo mics onboard, as well as a jack for an external mic.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
If you like this type of control panel interface, you're out of luck unless you're OK shooting in Program mode. You only have access to this in Canon's Quick Shot mode, a semiautomatic program mode that activates continuous autofocus and face detection.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Canon offers Hints and Tips to help get you up to speed on camera operation.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
I'm a big fan of digital levels in cameras, and the G12's implementation is one of the more usable ones. When you hit the level area, the white indicator turns green and expands a bit, making it easy to see so you don't overshoot.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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