The Lightweight Photographer:
Nikon Coolpix P7000 vs Canon Powershot G12

by Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen on January 10, 2011

Nikon and Canon go toe to toe in the fight for our compact camera dollars. Both the Nikon Coolpix P7000 and the Canon Powershot G12 are aimed at the same market: the pro or serious amateur photographer in need of a high-end small camera. So, how do they compare and which should you buy?

UPDATE: There is a new version of the Nikon Coolpix available now.
Check out the Nikon Coolpix P7100 here.

Nikon Coolpix P7000 vs Canon Powershot G12 comparison

Compact Camera Buyer’s Guide

PRICE UPDATE: Amazon.com keeps lowering the price on the Nikon Coolpix P7000. Now only $374. This deal may not last, so check it out now with this link!

The Canon Powershot G12 is a bit more expensive at $490. To check current prices on the G12, click here: Amazon.com

Support PhotoCitizen at no cost to you by using any of the links on this page to make your purchases. Thanks.

Key Features Compared: P7000 vs. G12

For more information about the Nikon Coolpix P7000, click here to read my reviewSubscribe to PhotoCitizen to keep up to date on my camera reviews and other articles.

The comparison chart below emphasizes some key differences and similarities between the P7000 and the G12.

Nikon P7000 Canon G12
Sensor 1/1.7 CCD 1/1.7 CCD
Effective Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
Lens Zoom (35mm equivalent) 28-200mm (7.1X) 28-140mm (5X)
Maximum Aperture f/2.8-f/5.6 f/2.8-f/4.5
LCD Monitor Size / Resolution 3″ / 921,000 pixels 2.8″ / 461,000 pixels
LCD coverage (live view mode) 98% 100%
LCD Articulation none swivel and tilt
Optical Viewfinder Built-in Built-in
ISO Range 100-3200 1 ISO 80-3200
Built-in Flash Pop-up Fixed
External Flash
hot-shoe (i-TTL) hot-shoe (e-TTL)
Still Image Formats 14-bit raw, JPEG 12-bit raw, JPEG
Hi Def Movies 720p @ 24fps 720p @ 24fps
Slowest Shutter Speed
60 sec. 15 sec.
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/4000 sec. 2 1/4000 sec.
Remote control
wireless infrared wired
Size (H x W x D)
3.1 x 4.5 x 1.8 inches 3 x 4.4 x 1.9
Weight (with battery & card) 12.7 ounces 14.1 ounces
1ISO 6400 available at Hi 1 setting.
2 1/4000th available in one mode only (see below). Otherwise, 1/2000th maximum speed.
Green Text indicates important advantage of one camera over the other.

G12 vs. P7000: Pros and Cons

The Nikon Coolpix P7000 and Canon Powershot G12 are more alike than different.

Lens, Shutter and Zoom Range

The Nikon has a better zoom range: 28-200mm versus 28-140mm on the Canon. That’s a lot of lens!

Both lenses have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and a minimum aperture of f/8.

In Manual Exposure mode, the P7000 can be set to a 60-second exposure. The longest exposure possible on the G12 is 15-seconds. Neither camera offers a bulb mode.

In bright light, the G12 has an advantage with its 1/4000th maximum shutter speed. The Nikon P7000 offers this speed only in Aperture-Priority mode with the lens at its widest (28mm) setting and an aperture of f/8. Any other setting results in a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th.

Noise and High ISO

If the Canon G12 is anything like it’s predecessor, the G11, it has an advantage over the Nikon P7000 at higher ISO’s. The maximum usable ISO on the P7000 is 400. Anything above that has too much noise for my taste.

When I tested the G11, I was pleasantly surprised at its moderate level of noise at ISO 800. A little work in the computer yielded sharp, noise-free images at ISO 800. I haven’t tested the G12 yet, but I assume its high-ISO performance is just as good.

Neither camera does well at the higher ISO’s, so forget about the advertised maximum ISO 3200 on these cameras unless you can put up with the grainy look of high amounts of noise. (The P7000 has a Hi 1 setting that simulates ISO 6400 which is way too noisy for any self-respecting photographer to ever use.)

