Introducing...

... photo simplicity.
Needless to say, I haven't had much time to take many photos (or finish this goddamn review) between lab meetings, journal articles, shifting to a new lab, and personal time.

Switching to a camera I have used countless times was an easy (and familiar) decision. Originally toying with the G10 model some years ago, making the switch from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 to the Canon PowerShot G12 was painless. Here's why:
  1. I no longer wanted to lug around a bulky [interchangeable] lens.
I am not a professional photographer at this stage of my life, though my photography is definitely something that I would like to be recognized for someday. In my line of work, I am always packing light and tight. I fly on small planes (regrettably, I've already been on 8 this year) and pack gear for several weeks at a time. I can't have something that takes up anymore space than necessary. I need a camera that shoots great quality photos and can be packed into tight quarters.

I also need a camera that has the ability to take legitimate macro close-ups (as close as 1cm). The Panasonic DMC-G1 has a hard time focusing on the appropriate subject in macro mode, becoming continuously frustrating as you move further and further away from the subject, and (at times) becoming relatively useless. Panasonic does have a nice manual focus mode. Specific subjects at a distance can be tuned into focus with much precision, which is a really great feature I may miss while having the Canon G12.
  1. I need a camera that takes photos as I see them.
Zoom: It is upsetting to not be able to take photos of objects that cannot be magnified to at least the actual eye. So many wasted photos of surfers, sailing races, full moons, sunsets, hot air balloons. This is not at the fault of the camera itself, but the capacity of the lens. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 comes with a standard 14-45mm lens and can be interchanged out to something better. But new lenses are not cheap and you will need to find a lens that is compatible with Panasonic DMC-G1's 4:3 aspect ratio sensor.

Canon Powershot G12 has 10-megapixel digital camera with a 5x optical zoom. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is a 12.1 megapixel camera with a ~3.2x optical zoom. By number's standards, Canon has slightly less image quality, but a much better zoom--I can zoom into a subject at a distance as I see it (and beyond), whereas the Panasonic cannot zoom into a subject from a distance as it is seen by the eye. Additionally, the G12 can be fitted with a TC-DC58D (or up) telephoto converter lens (~$90) that will convert the focal distance of your lens by a factor of 1.4x (196mm), which is great for scenic or wildlife photography.
  1. Video capable for the right price.
A few months after I purchased the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 they released the DMC-GH1--an identical model to the G1, but video capable. The price was ~$1000 more--wow! For me, the means did not meet the ends as I am not the greatest filmographer and prefer to leave the frame splicing and rendering to the creatively gifted. I am also a poor college student and make due with what I can get my hands on from friends. But I missed the ability to film and eventually invested in a GoPro for cycling, diving, and campaign videos. It wasn't until I sold my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and looked into the Canon PowerShot G12 that I decided it was all I really needed, and I sold my GoPro as well. The Canon PowerShot G12 is affordable and will easily allow me to take simple footage--above and below water (with appropriate underwater housing). With a 720p HD video and stereo sound with 3 video resolutions to choose from (1280, 640, 320). Disappointingly, the optical zoom cannot be utilized while filming.
For me, the features listed above were the important buying factors. The camera is affordable, lives up to its Canon name, and is very simple to use. Having used it before neither helped nor hindered--by now you should all know how to use a camera with automatic and manual features. Besides, whoever thought that something so familiar would still feel so damn good.



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