There have been a lot of new camera's announced in the last few days, such as the Olympus E-5, Pentax K-r and Samsung NX100, but the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 are what I'm going to focus on today. The G12 and P700 represent Canon and Nikon's way of approaching the high end compact camera market. While Olympus, Samsung, and Sony have put most of their effort into mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (EVIL), Canon and Nikon have yet to release such cameras, favoring the traditional high end point and shoot cameras. From all appearances both are very good cameras in spite of their smaller 1/1.7" sensors. Both share a 10 mega pixel CCD sensor, very likely the same sensor from Sony in fact. Panasonic also has a camera in this range, the LX-5.
For Canon the G12 is just a minor update of the already very successful G series of cameras. The big changes between the G11 and G12 are few in number, and that is not a bad thing, since the G11 was a great camera to start with. The G12 has a new front command dial, improved image stabilization for closeup work (macro), now records 720p video, and supports the new SDXC memory cards. The addition of the command dial sounds like one of the best additions to me, although many people will enjoy being able to shoot 720p videos. The Canon G12 maintains the G11s 28-140mm F2.8-4.5 zoom lens.
The Nikon P7000 is a break away from Nikon's previous P6000, which was a bit of a let down in terms of image quality. Initial reports indicate that the ISO performance, and overall image quality out of the camera is extremely good for a compact camera. The P7000 has a command dial on the back of the camera, like Nikon's entry level DSLRs. The P7000 has a slightly larger zoom range than the Canon G12, from 28-200mm, but it is slower at the long end, with the aperture range from F2.8-5.6. The P7000, like the G12 shoots 720p video, and supports SDXC cards.
Both cameras have a similar specs, and design but the killer is the price of these high end compacts. The price of these cameras, which is higher than some entry level DSLRs, and almost as much as much cameras such as the Olympus ELP-1 and Samsungs new NX100, could be a little high for some people to swallow. Of course these cameras are still smaller than the mentioned EVIL or DSLR cameras, so that is one thing to keep in mind. Of course the hidden cost of DSLR and EVIL cameras is lenses, if you want to cover different focal range than the provided kit lenses. The Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 are aimed squarely at pros who want a highly capable point and shoot, as well as amateur who do not want to step up to DSLR/EVIL camera, but who desire the features and controls that such cameras offer.
If I had to pick between the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000, I would likely go with the Nikon P7000, but as most of my readers know I am a Nikon user. So my choice could be attributed simply to brand loyalty of sorts, although I do like the control layout of the G12 a little better.
Read Additional thoughts on these cameras:
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