Viewfinder and LCD Monitor

Both cameras have a “dumb” built-in optical viewfinder. No shooting data is displayed in the viewfinder and neither covers anywhere near 100% of the actual image area. They both zoom with the lens.

You’ll use the optical viewfinder only when bright light makes the LCD monitor too difficult to view or when you need the extra stability you get with a third point of contact between you and the camera: the viewfinder resting against your eye.

The LCD monitor is a mixed bag. Each camera has its strengths and weaknesses. The Nikon P7000 has a larger monitor (3-inches vs. 2.8-inches on the Canon) and, with 921,000 pixels,  it is a much higher resolution display than the Canon with it’s mere 461,000. That extra resolution makes it easier to view image detail to check focusing accuracy.

The Canon G12 does have one big advantage: the articulated LCD. The   LCD can be swung out nearly 180-degrees from the camera body and it can be rotated 270-degrees. That gives the G12 an advantage over the P7000 when shooting overhead or at ground level.

Because it is has only a small hinge to support it, the G12′s articulated LCD seems more susceptible to damage. It is safest when tucked up against the camera – the same position as the P7000′s fixed-position LCD.

When shooting, the G12′s LCD monitor covers 100% of the image while the P7000′s covers only 98%. Most photographers will discover that this is not a significant difference – especially considering that these are compact cameras which you’ll be holding at arms length while photographing.

Flash

Two words describe the advantage of Nikon P7000′s built-in flash over that of the G12: pop up. With the G12′s fixed-position flash, you access a menu when you want to fire the flash. Then, you have to remember to go back to the menu to turn it off. That’s too much button pushing for me.

Nikon’s flash works better. Since I use the built-in flash mostly for fill, I can set the flash mode (to Fill Flash) once via the menu. Then, whenever I want to use the flash, I just press the dedicated flash button to pop it up. Whenever it is popped up, it will fire. When I’m done, I just push down on the flash itself to close it. Whenever it’s closed it doesn’t fire. Simple.

Both cameras include a hot-shoe which offers full compatibility with high-end flash units.

Wireless Remote

The Nikon Coolpix P7000 offers wireless infrared remote control. Because it has two infrared receivers – one on the front and one on the rear – it’s easy to trigger the shutter release remotely from up to 16 feet away. The Canon Powershot G12 can be remotely triggered with a wired remote that is only 2-feet long.

Resources

For more information on the G12 and P7000, visit these sites:

Final Thoughts

Both the Nikon Coolpix P7000 and the Canon Powershot G12 are excellent little cameras. Either one makes a nice addition to any traveler photographer’s camera bag.

If you’re a Nikon DSLR owner, it makes sense to try the Coolpix P7000 – especially if you already own a compatible Nikon Speedlight flash (listed on page 202 of the user manual). Canon DSLR owners will probably want to give the Powershot G12 the top spot on their shopping list.

Both cameras have their share of useful features and frustrating limitations. Until you get some hands-on experience with them, it’s impossible to know which camera you’ll prefer. So, buy from a reputable dealer with a good return policy and see what you think. You can’t go wrong with Adorama or Amazon.com. They both have liberal return policies.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly

{ 5 comments }

1 David Johns August 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

I’m a Nikon DSLR shooter and I currently own a Canon G7 because it has manual focus, however no RAW. I’m looking to get a compact that records RAW and has a fast shutter lag (I know, that’s an oxymoron).
I’ll certainly consider the Nikon thanks to this article.

2 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen August 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hello David,

So far, none of the small cameras have auto-focus speeds – the main component of shutter lag – to match even a low-end DSLR. But things are improving.

The new Olympus E-P3 is supposed to have the fastest AF speed yet. But it cost more and is a bit bulkier. I’m waiting for mine so I can review it.

In the meantime, you might want to read my review of the previous model, the Olympus E-P2.

Alan

3 David Johns August 24, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks for the info Allan. Shutter lag can be a real pain.

4 Mark October 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

Does the Nikon offer the HDR setting like the G12.?

5 Alan Haynes / PhotoCitizen October 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hi Mark,

The new Nikon Coolpix P7100 does offer an HDR mode which automatically combines several images. The P7000 does not. I have not tried the 7100 yet, so I don’t know how well this feature works.

-Alan

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: