Canon adds 720p HD video to new PowerShot G12 high-end compact

Canon updates its G series high-end compact digital cameras with the new PowerShot G12, adding 720p HD recording capability to last year's top-rated G11.

While there's nothing earth-shattering about Canon's latest high-end compact shooter, the new PowerShot G12 announced today, it's an incremental update to last year's excellent G11 and continues in the G series tradition of delivering enthusiast-level photo capabilities in a relatively compact camera.Apparently Canon has learned something from its stumble with the G10 and hasn't messed with the G11's success. The new G12 retains most of the G11's features and design, including the 2.8-inch, 461,000-dot articulating LCD, the 10-megapixel CCD sensor, and the 28-140mm equivalent (f/2.8-4.5) 5x zoom lens. The most obvious update is in the G12's improved video capabilities: In addition to 720p HD video recording at 24 fps) with stereo sound, there's an integrated HDMI port and some nice special effects, such as Miniature Effect, which uses selective focus combined with slower frame rates for a tilt-shift and time-lapse effect.

While most of the body design and controls are similar to the G11, the G12 adds a new front dial for easy access to manual controls--something dSLR shooters will appreciate. Other updates include a new optional lens filter adapter, additional support for SDXC memory card formats, an updated image stabilization system, and a new High Dynamic Range (HDR) scene mode borrowed from the PowerShot S95, which allows you to take three images shot at different exposures (requiring a tripod) and combines them (in-camera) into a single image with greater dynamic range.

Of course, the G12 is entering a more competitive market than the G11 did a year ago, with new high-end compacts such as Canon's own S95 in the mix, as well as Panasonic's recently announced Lumix DMC-LX5 and Nikon's new Coolpix P7000.

Look for the G12 to ship in early October for $500.


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