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Head to Head: Canon G1 X Vs. Canon G12

Canon's new G1 X is quite similar to its predecessor, the G12, and some might even call it too similar for the cost. Are you safe with aging G12, or is the G1 X's new sensor too impressive to pass up? Read our Head to Head for the answer.

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We’ve already mentioned this plenty of times in the G1 X review, but it can’t hurt to reiterate this camera is not a replacement for the G12, and will instead represent a new branch of Canon’s existing PowerShot product line. Canon will continue to sell and support the G12 in the foreseeable future. So perhaps the best way to compare the two is to simply justify the G1 X’s $300 price gap.

That’s no easy task. Certainly the G1 X’s massive sensor will appeal to enthusiasts, but will those customers even bother with any fixed-lens model? If not, the G1 X must depend on image quality and feature-set to sell units. That’s another tall order.

The G1 X is certainly sharper than the G12, and while some of that is due to edge enhancement software, the G1 X seems to boast better optics too. On the other hand, color accuracy, which was never a strong-suit of the G12, is even worse in the G1 X. Still, that nice big sensor produces better depth of field and, although it’s a closer call than Canon would probably like, we declare the G1 X the overall image quality winner here.

Beyond this, the feature set is quite similar, and the G1 X even takes a few steps backward. Continuous shooting is basically the same, although the G1 X does employ a new, faster full-resolution burst mode. Optical zoom has been reduced to 4x, from the G12’s 5x, though we hardly mind. And the G-series’ much-loved physical manual control dials have been streamlined and improved.

By only a moderate margin, the G1 X is clearly the better camera. However the G12 is a better value. While the G1 X will appeal to certain types of users, ourselves included, most photographers should be able to get away with the slightly-inferior, but more affordable G12 as a companion camera.

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